Academic Procedures

Satisfactory-Fail Option

Undergraduate students in the College are encouraged to venture outside areas of their major, investigate new disciplines, and discover new, perhaps unsuspected, interests. The satisfactory-fail option may reduce anxiety about electing a course in an area in which the student has had little or no prior experience.

Matriculated undergraduate students in the College may elect to take one course per semester up to a maximum of eight courses and receive grades of Satisfactory (S) or Fail (F). The grades “S” and “F” do not affect the cumulative grade point average. They may not elect this option for courses used to fulfill College, major, minor, or cluster requirements.

Instructors assign and submit regular letter grades for students choosing this option, as they are not informed which students have elected the option. The registrar records “S” for letter grades “A” through “D–” or “F” for the letter grade “E” on the students' permanent record, retaining the letter grades “A” through “E” on file. Students who are interested in conveying maximum information on the transcript to professional and graduate schools should speak to an advisor prior to electing the option.

Students may declare the option by using the online form, or in the College Center for Advising Services, through the 11th week of classes (the same deadline as for withdrawing from courses), and except for first-semester freshmen and transfer students in their first semester who may change or declare the option through the 13th week of the semester, the option may not be changed. The option is not available in summer. 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.

Students planning degrees from the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences should note that courses taken with the satisfactory-fail option may not be used to fulfill department requirements or cluster courses. These courses may be used to fulfill additional humanities or social sciences requirements or for free electives for an engineering degree. Otherwise, only courses taken beyond those required for a degree may be taken with the option.

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