College Center for Advising Services

S/F Option

NOTE: This option is available only to matriculated undergraduate students (i.e. degree candidates) in the College, and only during the academic year.

A. Policy

If a student wishes to do so, he or she may take a course in such a way that the only grade appearing on the transcript will be either an S (Satisfactory) or an F (Fail).  (See Pass/Fail Grading System) While neither of these grades will affect the student’s cumulative average, the credit earned for the course will count toward graduation. The instructor will assign a grade in the usual way, and this grade will then be converted to an S (if the student receives a grade of A through D-) or an F (if the student receives an E). No credit will be earned in the case of a grade of F.

The purpose of the S/F option is to enable students to enrich their education by taking challenging courses in areas where they lack confidence in their ability or wish to participate in a course for enjoyment without concern about a grade.

The Satisfactory/Fail option is subject to the following conditions:

  1. S/F may not be used by students in the College for courses required to meet major, cluster or college foundation requirements, or requirements for a minor. In other words, a student may choose to S/F any course, but after doing so that course may no longer be used toward major, minor, or cluster requirements.  Please note: S/F may not be used  for applied music courses, or courses used for most certificate programs. 
  2. Only one course (or four credit hours) per semester may be elected S/F. (A student may elect one S/F course and also carry a course having a mandatory P/F grade.)  The policy does permit students to declare the S/F option for two two-credit courses in the same semester.  Additionally, the S/F option can be elected for a course carrying five or six credits.
  3. When repeating a course under the S/F option, the prior grade will be removed from the GPA only if an S is earned. Additionally, students who earn an S in a course, may repeat that course only if the grade under the S is below C.
  4. The S/F option is not available in the summer.
  5. Once notified of charges of academic dishonesty, a student may not declare the S/F option.  The Board on Academic Honesty may revoke a previously declared S/F as part of a penalty imposed through the established hearing procedure, or in an Academic Dishonesty Short Form Incident Case.
  6. Once declared, the S/F option may not be changed or removed by the student except in the case of a change in major or minor, for cluster or foundation requirements.  (See paragraphs C and D.)
  7. The S/F option may be declared for an independent study project.
  8. Undergraduates may chose to declare the S/F option for graduate-level courses.
  9. Beginning with courses taken in Fall 2014 and later, students who declared the S/F option for a course, will receive permission to repeat the course only if the grade under the "S" is below C. See also Repeating Courses.

B. Declaration

All students declare the option before the end of the eleventh week of classes using the online form, except for first-semester freshmen and transfer students in their first semester, who may declare the option through the end of the thirteenth week.

NOTE: This deadline (end of the eleventh week) is the same as the deadline to withdraw from a course. The faculty encourages students who may be disappointed by their anticipated grades to consider the use of the S/F option rather than withdrawal.

NOTE: Many health professions programs require that students report normal letter grades for all courses used to satisfy pre-requisites for admission. For this reason, it is important for students preparing for graduate study in the health professions to discuss their plans with a health professions adviser before making a final decision.

C. Recording and Changing a Satisfactory/Fail Grade

Instructors turn in regular letter grades for all students. The Registrar records only an “S” or an “F” on the student’s record and keeps on file the letter grades as reported. Students who have taken a course Satisfactory/Fail but later find this course a requirement for their major or minor may have the grade converted. The student should submit a revised form including the S/F course (signed and accepted by the department) to the Center for Advising Services, and attach a petition asking for conversion of the grade.  Students who need a course to meet a cluster requirement may ask that the S/F be removed in the senior year. Consent of the Administrative Committee is required in all other cases for a student to declare or remove the S/F option after the deadline set by the faculty. (See Petitions)

D. Release of S/F Grades

The grade reported by an instructor for a declared S/F course is generally not released to another undergraduate or graduate school, unless the student asks for its release. In some cases, graduate schools will require that students release these grades when they apply. To do so, a student submits a petition to the Administrative Committee.

Seniors in the College may write to the Administrative Committee requesting that all courses taken on the S/F option be converted on the transcript to the actual letter grades reported. Such requests are routinely approved. The Administrative Committee is unlikely to approve a request for selective changes of S/F course grades.

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