Pass/No Pass and Credit/No Credit Policies for Spring 2021

February 11, 2021

To the George Washington University Community:

As you may remember, students, deans and other academic leaders, faculty, academic advisers, and staff worked together last fall to develop a year-long, pass/no pass and credit/no credit policy for undergraduate programs and some graduate programs. After implementing the policy in October 2020, the administration committed to setting the Spring 2021 policy timelines early this semester. We are pleased now to share this information.

Based on feedback from our student leaders and analysis of past term policy usage, we decided to set a later deadline for students to submit their pass/no pass grading preferences than the fall term. The submission deadline is Thursday, April 29, for most undergraduate programs following the standard university calendar. Undergraduate programs that do not follow the university calendar, and graduate programs choosing to offer a credit/no credit option, will have varying deadlines as communicated by the relevant school or college. An online form through the Office of the Registrar will open for submissions on Thursday, April 15, for those undergraduate programs that follow the university academic calendar.

For Spring Semester 2021:

Undergraduate Policy

  • Undergraduates will be permitted the pass/no pass grading option in a maximum of one course (usually the equivalent of three or four credits) in the spring.
  • Students seeking this option are not required to obtain formal approval or authorization. However, we realize that the option is not obvious or easy, and we believe that students who are uncertain would benefit by consulting with their faculty and academic advisors.
  • Students seeking to exercise the grading option for more than the proposed limit will need approval from their advisor and/or dean of their school, based on review of relevant and extenuating circumstances. Documentation of these circumstances may be requested.
  • In rare cases, students may request a review outside of their school or college. The Office of the Provost will have a process for such reviews.
  • For undergraduate programs that follow the university academic calendar, the online form for submitting a choice for the pass/no pass grading option will open on Thursday, April 15. The deadline for submitting a choice will be Thursday, April 29, at 5:00pm ET.
  • No changes will be permitted after submission, and no submissions will be accepted after the deadline.
  • Undergraduate programs that do not follow the university academic calendar will set their own submission deadlines and will communicate to their students these dates and the process to elect pass/no pass.

Graduate/Professional Program Policy

  • For students in graduate and professional programs, limitations, criteria, procedures, and deadlines for exercising the credit/no-credit option will be decided on a school-by-school basis. Schools or programs will contact graduate students with information about which, if any, policies they will adopt.
  • Graduate programs that choose to exercise a credit/no credit option will set their own submission deadlines and will communicate to their students these dates and the process to elect credit/no credit.
  • No changes will be permitted after submission, and no submissions will be accepted after the deadline.
  • Graduate students are encouraged to consult with faculty and/or program advisors, who are in the best position to review potential benefits and risks of grading options.

We want to emphasize that there are other resources other than pass/no pass and credit/no credit available to students facing difficulties. If students face any challenges as the semester continues, we urge them to speak with professors for extensions or incomplete grades and work with their academic advisors for documentation and support. Undergraduate academic forgiveness and leaves of absence are policies available to assist students who are concerned about course performance and grades. For additional support to help with any challenges during this time, we encourage students to take advantage of services such as the Academic Commons or Health Services.

Our students, faculty, and staff have displayed unwavering care for one another during this difficult time. Thanks to the rollout of several vaccines, there is hope later in 2021, but while challenges continue in the present, we must continue to uplift every member of our community during a busy spring semester.

Sincerely,

M. Brian Blake
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Brandon W. Hill
President, Student Association 

Alyssa Ayres
Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs

Barbara L. Bass
Dean, School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Melissa Feuer
Acting Dean, College of Professional Studies

Michael J. Feuer
Dean, Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Lynn R. Goldman
Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health

Geneva Henry
Dean, Libraries and Academic Innovation

Pamela Jeffries
Dean, School of Nursing

John Lach
Dean, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Dayna B. Matthew
Dean, GW Law

Anuj Mehrotra
Dean, School of Business

Paul Wahlbeck
Dean, Columbian College of Arts and Science