UCSD One of Two UC to Not allow P/NP Option for Major Requirements

UC San Diego, along with UC Santa Barbara, remains as one of the few UC campuses not altering any of the Pass/No Pass grading policies for students. Although many universities have made exceptions to their standard grading policies to accommodate students’ different living conditions and remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, UCSD remains firm with their standard policies.

In March 2020, the UCSD Academic Senate issued a campuswide notice allowing departments, programs, and colleges to allow students to take major, minor, or general education requirement courses with the P/NP grading option for the Spring Quarter 2020. 

However, for Fall Quarter 2020, UCSD maintains the 25 percent limit on P/NP courses, as well as standard deadlines for changing grading options, dropping classes, and withdrawing from the quarter.  

In a statement provided to The UCSD Guardian, the Academic Senate referred to a statement from Steven Constable, Chair of the San Diego Divisional Academic Senate.

“At UCSD, the decision to accept a P/NP grade for a major requirement is left to Departments, which are best situated to assess whether this is in the best interests of the students for their particular majors,” Constable said.

The statement further explained why the Academic Senate believes Spring Quarter had different circumstances than Fall Quarter. 

“The Spring 2020 exceptions for the 25 percent P/NP limit and the extension of the deadline to select P/NP options were intended to reduce the stress on students who were suddenly confronted with the new requirement to take remote classes they had already enrolled in,” Constable said.
“By Fall 2020, it was expected that students would be aware of the ramifications of remote instruction, and in some circumstances would be able to take some in-person classes. This, coupled with the fact that there are considerable unintended consequences for some students who take too many P/NP classes (loss of student aid, accreditation issues, etc.), the Academic Senate chose to allow the status quo to stand.”

However, while lockdowns and nationwide restrictions have been continuing for many months, the effects of the pandemic continue to loom heavily as the U.S. saw record-breaking numbers COVID-19 cases this week in addition to the rising tensions of the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. 

Warren College sophomore Leonardo Gonzalez expressed his thoughts on the different conditions affecting students.

“It’s been a tough time right now, there’s so much to wrap your mind around,” Gonzalez said. “There’s the elections, protests, and many of us have obligations outside of school, like taking care of family, work. This is not a good time to increase homework, it’s a time to help out students because we’re not in regular times. It’s best to go easier on us. That could happen if we had P/NP and decreased the workload.”

The following are the different Fall 2020 grading policies across the UC campuses:

UC Berkeley announced on Nov. 5 that the College of Letters and Science will allow their students to use courses taken as P/NP for major/minor requirements, major prerequisites, and college-level course requirements for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. The Associated Students of the University of California of Academic Affairs also stated that they will be working to implement P/NP policies with other UCB colleges. This comes after a recent student petition demanding a P/NP grading option for all classes garnered more than 5,000 signatures. 

UCLA has allowed departments to accept P/NP courses toward major and minor requirements. Undergraduate students in good standing may enroll in one P/NP course while a student in good standing who has not elected the P/NP option in a preceding term may take two P/NP courses.

UC Irvine is not counting P/NP courses for the 12-unit overall graduation cap. UCI is also encouraging deans and departments to allow P/NP courses to fulfill school and major requirements. They are allowing students to change their grading option to P/NP through Nov. 25, the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. Additionally, students on academic probation may also enroll in courses with the P/NP option. 

UC Davis is exempting all P/NP Fall Quarter units from the overall P/NP units caps. However, these grading amendments do not override additional college or major limitations on the use of P/NP courses for degree requirements. UCD has also extended the deadline for selecting P/NP grading for courses to Dec. 11.  

All UC Merced undergraduate programs have agreed to accept P/NP grades. 

UC Santa Barbara has returned to regular divisional rules and will not be allowing any of the extended P/NP policies from Spring Quarter 2020. 

UC Riverside will give students until the end of Week 8 to change their grading options from a letter grade to S/NC, although not all courses will offer S/NC grading. Additionally, courses taken for an S/NC grade during Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 will not count toward the 1/3 overall limit. 

 UC Santa Cruz students may change their grading option to P/NP up to Week 9 of instructions, although there are some classes that only offer letter grades. 

The last day to have changed grading options for UCSD students was Oct. 30. The deadline to drop a class with a ‘W’ will be Nov. 13. 

This article was updated on November 6, 2020 to reflect UC Berkeley’s change in P/NP policy. There are now only two UCs who will not allow P/NP, to some extent, for major requirements.

Artwork courtesy of Angela Liang for The UCSD Guardian.

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