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Academics

Carolina expands pass/fail option for undergraduate courses in the College and six schools

Undergraduate students will have the option to declare any undergraduate course (numbered below 700) pass/fail. Courses declared pass/fail in fall 2020 will be eligible to be used toward major, minor, General Education and any other degree requirement.

A seal of the University on a stone wall.
Fall scene of the seal of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill affixed to a stone pillar at the Cameron Avenue entrance. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

We recognize that the University’s recent shift to fully remote instruction for our undergraduates, and our efforts to further de-densify our campus, have created additional challenges and uncertainty to the start of the fall semester. Many students are struggling and feeling stressed. As a result, we are instituting academic grading accommodations for undergraduate students for the fall 2020 semester.

Effective immediately, the University will expand the pass/fail option for undergraduate courses in the College of Arts & Sciences, Adams School of Dentistry, 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.

As an alternative to earning a letter grade, undergraduate students will have the option to declare any undergraduate course (numbered below 700) pass/fail. Courses declared pass/fail in fall 2020 will be eligible to be used toward major, minor, General Education and any other degree requirement (more information below). There is no limit on the number of courses that a student can declare pass/fail in fall 2020. Any courses declared pass/fail in fall 2020 will not count toward any graduation limits on pass/fail courses.

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with Academic Advising or an advisor in their respective major or professional school prior to making any decisions on declaring an undergraduate course or courses as pass/fail for Fall 2020. Undergraduate students can elect to make any course pass/fail by the last day of classes, Nov. 17, 2020.

Courses declared pass/fail in fall 2020 will receive one of three grades: Pass, Low Pass, or Fail. Grades of C or higher will be converted to a Pass. Grades of C-, D+ or D will be converted to a Low Pass. Grades of F will remain a Fail. Courses that receive a Low Pass cannot be used for graduation requirements or prerequisites that require a grade of C or higher.

The University will continue to use the ‘CV’ grade as an alternative to the Incomplete (‘IN’) grade for any undergraduate student adversely affected by the public health emergency. CV grades address the accessibility and equity issues of some students who are unable to complete coursework. Additionally, courses dropped after Aug. 31, 2020 will have the withdrawal notation ‘WCV’ on student transcripts. Courses with a ‘WCV’ notation will notcount toward the 16-hour limit of WC (withdrawal by student choice) over the course of a student’s academic career.

This policy applies only to undergraduate courses in the schools listed above. 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.

How this Pass/Fail Accommodation Applies to Undergraduate Students

The existing policies for pass/fail will be suspended for the fall 2020 semester.

  • Undergraduate students will be able to declare any undergraduate course (numbered below 700) pass/fail.
  • Courses declared pass/fail in fall 2020 are eligible to be used toward major, minor, General Education and any other degree requirement.
  • There is no limit on the number of fall 2020 courses that a student can declare pass/fail.
  • Any fall 2020 courses declared pass/fail will not count toward any graduation limits on pass/fail courses.

Faculty will not know if students have declared a course pass/fail.

  • All courses will be graded as normal (letter grades).
  • Consistent with the current criteria for students who opt for pass/fail grading, faculty will not be aware of students who elect the pass/fail grading option when entering final grades.

Courses declared as pass/fail will receive one of three grades:

Pass – Courses completed with a grade of C or higher

  • Fulfill all degree requirements (major, minor, prerequisite and GENED)
  • Count as earned semester hours
  • Do not factor into the GPA

Low Pass – Courses completed with a grade of C-, D+ or D

  • Only fulfill degree requirements that do not require a C or better
  • Cannot be used for course prerequisites requiring a grade of C or higher
  • Cannot count towards the required number of C or higher hours for a major/minor
  • Count as earned semester hours
  • Do not factor into the GPA

Fail – Courses completed with a grade of F

  • Do not count as earned semester hours
  • Factor into the GPA as a graded F

The deadline to elect pass/fail is Nov. 17, 2020. For the fall 2020 semester, undergraduate students can elect to place a course on pass/fail or remove a course from pass/fail no later than Nov. 17, 2020 via the Office of the University Registrar’s website.

‘CV’ Grade

The University continues to use the ‘CV’ grade in fall 2020. On March 23, 2020, the University created a new grade of ‘CV’ as an alternative to the Incomplete (‘IN’) grade. ‘CV’ grades address the accessibility and equity issues of some students who are adversely affected and/or unable to complete coursework due to the global public health emergency.

How this will apply:

  • A ‘CV’ grade will work similarly to an ‘IN’ grade for an individual student. As with an ‘IN’ grade, a student could pass the course; however, the student requires more time to complete particular assignments after the course has ended. Once work is complete, the grade will convert to a letter grade or pass/fail grade, depending upon the grading basis of the course.

o‘CV’ grades will not be included in GPA calculation, will not count toward credits earned, will not satisfy graduation requirements and will not be calculated as a 0.00 GPA for eligibility.

oThe deadline to replace ‘CV’ designations with permanent grades will extend three months past the typical 8 weeks into the following semester for undergraduates, differentiating it from the ‘IN’ grade. The deadline to complete work for fall 2020 ‘CV’ courses is Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Failure to complete work by the deadline will result in an F*.

Given this grading shift, we will suspend the Dean’s List and class rank for the fall 2020 semester. In addition, UNC‐Chapel Hill will include a transcript note on all undergraduate academic records, regardless of grading basis, indicating the extraordinary circumstances of the global public health emergency during fall 2020.

Again, we strongly encourage undergraduate students to consult proactively with Academic Advising or an advisor in their respective professional school if they are experiencing academic challenges or have any questions about utilizing these grading accommodations. Advisors can help students think about the possible impact to their graduation timeline, as well as future decisions and opportunities.

Sincerely,

Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost