Courses: Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory Grading Option

 

Policy

For Fall 2020 Only: Any department may convert any or all of its 199 and below level courses to a S/U grading basis while retaining existing curriculum codes for those courses, but no department is obligated to do so.  

There are several things you should know about the Executive Committee of the Arts & Sciences Council’s decision:

  • The change for these courses is to a mandatory S/U grading basis, so no student in these S/U courses will be able to opt into receiving a letter grade.
  • As a special provision of this decision, courses converted to S/U under this policy will satisfy the requirements of any major, minor or certificate program as well as T-Reqs and other requirements for graduation. 
  • Any S/U courses you take this fall will not count toward the number of S/Us allowable per year or upon graduation.
  • S/U grades are not factored into your GPA, and will not count toward Latin Honors.
  • No decision has been made in regards to S/U grading for Spring 2020, and any extension of this policy would follow further review by the Trinity Arts & Sciences Council this fall.

 

Please note that this decision applies only to courses that originate in Trinity. It does not apply, for instance, to courses that originate in Pratt or Nicholas or Sanford. However, as noted above, the S/U grading basis will apply to courses that originate in Trinity and are cross-listed in other departments or schools.

 

Here is the list of courses that have adopted the S/U mandatory grading for the Fall 2020 semester (there may be other courses that have S/U grading but are not listed because they are always offered as S/U during any academic semester).

 

Standard Policy for applying to take a course S/U is below

With the consent of the instructor and your academic dean, you may register for grading on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis in one course credit per semester or summer session. This policy only pertains to courses that are offered on a graded basis; courses that are only taught on an S/U basis are separate and are not included here.

There are some restrictions you should be aware of:

  • In a fall or spring semester, you must be enrolled in a total of 4.0 course credits at the beginning of the semester in order to be approved to take 1.0 credit on an S/U basis*.  In other words, you may enroll in 3.0 credits on a graded basis and 1.0 credit on an S/U basis. *Seniors in their final semester who are eligible to underload or attend part-time may take a graded course S/U if they are also enrolled in at least one graded 1.0-credit course.
  • In each summer term, you may take 1.0 course credit on an S/U basis by itself.
  • While you may take 1.0 course credit on an S/U basis every semester at Duke, only 4.0 credits on an S/U basis will count toward the 34 credits required for graduation.  Remember that this restriction only applies to courses that are normally graded.
  • If you enroll in a course on an S/U basis, you may subsequently change to a letter grade basis by submitting a form to the Office of the University Registrar.  See below for details and deadline.
  • However, the reverse is not true.  You may not enroll on a graded basis and then convert the course to an S/U basis once the course correction period has passed.  If you convert a course from an S/U basis to a graded basis, you may not change it back to an S/U basis.
  • A grade of S (satisfactory) will be awarded if you earn the equivalent of a letter grade of C- or higher.
  • A grade of U (unsatisfactory) will be awarded if you earn the equivalent of a D+, D, D- or F.
  • No course credit will be earned for courses in which a student receives a U grade.
  • Grades of S and U are not factored into your grade point average.
  • Your ability to be placed on the dean's list may be affected.  If you enroll in 4.0 graded credits and an additional 1.0 credit on an S/U basis, you are eligible for the dean's list in that semester.  If you enroll in fewer than 4.0 graded credits and an additional 1.0 credit on an S/U basis, you are not eligible for the dean's list in that semester.  Also, receiving a U in any semester will prohibit you from being placed on the dean's list, no matter the number of course credits you are enrolled in.
  • Courses taken on an S/U basis may not be used to satisfy the requirements of any major, minor or certificate program (including prerequisites), unless the Director of Undergraduate Studies gives special permission.
  • Courses taken on an S/U basis may not be used to satisfy curriculum requirements.
  • Courses taken on an S/U basis will not be approved for transfer to Duke, if you are studying abroad, on a domestic study away program, or are transferring courses as institutional transfer credit.
  • Courses taken on an S/U basis will count toward annual and semester continuation requirements and toward the 34 credits required for graduation.
  • If you are receiving accommodations by the Student Disability Access Office and are approved for a reduced course load, you may enroll in an underload of 3.0 course credits where 2.0 course credits are graded and 1.0 course credit is on an S/U basis.
  • If you have taken a course on an S/U basis and earned an S, you may not retake the course.​

 

Procedure to Change Grading Basis from Graded to S/U  

To enroll in a course on an S/U basis, you should add the course normally through DukeHub and then submit a Declaration of S/U Grading Basis Form (see link below) to your instructor and then to your academic dean.  Both must sign and approve.  Your dean will then transmit the form to the Office of the University Registrar.  The deadline for requesting S/U grading and submitting it to your academic dean is 5 p.m. on the last day of the schedule correction period in a fall or spring semester.  The schedule correction period ends one week after the last day of drop/add and is listed on the Academic Calendar.  We note that this time period gives you the first three weeks of a fall/spring semester to determine if you would like to take a course on an S/U basis and to seek approval.  As a result, the S/U deadline is strictly enforced.  In a summer term, the deadline for submitting the form to your academic dean is 5 p.m. on the last day of the drop/add period.

ONLINE FORM: Declaration of the S/U Grading Basis

Procedure to Change Grading Basis from S/U to Graded

If you enroll in a course on an S/U basis and subsequently wish to convert it to a letter grade basis, you can do so by submitting a form directly to the Office of the University Registrar.  The deadline for submitting the form is 5 p.m. 4 weeks before the last day of classes in the fall or spring semester, or the equivalent time in a summer term.   For specific dates for a given term, see the Academic Calendar.

The form is available on the Registrar's Website (look under Student Records and then Forms ). 

 

Spring 2020 Policy below (this policy changes ONLY applies to Spring 2020)

The Spring 2020 policy has all courses defaulting to an S/U grade option, but will allow undergraduates the opportunity of receiving a letter grade. That policy change and details associated it with it can be found here.  The deadline for changing from S/U to graded has been extended until April 27th at 12pm (EDT) for the Spring 2020 semester.   The form for requesting that change can be found here
 

S/U Grading Policy for Spring 2020 (ONLY)

Spring 2020 courses will transition to a default S/U grading option. If students choose to receive a letter grade for any class, they can do so by submitting a form to the registrar's office no later than April 27th at 12:00 pm EDT.  

Moreover:

  • Courses taken for S/U grades during spring 2020 will count towards curricular, major, continuation, and graduation requirements.  
  • Faculty will grade students as usual during the semester, and record the S/U designation using our existing rubric (where an S is equivalent to a C- or above).  
  • Grades of S and U are not factored into a student’s grade point average.  
  • If a student elects to receive a letter grade for any class, those grades will be factored into the student’s grade point average.
  • Policy related to the maximum number of S/U credits that can count toward graduation has been suspended for spring 2020 enrollment.
  • The default S/U grading option also applies to graduate level courses.  
  • Given this shift, we will suspend the Dean's List for the Spring 2020 semester.  
  • Duke will include a designation on students' transcripts, indicating the extraordinary circumstances encountered in the present semester.  

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