December 8, 2020 - 3:04pm

Dear Students, 

This communication is designed to provide more detailed guidance as you consider taking courses Pass – Fail. This guidance ONLY applies to undergraduate courses and it is only effective for the fall 2020 semester.

Students may decide to take a maximum of two courses Pass – Fail at any time between December 14 and midnight on December 23, 2020.  There is a form in myOswego that will enable students to choose Pass – Fail for a maximum of two of their courses. Grades for fall 2020 are expected to post in this form on December 18. Students may return to this form and revise their decision regarding the Pass – Fail option for any course through the December 23 deadline.

We are also providing you with a Pass – Fail Major/Minor webpage for important information about the Pass – Fail policy. The website explicitly details what courses you can take Pass – Fail and is directly tied to the requirements of your particular major or minor.

  • Majors and Minors where students are permitted to take any course attributed to them as Pass – Fail
  • Majors and Minors that allow some of their courses be taken Pass – Fail
  • Majors and Minors where none of their courses can be taken Pass – Fail

Students may choose Pass – Fail for general elective courses or general education courses taken during fall 2020, provided those courses do not satisfy any requirements in their major or minor with a C- or better requirement.

Students taking a course for their major where a C- or better grade is not required may choose to take that course Pass – Fail. The link provided above offers guidance on what courses in any major can be taken Pass – Fail.  Students in a minor that does not require C- or better for some or all of its courses have the same option as described for majors. Explicit guidance on minors is also provided in the link above.

In cases where a course satisfies more than one requirement of a major, minor, or general education, we will apply the most restrictive rule in the student’s case. For example, MAT 158 satisfies the General Education Mathematics requirement; it is also a cognate in Accounting BS. If the student is majoring in Accounting, the course cannot be taken Pass – Fail.

There are a number of factors you should consider before making the decision to take courses Pass – Fail:

  • Always consult your advisor as you prepare to make this choice.
  • Please note that there will be academic dismissal at the end of this Fall. Students will not be permitted to return in the spring in the case of Academic Disqualification. However, students may appeal an Academic Disqualification. If the appeal is granted, students will follow the Academic Probation process in spring.
  • Students must have a minimum of twelve (12) GPA-impacting credits to be eligible for President’s or Dean’s lists.
  • Part-time students (carrying less than 12 credits in fall 2020) may need at least one GPA-impacting course grade in order to ensure continued Good Standing.  If a part-time student who is taking just one or two courses opts to take them Pass – Fail, they will have a zero GPA for the semester.  Even though a zero semester GPA, in this case, has no impact on the cumulative GPA, it can place the student on Academic Warning, Academic Probation, or Academic Disqualification.  A GPA-impacting course grade may also be needed in order to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in the context of students’ Financial Aid, scholarships, or grants.
  • A student may want GPA-impacting course grades in order to be competitive for graduate school admissions (and other purposes external to the program).
  • Certain courses should NOT be taken Pass – Fail due to entrance requirements for some graduate programs. For example, medical schools often require specific grade performance in key prerequisite courses as part of their admission criteria. Such a course should not be taken as a Pass – Fail.

We encourage our students to seek out additional information and guidance on this very important decision.  Advisors in the college’s Advisement Center are standing by to assist students via virtual walk in sessions. Visit the Advisement website to chat Live with an academic success advisor Monday through Thursday (from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and Friday (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Rameen Mohammadi
Associate Provost for Undergraduate and Special Programs