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Supporting the Academic Mission

Updates to Grading Options

Last updated October 30, 2020

For the Fall 2020 term, the Academic Senate has approved a policy allowing the pass/no pass grading option for all undergraduate courses (see below for exceptions) and the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option for all graduate courses. Review this information and if you still have questions, contact the Office of the Registrar or your academic advisor for assistance. 

Policy and Important Information

Changing the grade option for any course is a big deal. Read the following carefully before making your decision:

  • FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE FALL 2020 SESSIONS, ALL UC MERCED UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS (with the exception of GASP) HAVE AGREED TO ACCEPT P/NP GRADES: UC Merced degree programs typically require students to utilize the letter grade option for all of their required courses. All undergraduate degree programs, with the exception of GASP, have agreed to temporarily waive this requirement for all Fall 2020 sessions. For GASP, all lower-division and elective courses have the P/NP grade modality option. Upper-division core courses (GASP 109, GASP 190, GASP 191), however, are letter grade only. GASP students should contact their academic advisor for further information. 
  • STUDENTS WHO PLAN TO APPLY FOR POSTGRADUATE/PROFESSIONAL STUDY — Letter Grade requirement. There is a chance that medical/professional/graduate schools may not accept a grading option of P/NP for some courses (referenced as “letter grade” requirement risk in the flowchart below).
  • STUDENTS WORKING ON RAISING THEIR GPA TO BE IN GOOD STANDING. Students who need to raise their GPA above a 2.0 to be in good standing or for purposes of financial aid may be harmed by the adoption of P/NP grades, as they are not included in GPA calculations.
  • STUDENTS WHO RECEIVE VETERANS BENEFITS: Students who receive veterans or veterans dependent benefits should seek guidance from UC Merced’s Veterans Services:
  • MAINTAINING SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS FOR FINANCIAL AID: In addition to GPA, a student must maintain “Satisfactory Academic Progress” (SAP). As indicated in the Federal Stimulus Package language, students choosing to adopt P/NP grading option will maintain SAP, as P/NP grades still figure into the SAP calculation. Otherwise, P/NP does not have a financial aid impact.
  • PASS/NO PASS DEFINITION: The grade P is assigned for a letter grade of C-minus or better. If the student earns a grade of D-plus or below, the grade will be recorded as NP. In both cases, the student’s grade will not be computed into the grade point average.

Any student can update their grade modality in any course. The normal policy, available here in the catalog, has many stipulations that have been removed for Fall 2020.

  • Students do not need to be in good academic standing to elect the P/NP or S/U option for Fall 2020.
  • Students can elect the P/NP or S/U option no matter if they elected the option in other terms.
  • Students may repeat on a P/NP or S/U bases courses that were previously taken on letter-graded basis. 
  • Although credit for courses taken on a P/NP basis is still limited to one-third of the total units taken and passed, students may request this requirement be waived.

How to Make the Changes

Undergraduate Students: If you chose to update your grade modality to Pass/No Pass, a grade of P will be assigned for a letter grade of C- or better. If you earn a grade of D+ or below, your grade will be recorded as NP. In both cases, P or NP grades will not be computed into your grade point average. You may elect the Pass/No Pass grade option through the last day instruction through MyRegistration then Change Grading Option.

Fall 2020 Deadline: Friday, December 11 at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time

Students with registration holds will not be able to make changes through MyRegistration. Instead, please complete the Grade Mode Change form and submit it to using your UC Merced email address.

Graduate Students: If you chose to update your grade modality to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, a grade of S will be assigned for a letter grade of B or better. If you earn a grade of B- or below, your grade will be recorded as U. In both cases, S or U grades will not be computed into your grade point average. You may elect the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade option through MyRegistration then Change Grading Option through the last day of instruction and then use the Grade Mode Update form available here by the deadlines provided below.

Fall 2020 Deadline: Monday, January 4, 2021 

Information for Faculty

Faculty can view the student grade modality choice within CatCourses in the Mid/Final Grade tool. However, because students can switch back and forth as many times as they chose before the last day of instruction for any given term, instructors should continue to grade based on a letter grade.