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The purpose of the Pass/Fail option is to encourage students to be venturesome in the choice of their courses. Any undergraduate shall be eligible to exercise a Pass/Fail option in one course each term. Winter and each summer session count as individual terms. Students electing courses offered on a mandatory Pass/Fail basis (e.g., UMASS 298Y) shall also be allowed to take one additional, normally graded course that semester on a Pass/Fail basis. 

A. Pass/Fail Limits

  1. Students should not elect the Pass/Fail option for courses that they wish to count toward their General Education requirements. Courses taken on a pass/fail basis will not satisfy General Education, regardless of whether a P (Pass) grade or a letter grade is earned. If a student took a course on a pass/fail basis and wishes to count the course toward a General Education requirement, the student must revoke the pass/fail option through the Registrar’s Office prior to graduation. 
  2. The University's writing requirements may not be elected Pass/Fail. 
  3. Some majors prohibit using the Pass/Fail option to fulfill their requirements. 
  4. Students wishing to exercise the Pass/Fail option must do so by the W Drop date. 

B. Recording the Pass/Fail Option

When students choose to take a course with the Pass/Fail option, the instructor will not be informed. At the end of the semester the instructor will turn in the letter grade earned. If the grade is F, it is factored into the GPA. If the student receives a passing grade, an initial computation of the cumulative average will be made. This average will include all graded courses from prior semesters as well as graded courses from the current semester. If the course elected Pass/Fail during the current semester carries a grade higher than the initially computed cumulative average, the reported grade will be recorded and the cumulative average recomputed; otherwise the P or F will be recorded. (A grade of P is not assigned any quality points and does not enter into the computation of the cumulative average; the grade of F is always assigned 0.0 quality points and is used in computing the cumulative average.) A student may opt for the grade, even if it lowers his or her cumulative average, or a student may opt for a pass, even after the Registrar has changed a pass to a grade because it raised the student's average. Students may request this change in SPIRE. Once the student is graduated, no further changes can be made to the transcript. 

Special adjustments to Elective Pass/Fail grading in Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021: 

Adjustment to Elective Pass/Fail grading in Spring 2020 

Adjustment to Elective Pass/Fail grading in Fall 2020 

Adjustment to Elective Pass/Fail grading in Spring 2021

Source: Academic Regulations