The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday November 30th

University extends pass/fail option for the fall semester, suspends Dean's list

<p>DTH Photo Illustration. With online classes forcing unfamiliar working habits and adding a new level of stress, UNC hopes a switch to a pass/fail option for all undergraduate classes will ease that stress.</p>
Buy Photos DTH photo illustration. With classes moving online for the fall semester, the University announced an extension of the pass/fail option.

The University expanded its pass/fail option for all undergraduate courses as an alternative to earning a letter grade for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Students have until Nov. 17, the last day of classes this semester, to elect the option for a course. 

Provost Bob Blouin made the announcement in an emailed message to the campus community Thursday evening. 

In his message, he said the decision to offer these academic accommodations to undergraduate students is in response to the increased challenges and stress caused by the University’s decision to implement remote instruction for the semester. 

The pass/fail option will be made available to undergraduate students taking courses — numbered below 700 — in the College of Arts & Sciences, Kenan-Flagler Business School, School of Information and Library Science, Hussman School of Journalism and Media, School of Education and the Gillings School of Global Public Health. 

Courses will receive one of three grades: pass, low pass or fail. Grades of C-, D+ or D will be converted to a Low Pass and cannot be used for graduation requirements, according to the message. 

“Students, including undergraduates, enrolled in other professional schools or programs in The Graduate School will follow the decisions of their professional school or of The Graduate School,” Blouin said in the statement. 

According to UNC Media Relations, Provost Blouin consulted with the University’s Faculty Council and with the University’s deans, who shared the policy with faculty in their schools. The provost and Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz also discussed the policy with student groups. 

Courses given pass/fail credit will still be eligible for students to use toward their major, minor and degree requirements. There is also no limit on the number of courses students can declare as pass/fail for the semester. 

Because of the shift in grading policies, the University will suspend the Dean’s List and the class rank for the fall semester. Transcripts will also include a note on all undergraduate records — regardless of whether using pass/fail for a course — to reflect the global circumstances of the Fall 2020 semester. 

The University originally offered a pass/fail option to students during the spring 2020 semester after transitioning to remote learning because of the novel coronavirus spread. The option was also offered to undergraduates completing remote coursework during the summer term. 

In his message, Blouin urged students to consider meeting with an academic advisor if experiencing academic hardships or considering implementing this grading option for themselves. 

“Advisors can help students think about the possible impact to their graduation timeline, as well as future decisions and opportunities,” he said. 

This announcement comes just a day after the University Registrar’s webpage announcing a pass/fail option for fall 2020 courses was removed. UNC Media Relations said in a statement to The Daily Tar Heel that the draft version of the site was “mistakenly” published with information regarding academic policies for the semester that had not been finalized. 


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