Spring 2020 Policy

Dear Students,

The website for students to record their choice of grading method for each course (pass/fail or letter grade) reopened on May 22 and will close May 31, 2020, at 11:59 pm. Students can make changes as many times during that period as they wish. Students are encouraged to update their grading method early to ensure they have the final grading method that they want. STUDENTS SHOULD NOT WAIT UNTIL MAY 31 TO LOG ON TO TESTUDO. May 31 is the last day a student may verify a grade method change.

    To update your grading method:
  • Go to Testudo
  • Select the “UPDATE SPRING 2020 GRADING METHOD” box
  • Click edit, make changes, click submit. Students must click “submit” to save changes.
  • Changes made in this application will not be visible on the Grades application, nor in the Unofficial Transcripts, until the following day. Students are encouraged to check their updates the following day by viewing their grades using the Grades or Unofficial Transcript capabilities in Testudo. You will be unable to verify your grades after May 31 at 11:59 pm.
  • Students who wait until the last possible day to record their choice will risk making errors.
If you currently have your grading method set as the default Pass/Fail and you do not know your grades prior to using the Grades application, make sure to log on prior to May 31 and switch to Letter Grade. The next day you should be able to see the grade your instructor submitted. You may either keep the letter grade or switch back to Pass/Fail.

There are no exceptions after May 31.

If you have difficulty using the application, please send an email immediately to registrar-help@umd.edu for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions  

I want to change my grading method from Pass/Fail to a letter grade. How do I do this?

PLEASE NOTE: THE LAST DAY TO OPT OUT OF PASS/FAIL GRADING AND RECEVIED A LETTER GRADE WILL BE MAY 31, 2020.

We understand that some students were confused or have other concerns about the requirement, process, and timing to decline the pass/fail grading option. In acknowledgement of those concerns, we are further extending the grading method selection deadline so that students can decide whether to keep their current grading method in each course, or switch back to one or the other (the letter grading option, or the pass/fail option).

As such, the website for making your grading choices will reopen from May 22 at Noon through May 31, 2020 to allow for the opportunity make your choice of grading option, and you can make changes back and forth as many times as you want up until the May 31 deadline.

If you are satisfied with your current grading method for each of your courses, you do not need to do anything. However, if you wish to receive your earned letter grade for any or all of your courses, or you’d like to switch back to the pass/fail option (or satisfactory/fail for graduate courses), you will need to visit the website by May 31 and make that choice for each class.

Please be mindful that there will be no extensions beyond May 31, 2020 at 11:59 P.M., and there will be no exceptions. Therefore, please make your selection early enough to avoid any circumstances that would prevent you from meeting this new deadline.

There are no changes to the last day to drop a course with a “W.” The deadline for this was May 12.

Students may change their grading method here.

How do I opt-in for regular grading for my non-standard course?

  • If your course ended prior to March 23, you cannot opt-in for grading method change.
  • If your course ends after March 23 and prior to April 19, you will receive an email to opt-in for your grading option.
  • If your course ends after April 19 and before May 12, you will be able to opt-in for your grading option up until May 31 using the online tool that has being developed for this purpose.

If I opt-in to receive a letter grade, will that grade be calculated into my GPA?
Yes. All letter grades and grades of Fail are calculated into the GPA. Grades of pass are not.


How does a student request a change from pass/fail to letter grades for a class?
Students may now access a website where they can indicate their choice to receive a letter grade instead of a pass/fail in one or more of their classes. Once this site is open, students will have until May 31 to choose to receive a letter grade in one or more of their classes. May 12 was the last day to drop a course with a “W.”


What happens if a student does not indicate whether or not to have their courses graded as pass/fail or with letter grades?
The default grading method for ALL undergraduate spring 2020 classes is pass/fail. All the student’s classes will be graded as pass/fail UNLESS they indicate their choice to receive a letter grade for one or more of their classes. If a student does nothing, all the student’s undergraduate courses will be graded as pass/fail.


What is the minimum grade needed to receive a mark of “P” (pass)?
The minimum letter grade students need to earn in order to pass a class and receive a mark of “P” is a D-.


Will there be any indication on the transcript about pass/fail grading during the spring 2020 semester?
All student transcripts will include a notation explaining the default use of pass/fail grading for the spring 2020 semester. Many other colleges and universities are altering their grading policies for the spring 2020 semester and we expect there will be widespread understanding of the reasons for these changes.


Will a mark of “P” (pass) suffice for an LEP gateway, major, prerequisite, or benchmark courses?
Yes. However, students who pass a class with a low average may not be adequately prepared for subsequent courses that rely on prior knowledge of a subject and may wish to consult with their instructors or advisors before they attempt a subsequent course.


Am I able to opt-in for a letter grade for all my classes?
Some classes are not eligible for a change in grading method and therefore will not appear in the course list to request a change (e.g., a class that is offered on an S/F grading basis, a class that was completed before March 23, or graduate-level classes).


Note: Because UMD students are being offered an opt-in for letter grades, rather than a universally imposed switch to all P/F grades for all students, the campus Health Professions Advising Office strongly recommends that all students opt in to selecting the assignment of a letter grade for all math and science courses being taken to fulfill pre-health requirements. The same guidance holds for specific social science course requirements for nursing, PA, PT, pharmacy, and all other allied health schools. You may consider P/F for other courses, such as General Education or elective courses, although this is not encouraged.

Choosing the letter grade option is the best and safest course to ensure that your coursework can be applied in the future to professional school requirements. Individual decisions based on extenuating circumstances can be discussed in the Committee Letter or by the Pre-Allied Health Advisor to provide context for student decision-making to professional schools.

How does pass/fail grading impact students on probation?
Students on academic probation in the spring 2020 semester will remain on academic probation. A mark of “P” (pass) cannot bring up their GPA.


What if I am in good academic standing and I fail all my spring 2020 classes using pass/fail? Will I be placed on academic probation?
Yes. Students who fail all classes may be placed on probation but will have another semester to bring their grade point averages to a cumulative 2.0.


I was dismissed and was required to take courses elsewhere to re-enroll to UMD. The school where I am taking the courses has a pass/fail grading system. How do I know if I have met the requirements to return?
Each student’s situation is different. Please contact the Office of Student Success.


Am I allowed to return to the University in the fall if I’m on probation and I receive all failed grades?
Students will be on academic dismissal but will be allowed to return in the fall.

Am I allowed to return to the University in the fall if I’m placed on academic dismissal after spring 2020?
Students who are on academic dismissal after the spring of 2020 will be reinstated for fall 2020 and notified by SSO. Their student record will reflect ‘Academic Dismissal.’


If I’m on probation, opt in for letter grades for a one or more classes, and earn a cumulative 2.0, will I be in good academic standing?
Yes.

Can students discuss their anticipated grade with their instructors prior to the deadline so as to make the best decision for themselves?
Yes. Please check with your instructors prior to the last day of classes if you are unsure if you should change from pass/fail to a letter grade for a class.

If students are repeating a course in spring 2020 that should be considered for forgiveness (the repeated course was taken within the student's first semester at University of Maryland, College Park, or when the repeated course was taken within the student's first 24 credit hours attempted, including transfer credits or within the semester during which the student reached the 24th credit hour attempted. Advanced Placement Exam credits do not count toward the 24 credit count), and the student receives a mark of ‘P’, how will it affect their GPA?
The higher grade will be used in the GPA calculation and for the purpose of the repeat policy a ‘P’ is considered higher than the following grades: D-, D, D+ or F. If you received a grade of C- or higher on your previous attempt, that course will remain in your GPA calculation.

If students received an F in a course in spring 2020 and repeats it in the future, how will it affect the GPA?
No change to current guidelines. If the first attempt was during forgiveness (the repeated course was taken within the student's first semester at University of Maryland, College Park, or when the repeated course was taken within the student's first 24 credit hours attempted, including transfer credits or within the semester during which the student reached the 24th credit hour attempted. Advanced Placement Exam credits do not count toward the 24 credit count), the higher grade is used in the GPA calculation. If the first attempt was after forgiveness, both grades will be used in the GPA calculation.

If students are repeating a course in spring 2020 that will NOT be considered for forgiveness (the repeated course was taken within the student's first semester at University of Maryland, College Park, or when the repeated course was taken within the student's first 24 credit hours attempted, including transfer credits or within the semester during which the student reached the 24th credit hour attempted. Advanced Placement Exam credits do not count toward the 24 credit count), and the student receives a mark of ‘P’, how will it affect their GPA?
A mark of ‘P’ will NOT factor into the GPA, so the GPA will continue to include the previous letter grade received with it’s credit and quality point values.

If I opt in for graded credits and earn a 3.5, will I earn Dean’s Semester Honors?
Dean’s Semester honors (often called Dean’s List) are awarded to students who complete 12 or more graded credits with a semester GPA of 3.5 or higher. This recognition is noted on the student's academic record.


If I receive all grades of Pass, will I be allowed to keep my scholarship?
Since a course that is completed with a passing grade of “P” will count toward the student’s total credit hours but will not be computed in the grade point average, it will not impact merit scholarship GPA requirements. A course that is completed with a failing grade of “F” is counted towards the GPA calculation and will impact future merit scholarship eligibility.


How will grades from spring 2020 factor into my eligibility to earn Latin Honors?
Only courses for which a student receives a grade of A-F will be calculated into the cumulative GPA. NOTE: An F is calculated in the GPA regardless of the grading method.


How will my Pass/Fail grades from spring 2020 impact the UMD residency requirements for Latin Honors?
Generally, to be eligible for Latin Honors, at least 60 semester hours must be earned at the University or at a program in which credit is counted as University of Maryland, College Park resident credit. Additionally, no more than 6 credits taken pass/fail or satisfactory/fail grade modes shall count toward the 60-hour minimum.

    However, the following guidelines have been adjusted to accommodate Spring 2020 grading:
  • Any student who needs the spring 2020 term to meet the 60 UMD credit minimum will not be penalized for the campus’ decision to move to Pass/Fail grading.
  • Courses taken P/F during spring 2020 will not count against the 6 credit limit of P/F credits towards this requirement.
    NOTE: Courses that a student was registered for with P/F prior to this change in grading, will still count toward this 6 credit limit.


How will changes in Spring 2020 grading impact Latin Honors ranges for someone graduating in Spring 2020?
These ranges were previously set and will not be impacted by the change.


How will changes in Spring 2020 grading impact Latin Honor ranges for someone graduating in a future term?
Normally the minimum required GPAs for Latin Honors change from one academic year to the next. However, the GPA ranges for Latin Honors for 2020 - 2021 academic year will be the same as 2019 - 2020 academic year.

Will any notation be listed on the student’s record to indicate this universal circumstance beyond anyone’s control for pass/fail grades for the spring 2020 semester?
All student transcripts will include a notation explaining the default use of pass/fail grading for the spring 2020 semester.

Will a mark of “P” suffice for a LEP Gateway course?
Marks of “P” will meet the requirement for Limited Enrollment Program Gateway courses as well as major requirements, General Education requirements, and elective courses.


Will pass/fail attempts for spring 2020 gateway classes count against a student’s allowable LEP repeats?
Yes. Only one gateway course may be repeated to earn the required grade, and that course may only be repeated once. Marks of “P” will meet the requirement for Limited Enrollment Program Gateway courses. Marks of “F” will count as a gateway attempt, but will not meet the requirement for the LEP.


If a student elects to take a letter grade rather than Pass/Fail, will any grade of D- or better fulfill a major, minor, concentration, Gateway for Limited Enrolment Programs, or benchmark courses, or fulfill the minimum requirement for Academic Writing?
No. If a student elects to opt in to the regular grading method, so as to obtain a letter grade for a course, the regular grading policies apply, and the student must meet the minimum grade required.

How will pass/fail grades affect satisfactory progress towards a degree?
Yes. Normally the minimum grade of C-minus or better is required for major, concentration, minors, General Education, benchmark, Gateway courses for Limited Enrollment Programs, and Academic Writing courses. This requirement will be waived for the semester. Students will be able to meet these requirements with a grade of Pass. However, students who pass a class with a low average may not be adequately prepared for subsequent courses that rely on prior knowledge of a subject and may wish to consult with their instructors or advisors before they attempt a subsequent course.


Will a student who earns a “P” in classes that are prerequisites to other classes (eg., MATH140 is needed to progress to MATH141) be able to progress on to the next course in the sequence?
Yes. However, students should understand that at the University of Maryland a mark of “P” (pass) includes any grade above an F. Students who pass a class with a low average may not be adequately prepared for subsequent classes that rely on prior knowledge of a subject, and should consult with their instructors or advisors before they attempt a subsequent class.


Many schools around the country are using pass/fail grading. If I wish to transfer to the University of Maryland, will the pass/fail grading hurt my chances for admission?
As a result of our holistic application review process, students planning to transfer to UMD will not be harmed if they are presenting one semester of pass/fail grades. Our review process will allow us to consider not just the one semester of pass/fail grades but grades during the semesters that preceded and may follow that semester. In some cases this may mean the review of high school records in combination with college transcripts.


Prospective transfer students who wish to enroll in a Limited Enrollment Program (LEP) and are finishing Gateway courses may be earning pass/fail grades at their institutions. Will a mark of “P” be sufficient to earn acceptance into an LEP program?
Yes. However, students should understand that at the University of Maryland a mark of “P” (pass) includes any grade above an F. Students who pass a class with a low average may not be adequately prepared for subsequent classes that rely on prior knowledge of a subject, and should consult with their instructors or advisors before they attempt a subsequent class.


What if I am an undergraduate student registered for a graduate class?
Undergraduate students taking graduate classes will be under the graduate school grading policy.


Will the pass/fail grading method impact my ability to make satisfactory academic progress in order to keep my financial aid?
No. Pass/fail grading method will not impact the way attempted and earned credits are calculated for Satisfactory Academic Progress purposes.


How will having pass/fail grades impact scholarships or financial aid that require students to maintain a minimum GPA requirement?
Since a course that is completed with a passing grade of “P” will count toward the student’s total credit hours but will not be computed in the grade point average, it will not impact merit scholarship GPA requirements. A course that is completed with a failing grade of “F” is counted towards the GPA calculation and will impact future merit scholarship eligibility.

Will my grades default to pass/fail for courses on a spring 2020 study abroad program?
For resident credit courses, yes.

Students in courses that are offered as resident credit on Maryland-in and USAC study abroad programs will receive pass/fail grades as a default, UNLESS they opt in to take one or more of their resident credit classes for a letter grade.

For transfer credit courses, grades are not transferred to the UMD record. However, a grade of "C-" or higher (based on United States grade equivalent) must have been earned for transfer credit to be awarded.

To verify the type of credit for your coursework, refer to the Study Abroad Course Database (SACD).


What is the process to opt in for a grade for a study abroad resident credit course?
Study abroad students on Maryland-in and USAC programs with resident credit will receive a message from Education Abroad with specific instructions on how to opt in for a grade in resident credit courses and will not follow the regular process for College Park courses.

The deadline to make this request is based on the last day of classes for your program.

How will pass/fail grades impact NCAA eligibility?
Please contact your academic counselor in the Gossett Student-Athlete Center for more information.

How will the default grading mode of pass/fail, with an option to choose a letter grade, affect students who are pursuing pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-nursing, or other allied health professions program requirements?

Because UMD students are being offered an opt-in for letter grades, rather than a universally imposed switch to all P/F grades for all students, the campus Health Professions Advising Office strongly recommends that all students opt in to selecting the assignment of a letter grade for all math and science courses being taken to fulfill pre-health requirements. The same guidance holds for specific social science course requirements for nursing, PA, PT, pharmacy, and all other allied health schools. You may consider P/F for other courses, such as General Education or elective courses, although this is not encouraged.

Choosing the letter grade option is the best and safest course to ensure that your coursework can be applied in the future to professional school requirements. Individual decisions based on extenuating circumstances can be discussed in the Committee Letter or by the Pre-Allied Health Advisor to provide context for student decision-making to professional schools.

How will the default grading mode of pass/fail, with an option to choose a letter grade, affect students who are applying or considering applying to graduate schools?
Graduate schools are aware of the challenges that colleges and universities are facing with respect to grading and the completion of the spring 2020 semester. All UMD student transcripts will include a notation explaining the default use of pass/fail grading for the spring 2020 semester. Students should check with the Graduate Schools they are planning to apply to in order to determine how they will be reviewing pass/fail grades when reviewing applicants.

How will the default grading mode of pass/fail, with an option to choose a letter grade, affect students who are applying or considering applying to law schools?
Law schools are aware of the challenges that colleges and universities are facing with respect to grading and the completion of the spring 2020 semester.
Since there are no prerequisite courses necessary for applying to law school, the need for letter grades is not as imperative as it is for some other graduate programs. From a law school application perspective, students should primarily choose grading options that will most benefit their cumulative GPAs. In other words, a student believing at the grading selection date that a particular class grade would raise their GPA should strongly consider opting for a letter grade. If, however, a particular grade would hurt their GPA, the P/F option would be advisable. Earning a "Pass" in a course does not affect the student's GPA, though a "Fail" is equivalent to earning an "F" in a course.
Upcoming law school applications may be asking students for an explanation regarding the grading method employed by their institution, so they might be able to fairly compare applicants. In addition, students are able to include an addendum within their applications addressing any personal or academic situations that may arise during this time.

I am taking a class at another institution during spring 2020. How will my classes transfer?
The University will accept grades of Pass and C- or better from other institutions. (Transfer courses completed at public institutions of higher education in the State of Maryland are acceptable for transfer with a grade of “D-“ or higher).
From the 2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog: the current UMD policy on Transfer Credit indicates that UMD will award transfer credit for courses taken at another institution provided the course is similar in level, scope, content and expected learning outcomes to courses offered at the University of Maryland and a grade of C- or higher is earned. Transfer courses completed at public institutions of higher education in the State of Maryland, are acceptable for transfer with a grade of D- or higher.

    If a student is at an institution where:
  • All courses are graded as pass/fail: UMD will award transfer credit for courses where students have earned a mark of “P” (pass).
  • Courses are graded as pass/fail with an option for letter grades: UMD will award transfer credit for courses where students have earned a mark of “P” (pass) or, in accordance with current UMD policy, grades of C- or better.
  • Courses are graded as pass/fail where a mark of “P” (pass) is defined as grade of C- or better: UMD will award transfer credit for courses where students have earned a mark of “P” (pass).
  • Courses are graded as pass/fail where a mark of “P” (pass) is defined as a grade of D- or better: UMD will award transfer credit for courses where students have earned a mark of “P” (pass) or grades of C- or better. UMD will not award transfer credit for courses where students have earned a letter grade lower than C-.
  • I plan to transfer to the University of Maryland. How will the University understand my spring 2020 grades?

    (Note: Transfer courses completed at public institutions of higher education in the State of Maryland are acceptable for transfer with a grade of “D-“ or higher.)

    A number of schools around the country have altered their grading methods for spring 2020. Please see the information below:

      If the institution has decided that:
    • Courses are all pass/fail: UMD will award transfer credit for courses where students have earned a mark of “P” (pass).
    • Courses are graded as pass /fail with an option for letter grades: UMD will award transfer credit for courses where students have earned a mark of “P” (pass) or, in accordance with current UMD policy, grades of C- or better.
    • Courses are pass/fail and pass is C- or better: UMD will award transfer credit where students have earned a mark of “P” (pass).
    • Courses are pass/fail and pass is D- or better: UMD will award transfer credit for courses where students have earned a mark of “P” (pass) but does not award transfer credit in courses with a letter grade lower than C-.