University expands to pass/fail option

University undergraduates can choose to be graded pass/fail and still receive credit toward major and minor requirements.

Hailee Schievelbein

Hailee Schievelbein

by J.D. Duggan

The University of Minnesota will allow undergraduate students to switch to pass/fail after all classes moved online during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Undergraduate students will be able to switch their spring or B-term 2020 courses to pass/fail and still receive credit toward major and minor requirements, according to a Friday announcement from Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Bob McMaster. Pass/fail for graduate and professional courses would be up to the discretion of each school, college and program.

Students must earn a C- equivalent to pass under the system, but are urged to consider their options with their advisors. Many faculty have been asked to be flexible, and grading may not be negatively impacted, McMaster’s announcement said.

Students will be receiving further information within the next week. They must decide whether to change their grading method by April 15.

More than a dozen four-year universities have allowed pass/fail options due to the outbreak, according to Inside Higher Ed, a news outlet focused on higher education. A petition at the University of Minnesota in favor of pass/fail has received more than 8,600 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

“These adjustments would provide greater flexibility to students, certainly to undergraduate students, and yet would allow graduate and professional program faculty to determine if the option is appropriate and prudent for their programs,” Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson said in a staffwide email sent Thursday.