Carolina Expands Pass / Fail Option for Undergraduate Courses at College and Six Schools


Dear community of Caroline,

We recognize that the University’s recent shift to fully distance learning for our undergraduates and our efforts to further de-density our campus created additional challenges and uncertainty at the start of the fall semester. Many students struggle and feel stressed. As a result, we are instituting academic grading accommodations for undergraduates for the fall semester 2020.

Effective immediately, the University will expand the pass / fail option for undergraduate courses at the College of Arts and Sciences, Adams School of Dentistry, Kenan-Flagler Business School, School of Information and Library Science, Hussman School of Journalism and Media, School of Education and Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Instead of getting an alphabetical grade, undergraduates will have the option to report any undergraduate course (numbered below 700) pass / fail. Courses declared pass / fail in fall 2020 may be used for major, minor, general education and any other degree requirement (more information below). There is no limit on the number of courses a student can declare pass / fail in fall 2020. All courses declared pass / fail in fall 2020 will not count towards the limits. graduation on pass / fail courses.

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the academic advisor or an advisor from their respective main or vocational school before making any decision on declaring one or more undergraduate courses as pass / fail for fall 2020. Undergraduates can choose to pass / fail any course before the last day of class, November 17, 2020.

Courses declared pass / fail in fall 2020 will receive one of the following three marks: pass, low pass, or fail. Grades of C or higher will be converted into a Pass. The grades of C-, D + or D will be converted into Low Pass. F grades will remain a failure. Courses that receive a Low Pass cannot be used for graduation requirements or prerequisites that require a grade of C or higher.

The University will continue to use the “CV” grade as an alternative to the incomplete grade (“IN”) for any undergraduate student affected by the public health emergency. Resume notes address accessibility and fairness issues for some students who are unable to complete their courses. In addition, courses abandoned after August 31, 2020 will be marked with the withdrawal “WCV” on student transcripts. Courses with a “WCV” rating will be notcounts towards the limit of 16 WC hours (withdrawal by student’s choice) during a student’s academic career.

This policy only applies to undergraduate courses at the schools listed above. Students, including undergraduates, enrolled in other schools or professional programs of the Graduate School will follow the decisions of their professional school or the Graduate School.

How this pass / fail accommodation applies to undergraduates

Existing pass / fail policies will be suspended for the fall semester 2020.

  • Undergraduates will be able to report any undergraduate course (numbered below 700) pass / fail.
  • Courses declared pass / fail in fall 2020 are eligible to be used for major, minor, general education and any other degree requirement.
  • There is no limit to the number of Fall 2020 courses that a student can declare pass / fail.
  • Fall 2020 courses declared pass / fail will not count towards graduation limits for pass / fail courses.

Faculty will not know whether students have passed or failed a course.

  • All courses will be graded normally (alphabetical grades).
  • As per the current criteria for students opting for pass / fail grading, faculty will not be aware of students who choose the pass / fail grading option when entering final grades.

Courses declared as pass / fail will receive one of three marks:

Pass – Courses completed with a grade of C or higher

  • Complete all diploma requirements (major, minor, prerequisite and GENED)
  • Count as semester hours earned
  • Do not take into account in the GPA

Low pass – Courses completed with a grade of C-, D + or D

  • Only complete degree requirements that do not require a C or better
  • Cannot be used for prerequisite courses requiring a grade of C or higher
  • Cannot count towards the required number of C hours or more for a major / minor
  • Count as semester hours earned
  • Do not take into account in the GPA

Fail – Courses completed with a grade of F

  • Does not count as semester hours earned
  • Factor in GPA as an F score

The deadline for choosing pass / fail is November 17, 2020. For the fall semester 2020, undergraduate students can choose to place a pass / fail course or withdraw a pass / fail course no later than November 17, 2020 via the website of the University’s Registrar’s Office.

Note “CV”

The University continues to use the “CV” grade in fall 2020. On March 23, 2020, the University created a new “CV” grade as an alternative to the Incomplete (“IN”) grade. The ‘CV’ grades address the accessibility and equity issues of some students who are negatively affected and / or unable to complete their courses due to the global public health emergency.

How it will apply:

  • A “CV” grade will work the same as an “IN” grade for an individual student. As with an “IN” grade, a student could pass the course; however, the student needs more time to complete specific assignments after completing the course. Upon completion of the assignment, the grade will be converted to an alphabetical grade or a pass / fail grade, depending on the grading base of the course.

o ‘CV’ grades will not be included in the GPA calculation, will not count towards credits earned, will not meet graduation requirements, and will not be calculated as a GPA of 0.00 for eligibility.

o The deadline for replacing “CV” designations with permanent grades will extend three months beyond the typical 8 weeks in the following semester for undergraduates, which will differentiate it from the “IN” grade. The deadline to complete the work for the fall 2020 “CV” courses is Tuesday, June 1, 2021. If you do not complete the work by the deadline, you will get an F *.

In view of this grading change, we will be suspending the Dean’s List and Class Ranking for the Fall 2020 semester. In addition, UNC-Chapel Hill will include a transcription grade on all undergraduate academic records, which that is the scoring base, indicating the extraordinary circumstances of the global public health emergency in the fall of 2020.

Again, we strongly encourage undergraduates to proactively consult with academic advisers or an advisor from their respective vocational school if they experience any academic difficulties or have questions about using these grading accommodations. Advisors can help students think about the possible impact on their graduation schedule, as well as future decisions and opportunities.


Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice-Chancellor and Rector


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