Spring 2021 Pass/D/Fail Policy Update

Earlier today, Dean Rosner sent the following message to GS students regarding the Pass/D/Fail policy for the spring 2021 semester.

February 15, 2021
School of General Studies logo

Dear GS students,

I hope the spring semester is going well for you. With midterms getting underway, I’m sure your plate is full, and I’m writing with some news that I hope will be helpful.

You will recall that last semester, the Columbia College-General Studies Committee on Instruction approved a temporary expansion of the normal academic policies governing the pass/d/fail option and also extended the deadlines for electing this option and for withdrawing from a class. On Friday, the committee made the decision to continue this policy for the current semester. The text of the policy appears below.

I hope you will welcome this news, and I thank the GSSC for sharing their advance endorsement of this decision with the committee.  

As always, the decision to elect the pass/d/fail option or withdraw from a class is best made in consultation with your advising dean. You can schedule an appointment through the Columbia GS Student Success Portal. Please bear in mind that decisions to elect a grade of pass/d/fail should be based not only on your current circumstances but also on your future plans and overall academic record.

Good luck on your midterms, and take care of yourselves.

Victoria Rosner

Dean of Academic Affairs
Columbia University School of General Studies

CC-GS Committee on Instruction

Modifications to Academic Policies for Spring 2021

as of Friday, February 12, 2021

As in Fall 2021, students now taking a fully, or mostly, online semester are in a system of learning that is less than familiar to them — one that continues to require them to develop and practice new types of engagement in class, new strategies for learning with online materials, and new habits for work in remote locations. It is also a system of learning that can suffer interference from a variety of technical difficulties or limitations. In recognition of these current challenges, the CC-GS Committee on Instruction (COI) has approved some temporary modifications to certain academic policies for the Spring 2021 semester:

  • Students will be able to elect the pass/d/fail option for one class this semester without restriction — i.e., the course chosen for this grading option can fulfill a requirement for the Core Curriculum; a requirement for a major, concentration, or special concentration; or an elective.
  • The deadline for declaring the pass/d/fail option for a course will be extended to the last day of classes for the term (February 22 for Spring A courses; April 15 for full Spring and Spring B courses).
  • The deadline to withdraw from a course will also be extended to the last day of classes for the term (February 22 for Spring A courses; April 15 for full Spring and Spring B courses).  [Please note that there is no change to the refund rate for withdrawals.]

The usual policy for lifting a “P” to uncover a grade will continue. Students will be able to see their assigned grade for the course in question in SSOL and decide by the end of the second week of the Fall 2021 semester (by September 17) whether to uncover the grade or let the “P” remain on the transcript permanently.

It is important to note that there are situations in which it may not be desirable or beneficial for students to use the pass/d/fail option for particular courses of study. The notation of a “P” on a transcript can be read differently by different audiences (within a department or program, within a school, by admissions programs of graduate and professional programs, by employers), and it is important for students to consider future plans when considering a decision that will affect their educational records. Students are therefore strongly encouraged to speak with their academic advisers and their Directors of Undergraduate Studies before making the decision to use the pass/d/fail option, particularly for a class within a major or concentration or for a class that is required or may be important for graduate study.