Policy on Pass/Fail Courses for Undergraduate Students

Effective Fall 2018

To encourage intellectual exploration, Boston University permits students in good academic standing to elect up to two courses total of academic coursework 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 basis 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

For students entering as first-year students prior to fall 2018 and for transfer students entering prior to fall 2020, pass grades (P*) may not be used to satisfy the following degree components:

  • General education requirements (or liberal arts electives)
  • Language requirements
  • Writing requirements
  • Major/minor program requirements
  • Study Abroad courses
  • Directed Study or Directed Research courses

For students entering as first-year students in fall 2018 or later, and for transfer students entering in fall 2020 or later, pass grades (P*) may not be used to satisfy the following degree components:

  • General education requirements: BU Hub units
    • Students may not earn BU Hub units in a course they take P*/F*. Because P*/F* is irrevocable, a student who wishes to take a course carrying Hub units P*/F* should be sure to have a plan to earn those units elsewhere in their program of study.
  • College or school requirements (e.g., College of Arts & Sciences language requirement)
  • Major or minor 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 nonstandard 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. The form is available in person from the academic advisor.

Designating a course Pass/Fail is irrevocable as of 5:00 pm 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

The courses below can only be taken on a P/F basis. The courses show as P or F on the student’s transcript. Such courses may be taken in addition to the maximum of two courses a student is allowed to elect Pass/Fail in Appendix B.

School/college Courses
BU Hub HUB FY 101, HUB SA XXX (Hub cocurriculars are numbered HUB CC XXX and HUB FY 101. These courses are ungraded experiences in which students receive a P upon completion or are otherwise withdrawn.)
College of Arts & Sciences FY 1XX, SY 1XX, IN XXX
College of Communication CM 471, CM 520, CO 401, CO 501, CO 576, FT 493, FT 494, FT 573, FT 574, JO 412
College of Fine Arts TH 099, TH 542
College of General Studies SS 200
College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College HP 150, HS 410, PT 341, PT 555, PT 565, PT 791
Questrom School of Business ES 110, ES 215, SM 333, SM 395
School of Hospitality Administration SHA HF 103, HF 140, HF 240, HF 382, HF 440
Physical Education, Recreation & Dance PDP (except for the Dance minor, notated by section X_ on the schedule)

 

Appendix B

School-, college-, and program-specific requirements for courses which may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis as elected by the student. A detailed explanation of each school’s Pass/Fail policies is included below. These Pass/Fail grades show as P*/F* on a student’s transcript.

For additional Gateway criteria, please see Appendix A of the Intra-University Transfer policy.

School/college Requirements specific to students enrolled in that school/college Requirement for any Boston University undergraduate Authorized school official
BU Hub Not applicable Students may not earn BU Hub units in a course they take P*/F*. Because P*/F* is irrevocable, a student who wishes to take a course carrying Hub units P*/F* should be sure to have a plan to earn those units elsewhere in their program of study. David Carballo and Amanda Urias
College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) None The following courses in the College of Arts & Sciences cannot be completed on a Pass/Fail basis by any student, regardless of entering year:

  • WR 111
  • WR 112
  • WR 120
  • WR 150
  • WR 151
  • WR 152
Kerry Buglio
College of Fine Arts (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. Brendan Hoey
College of General Studies (CGS) College of General Studies students may not apply CGS courses taken Pass/Fail to complete the CGS program. The following CGS courses may not be taken Pass/Fail:

  • CGS RH 103
  • 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 103
  • CGS RH 104
Stacy Godnick
College of Communication (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
College of Engineering (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 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
Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences (CDS) Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences students are only allowed to complete courses Pass/Fail for courses where Pass/Fail is explicitly allowed (e.g., directed studies, workshops, etc.). Students will need to review each individual course for Pass/Fail opportunities. Melissa Nesbitt
Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (PDP) 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 X_ section, which are graded classes. Ray Levy
Kilachand Honors College (KHC) All Kilachand Honors College courses are program requirements, so cannot be taken Pass/Fail. 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
Metropolitan College (MET) All MET undergraduate credit-bearing courses can be taken Pass/Fail, provided that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy. Lauren Vildostegui
Questrom School of Business In general, students enrolled in the Questrom BSBA program may complete courses Pass/Fail in the following categories: 1) the nonmanagement 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 SM 132, may not be taken on a Pass/Fail basis by any student at Boston University. Meghan Mogan
College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College 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.

  • 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 P/F if 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
Wheelock College of Education & Human Development Per the University policy, Wheelock College majors may take up to two electives on a Pass/Fail basis. As most degree plus licensure programs do not include electives, but rather choices of requirements, few Wheelock College 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 ensure the “elective” is, in fact, not a course required for the major or minor (if applicable). To enter the BS in Education & Human Development, SED CE 342 Anti-Oppressive Practice: Education and Applied Psychology (4 credits) must be completed with a minimum grade of B– (2.7).

 

Non-Wheelock College students are welcome to take any Wheelock College course on a Pass/Fail basis if they have the stated course prerequisites, provided that doing so conforms to the Pass/Fail policy.

 

Nate Canty
School of Hospitality Administration (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 completed the required prerequisites for this course 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 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.

Molly-Kate Carven
Summer Term BU students follow the guidance of their schools/colleges, above. Non-BU students must consult Erin Salius for permission to take courses P/F. Erin Salius