Courses: Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory Grading Option

 

Policy

Updated for Spring 2021 

The policy adopted by the Arts & Sciences Council for Fall 2020 allowing individual departments to declare 0–199 level courses mandatory S/U - in which courses carry all curriculum codes and count toward major-minor-certificate requirements and associated prerequisites - will continue for the Spring 2021 semester. 

Here is the list of courses that have adopted the S/U mandatory grading for the Spring 2021 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.

  • 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.

Please note that these decisions apply only to courses that orginate in Trinity. It does not apply 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.

 

Applying to Take a Course S/U

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.

Policy details for the Spring 2021 semester:

  • Courses taken on a voluntary S/U basis during the Spring 2021 semester will not be counted toward the current limits of 1 voluntary S/U course per semester and 4 voluntary S/U courses during a student's undergraduate career. Multiple voluntary S/U enrollments are not available for students enrolled in overloads of 5.0 or more course credits.
  • Voluntary S/U courses taken in Spring 2021 will carry all curriculum codes.
  • The current application process for voluntary S/U courses, which requires both instructor and Academic Dean permission, will remain in place. In particular, the decision about whether to permit a student to opt for S/U in their course is still reserved to course instructors. In addition, the student’s Academic Dean must also give their permission for each course a student wishes to take on a voluntary S/U basis.
  • The decision about whether to allow voluntary S/U courses to count toward major-minor-certificate requirements and associated prerequisites is still reserved to the departments.

  • The current dates for submitting requests for voluntary S/U grading (end of the third week of classes; also known as the correction week deadline) or changing back to letter grading (four weeks from the last day of classes; also known as the withdrawal deadline) will be maintained.

Traditional Restrictions of this Policy

  • 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 ). 

See Also: