Dear PSD Community,
We recognize that the COVID-19 public health crisis presents a unique set of challenges to our students, including childcare responsibilities, mental and physical health concerns, and technical obstacles for remote learning. With these concerns in mind, we are increasing the flexibility of our current grading practices to help support students. This includes expanding the availability of pass/fail options for the Spring Quarter.
For the Spring Quarter of 2020, the following grading options are available to students in the Physical Sciences Division:
- For courses taken to fulfill the requirements of a Major or Minor in the Physical Sciences Division, students in the College may request to take up to two courses as pass/fail with the consent of their instructors. Students must then submit a petition to their department to have those courses count toward Major/Minor requirements by Friday of Week 9. For more information about grading options in the Core and electives, view the Communication from Dean of the College John Boyer and Dean of Students Jay Ellison.
- PhD students in the Physical Sciences Division may request to take up to two courses as pass/fail for the Spring Quarter with the consent of the instructors. Students must request through their Department to have those courses count toward degree requirements by Friday of Week 9.
- Because Master's programs are shorter-term and coursework constitutes a larger proportion of the educational plan, Master's students in the Physical Sciences Division may request to take one course as pass/fail for the Spring Quarter with the consent of the instructor. Students must request through their Department to have those courses count toward degree requirements by Friday of Week 9.
- All students may petition for pass/fail options beyond those listed above if they face additional personal difficulties.
While formal grades remain important to many students as they pursue academic and personal goals, we recognize that other students have compelling reasons to select a pass/fail option. Graduate students are encouraged to direct questions to the Director of Graduate Studies if there are concerns about making satisfactory academic progress.
These options are intended to satisfy the diverse needs of our current academic term only and do not imply a precedent for future policies.
Departments and programs will provide additional guidance on the grading options in the coming weeks.
All the best,
Angela V. Olinto
Dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences
Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics
The University of Chicago