Guidance for Undergraduate Students in
Selecting the Pass/Fail Option for Spring 2020 Classes


Top 5 Considerations

The events of the past several weeks have been unsettling for Florida Atlantic University students, their families and loved ones and, indeed, for the country as a whole. In the midst of this turmoil, many of you have had to adjust to remote learning for the first time, which has created anxiety and some uncertainty about your performance in your classes.

In response, FAU has modified its undergraduate grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester.

In eligible courses, undergraduate students may request a change from the standard grade mode (“A” through “F”) to the Pass/Fail (P/F) grade mode for the Spring 2020 semester. A “P” grade is equivalent to a “D-“ or higher. A “P” grade in an eligible course will meet prerequisite and degree requirements. An “F” grade is similar to an “F” grade in a standard graded course.

Switching to the Pass/Fail mode is optional and does not need to be requested for all courses – or at all. You can request a change of grade between April 8, 2020 and April 22, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. No requests for change of grade mode will be honored after this two-week period. The decision to select the Pass/Fail option is irreversible.

Which courses are not eligible for the Pass/Fail option?

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and most Lower-Division Mathematics Courses.

(These courses are still eligible for the No Credit (“NC”) grade, as long as the student has not reached the maximum of four NC grades.)

Courses Taken by Majors and Pre-Majors in the College of Business.

Courses Taken by Majors and Pre-Majors in the CECS (College of Engineering and Computer Science).

Please note that some courses outside the College of Engineering are on the list. Also note that some courses are not eligible for Pass/Fail depending on the student’s major. 

All undergraduate courses that are not in one of the three lists above are eligible for the Pass/Fail option. 

Please think carefully about the implications of requesting the Pass/Fail option.  You should have a good idea of your performance in the course before choosing this option.  If you do not have a good idea, contact and talk to your instructor(s).  Below are some of the things you should consider.

  1. Your potential grade in the course.  If you are doing well in the course and expect to earn a good grade, switching to Pass/Fail might not be a wise choice.

  2. If you are a financial aid recipient, you must still comply with financial aid requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress. For more information about Satisfactory Academic Progress and the impact of grades on your aid, click here .

  3. If you are considering a mix of standard graded coursework and Pass/Fail coursework, you should calculate your potential term GPA using this GPA calculation tool.  The wrong mix of standard graded and Pass/Fail coursework may lead to a poor term GPA and may have an impact on your financial aid.

  4. If you plan to go on to earn a graduate or professional degree, you should carefully consider your choice of the Pass/Fail option in courses required for admission to those degrees.  We anticipate that graduate and professional schools will recognize the extraordinary circumstances students faced this semester, but we cannot guarantee that they will accept a “P” in lieu of a regular grade.  Keep in mind, as well, that a strong grade in a course will be a better indicator of your potential than a grade of “P”.  You should research your specific program of interest for admissions requirements and discuss your options with an academic advisor.

  5. You are currently retaking a course for which you are looking to use Grade Forgiveness on a prior attempt.  The “P” grade may not assist you in raising your GPA.

  6. The “P” grade does not calculate into the GPA, so any course in which you receive a “P” will not count in your GPA.

  7. The Dean’s List and President’s list require a minimum of 12 credit hours of standard graded coursework.

  8. If you take the Pass/Fail option in a course that is a prerequisite to a course you will take in the future, you should be aware that poor course performance (“C-“ to “D-“) in the prerequisite course may result in challenges in subsequent coursework.

  9. If you are a student-athlete, you need to be aware of NCAA requirements for retaining (or regaining) athletic eligibility. Discuss any eligibility concerns with an advisor in the Student Athlete Success Center.

International sponsored students (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE) may not be eligible to select Pass/Fail for the spring 2020 semester.  International sponsored students who choose this option must obtain written approval from their Embassy Advisor. For further information, contact Erin Hari, Associate Director for Global Academic Services, Center for Global Engagement at  All other international student concerns related to Pass/Fail, registration requirements, or immigration regulations that may affect academic student progress should be directed to Edyta Klimczak, Director of International Student Services, Center for Global Engagement at

Please note that if you are taking a graduate level course (5000, 6000, or 7000 course number ranges), the Pass/Fail option is not available.  Graduate courses instead use the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grade mode.  The same rules and considerations apply to the S/U grading as to the P/F grading.

As required by state statute, Dual Enrollment students are not eligible for the Pass/Fail option.

In addition to the option to elect a P/F grading option, FAU has modified other academic policies to ameliorate the unexpected challenges you may be facing.

  1. FAU policy states that students may take a maximum of 12 credits of Pass/Fail during their entire course of study.  Spring 2020 Pass/Fail coursework will not count toward this total.  For example, if you have never taken a Pass/Fail course and elect to change your grade mode this semester, you will still have the option of electing up to 12 Pass/Fail credits in the future.

  2. Withdrawals from Spring 2020 classes will not be counted towards the limitations in place on course withdrawals (two courses maximum at the lower division and three courses at the upper division).  Please note that the withdrawal deadline for Spring 2020 is April 10.

  3. Students on academic probation at the end of Fall 2019 will not be placed on academic suspension because of poor performance in Spring 2020 coursework.  Probation will be continued into Fall 2020 for these students.  Students performing poorly in Spring 2020 coursework, however, may still be placed on probation.

  4. Students returning from suspension will not be dismissed because of poor academic performance in Spring 2020.  Students will be allowed to return for another semester to improve their academic performance.

For Additional Information


The deadline to submit a request ended on April 22, 2020

 Last Modified 4/23/20