Guidance and FAQ

Spring 2020 Pass/No Credit Option for Rutgers–New Brunswick Students

Read the full policy online.

We greatly appreciate the outstanding flexibility you have demonstrated in response to this COVID-19 crisis. Your commitment to your undergraduate studies has been exemplary. Your feedback has been extremely valuable as we have tried to implement policies and practices that would cause the least disruption to your lives. However, we also recognize that these are extraordinary times, and we very much understand the anxiety that the move to remote instruction may be causing you as a student. And, we understand that you are dealing with multiple issues right now related to the measures put in place as a result of COVID-19 and the impact those measures have on you and your household.

We urge you to postpone making decisions about whether to request the P/NC option. Over the next weeks, the university will be developing new policies in light of the new challenges presented by measures being taken to contain the COVID-19 virus. Our goal is to support you as much as possible. In addition, your instructors have been explaining how they intend to proceed for the semester, giving you a better idea of your own comfort in adapting to this new situation. Instructors themselves will also be learning what works and what things they need to do to further adapt. Please give them a chance. Our advisors would also like the opportunity to help you make the best decisions for you. Please review these FAQs and engage with your classes over the next several weeks before you make the decision to choose the P/NC option which will remain open to you for a week after grades are posted, through May 22, 2020. 

Right now, everything has unfolded so quickly that many of us are feeling very uncertain and overwhelmed. However, as we all make this adjustment and find ourselves greatly limited in our activities outside the home, the opportunity to stay connected to your studies and the university may provide a comfort. 

Please know that students across the country are now facing disruptions in their college experience and there will continue to be wide awareness among employers and graduate admissions committees that spring 2020 was not business as usual. 

We are deeply sorry for the impact this is having on your Rutgers experience. 

Information for students at Rutgers–Camden and Rutgers–Newark can be found at these links. Students enrolled in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy or the School of Nursing should consult with advisors there regarding what options are open to you consistent with accreditation requirements. 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Should I request the Pass/No Credit option this semester?

We are offering this option to provide you with academic support and ease potential academic challenges that may come with remote learning coupled with the uncertainties you face in other areas of your lives. But, we urge you to consider other alternatives that will better enable you to stay on track during these unprecedented times. Please avail yourself of all academic support services, including those within your department or school and those offered remotely by the Learning Centers. Reach out to your professors to talk about the issues you are having. Discuss with them the possibility of making up work, acquiring additional time for assignments, and as a last resort requesting a Temporary Grade that will permit you to complete your coursework during the summer of 2020. Please note that the final decisions with respect to each of these remedies lies with the individual professors, but we urge you to communicate with your professors about any distress you are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

You will be able to request the P/NC conversion be applied in courses in which you have arranged with the professor to receive a T grade. Once the professor submits the final letter grade, the registrar will make the conversion that you have requested.

How do grades convert in a Pass/No Credit option?

A grade of C or better (C, C+, B, B+, A) converts to a Pass (P) grade. Grades of D and F convert to No Credit (NC).

How will P/NC grades impact my GPA?

Courses with a P/NC grade are not calculated as part of your GPA. In other words, P/NC grades will not raise or lower your term or cumulative GPA. 

Will I have a semester GPA if I take P/NC grades?

It depends. P/NC classes do not affect GPA. If you choose the P/NC Conversion for some of your classes, your term GPA will be based only on your grades earned in classes that are not converted to P/NC. If you elect the P/NC Conversion for all of your spring courses, you will not have a Spring 2020 term average and your Cumulative GPA will not change from where it is now.

Who can apply for P/NC grades through this Policy?

The policy applies to undergraduate students in all Rutgers–New Brunswick schools, disciplines, units, and departments under the Rutgers–New Brunswick Chancellor, if their transcripts are issued from Rutgers University. (Undergraduates enrolled in Rutgers courses or programs through other institutions should consult with the home institution for their policy.) If you are a student at Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy or the School of Nursing, you should consult with advisors there regarding what options are open to you consistent with accreditation requirements.

Who do I contact to get further advising and request P/NC grades?

If you are considering requesting P/NC grades, consult with an academic advisor in your school. Academic advisors can help address your individual circumstances and any consequences of having grades converted to P/NC. A form requesting the P/NC policy will be available in a few weeks. 

If you are a student at Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy or the School of Nursing, you should consult with advisors there regarding what options are open to you consistent with accreditation requirements. 

Transfer students who entered directly into the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy or the School of Management and Labor Relations should contact the advising offices. 

How many of my classes can I convert to P/NC?

You can choose any or all of your courses to be converted to Pass/No Credit. This option should be evaluated carefully, and you should consult with academic advisors in your school to understand the full impact of your decision.

What is the deadline for requesting P/NC grades?

Applications are due before midnight on Friday, May 22, 2020.

What if I change my mind? Can I change back to a letter grade later?

If you choose to convert to the P/NC option and submit the online application, that is final. Please speak with your advisor before submitting the request. If you have questions or concerns about your decision, speak with your academic advisors.

Satisfying Requirements and Prerequisites

Will a Pass in a course count toward the degree credits I need to graduate?

If the course regularly confers degree credit, then grades of P will also confer degree credit. E-prefix courses do not confer degree credit, regardless of the grade earned.

Will a Pass in a course count toward completing the Core Curriculum?

Yes, a P means you earned a C or better, so for the spring 2020 semester it will count for Core courses. If you earned a D and apply to have it changed to a NC, it will not count toward the Core. It will be better for you to keep the D grade.

Will a Pass in a course count toward completing major, minor or certificate requirements?

If the major, minor, or certificate programs require that you earn a C or better, for the spring 2020 semester, P grades will meet that requirement. NC grades will not meet that requirement. 

If you are a student at Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy or the School of Nursing, you should consult with advisors there regarding what options are open to you consistent with accreditation requirements. 

What if I earn a No Credit in a prerequisite course?

If you choose the P/NC option in a course in which you earn a D, that grade of D will be converted to No Credit (NC) which will not meet prerequisite requirements. Hence, if you earned a D and you want to use the course to meet prerequisite requirements, you should not choose the P/NC option. Please be aware that some courses require grades higher than a D to meet prerequisite requirements and those courses will still require a P or the letter grade indicated by the department.

What if I opt to have a P grade recorded in a prerequisite course?

A Grade of P will meet the grade standard for all prerequisites taken in Spring 2020, even for courses where a minimum grade of B is otherwise required to meet the threshold for the next level of courses.

What if I am repeating a course that I got a D or F in?

You may convert a course to P/NC even if you are using it for the Repeated Course policy. For students who elect to switch to P/NC in a course that they are repeating to replace a previously earned D or F, the original D or F will be removed from your GPA calculation and, as with all P/NC grades, the P or NC will not impact your GPA. If this is a prerequisite course, please see “What if I earn a NC in a Prerequisite Course?”

Special Issues with the D Grade

Should I convert a grade of D to No Credit?

Grades of D are passing grades that confer degree credits and count for Core requirements. In certain cases, grades of D may satisfy major, minor and certificate program requirements. However, if the D is converted under the P/NC option, it becomes a No Credit and will NOT count for degree credits or for Core, major, minor or certificate requirements. If you are considering converting a grade of D to NC under this policy, it is critical for you to discuss your options with an advisor.

I’m a graduating senior. How does the P/NC option affect me?

Graduating seniors who need the credit to graduate are almost always better off accepting the grade of D in order to earn the credit, rather than extending their graduation date to retake classes unnecessarily, unless a grade of C or higher is absolutely required for your major or minor program. 

Should I tell my professors if I am requesting P/NC grades in their classes?

You do not have to discuss the P/NC grade conversion with your professors. This is a confidential option. Faculty are required to issue regular letter grades for all students, even those who have opted for the P/NC conversion. The university registrar will convert letter grades to P/NC on the transcripts of students who have requested this conversion, but the university will maintain a confidential record of the actual letter grades. 

Scholarship, Financial Aid, and Academic Standing Issues

How will the P/NC option impact my scholarship eligibility?

Courses with a P/NC grade are not calculated as part of your GPA. In other words, P/NC grades will not raise or lower your term or cumulative GPA. Generally, it is not a good idea to invoke the P/NC option for any course in which the letter grade would raise your cumulative GPA. For more guidance, please contact the scholarship coordinator at your school or contact the Office of Financial Aid directly. 

How will the P/NC option impact financial aid? 

Need-based financial aid requires students to meet official Standards of Academic Progress which are determined by the percent of credits attempted that are completed and the resulting GPA which increases as the number of attempted credits increases. NC grades count as credits attempted but not completed whereas D grades count as credits completed. Courses with a P/NC grade are not calculated as part of your GPA. In other words, P/NC grades will not raise or lower your term or cumulative GPA, but P grades will count as credits completed and may then push you into a category requiring a minimum GPA of 2.0 earned at Rutgers. This may be of particular concern for transfer students who already have a lot of earned credits not included in their Rutgers GPA calculation. Generally, it is not a good idea to invoke the P/NC option for any course in which the letter grade would raise your cumulative GPA. 

How will the P/NC option versus withdrawing impact financial aid? 

It depends on your specific situation. NC and W grades will have the same impact on Standards of Progress: they represent credits attempted that have not been earned. You should consult with the Office of Financial Aid or an academic advisor in your school to discuss your individual circumstances. 

What happens if I am following an Academic Plan for Financial Aid Standards of Academic Progress and want P/NC grades, but I need letter grades to raise my GPA? 

If you are receiving financial aid, you should speak with the Office of Financial Aid or an academic advisor in your school to determine how a grade conversion might affect your financial aid eligibility. If you need to submit an Appeal to Financial Aid or if you are currently following an Academic Plan, you are strongly advised NOT to apply for Grade Conversion until after you receive your review. 

What if I need to raise my GPA for Academic Standing problems, but I want P/NC grades? 

You should discuss the impact of your grades and the P/NC policy on your academic standing with an advisor in your school prior to opting for the conversion option. Each situation is unique, and your advisor will be able to help you understand the potential impact on your academic status. 

Military-Affiliated Students 

What if I am called to active military duty?

Students deployed as part of the National Guard or Reservists called to Active Duty are protected by the university’s policy on military leave. For protection under the university policy, you will need to provide your school with a copy of your orders. After that, depending upon the date of your activation, you will have a number of choices about how you wish to complete your semester or perhaps cancel your semester altogether. Please do not delay in contacting your dean if you have been activated, since your professors also need to be notified immediately if you wish accommodations for completing your semester. Rutgers Veteran Services has posted the university policy online. You may also wish to consult Rutgers Veteran Services for further advice and assistance. 

Will opting for P/NC impact my Veteran’s Benefits?

Please consult Rutgers Veteran Services for further advice and assistance.

How will the P/NC option affect me as an ROTC student?

You will need to contact your Unit directly.

International Students 

I am an international student. Will P/NC grades impact my visa status?

No, as long as you remain enrolled full-time and make normal progress (as determined by the university), your legal/visa status will remain intact. Please visit the Rutgers Global International Student and Scholar Services and its COVID-19 webpage for the most current information. We urge you to contact the Rutgers Global International Student Office for detailed information about your visa status. 

Honors 

Will my Honors status be affected by P/NC grades?

Honors College students should please reach out to honorscollege@echo.rutgers.edu to discuss the impact on their status. Students participating in school-based honors programs should reach out to their program directly. 

How will P/NC grades impact my ability to graduate with Honors?

Courses with a P/NC grade are not calculated as part of your GPA. In other words, P/NC grades will not raise or lower your term or cumulative GPA. Generally, it is not a good idea to invoke the P/NC option for any course in which the letter grade would raise your cumulative GPA. 

Graduate and Professional School Applications 

What if the course is required for graduate work or post-RU plans (e.g., pre-med requirement or prerequisite for a graduate program)?

You are encouraged to consider the implication of a semester with only P/ NC grades for future applications to postgraduate programs. If you opt for the P/NC option, your transcript will have a notation for Spring 2020 stating that you invoked the options Rutgers made available for students adversely impacted by COVID-19; thus, we are confident that most graduate and professional programs will defer to the transcript notation or ask for a brief explanation. 

Even in normal times, graduate and professional schools do not calculate P/NC grades into GPA considerations, so there is no net impact on GPA. This is true even for medical school applicants (PDF) and law school applicants. However, many graduate and professional schools may want to see the actual grades earned for courses that are specifically required for their programs, such as the pre-med requirements and courses in the same subject as the graduate program. You should talk to an advisor if you are considering taking multiple P/NC grades in a subject related to your graduate/professional school plans to discuss any possible impact on your application. 

On the other hand, this is impacting students at nearly every college and university across the country and spring semester 2020 will always be remembered as one in which all college students suffered significant disruption impacting their academic performance. 

If you are undecided about whether P/NC is the best option for you, please discuss this with the academic advisors in your school.