Student and Academic Life

Undergrad Students Being Given Pass/Fail Option for Spring 2020 Courses Only

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2020) — In the wake of COVID-19 disrupting traditional classes and sending University of Kentucky students, faculty and staff into a flurry of transitioning in-person classes to mostly an online format, the university is now giving undergraduate students an option of making their Spring 2020 classes pass/fail. This follows two emergency meetings by the University Senate Council over the last two weeks.

Friday, April 17, UK Provost David Blackwell and University Senate Council Chair Jennifer Bird-Pollan sent the following email message to UK students and a separate message to faculty about the pass/fail decision.

Dear Wildcats,

We know this isn’t how you planned to finish out the Spring 2020 semester. 

You’ve had plans canceled, many of you have had to move your homes and this weekend some of you faced severe storms and tornadoes. 

We couldn’t be more proud of how you have handled these hardships, and we care deeply about supporting your success as you finish the semester. 

In light of all the difficulty faced in the past month, your faculty, as represented by the University Senate Council, have decided to permit “P” grades earned under a pass/fail grading option to satisfy all undergraduate graduation requirements. 

This option is available only for the Spring 2020 semester. 

Here’s what you need to know about that option:

  • If you would like to elect pass/fail grading for any of your undergraduate courses, you will have to contact your advisor to make the election. You should discuss the election with your advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies in your program.
  • Pass/fail grading will not be the best option for all students, and there may be consequences to this choice in the future, as you apply for graduate programs or if your career requires licensure. 
  • Some students should consider requesting an Incomplete, or an “I” grade in a course, which would permit them to finish the course later and continue to earn a letter grade. 
  • Some students are facing such extreme hardships that they should consider withdrawing from a course. 
  • Decisions to elect pass/fail grading or withdraw from a course for this semester must be made by 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020.   

All of these options are available to students, and your advisors can help you think through which option would be the best. Information is available on the Learn Anywhere website. 

We also want to note that some programs will continue to require that a student earn a minimum letter grade to progress in a program or course sequence, even though only a “P” would be reported on the student’s transcript. 

Please speak with your advisor about whether, for instance, an underlying grade of “C” may be required in a particular course to progress in your program, even though you elect pass/fail grading in that course.

Finally, we’d like to acknowledge that this campus-wide change only applies for undergraduate graduation requirements. 

For graduate and professional programs, the program faculty have made decisions about whether or not to accept P grades for graduation requirements in those programs. 

We encourage graduate and professional students to contact their faculty members for information about those decisions.

We know this semester has been a challenge in so many ways, and we know even more challenges await us in the future. But seeing your resilience and commitment firsthand has us more convinced than ever before that we will emerge from this crisis stronger than before.

We remain grateful for all of you who are part of the University of, for, and with Kentucky. 

With gratitude,

David W. Blackwell, Provost

Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Senate Council Chair

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.