Spring 2020 - Spring 2021 P/NP Policy Changes

These temporary changes to the standard Pass/No Pass academic policies are intended to support students during the period of remote instruction taking place from Spring 2020 through Spring 2021 expanding the number of courses that offer a Pass/No Pass grading option. This does not mandate P/NP only grading for any courses. Academic units and faculty will determine whether they will choose to allow the P/NP option to students who are currently in graded-only courses.

Graded-Only Courses

During this period, department chairs will have temporary authority to make decisions on which graded-only courses (i.e. those that were approved by Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) or Graduate Council (GC) as graded-only) can switch to optional grading (i.e. A-F or P/NP), allowing students a choice. In these cases, to be fair and equitable to students, all sections of the same course should use the same grading option. 

Courses with Optional Grading

Courses already approved by UCC/GC to allow optional grading are already approved to allow the unit to determine how they want to offer the course. Nothing is changing with this policy.

Extended Deadline for Students to Change their Grading Option

  • Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021: The standard deadline for students to change grading options online (on courses that allow optional grading) is the Monday of Week 7 of the term. The temporary policy extends the deadline to the Monday of Week 10. This will give students more time to evaluate how they are managing in a remote environment. 
  • Summer 2020 Term: The standard deadline for students to change grading options during the summer term varies by course length. The deadlines for each session have been extended. 

Addition of a Term Notation on Transcript 

The Registrar will add a term comment to explain that part of our COVID-19 response includes remote learning and expanded use of P/NP grading. This should help downstream consumers of the transcript (i.e. medical and graduate schools, etc.) to have context for the use of Pass/No-Pass grades during these terms.

Example:  Due to the COVID-19 disruption, PSU transitioned to remote learning, allowing increased use of the Pass/No-Pass grading option. 

Relaxation of Academic Restrictions on Pass Credit

Pass grades earned Spring 2020 through Spring 2021 will be treated differently in DARS (degree audit) such that students are held harmless, in terms of degree/major limitations and course prerequisites. Specifically:

  • For undergraduates, the degree limitations (i.e. no more than 45 total credits of Pass, and at least 25 of the last 45 credits must be graded) will be modified so that these Pass grades do not count against these limits. (For graduate programs, there are no university-level limits on the number of Pass grades that can be applied to a degree.) 
  • All Pass grades earned these terms will apply to major/program requirements without restriction.
  • Department chairs will have the ability to modify their course prerequisites to allow Pass grades to satisfy prerequisites for upcoming registration periods without permanently changing the prerequisite through UCC/GC. If optional grading is allowed in courses that serve as prerequisites, the expectation will be that the Pass grades in those courses will be acceptable, at least for a period of time. Department chairs will work with the Registrar to determine what time period is needed.