Pass/no pass options for GEs and electives in fall 2020

Grading policy changes for autumn 2020

Ohio State has implemented a number of adjustments for autumn 2020 that offer additional academic flexibility to students.  

Undergraduate grading

Undergraduate students may opt in for Pass/No Pass grading for General Education and elective courses, and several colleges have extended this option for required courses in majors and minors. In November, Senate waived the grade-point requirement for autumn 2020.

Undergraduate deadlines

Deadlines to request Pass/No Pass grading or to withdraw from a course have been extended to Nov. 20 for semester-long and second session courses and to Oct. 2 for first session courses.

Graduate accommodations

The Graduate School has identified four strategies to alleviate hardships that impact students' grades by providing extended deadlines on course withdrawals, information on using an incomplete to finish work at a later date, and two options instructors can initiate to change the grading scale of a course to S/U due to specific circumstances.  Read more 


Pass/No Pass for GEs and electives

For autumn 2020 semester only, undergraduate students may opt in for Pass/No Pass grading instead of a traditional letter grade for General Education and elective courses. (Read the provost's announcement.) University Senate approved these options on Sept. 17, 2020. 

Any student who is interested in utilizing the Pass/No Pass option should consult with their academic advisor, and students who have a cumulative GPA of less than 2.0 are required to consult with their advisor. Pass/No Pass is not appropriate in all cases, and advisers will be able to provide guidance for students who may need to earn certain grades to maintain scholarships or to successfully apply for graduate or professional school.

For students who opt in to Pass/No Pass grading for General Education and elective courses:

  • A grade of D or better will be marked as “Pass”; grades below D are marked as “No Pass.”
  • Pass/No Pass classes provide credits toward graduation, but they do not factor into a student’s grade-point average.
  • The deadline to request Pass/No Pass grading is Nov. 20, 2020, for semester-long or second session courses. Requests for first session courses are due Oct. 2, 2020.
  • Courses taken Pass/No Pass during autumn 2020 semester would count toward the limit of 20 credit hours (exclusive of credit hours earned under the Pass/No Pass option in spring 2020) that each student may take Pass/No Pass during their undergraduate career.

Pass/No Pass in majors and minors

For undergraduate courses that are required as part of a major, minor or program, the Senate voted to permit colleges and schools to consider Pass/No Pass options.

The following chart outlines whether colleges have decided to extend Pass/No Pass options for required courses in their majors and minors. Please note the criteria in these courses for a “Pass” grade may differ from the GE/electives standard. Students interested in PA/NP should read the detailed explanations of the options in their program(s) and consult with their academic advisor. Prerequisite information can be found on the college websites, as programs vary in whether or not they will accept courses that are graded Pass/No Pass. Please note that ROTC courses (in Air Science, Military Science and Naval Science) cannot be taken Pass/No Pass.

College Availability of PA/NP in major/minor Details
Arts and Sciences Yes (D = pass) More information
Business No More information
Dentistry No More information
Education and Human Ecology Yes, with exceptions (D = pass) More information
Engineering Allowed only in Architecture (D = pass) Architecture info, Engineering info
Food, Ag., Env. Sciences No, with a few exceptions FAES, ENR, ATI info
Medicine (HRS) No More information
Nursing No More information
Pharmacy Yes (D = pass) More information
Public Affairs (John Glenn) Yes (C-minus = pass) More information
Public Health No More information
Social Work Yes (C = pass) More information

How to request Pass/No Pass

Please consult with your academic advisor before requesting Pass/No Pass grading. Note that Pass/No Pass is not appropriate for all circumstances. For example, some scholarships, financial aid and graduate programs require students to earn certain grades for particular coursework.

Students may request Pass/No Pass grading using the online form.

Undergraduate Student FAQs


Pass/No Pass

If you elect to take a course PA/NP, your final grade will be recorded as a Pass (PA) or No Pass (NP), rather than a regular letter grade. PA/NP grades are not incorporated into the GPA, so they cannot raise or lower your GPA.

The threshold for Pass is a D for GE or elective courses. The threshold may be higher for courses being applied to a major, minor or certificate. Please discuss these considerations with your advisor and check the information posted by your college.

If you elect for Pass/No Pass grading, you will still be expected to attend and participate in the course and adhere to course guidelines and rules. A grade of Pass means that you have satisfied the stated objectives of the course, which generally require regular participation and engagement with the material. Failure to attend class or to attempt assignments may result in a grade of NP.

No. This is an option you can use for eligible courses, but it is not required. Work with your advisor to make the best decision for your circumstances. 

That’s a decision you can make after talking with your academic advisor. If you’re considering signing up for Pass/No Pass (PA/NP) for any Autumn 2020 courses, please keep in mind:

  • You must consult with an advisor to submit a request to take a course as PA/NP. You can take General Education (GE) and free elective courses PA/NP. The availability and specific guidelines for PA/NP grading for courses applied to a major, minor or certificate varies among colleges. Please talk with your major advisor about your specific program. 
  • If you are interested in a major with a competitive admissions process, be aware that you may need a minimum GPA and minimum number of graded credits to apply. Check with college admissions websites for details.
  • Graduate and professional schools may differ in their acceptance and interpretation of courses taken PA/NP.
  • If you elect for a course to be graded PA/NP, the grade scheme cannot be converted back to letter grading.
  • Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) cannot be converted to PA/NP because S/U applies to the entire course and all students in it whereas PA/NP is a student-elected option within a course. 
  • You can utilize the PA/NP option only if your Ohio State cumulative GPA is a 2.0 or higher or if you are new to Ohio State and do not yet have an Ohio State GPA.
  • You are limited to 20 hours of PA/NP grades which can be used towards a degree. Courses taken PA/NP during Spring 2020 are excluded from this 20-hour limit.

No. Once you have converted your final course grade scheme to PA/NP, it cannot be switched back to standard letter grading. Likewise, if you do not submit a request before the deadline, your final grade cannot be changed from a letter grade into a PA or NP.

A Pass/No Pass (PA/NP) grade cannot raise or lower your GPA. These courses do not count as “graded hours” for majors that require a specific number of graded credits for admission. Some programs and graduate programs require a minimum grade in key courses for admission, and it is unclear how PA/NP grades will be viewed by graduate and professional programs. Consultation with advising should help identify key issues.

No. This is an option you can use for eligible courses, but it is not required. Work with your advisor to make the best decision for your circumstances.

Some colleges are planning to accept PA/NP course work into majors or minors. Those that are not have been encouraged to be flexible about the re-application for courses taken PA/NP. If the program will not accept this credit, you are encouraged to appeal the decision.

No. In November 2020, University Senate waived the traditional 2.0 minimum GPA requirement to take classes Pass/No Pass. If you are new to Ohio State and have not yet established a GPA, you may take PA/NP courses in Autumn 2020.  

Yes. No more than 20 hours of PA/NP grades can be used towards an undergraduate degree. (This rule was not applied to Spring 2020 courses.)

For Autumn 2020, PA/NP cannot be used for courses being retaken for Grade Forgiveness. (This rule was not applied in Spring 2020.)

It depends. If your GPA is above a 2.0 and you are on academic probation, you are eligible to take a course Pass/No Pass. You are ineligible to take courses PA/NP if your GPA is below a 2.0. If you are new to Ohio State and haven’t yet established a GPA, you may take courses PA/NP. 

Courses taken PA/NP do not increase your GPA. They also do not count in the calculation of deficiency points. Please talk with your academic advisor about your circumstances.

PA/NP courses count toward attempted and successfully/unsuccessfully completed courses. Receiving a grade of PA is considered making progress. PA/NP grades do not have an impact on GPA. The same GPA standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress apply.

If you have questions related to Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, please contact Buckeye Link (614-292-0300 or

For Autumn 2020, Latin Honors revert to the normal rules, and Dean’s List continues to follow the normal rules.

  • If you are registered for 12 or more credits with at least 9 regular, graded hours and a 3.5 term GPA, you will be eligible for the Dean’s List, as in all semesters since Spring 2019.
  • Autumn 2020 courses taken PA/NP will not be counted towards the 60 Ohio State hours required to earn Latin Honors (cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude). There was an exception in spring 2020 allowing courses taken PA/NP that semester to be counted. That exception no longer applies. 

Withdrawals and Incompletes

You should talk with your advisor and the instructor of your courses about these options. To make an informed choice, you should know your grade, the number of assignments remaining and how those assignments will be met. Your advisor can help you request a W or PA/NP grading, and the instructor can help you take an I.

If you withdraw from a required course, you will need to enroll and complete that course at some other time. If this course is a prerequisite for other courses, you will not be able to complete those courses until you have successfully completed that prerequisite. This may impact your time to degree and could affect financial aid.

No. Additionally, if you receive financial aid, withdrawing to below 12 credits may have consequences for your eligibility. Please talk with your advisor and with Buckeye Link (614-292-0300 or to understand how this might impact you.