UMSU: University Pass/Fail Grading Option Approved


Dear Students,

This afternoon the University’s Senate Executive passed a motion to adopt a pass/fail option for students for Winter 2020 term. This decision comes as welcome news as it has been one of many advocacy priorities for UMSU and students in recent weeks.

With this change, all students, except those enrolled in the Faculty of Law, will be able to choose whether or not to receive a ‘pass’ grade instead of a letter grade for Winter term or spanned courses ending in April 2020, provided the students received a ‘D’ or higher. Credit will be granted for courses for which a ‘pass’ grade is granted.

Students may choose to be graded in accordance with a ‘pass’ categorization for any course completed in the Winter 2020 term (including spanned courses which began in September 2019). This ‘pass’ designation would appear on the transcript with a notation indicating the student made this selection due to the difficult learning situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the event a student exercises this choice, no letter grade will be retained or associated with the student’s performance in the course. A ‘pass’ grade will, therefore, have no letter grade equivalent. It is CRUCIAL that if students require a certain grade to continue to progress in their courses they DO NOT select the pass/fail option. They still may expunge that grade for the purposes of their CGPA, DGPA and for purposes of scholarships if they wish.

For the purposes of assessing any application for admission to a program at UM starting September 2020, or to determine eligibility to graduate in Spring 2020, students will be given until May 10, 2020 to contact the university Registrar’s office to indicate which changes they wish to apply to final grades. All final grades are due April 31st , allowing a 10 day window for students to make this change.

All students, except those studying in the Faculty of Law, will be able to choose to apply either of two alternative grading approaches to the letter grade received for each individual course completed in Winter 2020 term:

Option 1. Accept the letter grade received but exclude it from UM GPA Calculations. The letter grade will appear on transcript with a notation indicating that the student chose to exclude it from UM GPA calculations

Option 2. Choose to have performance categorized as ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. No letter grade will be recorded and a notation will be used to indicate that the student chose this approach; a ‘pass’ grade will not be included in UM GPA calculations.

It is important to note that in the absence of any formal declaration to use an alternative grading approach (i.e., either Option #1 or 2 above), the assigned letter grade will be used as the course grade.

Regardless of any choice made with respect to course grading, students will remain obliged to meet all existing admission, prerequisite, progression, degree, and graduation policies and requirements that may apply to them. Students should understand the implications of their choices both for meeting prerequisite, degree progression, and graduation requirements within their existing program of study and current faculty, as well as for eligibility for admission to and graduation from any other programs in the same or a different faculty which they may wish to pursue in the future (i.e Pharmacy, Nursing, Engineering, etc.).

Additionally, a subsequent motion was passed through the University Senate today to allow for any failing grade received by a student in Winter 2020 term to be automatically excluded from all UM GPA calculations. Such grades will be denoted on the transcript as having been excluded from UM GPA calculations. However, this restriction will not apply to GPA calculations that are used for admission purposes, unless otherwise specified.

We understand that for many students the grades you receive this term will not be an accurate reflection of your capabilities and rather a product of the current circumstances and added stresses. These are unprecedented times for us all and we will continue to advocate for you to ensure that that these changes account for and accommodate the needs of students during this time.

UMSU’s priority continues to be to ensure student success and well-being and we hope that this option will provide students with the flexibility needed to do so.

For further information on this matter, please visit the U of M’s coronavirus update page and check UM email regularly for updates.


Sarah Bonner-Proulx, Vice-President Advocacy

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