This document explains the purpose of pass/fail and what grade will be recorded for L&S undergraduate students if they opt to take a course for pass/fail and how it impacts a student's GPA. The following campus-wide pass/fail policy went into effect for all UW-Madison undergraduate students as of fall 2015.
At the end of spring 2021 term, students may choose to convert their letter grade in any course to one or two new grades that have been created: SD (Satisfactory-Disruption) and UD (University Disruption - No Credit). For more detailed information, please refer to disruption grading option. For examples of SD/UD in DARS audits, please see FAQ Info for SD/UD Grades for Advising.
**For instructions on how to select the special COVID-19 SD/UD grade for the spring 2020 term, please refer to student center-disruption SD/UD grading.
Students who declared the pass/fail option for spring 2021 should have received an email from the Registrar's Office letting them know that the Office of the Registrar will be changing the class(es) that they were previously approved to take using the traditional pass/fail option back to the A-F grading scale.
Students indicate that they would like to have a course they are enrolled in graded on a pass/fail basis by making the request in their Student Center (MyUW). Detailed information can be found at student center - course change request. Students may submit pass/fail requests via their Student Center from the time that they enroll until midnight on the Friday at the end of the fourth week of fall and spring semesters. (For modular and summer session courses, pass/fail requests must be submitted by midnight Friday of the week in which the session is one-fourth completed.)
The deadline for requesting the pass/fail grading option is posted on the Office of the Registrar website. These deadlines are based on the idea that the pass/fail option is intended to encourage students to explore educational opportunities that they might otherwise not be willing to attempt. Pass/fail is not intended as a way for students to avoid academic consequences.
Once the student has submitted their request to take a course on a pass/fail basis the request is routed via SIS workflow to an academic dean in their school or college for approval or further communication with the student. The school/college official must approve the request before the grading option is changed to pass/fail by the Office of the Registrar.
Students can see whether a course is being graded on a pass/fail basis in their Student Center.
This proposed common pass/fail policy only applies to degree-seeking students who are in the undergraduate (UGRD) career. It only applies to courses that use the default A-F grading scale (GRD) and that also allow students to choose to take a course on a pass/fail (PF) basis.
The pass/fail deadline for the College of Letters & Science undergraduate students enrolled in a modular course or during the summer term/session is the end of the one-quarter of the session, extended to the following Friday. Specific information about these deadlines can be found at session dates. The following rules apply to L&S undergraduate students enrolled in a summer session on the UW-Madison campus:
Prior to the pass/fail deadline, a student may cancel pass/fail registration and take the course on a regular graded basis.
**Students cannot cancel a pass/fail request after the deadline if they need the course (or courses) to fulfill a major or degree requirement at a later date. It is a student's responsibility to work with his/her undergraduate advisor to determine whether or not s/he can take a course on a pass/fail basis.
Currently each undergraduate school or college has a pass/fail policy. These policies are very similar, but they have slight differences in areas such as limiting the amount of time students can elect pass/fail based on credits versus courses or stating that a student must be in good academic standing versus citing a GPA. These differences often cause confusion among students who may be aware of a policy that actually pertains to students in a school/college other than their own; students may experience problems when they make decisions that are based on the wrong policy. Although there are minor differences among the schools/colleges the various policies all have very similar requirements and similar intended outcomes. Creating a policy that applies to all undergraduates regardless of school or college is in the best interest of students.
Detailed information regarding the UW-Madison pass/fail policy can be found at policy on the use of pass/fail grading option for undergraduates.
More detailed information can be found at what does it mean to take a course pass/fail.
Pass/Fail cannot be declared or used to fulfill the following requirements:
School or College Responsibilities
Students are affiliated with a school or college based on their intended degree program. Students are subject to that school/college's specific implementation of the policy with regard to the definition of good academic standing and what is considered an elective course.
Each school or college is responsible for clearly communicating to its students what the definition of "good academic standing" is and what a free elective is for their students.
In each school or college, the office responsible for academic policy exceptions is authorized to make exceptions to the pass/fail policy.
Resources for Questions:
L&S Academic Advising Services: (608) 262-5858, firstname.lastname@example.org
L&S Student Academic Affairs: (608) 262-0617, email@example.com
Spring Semester, 2020
A. General Policy of Converting to SD/UD
Students have, from Saturday, May 9th to Friday, May 22nd, selection of the COVID-19 grading option in their Student Center. Once final grades are posted in the Student Center, all eligible students can follow the step-by-step guide if they wish to convert their grades to SD/UD. See https://kb.wisc.edu/registrar/101311 .
Students' decisions are intended to be final once they select this option. We recommend that students see all their grades before making their decision.
Students who discovered that they selected the SD/UD option by mistake during the May 9-22 period should do the following:
a. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating that you have changed your mind.
b. The Registrar's Office will send you a Qualtrics form to fill out. The form should be returned immediately.
c. Once the form is submitted, the change will be made without question.
B. General Policy for Study abroad students
Students studying abroad through a program sponsored by UW International Academic Programs will be able to select the SD/UD grading option even if their grades come in after May 22nd. The student should refer to the following URL for more information: https://studyabroad.wisc.edu/covid-19-faq/.
The UW-Madison policy regarding the spring 2020 SD/UD disruption grade option can be found at Covid-19 Disruption Grading Option of Spring 2020 which went into effect on 26 March 2020. This document was approved by Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John Karl Scholz.