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

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.