Effective Date: August 14, 2020
Updated: December 11, 2020

Letter grades will be the default grading option for MEM and MF students fall semester 2020. Recognizing that COVID-19, the economic crisis, significant changes in course delivery, concerns about equity, and the November election will combine to increase student stress over the coming months, the Nicholas School will allow its professional students to request Pass-Fail (P/F) grade in one or more classes this fall. 

NOTE: This policy does not cover undergraduate or doctoral students. Trinity and Graduate School policies cover Nicholas undergraduates and PhD students, respectively. 

Professional students must adhere to the following requirements when requesting a change in grading option: 

  1. Request for P/F Grading: Students must make their request in writing to the instructor of each class for which they are requesting a change in grading basis. 
  2. Approval: The decision to accept or deny a P/F request will depend on the unique circumstances of each class and is therefore at the discretion of each instructor.  While instructors cannot ask for personal information in conjunction with a request, students should have a legitimate reason for their choice. 
  3. Appeals: Students may appeal an instructor’s decision to the Associate Dean for Professional Programs, and from there to the Senior Associate Dean for Academics and ultimately the Dean of the Nicholas School. 
  4. Timing: Students must make their P/F request by mid-semester (Friday, October 2, 2020) for full-semester classes, or by the end of the third week of half-semester courses.  Instructors will only consider requests after this deadline in the event of personal emergencies, including significant health crises and family concerns. 
  5. Threshold for Pass: Instructors will need to define explicit criteria for a Passing grade and may set this threshold high. 
  6. MF Students: Due to SAF accreditation requirements, MF students requesting P/F grading in one of more of their classes must also get approval from the MF chair. 
  7. Applicability: This policy applies only to Nicholas School classes taken by MEM and MF students.  MEM and MF students taking classes at schools outside of Nicholas must adhere to that organization’s grading policy. 
  8. Permanence: The decision to opt into a P/F grade for a class, once it is approved, is permanent.  A student may not request a letter grade later in the semester. 
  9. Pass-Fail Courses: Students may not ask for a letter grade in a class that is P/F by default. 
  10. Sunset: This policy was originally intended for fall semester 2020 only, but the policy has been extended to Spring 2021 semester.
Policy owner
Student Services