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Satisfactory/Fail Grading for Graduate Students

Update from May 21, 2020

Please see the email from Provost Rankin regarding extending grading options and note that this applies to graduate students as well.  The new deadline to opt for a letter grade in one, some or all of your courses (rather than receiving the S/F by default) is now 11:59pm, May 31, 2020.

All graduate courses in spring 2020 will be graded satisfactory/fail (S/F) unless the student elects to receive an earned grade for the course. Students will have the opportunity to choose to receive an earned letter grade in one, some, or all of their courses (rather than the default S/F) until 11:59pm, May 31, 2020. If you are satisfied with your current grading choices, you need not do anything. However, if you wish to receive a letter grade for a course, you will need to visit the website: https://app.testudo.umd.edu/#/main/gradeoptions?termId=202001 before the May 31 deadline and designate that choice for each course for which you have not yet indicated your wish to receive your earned letter grade. There will be no further extensions beyond that time, so please make your selection carefully and in time to check and be sure that all changes were successfully made as you intended. Faculty will not know if a student has chosen to receive a letter grade. 

Update from March 26, 2020

All graduate courses in spring 2020 will be graded satisfactory/fail (S/F) unless the student elects to receive an earned grade for the course.

  • Students will have the opportunity to choose to receive an earned letter grade in each class and may make that choice until the last day of spring semester classes. A new website is being created for this purpose.  Faculty will not know if a student has chosen to receive a letter grade.
  • There are no limits on satisfactory/fail credits for graduate students.
  • S/F grading does not apply to 8-week courses that took place in the first half of the semester and concluded prior to the shift in access to campus (Spring Term C).
  • S/F is an appropriate grading scale for F1/J1 students to maintain status, so long as they also maintain appropriate enrollment status.
  • Any graduate program requirements related to letter grades in a particular course will be waived for the Spring 2020 semester.  However, students who do not do well in a course should be aware that they may not be adequately prepared for courses or exams that rely on prior knowledge of the subject. Students receiving a S/F may retake the course for a letter grade.
  • Students on academic probation who do not elect to accept course grades will be continued to the next semester, since they cannot increase their GPA with S grades.
  • S/F grades will not affect a student's eligibility for graduate assistantships, fellowships, or financial aid.
  • At the University of Maryland, graduate credit can be earned only for grades of C- and above.  If students do not elect to receive a letter grade, all letter grades of C- and above will be converted to S and all grades below C- will be converted to F. Students who wish to ensure that their course credit would transfer to another institution should consider electing to receive a letter grade, as our C- threshold may not match their policy for credit.
  • Students will earn graduate credit with an S but not with an F. An S does not contribute to a student's GPA, but an F does. 
  • The grade will be determined by the course level, not by the student. A graduate student taking a 400-level course will default to P/F (with the option to receive a letter grade); an undergraduate student taking a 600-level course will default to S/F (with the option to receive a letter grade).
  • Students should consult with their academic advisors about any possible consequences for employment, certification, or other opportunities that might be affected by a decision to choose satisfactory/fail vs a letter grade.
  • The last day of classes, May 12, 2020, is also the last day to drop a course.
  • A note will be included on student transcripts indicating the unusual circumstances prevailing in spring 2020.