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Undergraduate Academic and Enrollment Policies

FAQs for Spring 2020

Pass/Fail Grading Questions

What letter grades count as a (P) under the Pass/Fail grading option?
A pass grade (P) under the Pass/Fail option indicates achievement in the range of “A,” “B,” “C,” or “D.”

How is the GPA calculated for Pass/Fail grades?
A grade of (P) is not calculated in the GPA, but a grade of (F) is calculated into the student’s GPA in the same manner as all (F) grades.

When should I submit the request for a (P) grade?
Students are encouraged to focus on successfully completing current courses and postpone any decision regarding (P) grading until after spring 2020 final course grades are posted. Once final course grades are posted, students will have a two week period between May 28 and June 10 to determine if (P) grading is truly the best option. This decision should not be rushed.

What is the deadline to request a (P) grade?
Given that the deadline to request a (P) grade is June 10, students are strongly encouraged to wait until after spring 2020 final course grades are posted May 27th before submitting a request. This will allow students plenty of time to meet with an academic advisor, discuss the possible implications of (P) grading and determine if (P) grading is truly the best option.

What steps should I take to request a (P) grade and who needs to be involved in the process?
Students currently enrolled in a course under the regular grading method (A, B, C, D, or F) may request to have their final course grade changed to the (P) option by submitting a request to the Registrar’s Office. Students are strongly encouraged to wait until after spring 2020 final course grades are posted before submitting a request. Students are also strongly encouraged to meet with an academic advisor before submitting a request to the Registrar’s Office to discuss the possible implications of (P) grading in the major/minor/certificate areas as well as for pre-requisite requirements to determine if (P) grading is truly the best option.

If I opt for a (P) grade can I change it back to a letter grade if I change my mind?
The decision to change to the (P) grading option is considered final. As such, students are strongly encouraged to wait until after spring 2020 final course grades are posted before submitting a request. Students should also discuss the various implications of (P) grading with their academic advisor to be certain that the (P) grade is truly the best option.

Is there a limit on how many (P) grades I can request?
There is no limit on how many (P) grades a student can request in spring 2020. Regarding UMBC’s current policy, (P) grades taken in spring 2020 will be excluded from the maximum of 12 credits normally allowed to be completed with Pass/Fail grading.

Do (P) grades count toward the 120 credit graduation requirement?
Yes, (P) grades are counted toward the 120 credit graduation requirement.

Do (P) grades count toward honors eligibly requirements?
No, (P) grades do not count toward honors eligibility requirements. Only graded credits (A, B, C, D) are counted toward honors eligibility requirements.

What are the implications that I need to consider before changing to the (P) option?
Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor to discuss the various implications associated with changing the grading method to the Pass/Fail option.

  • Pre-requisites Implications
    • In cases where an academic department will allow Pass (P) grades to satisfy pre-requisite requirements, students will be required to contact the academic department to obtain a pre-requisite override in order to enroll in the subsequent course.
  • Major/Minor/Certificate Eligibility
    • In cases where departments are allowing (P) grades to satisfy major, minor or certificate requirements, degree audits will automatically be updated to show that the requirement has been satisfied.
  • General Education and Writing Intensive Requirements
    • In cases where a General Education course or Writing Intensive course also satisfies a major, minor, or certificate requirement, students must confer with their academic advisor in the academic department to discuss this option. It is the discretion of the academic department to determine if a (P) grade in a General Education course or Writing Intensive course will also be accepted for purposes of the major, minor, or certificate requirements.
  • Honors Eligibility Implications
  • Financial Aid and Scholarship Implications
  • Professional School/Graduate School Applications Implications
  • Accreditation/Licensure Implications
  • Veterans Benefits Implications

How will I know if Pass grading will be accepted toward my major/minor/certificate program or if it will be applicable toward pre-requisite requirements?
Decisions regarding Pass grading were made at the discretion of each academic department. For additional information regarding the applicability of Pass (P) grades for purposes of major, minor and certificate requirements as well as for pre-requisite requirements, please review the following college level decisions:

  • College of Engineering and Information Technology
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences
  • Erickson School of Aging Studies
    • Pass (P) grades will be accepted for major and minor requirements as well as prerequisites
  • School of Social Work
    • The Social Work Program is not accepting Pass (P) grades for any core/required courses, with the exception of the field placement which is always graded using the Pass/Fail grading method. The Pass (P) grade can be used to fulfill prerequisites.
  • Individualized Study
    • Pass (P) grades will be accepted for major requirements and prerequisites
  • Honors College
    • Consistent with UMBC’s Undergraduate Grading Method Options for Spring 2020, students enrolled in HONR 200 or HONR 300 seminars may choose to receive a P/F grade instead of a letter grade; and, if they do so, a P grade will satisfy the requirement that an Honors Seminar must be passed with a B grade or better to count towards the Certificate of General Honors”

Can a (P) grade be used to satisfy General Education Requirements?
With the exception of English Composition, (P) grades will be permitted to satisfy the General Education Requirements for spring 2020 courses only.

Can a (P) grade be used to satisfy the Writing Intensive Requirement?
(P) grades are permitted to satisfy the Writing Intensive (WI) Requirement however, students must confer with their academic advisor in the academic department to discuss this option. It is the discretion of the academic department to determine if a (P) grade in a Writing Intensive course will also be accepted for purposes of the major, minor, or certificate requirements.

Can a (P) grade be used to satisfy a requirement in my Major, Minor or Certificate program?
The grade of (P), by policy, will not satisfy major, minor or certificate requirements because those require a (C) grade or better. Some academic departments may be able to make exceptions to this policy to allow for (P) grading to satisfy a major, minor or certificate requirement. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor in the academic department to discuss this option.

What is the impact of taking a (P) grade in a course that I am repeating for a second or third attempt?
When a student repeats a course, only the highest grade earned is included in the calculation of the GPA. For example, if a student has an (F) grade on file, then repeats the same course and earns a (P) grade, the (P) is considered the higher grade and therefore the (F) grade is removed from the GPA. In this instance, the (F) grade would remain listed on the transcript with a note that says, “repeat exclude.”

If a student has a (C) or (D) grade on file, the credits for the original attempt are excluded from the total earned credits and the (C) or (D) is excluded from the GPA. The spring 2020 attempt in which a (P) grade was earned will count in the total earned credits. If a student has an (A) or a (B) on file, the Spring 2020 attempt in which a (P) grade is earned is excluded from the total earned credits and the (A) or (B) remains in the GPA and total earned credits. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor in the academic department to discuss the repeat implications before making a final decision, especially in cases where the course being repeated is a major, minor or certificate requirement.

If I am an Undergraduate student taking a graduate level course, can I request a (P) grade?
Yes, graduate level courses taken by an undergraduate student may be changed to the (P) grading option. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with an academic advisor before requesting a change to the (P) grading option especially if the intention is to use the course in a graduate level program at a later time.

If I am taking a course through a Study Abroad program, can I request a (P) grade?
Yes, courses taken through the Study Abroad program are considered resident UMBC credit and may be changed to the (P) option just like any other course. Students must carefully consider how the study abroad course is intended to be used (General Education or Major/Minor/Certificate Requirement) and consult with an academic advisor before requesting a change to the (P) grading option.

Individual Course and Semester Withdrawal Questions

How is the GPA calculated for (W) notations?
(W) notations do not carry any academic credit and do not impact on the GPA.

Do (W) notations count toward the 120 credit graduation requirement?
No, (W) notations are not counted toward the 120 credit graduation requirement.

When should I submit the request for a (W) notation?
Students are encouraged to focus on successfully completing current courses and postpone any decision regarding individual course or semester withdrawals (W) until after spring 2020 final course grades are posted. Once final course grades are posted, students will have two weeks between May 28 and June 10 to determine if an individual course or semester withdrawal is truly the best option. This decision should not be rushed.

What is the deadline to withdraw from an individual course?
Although the deadline to withdraw from an individual course is June 10, students are strongly encouraged to wait until spring 2020 final course grades are posted before submitting a request to the Registrar’s Office. This will allow students plenty of time to meet with an academic advisor, discuss the possible implications and determine if a (W) is truly the best option.

What is the deadline to withdraw from the entire semester?
Although the deadline to withdraw from the entire semester is June 10, students are strongly encouraged to wait until spring 2020 final course grades are posted before submitting a request to the Registrar’s Office. This will allow students plenty of time to meet with an academic advisor, discuss the possible implications and determine if a semester withdrawal (W) is truly the best option.

What are the implications that I need to consider before withdrawing from an individual course(s) or the entire semester?
Students should understand that withdrawing from an individual course or the entire term may have academic and/or financial consequences. Students receiving assistance (such as financial aid, scholarships, or veteran benefits) should understand the impact on the aid before withdrawing.

Note: Financial Aid Implications (Satisfactory Academic Progress)

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy measures both GPA and completion rate based on the portion of courses attempted, including F, W and I grades. Any course in which a grade of W is earned will count as a course that was attempted but not completed. To view the full Satisfactory Academic Policy, click here. Withdrawing may have other ramifications. Before withdrawing, students should understand the affect that it may have on matters such as housing and meal plan contracts and obligations; athletic and international student eligibility; as well as health and auto insurance plans.

Do (W) notations count as an attempt toward UMBC’s Course Repeat Policy?
Yes, (W) notations count as an attempt toward UMBC’s Course Repeat Policy and may adversely impact a student’s ability to retake the course or remain in a major/minor/certificate program.

Will I get a refund if I withdraw from an individual course(s) or the entire semester?
Referring to the Refund Schedule posted by Student Business Services, the last day to receive a refund for (W) notations was February 29, 2020. Questions regarding refunds should be directed to Student Business Services.

How do I withdraw from an individual course(s)?
Students may withdraw from an individual course(s) via myUMBC self-service through May 12. After this date and through June 10, students may submit an RT Help Ticket to the Registrar’s Office and the withdrawal will be processed administratively. Note: Students are strongly encouraged to confer with their academic advisor before withdrawing from an individual course(s) to ensure they have exhausted all other options to successfully complete the semester. Students who are receiving financial aid or scholarships should also contact their financial aid counselor to determine any impact a “W” grade may have on their future financial aid.

How do I withdraw from the entire semester?
Students may withdraw from the entire semester via myUMBC self-service through May 12. After this date and through June 10, students may submit an RT Help Ticket to the Registrar’s Office and the semester withdrawal will be processed administratively. Note: Students are strongly encouraged to confer with their academic advisor before withdrawing from the entire semester to ensure they have exhausted all other options to successfully complete the semester. Students who are receiving financial aid or scholarships should also contact their financial aid counselor to determine any impact a “W” grade may have on their future financial aid.

If I withdraw from an individual course or the entire semester can I change the (W) back to a letter grade or (P) grade if I change my mind?
The decision to withdraw from an individual course or the entire semester is considered final. As such, students are strongly encouraged to wait until spring 2020 final course grades are posted before submitting a (W) request. Students should also discuss the various implications of (W) notations with their academic advisor to be certain that the (W) grade is truly the best option.

Is there a limit on how many (W) notations I can have?
While there is no limit on (W) notations, students should only consider a withdrawal in exceptional circumstances to avoid delays in degree completion. Students should consider such interruptions carefully, as they may have academic and/or financial implications.

Incomplete Grading Questions

Why might I request an Incomplete (I) grade?
An (I) grade might be a good option to consider if a student currently has a passing grade and there is only a small portion of work remaining to complete the course but, for reasons beyond student’s control, they cannot complete the remaining requirements by the end of the semester.

How do I request an Incomplete (I) grade?
Students who have completed a majority of the course at a satisfactory level but, for reasons beyond student’s control, cannot complete the remaining course requirements by the end of the semester, may request an (I) grade from the course instructor. (I) grades shall not be granted unless specifically requested by a student. The decision to grant an (I) grade is at the discretion of the course instructor as there are various factors to consider and not every course lends itself to an incomplete grade (e.g., lab courses). If an incomplete grade is granted by the course instructor, the instructor should document the incomplete grade agreement in writing using the incomplete grade agreement functionality available in their grade roster.

If I am approved for an (I) grade will I need to register for the course in the next semester to complete the remaining work?
No, if an incomplete grade is granted, students may not re-register for or participate unofficially in the course in a later term as a means to make-up the incomplete course work. Any outstanding course work must be completed under the guidance of the original course instructor on an independent basis. If there are extenuating circumstances in which it is not possible to complete the outstanding course work under the guidance of the original course instructor, students may consult with the chair of the academic department to determine if an alternate arrangement is feasible.

If I take an (I) grade how much time do I have to make up the remaining work?
If an (I) grade is granted, students will be given up to one full semester following the incomplete grade to complete the remaining work, depending upon the agreement with the instructor. For instance, if an incomplete grade is granted in spring 2020, students will have through the end of the fall 2020 semester, or shorter timeframe if specified by the course instructor, to complete the remaining work. If the work is not satisfied within the agreed upon timeframe, the (I) grade will be converted to an (F) grade. In exceptional cases, students may request one additional semester and it is the discretion of the course instructor to approve the request. Incomplete grades may not exceed one year. All (I) grades must be resolved before a UMBC degree will be awarded.

If I take an (I) grade how do I make up the remaining work?
If an (I) grade is granted, students may not re-register for or participate unofficially in the course in a later term as a means to make-up the incomplete course work. Any outstanding course work must be completed under the guidance of the original course instructor. If there are extenuating circumstances in which it is not possible to complete the outstanding course work under the guidance of the original course instructor, students may consult with the chair of the academic department to determine if an alternate arrangement is feasible.

How does an (I) grade impact my GPA?
An (I) grade does not impact the GPA as it serves as a placeholder until the final course grade is posted.

Is there a limit on how many (I) grades I can request?
While there is no limit on (I) grades, students should only consider an incomplete in exceptional circumstances to avoid delays in degree completion. Students should consider such interruptions carefully, as they may have academic and/or financial implications.

If I am approved for an Incomplete (I) grade for a course taken in the Spring 2020 semester, will I still have the option to change the grading method to a Pass (P) or withdraw from the course once the final course grade is posted?
In accordance with the Incomplete grading policy, students will have the option to request an (I) grade for a Spring 2020 course if they have completed a majority of the work at a satisfactory level. Students approved for an incomplete grade will be given until the end of the Fall 2020 semester to resolve any remaining coursework. Once a final course grade is submitted, students will have until January 11th 2021 to change the grading method to the Pass (P) option or withdraw from the course.

What are my options if I have an Incomplete (I) grade from a previous semester and was trying to complete it over the Spring 2020 semester?
To ensure timely progress toward a degree, students are encouraged to complete any remaining coursework associated with an incomplete (I) grade. Likewise, course instructors are encouraged to provide flexibility where possible so that remaining coursework can be satisfied. When it is possible to do so, grade changes for outstanding incomplete grades should be submitted by course instructors by the May 27th submission deadline. Once a final course grade is posted to replace the (I) grade, students will have until June 10th to change the grading method to the Pass (P) option or withdraw from the course.

Undergraduate students may request to have their final course grade changed to the (P) option by submitting a request to Student Records. Undergraduate students may submit a request to withdraw from a course by submitting a request to Registration. When submitting a request to the Registrar’s Office, students must include the course number (i.e. PSYC 100) and the term in which they enrolled in the course and received an (I) grade (i.e. Fall 2019).

If a final course grade is not submitted by the May 27th grade submission deadline, an automatic one semester extension of the Incomplete will be granted to the end of Fall 2020. Students will have until the end of the Fall 2020 semester to resolve any remaining coursework. Once a final course grade is submitted by the course instructor, students will have until January 11th, 2021 to change the grading method to the Pass (P) option or withdraw from the course.

Transfer Coursework Questions

If I am taking a course at another institution and earn a (P) grade, will that course transfer to UMBC and how will it be used?
For the spring 2020 semester only, the same policies that apply to courses taken at UMBC will apply to equivalent courses taken in transfer with the (P) grade option.

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Additional Policy Questions?
If you have a policy question that is not addressed here or if you are unable to find the policy resource that you were looking for, please email academicpolicyquestions@umbc.edu and support will be provided.