COVID-19 Pass/Fail and Withdrawal

Grading Policy

In response to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, Georgetown University moved to virtual instruction on March 16th, 2020 through the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester. In light of this decision and recognizing the real challenges of this transition, Georgetown has liberalized the Pass/Fail grading option and has extended the withdrawal period.

For information regarding previous semester dates and deadlines please visit:


For Undergraduate Students in the Spring 2021 Term:  

Undergraduate students will have the option to choose one of two grading frameworks, either:

(1) a letter grade, or 

(2) Satisfactory (S); Credit (CR); or No-credit (NC): (S=grades A through C; CR=C-, D+, D; NC=F)

• Students can make this choice in MyAccess, beginning on January 13 until the last study day on May 11 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

• The choice to take a class S/CR/NC can apply to any course: core, major, minor, certificate or free elective. 

• The choice can be made without permission from the deans (per the usual process).

• The S/CR/NC options will not be counted toward the stated maximum of student’s degree programs (e.g., “six” as outlined in the Undergraduate Bulletin). 

• The course withdrawal date will also be extended to the last study day, May 11 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Modular courses within the term will have the withdrawal deadline and the Pass Fail option until the last day of class for that module.

• A transcript notation for Spring 2021 will explain that S/CR/NC was instituted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Graduate Students in the Spring 2021 Term:

Graduate students in programs that opt in to this policy will be able to choose one of two grading frameworks, either:

(1) a letter grade, or 

(2) Satisfactory (S) or No-credit (NC): (S=grades A through C; NC=C-, D+, D, F)

• Students can make this choice in MyAccess beginning on January 13 until the last study day on May 11.

• Individual programs may exclude any or all courses from the S/NC grading modality.

• Requests by graduate students in programs that have opted into the policy must be approved by the appropriate director of graduate studies or dean, and by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Graduate School.

• The withdrawal date will also be extended to the last study day, May 11 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Modular courses within the term will have the withdrawal deadline and the Pass/Fail option until the last day of class for that module. Late withdrawal is only available to graduate students in programs that have opted in to the policy. 

• A transcript notation for Spring 2021 will explain that S/NC was instituted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Last Day to Request Pass/Fail in MyAccess

Spring 2021

Deadline to Request Pass/Fail in MyAccess Spring 2021
DeadlinePart of Term
May 11Full Session
March 14Main First Session
May 7Main Second Session
April 27SFS-Q
March 5MBA Module I
May 11MBA Module II
March 27*
MBA SGI 
*MBA ILE: Requests will only be approved through the last day of classes. 
March 14SCS Module A
May 10SCS Module B
May 7 SCS Full Session

Instructions for Changing Grade Mode in MyAccess:

Open your web browser and log into MyAccess. The preferred browser is Chrome

  • After successfully logging in, click Student Services.
  • Click Registration.
  • Click Pass/Fail Course Request.

You have now reached the Pass/Fail request screen which will allow you to request that the grade mode for a section be changed to pass/fail.  

  • To request the grade mode be changed to pass/fail for a section, click the appropriate box in the pass/fail request column.
  • Read the message about acknowledging your understanding of the pass/fail policy.
  • Click Submit.

Requests by graduate students in programs that have opted into the policy will be reviewed for approval by the appropriate director of graduate studies or dean.

A confirmation email will be sent to you and your Dean. 

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Undergraduate students can refer to these answers to frequently asked questions about taking classes pass/fail.

Note: The information provided here applies for this semester only, given the unique and challenging circumstances due to the COVID19 pandemic. The standard policies and details around taking classes pass/fail under usual circumstances can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin here

  • All undergraduate students at Georgetown may choose to take their course(s) pass/fail, a choice they are free to make until the last study day.
  • There is a revised grade scheme for pass/fail. The traditional S/U has been replaced with Satisfactory (S); Credit (CR); or No-credit(NC): (S = grades A through C; CR = C-, D+, D; NC = F)
  • The withdrawal date for each course will be extended to the last study day.

Pass/Fail Questions:

  • When can I begin selecting courses to take pass/fail?
    • You may begin selecting courses to take pass/fail in MyAccess beginning January 13, 2021. Please refer to the Registrar website for details and instructions for selecting the pass/fail grade option.
  • Does it have to be all-or-nothing, or can I choose which classes to take pass/fail?
    • It is up to you to decide if you want to take one or more of your classes pass/fail this semester. It is not an all-or-nothing situation.
  • Can classes I’m taking for my core requirements be taken pass/fail?
    • Yes.
  • Can classes for my major/minor/certificate be taken pass/fail?
    • Yes.
  • Will this impact my GPA?
    • Classes taken pass/fail will not impact your GPA. They still factor into your overall credit count and any other requirement you’re seeking.
  • Will this impact my ability to graduate with Latin honors?
    • Because pass/fail classes do not count towards your GPA, they will not factor into the calculations for Latin honors.
  • Will taking a major course pass/fail impact my ability to pursue the honors program within my major?
    • This is a departmental/programmatic decision. Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in your major department or program for information.
  • How should I make this decision?
    • We advise you to wait a couple of weeks as you get settled into virtual instruction. Then, make a judgment call after you get into the routine of instructional continuity. If you need help weighing the pros and cons, reach out to your academic counselor or dean.
  • What grade do I need to earn to pass a class? 
    • You must earn a C or above in order to get a Satisfactory (S) grade and receive credit for a class taken pass/fail. However, you are advised to aim for a B or higher to allow for some wiggle room in your predictions of your final grade. The pass/fail option is risky if you are unsure of your standing in a course or feel you might earn a grade of C- or lower. If you earn a grade of C- through D, you will be awarded a Credit (CR) grade and receive credit for the class, however, keep in mind while you may earn credit the CR grade may not satisfy minimum grade requirements in your program.  
  • How will it show up on my transcript?
    • A passing grade will show up on the transcript as an Satisfactory (S); Credit (CR); or No-credit(NC): (S = grades A through C; CR = C-, D+, D; NC = F) Neither the S nor the U will affect your QPI (GPA), you will only receive credit if you earn an “S” or “CR”. Please keep in mind that the CR grade may not satisfy minimum grade requirements in your program and the NC, according to the Dean’s Office, will be considered a failing grade in our review of academic standards and final grades. 
  • Once I choose to take a course pass/fail, can I change my mind and take it for a letter grade instead? 
    • No, it’s not possible to go back and forth between the two options, so please take the time you need to make this decision, consulting with your academic advisor in the Dean’s Office and your professor if you have questions. 
  • I am taking a consortium course which effectively acts like a pass/fail course in that it does not affect my GPA. But the letter grade is transcripted. Can I request that an S/CR/NC grade show on my transcript instead of a letter grade for my consortium course?
    • Yes. You must notify your dean in writing to request S/CR/NC grade to be recorded on your transcript for a consortium course.
  • What will employers/grad schools think?

From the Cawley Career Center

Even without the truly extraordinary experience we’re in right now with COVID-19, in most cases it’s okay and completely acceptable to take a class pass/fail.  Many programs (such as Georgetown’s Bridge courses) institute pass/fail as a rule in general, and many schools across the US are implementing a new policy to allow students to take their courses pass/fail for this semester. Most likely, employers won’t ask. If they do, we’re glad to work with you to be ready with a response that you feel good about and that will be compelling for an employer or graduate program. With that being said, it is important to continue to do the best that you can in your coursework at this time. 

No decisions have to be made today about whether or not you choose to take your courses pass/fail. In fact, you have the opportunity to see this semester all the way through to the end before making this decision. Use that time to focus deeply on your studies, and communicate often with your professor about your progress. That way, you will be able to make an informed decision at the end of the semester regarding whether or not electing to take your course pass/fail would be beneficial for you. This experience will be an amazing opportunity for you in the future to demonstrate to employers and graduate school admissions officers that you were able to be flexible, thrive when challenged, and demonstrate growth and resilience during tough times. 
The Cawley Career Center is offering virtual drop-in appointments every weekday from 1 pm to 3 pm EDT if you’d like to discuss your particular situation with an advisor.

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Withdrawal Extension

Last Day to Withdraw with the Grade of W: Spring 2021

Extended Withdrawal Deadlines Spring 2021
DeadlinePart of Term
May 11Full Session
March 14Main First Session
May 7Main Second Session
April 5SFS-Q
March 5MBA Module I
May 11MBA Module II
March 27*
MBA SGI
*MBA ILE: Requests will only be approved through the last day of classes. 
March 14SCS Module A
May 10SCS Module B
May 7SCS Full Session
April 1NURO

Steps to Request a Withdrawal in MyAccess

  • Log into MyAccess.
  • Click on the “Student Services” tab.
  • Click on the “Registration” link.
  • Select “Withdraw from a Course”.
  • Check the box to select the course from which you wish to withdraw**.
  • Provide a reason for the withdrawal request.
  • Indicate if you are on academic probation.
  • Select “Submit” to process your request***.

* GSAS/BGE/NURO students do not have access to the withdrawal process in self-service. These students may continue to utilize the same mechanism for processing withdrawals as they currently use for their program. 

**Financial Holds: Students who have a financial hold will not be able to access the withdraw workflow. In order to withdraw from a class, those students may complete an add drop form and contact their advisor for assistance. 

***Withdrawal Approvals: Your advisor, director of graduate studies or dean, will review your request and after the withdrawal is processed, the student will receive an automated notification via email.

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Undergraduate students can refer to these answers to frequently asked questions about withdrawing from classes.

Withdrawing Questions:

  • What is it?
  • What isn’t it?
  • How do you decide if it’s the best option for you?

What is a W?

  • Students are given the option to withdraw from a course within the first 14 weeks of each semester. Due to the unique circumstances brought on by COVID-19, the withdrawal deadline has been moved to the last study day.
  • When you withdraw from a course, the course remains on your official academic transcript with a W next to the course instead of a letter grade.  The W is permanent. It doesn’t go away if you attempt the course again in a future semester. 
  • Your transcript is simply a historical record. The W is a neutral reflection of the fact that you attended a course beyond the add/drop period, showing how many credits you started with. 
  • Withdrawing is a legitimate, often positive academic decision made in the middle of the term. Some colleges and universities issue WP or WF notations, indicating whether students are passing or failing at the point of the withdrawal. We don’t do this. 
  • Students withdraw for a variety of reasons, including illness, injury, difficulty in a course, or evolving academic interest. We want students to stay in their classes wherever possible, but we recognize the many reasons why a W may become a student’s best option.

What isn’t a W?

  • A W is not a blemish on a student’s record. When students consider how their transcripts will be viewed in the future, they should remember that they are presenting a long record of about 40 courses. 
  • A single W will not be scrutinized within a record that is populated with positive grades. A single W does not detract from a successful record. If it happens semester after semester, however, this may begin to look like a pattern or a behavior, rather than a deliberate, context-specific decision.
  • We can’t predict how every individual admissions officer or employer will examine transcripts and what they will prioritize. But a W is rarely a concern to graduate schools or a subject of discussion during job interviews. 
  • A W does not equal failure (see above). It’s not an indication to anyone that a student was in danger of failing a course. It is neutral.

How do you decide if it’s the best option for you?

  • Take time to speak with your professor about your progress in the course.
  • Make an appointment with your dean or academic counselor to discuss the pros and cons of withdrawal. 
  • Students should continue to attend and participate in any class they are considering withdrawing from until after meeting with their dean or academic counselor.
  • Consider your ability to succeed in the course, and whether the effort required to finish to your satisfaction is realistic (or whether it would be actually detrimental to your overall term, not to mention health and happiness). 
  • Consider how the energy and attention you are devoting to the course is affecting your ability to succeed in the rest of your courses. 
  • Consider how a withdrawal will affect your degree progress. Will you need to take a summer course in the future to stay on track? Will it affect any other academic goals?
  • If the withdrawal means that you will no longer be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits, consider how this will affect your athletic eligibility, financial aid package, or Visa status. If you have questions, your dean or academic counselor can help you find the answers.

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