Temporary Graduate School Policies
in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

Updated Policy approved by Graduate Council, 12/1/20
Approved by Graduate Council, 4/1/2020
Approved by Academic Council, 4/6/2020
Modified by The Graduate School, 8/6/2020


Instructor Initiated Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option

The grading scheme for all students enrolled in the class may be adjusted from letter grades to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) at the discretion of the course instructor and approval of the Program Director and/or the Academic Unit Head. The “satisfactory” grade will fulfill degree requirements. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grades will not affect students’ grade point average. A change of grading scheme must be submitted to the Registrar by December 10, and the Graduate School needs to be copied on the request. Such request need to indicate Class Subject, Course Number and Course Section.

Student Initiated Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option

At the request of a course instructor, and subject to the discretion of the Graduate Program Director or Academic Unit Head, course instructors can allow individual students in their course to change their grading scheme to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U). Grades of “A,” through “C” will translate to a grade of “S.” The deadline for faculty to request changes in their course’s grading scheme is December 10. The deadline for students to change their grading scheme from a letter grade to S/U is December 18.

An Academic Unit Head or graduate program director may discourage individual student grade-scheme changes because:

● When transcripts are compared, students who earn a grade of “Satisfactory” may not be perceived to have achieved the same level of competence as students who earn grades of “A” or “B,” putting these students at a competitive disadvantage.

● For graduate students, “A” and “B” are considered fully acceptable grades. Students may also receive up to two “C” grades, which is a passing grade for an individual course. Students who earn three “C” grades are dismissed. In addition, students who earn single grades of “F” or “U” are dismissed.

● Graduate students often use their transcripts to obtain licenses to practice, and not having letter grades on the transcript may make it difficult for the student to demonstrate their competency in a subject area to a licensing board.

If the grading scheme for a student is changed to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory a Satisfactory grade will fulfill degree requirements. Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory grades will not affect a student’s grade point average. Note that the decision to switch to the S/U grading scheme is irreversible.

The following policies continue from the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters, and may apply to courses taught in the Fall. Additional updates may be posted before Thanksgiving subject to approval by representatives of the Graduate Council.

If it is impossible for students enrolled in a particular class to meet the learning objectives of the class or gain the rich experiences planned for the class, course requirements may be fulfilled at the request of a Graduate Program Director and with the approval of the Academic Unit Head, courses may be offered in an alternative manner, such as through online experiences or simulations, if it is possible to meet the ultimate goals of the course such as developing certain expertise, acquiring skills and/or preparing students for licensure.

Time to Degree Exception

Students impacted by COVID-19 may request exceptions to Policy 1370 – Time Limitations, granting them additional time to complete their degree.

Scholarly Document Submission Deadlines

Final Documents (Thesis, Dissertation, and Research Projects) are typically due in the office of the Graduate School on November 20. These projects should be submitted as soon as possible but must be submitted by December 18 to be eligible for a December 2020 conferral date.

Program Directors should notify the graduate school which students are receiving incompletes for their final document course to allow us to exempt these students from spring enrollment and include them on our list of students who are expected to complete their project by the August deadline. If more time is needed, the student should enroll in the appropriate final document continuance course. (TGS will explore continuance fee waivers for students with extenuating circumstances.)

Temporary COVID-19 Policy: Exemption from Continuous Enrollment (Added April 17, 2020; Updated August 12, 2020)

Current Graduate School policy on continuous enrollment requires a graduate student to enroll in at least one graduate credit hour in each fall and spring semester in order to remain in active status. Students who are not enrolled in fall or spring courses, or GRAD 597, are considered “inactive.” Students who are only completing “Incomplete” courses from prior semesters are not considered active students. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted course and degree progress for a number of students during the Spring 2020 semester, The Graduate School is instituting a temporary policy related to Continuous Enrollment.

  • For certain students it will be necessary to receive a grade of Incomplete for some Spring 2020 courses. These Incomplete grades may be due to limitations in access to laboratories, internship and practicum sites, student teaching locations, physical locations necessary to complete coursework; or other extenuating circumstances. When a grade of “Incomplete” is assigned to the student with the expectation that the coursework be completed by the end of the Fall 2020 semester, the student can be exempted from the required enrollment for the fall semester.

  • For certain students it will be impossible to enroll in necessary courses needed to complete degree requirements due to restrictions in place due to the pandemic. Examples: courses scheduled abroad; courses that must be conducted in person; courses bound by a location no longer accessible. Because such courses may not be scheduled again for several semesters, students may be exempted from the required enrollment for the fall and spring semesters of the 2020-2021 academic year.

  • Students who are experiencing challenges related to COVID-19 and need to take a leave from their studies may be exempted from enrollment in GRAD 597-Leave From Study.

  • Students who expect the Fall 2020 semester to be the semester in which they graduate are required to enroll in their program’s appropriate continuance course for at least one credit. A student who is completing a final document should enroll in the appropriate final document continuance course. (TGS will explore continuance fee waivers for students with extenuating circumstances.)
Requests for an Exemption from Continuous Enrollment must come from the Graduate Program Director to The Graduate School. An individual student may request the exemption in consultation with their Graduate Program Director, and the Graduate Program Director will forward the request to The Graduate School. A student may also confer individually with the Interim Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Student Services for guidance on options and the best steps forward in their particular situation.

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