The University will offer students a credit / no credit option for spring 2020 courses | BU today

In recognition of the “disruptive, stressful and unconventional way” this semester has unfolded in the shadow of the coronavirus, Boston University will adopt special grading policies for the spring semester 2020, offering all students undergraduate and most graduate students with a Credit / No Credit option this will not affect their GPA.

Jean Morrison, the university’s provost and director of studies, announced on Friday that undergraduates, graduates and non-graduates will be able to choose between keeping their grade in each class and a credit / no credit option. Three schools with unique constraints – the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, the School of Law, and the School of Medicine – have developed grading policies specific to their schools.

“COVID-19 has caused tremendous disruption in higher education, changing the way classes are taught and students take new material,” Morrison says. “The teachers at UB reacted magnificently to this situation. They adapted the programs and practices to distance education while maintaining a connection with their students.

“Yet there is recognition of the tremendous stress and uncertainty that this moment has created for many students,” she says. “And so we want to give them a measure of flexibility that balances the high standards we set for coursework and grading with the unconventional way this semester has unfolded. This spring 2020 semester policy allows them to complete their work without, however, being penalized for circumstances beyond their control.

Students will be assigned a letter grade by the faculty in each of their classes at the end of their course. After receiving their grades, they will have the option to designate all or none of their courses taken in Spring 2020 as credit / non-credit classes. For undergraduate courses, any grade of D or higher will result in a credit designation.

This is different from the common Pass / Fail designation because students can use the Credit / No Credit designation on any course, including those needed to meet the Major, Minor, and Hub requirements, and because the Credit designation / No credit will not affect the student. GPA.

The process by which students can choose Credit / No Credit is still being worked out, but they will not have to decide to use the option until they see their grades in May. Instructions will be emailed later this spring, before April 30, 2020.

“We’re coordinating across the University to put this grading system in place,” says Morrison. “We recognize that many graduate and professional programs have their own scoring thresholds for what constitutes ‘credit’ and therefore we want to be respectful of their autonomy in making this particular decision.

The policy is only effective for this semester. Find details for different groups of students here:

Undergraduate students

All Boston University undergraduates, regardless of school or college, will be assigned a letter grade by the faculty in each of their classes upon completion of their coursework. After receiving their grades, students will have the option to designate all or none of their courses taken in Spring 2020 as credit / non-credit courses. Students can also choose to keep their grade for all or part of their courses. If a student chooses to designate a course as credit / no credit, their transcript will simply show “CR” (credit) or “NC” (no credit) for that course in place of the letter grade. For undergraduate courses, any grade of D or higher will result in a credit designation.

The Credit / No Credit option is a unique designation to be used only for the Spring 2020 semester and differs from our normal Pass / Fail option in two important ways. First, unlike Pass / Fail, students can use the Credit / No Credit designation in any course, including those needed to meet Major, Minor, and Hub requirements; For the Spring 2020 semester, a CR grade in an applicable course will meet the major, minor, and Hub requirements. Credits earned with a CR designation will count toward the total number of credits required to graduate. Second, a credit / no credit designation will not affect a student’s overall GPA. Students on academic probation can use the Credit / No Credit option.


We hope these spring 2020 semester grading policies will provide some relief to students who are going through a surprisingly difficult semester.

—Jean Morrison, provost of the BU and director of studies

The process by which students will indicate their credit / no credit choice is still under development. Students go do not be invited to make this decision until they have seen their notes in May and have had a chance to consult with advisers. Thus, students do not need to take any action at this point. Detailed instructions will be emailed later this spring, before April 30, 2020.

This policy does not apply to courses which are, under normal circumstances, rated Pass / Fail. Courses that are now passed / failed will continue to be graded on a pass / fail basis and will be reflected as such on the transcripts. The policy also does not apply to courses that were taken before spring break, or to students who have previously decided to verify a class. Students from other institutions studying at UB through cross-enrollment programs should consult with their home institution regarding their grading requirements.

Graduate students and professionals

Graduate and professional students from all schools and colleges except the three listed below, and including those enrolled in online and off-campus programs, will have the option to choose Credit / No Credit for the one of their classes this semester. Schools that have their own registrar and unique disciplinary and accreditation constraints – the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, the School of Law, and the School of Medicine – have developed and will implement the school-specific policies summarized below. below. Students at these three schools will receive further details from their deans shortly.

Graduate and professional students from all other schools can use the policy outlined above for undergraduates with distinction: schools and colleges offering graduate and vocational programs can set their own thresholds for grade minimum required to receive credits in graduate and professional courses. Deans will communicate with their respective graduate and professional students to clarify the grade required to receive credits in specific courses and programs.

Goldman School of Dentistry

For the Spring 2020 semester, GSDM will continue to use its existing letter grade format based on criteria previously established by the individual course programs. There will be no change in the grading process for didactic courses, while grades for pre-clinical (simulation / hands-on technique courses) and clinical (direct patient care or clinical demonstrations) courses will be based on a percentage of the courses. planned.

Law School

All Spring 2020 semester JD courses will be graded on a pass / fail basis. LLM students will have the option to choose Pass / Fail for all classes after seeing their grade in each class. Neither the mandatory pass / fail credits for JDs, nor the pass / fail credits elected for LLMs and other non-JD students during the 2020 spring semester will count towards the maximum number of unrated credits allowed in each program.

Medicine School

The grading policy for most courses at the School of Medicine will not change. There are a limited number of courses in which clinical activities have been so fundamentally disrupted that it is impossible to accurately determine a grade; these courses will become Pass / Fail for all students. Specifically, third and fourth year MD clinical placements that were interrupted prior to completion will become Pass / Fail only. In these cases, a grade will be added to the student transcripts indicating the reason for the change in grading policy.

“We hope these spring 2020 semester grading policies provide some relief to students going through a surprisingly difficult semester,” Morrison wrote in a memo emailed to students, faculty and staff on Friday.

“We also recognize that many students have worked very hard this semester and want that effort reflected on their transcripts,” she wrote. “By giving undergraduates and most graduate students the flexibility to choose whether or not to use the Credit / No Credit option for any or all of their courses, we hope to both reduce the stress in those who have difficulty adjusting to distance learning and allow those who wish to retain some or all of their letters note the possibility of doing so. “

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Kristina McManus

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