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Decision-Making Considerations: Letter & "P/NC" Grades

What Grading Option is Right for You?

  • George Thompson, Coordinator of Advising and Outreach at UMass Lowell, explains where to find guidance and resources to learn more about the pass/no credit grading option and how to determine if it's right for you.

Decision-Making Considerations: Letter & "P/NC" Grades

The Provost outlined changes to academic policies for the Spring 2020 semester. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your faculty or professional advisor.

How do I select the Pass/No Credit grading option?

To select the Pass/No Credit option in the classic view of SiS follow this guide:

When do I have to decide if I want to take a course "P/NC?"

  • You have until May 15, 2020 to declare the pass/no credit or “P/NC” grading option once you view your letter grades online.  
  • If you are unsure about whether or not to utilize the “P/NC” grading option, it is recommended that you consult with your faculty and professional advisors before making a decision about one or more classes.  
  • You may select the “P/NC” grading option in SIS only between May 1, 2020 – May 15. After May 15th, the decision may be reversed only by petition approved by your college dean’s office. The final grade for the Spring 2020 semester becomes permanent when degree is conferred or on December 10, 2020, whichever comes first.

How do letter grades impact me?

  • Every letter grade has a grade point attached to it (A = 4.0; C = 2.0; F = 0.0) and WILL impact your semester and overall GPA.
  • Letter grades of “F” WILL NOT add credits towards your degree.  
  • In Spring 2020, ALL “F” grades will automatically be converted to an “NC” grade and WILL NOT impact your semester or overall GPA.
  • Letter grades of “D+” and “D” grade WILL add credits towards your degree requirements; the exception is when a degree program requires a higher grade.  
  • Letter grades of “C-” or below CAN be deleted or repeated in the future to meet degree requirements; consult with your faculty or professional advisor for any restrictions.  

How can a pass or “P” grade impact me?

  • You DO NOT need to declare the “P/NC” grading option until you receive your final grade for a course.  
  • A grade of “P” (C- or better) or “NC” (D+ or lower) on your transcript WILL NOT impact your semester or overall GPA.  
  • A grade of “P” on the transcript WILL add credits towards your degree. 
  • Courses requiring a minimum grade of C- in a pre-requisite course will accept a “P” to allow for fall semester course registration. 
  • The limit on the number of courses that a student can take “P/NC” is being waived for this semester. 
  • Grades of “P” from this semester can be repeated in the future for a letter grade; please check with your faculty or professional advisor when making your decision. 
  • Some graduate and professional schools prefer letter grades on a transcript when making admissions decisions; please consult with graduate preparation support advisors when making your decision.
  • Dean’s List (semester honors) recognizes students who have completed full-time programs with at least 12 credits of graded coursework. The selection of P/NC impacts your graded course hours and could impact your qualifications for Dean’s List if your graded hours drops below full-time with the selection of P/NC.

How can a no credit or “NC” grade impact me?

  • All grades of “F” will be converted to “NC” on May 16, 2020 and WILL NOT impact you semester and overall GPA. 
  • A grade of “NC” WILL NOT add credits towards your degree.  
  • An “NC” grade will not satisfy pre-requisites for other courses in a sequence as no credit is awarded. You should review any GPA requirements for courses you need to take in a sequence. If a “C-” grade is required to take the next course in a sequence, you must have a “P” grade to move forward. 
  • If the course is required for your program, you will need to repeat the course if you earn a grade of "NC."
  • Some graduate and professional schools prefer letter grades on a transcript when making admission decisions; please consult with graduate preparation support advisors when making your decision.  
  • Grades of “NC” from this semester can be repeated in the future for a letter grade; please check with your faculty or professional advisor when making your decision. 
  • Dean’s List (semester honors) recognizes students who have completed full-time programs with at least 12 credits of graded coursework. The selection of P/NC impacts your graded course hours and could impact your qualifications for Dean’s List if your graded hours drops below full-time with the selection of P/NC.

How does Pass/No Credit option affect my financial aid or financial eligibility?

Courses taken as Pass/No Credit are allowable under federal financial aid guidelines and will not affect your financial aid for the spring 2020 semester.
It is important to note the possible impacts on your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status which could impact financial eligibility in future semesters. Pass (P) grade will count as earned credits, but will have no impact on your GPA. No Credit (NC) grade will count as attempted, but not earned credits. Pass/No Credit grades will be included in calculating your completion rate for SAP, however, will have no impact on improving your GPA. Students will continue to be reviewed for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards at the end of spring semester. Students will have the opportunity to appeal if SAP standards are not met. Please review the university’s SAP policy.

How will the P/NC grade compute into my GPA?

Please see the conversion table on the Spring 2020 Grading Scheme page.

Where can I find more information on faculty and professional advising support?