Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grading FAQ

On March 20, 2020, the University announced new grading options for the remainder of the spring semester, and rules will be applied consistently across the four undergraduate schools. This FAQ is subject to change.

The deadline for changing grades is 11:59 PM, EDT, April 13, 2020. Late requests will not be considered.

What do I need to know about the special pass/fail (P/F) policy for spring 2020?

  • Any course may be changed to P/F, including courses fulfilling Wharton degree requirements.
  • You may take as many of your spring 2020 courses P/F as you choose.
  • The deadline for making this decision is 11:59 PM, EDT, on Monday, April 13.
  • You must “opt in” to changing the grade type of a course.
  • Any course taken P/F during spring 2020 will not count against the three P/F courses you are already allowed as a Wharton student.

Will I be able to use a P/F course from spring 2020 to fulfill Wharton degree requirements?

For spring 2020 only, you can take any class P/F. This means you may use any course taken P/F in spring 2020 to satisfy the academic requirements for the Wharton B.S. in Economics as well as for any dual degree.  (Provost rules applied to Wharton, SAS, Nursing and SEAS)

Can I take some but not all classes P/F?

Yes. You may take as many of your spring 2020 courses P/F as you choose.

Can I opt in if I am currently studying abroad?

The undergraduate schools are allowing all study abroad students to follow the same policy as implemented for the rest of the undergraduate population:

  • You may choose to take all of your courses abroad as P/F courses
  • Any requirement can be fulfilled by a P/F course
  • These P/F courses will not count against the 3 courses you are already allowed as a Wharton student.

All current study abroad students are required to complete this questionnaire by April 13 to declare the status of their abroad courses. Please note:

  • Your answers will determine how your grades are recorded on your Penn transcript (graded, P/F or drop). If you declare the courses as drop or P/F through the questionnaire, we will record those choices, regardless of the grade indicated on the host institution’s transcript.
  • These answers will be used as part of the evaluation for any qualifying tuition credit if you are dropping a course.
  • Any student who is considering dropping below 2 CUs should consult with SFS before dropping the course to understand any ramifications for financial aid eligibility.
  • Your answers will supersede any previous P/F designations.
  • If you are unsure of which grade type you wish to select or if you’re considering dropping a course, please consult with your study abroad advisor.
  • All courses must be approved in XCAT.

What should I consider when deciding whether to opt-in to P/F grading?

The spring 2020 pass/fail option was intended for students who are struggling with connectivity, disruptive home situations, etc. and should not be taken as an opportunity to add extra classes or improve your GPA. If you change a letter-grade course to a pass/fail-grade course, there is also the possibility it could impact graduate school applications and/or eligibility and competitiveness for awards and ability to transfer internally or externally, or add a dual degree.

You should make the best decision you can given your circumstances and experience with remote learning over the first few weeks of the semester.

How will P/F impact graduate school applications?

The interpretation of pass/fail grades by other institutions as part of their application evaluation processes will vary. We recommend that you consult the Career Services website and to connect with their staff to discuss your particular situation.

Can P/F impact financial aid?

As long as the P/F courses are still the same CU/credits and still part of the academic plan, there will be minimal impact to financial aid eligibility. Any questions should be directed to Student Financial Services at sfsmail@pobox.upenn.edu.

How will the new P/F rules affect international students and their visa status?

According to ISSS, visa status is dependent on the number of course units taken in the semester and not the grade type choice.

How will opt-in P/F impact my academic standing?

Academic performance rules for the current academic year have not been finalized. This includes academic honors (Dean’s List and Latin Honors) and academic progress (warning, probation, drop).

How do I change my grade type to P/F?

You can change the grading type of a course in Penn InTouch. You can find directions here.

Please note that the Registrar’s Office is still in the process of updating all courses, so that they can be changed to pass/fail. If you are not able to change a course in Penn InTouch, please check the system again in a few days.

The deadline to change your grade type is 11:59 PM, EDT, April 13, 2020. Late requests will NOT be considered.

If I change my mind later can I switch the grade type of the course back?

The deadline to change your grade type is 11:59 PM, EDT, April 13, 2020.  After that date, no further changes can be made to the course’s grade type.

Can I change a graduate-level course to P/F grading this semester?

While all undergraduate courses at Penn may be taken pass/fail during the spring 2020 semester, the ability to take a graduate course pass/fail will depend on the department or Penn school of the course. In this case, students should consult with the course instructor.

I am submatriculating into a graduate program at Penn. Can courses taken pass/fail now count for requirements within the graduate program?

Any spring 2020 course that counts for credit on the undergraduate transcript, including courses also counting toward a graduate degree, can be used to fulfill Wharton requirements even if taken pass/fail. However, submatriculants should be aware that graduate programs may have different policies. It is strongly recommended that students check with their graduate program before committing to changing a particular course’s grade type to pass/fail.

Will instuctors know if I am taking their course P/F?

No, instructors cannot see your grade type. They will evaluate all students using the same criteria and assign a letter grade for each student. If you earn a grade of D or better, you will receive a “P” on your transcript.

After receiving my P/F grade, can I change to a letter grade?

No. Once you receive a grade, you may not change the grade type.

The opt-in deadline is 11:59 PM, EDT, April 13, 2020. Late requests will NOT be considered.

After receiving my final letter grade, can I change to Pass/Fail ?

No. Once you have received a grade (letter grade, I, or GR) you may not change the grade type.

The opt-in deadline is 11:59 PM, EDT, April 13, 2020. Late requests will NOT be considered.