Pass/Fail grade option
The pass/fail grade policy allows undergraduate students to choose not to have a grade assigned in a limited number of courses for which they receive VCU credit. This available choice allows students to explore elective and general education courses outside their major without the pressure associated with maintaining a particular GPA. It also facilitates timely degree completion and may reduce the need to repeat a course in order to maintain academic standing. It is the goal of the pass/fail policy to support equitable and accessible academic experiences for its undergraduate students.
Undergraduate students may request that a course they are enrolled in be taken under the pass/fail grade option. Undergraduate students can apply no more than 15 credit hours of PP/PS grades taken under the pass/fail grade option over the entirety of their degree program. These restrictions do not apply to courses that are only offered as P/F.
To utilize this option, students should submit the Undergraduate Change in Grade Mode Authorization Form.
Students may not use the pass/fail grade option:
- To satisfy a prerequisite that requires a minimum grade of B
- For courses that may count toward the requirements of the student’s major, minor or certificate program
Under the pass/fail grade option, students would have grades reported as either:
PP: Grade of pass (equivalent to a letter grade of A, B or C) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to the letter grades of A-C. The grade of PP is not included in the calculation of GPA. The grade of PP will satisfy course requirements of a minimum grade of C to advance to another course.
PS: Grade of pass (equivalent to a letter grade of D) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to the letter grade of D. The grade of PS is not included in the calculation of GPA. The grade of PS will not satisfy course requirements of a minimum grade of C to advance to another course and students may have to retake the course if they change their major and a minimum letter grade of C was required.
F: Grade of fail (equivalent to a letter grade of F) is considered not passing and is included in the calculation of the GPA.
Students should consult with an adviser to understand the implications of their decision. Departments require that all courses satisfying major requirements be completed with a traditional letter grade; and in these instances, students who change their majors may need to repeat a course for which they have previously earned a grade of PP or PS.
Instructors of record will not be aware of the student's choice. Each faculty member will evaluate student performance in the course consistent with expectations outlined in the course syllabus. If a student has opted for the pass/fail grade option, the assigned grade will be converted to the appropriate pass/fail designation pursuant to the letter grade earned. For example, the instructor would enter a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) as usual. If the student has chosen the Pass/Fail grade option, then grades A, B or C become a PP; a grade of D becomes a PS; a grade of F becomes an F.
Students may select the pass/fail grade option for eligible courses no later than the last day to withdraw from a course. All decisions by students are final and irrevocable.
The original grade awarded for courses by instructors will continue to appear on students' records until the Office of Records and Registration completes the end-of-semester grading process to update records to the appropriate Pass/Fail grades.