Policy on Pass/Fail Courses for Undergraduate Students

Effective January 2018, for Spring 2018 classes

To encourage intellectual exploration, Boston University permits students in good academic standing to elect up to two courses total of academic course work on a Pass/Fail basis to satisfy credit requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The courses designated as Pass/Fail cannot be taken in the same fall, spring, or summer semesters. Students on academic probation may not elect to take a course on a Pass/Fail during any semester they are on academic probation.

Grades and Grading Policies

A student’s earned grade in the course designated as Pass/Fail will be replaced by a “P*” for Pass as long as a student has earned a course grade of D or above. A student’s earned F grade in the course designated as Pass/Fail will be designated as “F*.”

When a student earns a P* in a course they have designated as Pass/Fail, the credits from that course count toward the degree, and neither credits nor grade are used in calculating the student’s grade point average.

If a student earns an F* in a course they have designated as Pass/Fail, both the credits and grade are used in calculating the student’s grade point average. The credits do not count toward degree requirements.

Exclusions

Pass grades may not be used to satisfy the following:

  • General education requirements (for students entering before fall 2018, these are sometimes called liberal arts electives)
  • Language requirements
  • Writing requirements
  • Major/minor program requirements
  • Study Abroad courses
  • Directed Study or Directed Research courses

Students wishing to pursue a major or minor after they have taken a course Pass/Fail in that program should work with their academic advisor in the program to determine the appropriate coursework. For other specific information by school and college, including Gateway Courses, please refer to Appendix A below.

Requirements of a Course Designated for Pass/Fail Grading

Students taking a course on a Pass/Fail basis must satisfy all the course requirements that students taking the course for a regular letter grade must satisfy.

Process and Deadlines

In keeping with the intended use of Pass/Fail to encourage intellectual exploration, students elect Pass/Fail near the end of the course, rather than at the beginning. The deadline for a student to designate a course Pass/Fail is the course’s drop with a “W” grade date. Semester-long courses have a consistent drop with a “W” date, and it is published per semester on the official academic calendar of the University Registrar. The deadline for non-standard courses, such as half-semester courses, is computed individually and is published by the individual course on the Student Link and Faculty/Staff Link.

After careful consultation with their advisor and assuming they are eligible to do so, students may designate a course Pass/Fail by completing and signing the Pass/Fail Course Designation Form with the Authorized School Official (see Appendix A). The form is available in person from the academic advisor. Like a grade change form, the Pass/Fail Course Designation Form is not available online.

Designating a course Pass/Fail is irrevocable as of 5:00 p.m. EST on the deadline to withdraw with a “W” date, as described above.

It is the responsibility of the student to track the number of courses they have taken on a Pass/Fail basis. Should the student elect and receive, in error, more than two P*/F* grades during their bachelor’s degree studies, the third and subsequent P* or F* grades will be changed to the earned letter grade.

Other Considerations

  • Courses taken Pass/Fail may not be repeated unless the course itself is repeatable (e.g., topics course).
  • Pass/Fail courses are subject to standard tuition and fees.
  • There are specific courses that schools and colleges stipulate are not graded with a letter grade and are graded on a Pass/Fail basis. These courses may be taken in addition to the two courses elected as Pass/Fail by the student. See Appendix A.

 

Appendix A

Courses Designated as Only P/F by Schools and Colleges

Such courses may be taken in addition to the two courses elected as Pass/Fail by the student. They include:

School Courses
Questrom School of Business ES 110, ES 215, SM 208, SM 308, SM 333, SM 395, SM 408
College of Arts & Sciences FY 101, FY 102, FY 103
College of Communication CM 471, CM 520, CO 401, CO 501, FT 573, FT 574, FT 493, FT 494, JO 412
College of Fine Arts TH 099 (TH 542 is both grades and pass)
College of General Studies SS 200
College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College HP 150, PT 341, PT 555, PT 565, PT 791
School of Education ED 101
School of Hospitality Administration SHA HF 103, HF 140, HF 240, HF 382, HF 440
Fitness and Recreation Classes PDP (except for the Dance Minor, notated by section XA on the schedule)

 

School-, College-, and Program-Specific Requirements

School/College Requirement Specific to Students Enrolled in that School/College Requirement for any Boston University Undergraduate Authorized School Official
CAS None The following courses in the College of Arts & Sciences cannot be completed on a Pass/Fail basis:

  • WR 097 Academic Writing for ESL Students 1
  • WR 098 Academic Writing for ESL Students 2
  • WR 100 Writing Seminar or its equivalent
  • WR 150 Writing and Research Seminar or its equivalent
  • WR 202 Children’s Literature in the Elementary School
Kerry Buglio
CFA College of Fine Arts students may take courses that are counted as “general” or “open electives” on a Pass/Fail basis. Any course that is designated for the BU community or for which a non-CFA student has received permission to enroll can be taken Pass/Fail, provided that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy. Ruthie Jean
CGS College of General Studies students may not apply CGS courses Pass/Fail to complete the CGS program. The following CGS courses may not be taken Pass/Fail:

  • CGS RH 101
  • CGS RH 103
  • CGS RH 102
  • CGS RH 104

Students will work closely with their CGS academic advisor to ensure they understand their options for taking other Boston University courses Pass/Fail.

Students who are not enrolled in CGS are eligible to take most CGS courses Pass/Fail, provided that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy. These CGS courses, however, may not be taken Pass/Fail:

  • CGS RH 101
  • CGS RH 103
  • CGS RH 102
  • CGS RH 104
Stacy Godnick
COM College of Communication students may take two free electives Pass/Fail. COM CO 101 cannot be taken Pass/Fail. Students may take any other COM course Pass/Fail if they have the stated course prerequisites, provided that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy. Ryan Thurston
ENG College of Engineering students are generally not able to designate any courses Pass/Fail as all courses taken are major or general education requirements. Possible exceptions: 1) Students taking extra courses beyond the requirements for their degree (130–136 credits depending on major) may elect to designate said extra course Pass/Fail. 2) Students who decide mid-semester to Intra-University Transfer (IUT) out of ENG may elect to designate one of their ENG courses Pass/Fail. Stefan Scott
KHC The Kilachand Honors College curriculum fulfills general education requirements, and in some cases, major/minor requirements as well. All KHC courses taken are also KHC program requirements. Thus, KHC students may not take KHC courses on a Pass/Fail basis. Students will work closely with their Kilachand and major academic advisors to ensure they understand their options for taking other Boston University courses Pass/Fail. Amanda Shalian
MET All MET undergraduate credit-bearing courses can be taken Pass/Fail, provided that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy. Erik Linnane or Dorise Heller (PEP students)
Physical Education, Recreation & Dance All BU students may take PDP classes on a Pass/Fail basis in addition to the two courses stipulated in the Pass/Fail policy, except for students in the Dance minor. Dance minor students must enroll in the XA section, which are graded classes.

 

Ray Levy
Questrom In general, students enrolled in the Questrom BSBA program may complete courses Pass/Fail in the following categories: 1) the non-management elective requirement, and 2) the free-electives requirement. Students will work with their advisors to ensure they understand the implications of taking a course Pass/Fail. The Gateway courses in Questrom, QST SM 131 and FE 101, may not be taken on a Pass/Fail basis by any student at Boston University. Meghan Mogan
Sargent Sargent College students may take courses in the General Elective Block on the degree advice report or in the Extra Courses Block on a Pass/Fail basis. The list below by program designates where the two Pass/Fail courses may be used; the total number of general elective courses is in parentheses.

  • Athletic Training (AT): general elective (1) or extra courses
  • AT/Physical Therapy (PT): extra courses only
  • Behavior & Health: general electives (5) or extra courses
  • BS/PT: general electives (2) or extra courses
  • Health Science: general electives (6) or extra courses
  • Human Physiology: general electives (3) or extra courses
  • Nutrition: general electives (4) or extra courses
  • Speech, Lang., Hearing Sci.: general electives (6) or extra courses
Students enrolled in programs outside of Sargent may take any Sargent course for which they have the appropriate prerequisites, provided that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy. If a student who took a Sargent course on a Pass/Fail basis decides to transfer into Sargent and now needs that course to fulfill a degree requirement, the student will need to take an additional course (which will be determined by the Sargent advisor and/or program director) for the major. Sharon Sankey
SED School of Education majors may take up to two electives on a Pass/Fail basis. As most SED degree plus licensure programs do not include electives, but rather choices of requirements, few SED majors will be able to avail themselves of this opportunity. Students who wish to take electives on a Pass/Fail basis should meet with their advisor to assure the “elective” is, in fact, not a course required for the major or minor (if applicable). Non-SED students are welcome to take any SED course on a Pass/Fail basis if they have the stated course prerequisites, provided that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy.

 

Thomas Reis
SHA Students enrolled in the School of Hospitality Administration may take only general elective courses on a Pass/Fail basis. Students who are not enrolled in SHA are eligible to take any SHA course Pass/Fail, provided they have the prerequisites and that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy.

 

If a student takes the SHA Gateway course, SHA HF 100 on a Pass/Fail basis and subsequently completes an intra-university transfer into the SHA, the course credits will not count for SHA degree requirements and an additional course must be taken with the written pre-approval of the student’s advisor.

Meg Andrews
Summer Term BU students follow the guidance of their schools/colleges, above. Non-BU students must consult Donna Shea for permission to take courses P/F. Donna Shea