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Undergraduate Pass/Fail FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions- Undergraduate (UG)

Are there courses I am unable to take as a Pass?

Certain courses have a minimum grade requirement and/or are required for accreditation or licensure and may not be taken with a Pass grade.

Students who are in any of the below majors/minors or who are considering becoming one of the below majors/minors should adhere to the stated restrictions.

Major Specific Information:

  • Accountancy major and minor has minimum grade requirements in place to complete the following four-course sequence:
    • ACC 203 Financial Accounting
    • ACC 310 Intermediate Accounting I
    • ACC 311 Intermediate Accounting II
    • ACC 405 Advanced Accounting

As such, accountancy majors cannot take ACC 203, ACC 310, and ACC 311 pass/fail.

And, accountancy minors cannot take ACC 203 and ACC 310 pass/fail (and cannot take ACC 311 pass/fail if they intend to take ACC 405 as their accounting elective).

  • Any undergraduate business major or minor on a certification track (e.g. CPA, CFA), or planning to pursue graduate studies is advised to consult an academic advisor.
  • Social Work’s accrediting organization, the Council on Social Work Education, mandates that all social work courses which are required for the major must receive standard letter grades.
    • SWK 101 21st Century Social Work
    • SWK 220 Diversity/Culture Soc Wrk Prac
    • SWK 253 Human Behavior-Life Span
    • SWK 254 Behavior in Social Systems
    • SWK 366 Community/Political Practice
    • SWK 368 Research I
    • SWK 370 Soc Wrk Practicum&Seminar I
    • SWK 451 Soc Wrk Practicum&Seminar III
    • SWK 489 Theory Practice Capstone
    • BIO 122 Human Biology

Can I elect a graduate course as a Pass?
No. Graduate courses cannot be elected as a Pass grade.

Can I take a course that is a prerequisite for another course as a Pass?
Yes. A grade of Pass meets the prerequisite requirement for all other undergraduate courses at Providence College except where noted under major specific information.

How will courses taken as a Pass count toward the four permitted pass/fail courses allowed in the four-year period?
Any courses taken as pass/fail this semester will count collectively as one.


How would a grade of Pass impact my GPA?
A grade of Pass does not compute into the GPA. Calculating your GPA with a standard letter grade versus a Pass grade will help you understand the difference in your GPA.

What if I am retaking a course in Spring 2020 to replace a grade from a previous term?
Only the most recent grade and earned credits will be counted in your GPA or academic requirements, whether or not the course grade is higher than the earlier attempt.

Financial Aid

If I declare one or more courses pass/fail, how will it affect my financial aid?
If you choose to select courses as pass/fail, you need to make sure your current GPA is at the minimum standard for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and institutional aid renewal. For your reference, we have provided the SAP policies for undergraduate students. All financial aid requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 for renewal (unless otherwise specified). As there is no GPA associated with the Pass/Fail option, your GPA which will be calculated based on letter grades only. Before choosing the Pass/Fail option, students should make sure their current GPA is at the minimum standards for financial aid renewal. If you have any questions, please consult with a financial aid advisor before electing Pass/Fail.

I have a scholarship from Providence College and I need to maintain a certain GPA. What happens if I declare one or more courses for a Pass grade?
There is no GPA associated with the Pass/Fail option. So, before choosing the Pass/Fail option, students should make sure their current GPA is at the minimum standards for institutional aid renewal. If you have any questions, please consult with a financial aid advisor before electing Pass/Fail.


Am I still eligible for Dean’s List if I elect Pass grades?
The criteria for Dean’s list remains the same. You must be a full-time student (12 credits minimum) who at the end of the semester has attained an average of 3.55 or better and no grade lower than “C,” and with no incomplete grades (“I” or “NM”) on the semester. Only 1 standard letter grade may be elected as a Pass grade to remain eligible.

How will electing a course as a Pass impact class rank?
A standard letter grade versus a Pass will impact class rank which is determined by the cumulative GPA.

Am I still eligible for graduation honors -cum laude, magna cum laude- if I elect Pass grades?
Yes. Graduation honors is determined by the final cumulative GPA. Opting for a letter grade versus a Pass grade does impact the GPA and students should thoughtfully weigh one option over the other.

Study Abroad/Domestic Study Away

Does this policy apply to students who were on approved study abroad/domestic study away programs this spring?
Students who participated in Spring study abroad/domestic study away can also elect the pass/fail option for any or all courses this spring. Students will determine a course’s status as follows:

  • Study abroad/domestic study away students can exercise the pass option once the Center for Global Education receives the provider institution transcript. This typically takes place during the summer and fall months and, thus, study abroad/domestic study away students have an extension past the June 1st deadline. Once grades have been posted, students will simply fill out a form notifying the College which courses they elect to take as Pass.
  • If your provider institution has already implemented, or is offering, its own pass/fail option you have permission to select the provider P/F policy should you choose. Please note that students can still elect to have any letters grades revised to Pass once the study abroad/domestic transcript arrives at PC (see above bullet).

Graduate School Considerations

What factors should I consider before declaring a course as a Pass?

For students interested in the health professions, the ability to elect Pass grade for Spring 2020 courses may cause confusion. Normally programs require that any prerequisites are taken for a grade and in a face-to-face setting (particularly for lab courses). This requirement has been loosened by many programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many schools have come out with statements that they will accept Pass grade for prerequisites for this semester and sometimes for the upcoming summer terms. Additionally, recognizing that face-to-face laboratory courses and regular courses will be impossible in the near term, there has also been a temporary acceptance of online courses and labs from some programs. Students who are trying to decide what to do about their grades for the spring semester are urged to research programs of interest to determine their COVID-19 P/F policies and to also reach out to the Health Professions Advisor, Dr. Lynne Lawson, for advice.

Law schools are fully aware of and understand that many undergraduate schools are going to some version of a pass/fail grading system for Spring 2020. In fact, many law schools are making the same decision for their current students. Law schools will be understanding of the situation and will not penalize any applicant for having Pass/Fail grades. The Office of the Registrar will place a notation on the academic transcript for the Spring 2020 semester to remind law schools going forward that the semester was one in which many schools changed their grading systems in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have questions, please consult the pre-law advisor, Dr. Paul Herron.

How should I make this decision?
Please consider all of the factors before making your decision. If you need help weighing the pros and cons, talk with your instructor, your academic advisor, or your class dean.

If I have additional questions about electing a Pass grade that are not addressed here, where should I go?
We encourage you to speak with your academic advisor or class dean about your choice and about any impact your choices might have for success in future courses or admission to future programs.

Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Submission Form