The Pass/D/Fail option for students in Columbia College, the School of General Studies, and the School of Engineering have been extended for the Spring 2021 semester.

The CC-GS Committee on Instruction has elected to extend the option for students to Pass/D/Fail any one of their classes to the spring semester, as revealed in an email sent out to the student body today.

As with the fall semester, the option to pass/d/fail one class has no restrictions. This class can be required for the Core or for a student’s major. The deadline to declare the pass/d/fail option, as well as to withdraw from a course, has been extended to February 22 for Spring A courses, and April 15 for full-term and Spring B courses.

Students are allowed to uncover the grade, but must decide so by September 17, 2021. Students are also encouraged to meet with their advisers before making a decision regarding whether they should pass/d/fail a class.

The full email from the Dean of Academic Affairs and the statement from the Committee on Instruction are provided below.

Update on February 17, 9:39 PM EST: The School of Engineering has announced that it will also extend the Pass/D/Fail policy option into the Spring 2021 semester, according to an email sent to SEAS undergraduate students.

SEAS students will now be able to take one course with the P/D/F option, regardless of whether or not it is a core, non-tech elective, major, or minor requirement. Undergraduate students will now have until the last day of classes (February 22 for Spring A, April 15 for Spring B and full semester) to take advantage of the P/D/F policy. Continuing students will be able to uncover grades prior to the September 17, 2021 deadline; graduating students must decide to uncover a P/D/F grade by June 1, 2021.

This extension of the Fall 2020 P/D/F option into Spring 2021 remains an addition to the existing option to P/F a non-technical course. SEAS students must email their CSA advisors with complete course information in order to exercise the P/D/F.

The full text of the email from the School of Engineering and Sciences will be found at the bottom of the article.

Email from the Dean of Academic Affairs:

Dear Columbia College students,

I hope that your spring term is going well. I imagine you may be feeling the stress of midterm exams and assignments, combined with Zoom fatigue, and I hope that you’re making time to take care of yourself. 

I’m writing now to let you know that, in recognition of the continuing challenges of this academic year, the Committee on Instruction has decided to extend to Spring 2021 the modifications to academic policies that were in place for Fall 2020, regarding the use of the p/d/f option and the deadlines for declaring p/d/f and for withdrawing from a course. I’ve included below the policy statement from the Committee on Instruction for more detail.

You are strongly encouraged to talk with your adviser in the Berick Center about choices you may make based on these adjusted policies, to make sure that you’re taking into account not only your current circumstances but also your cumulative record and your future plans.

With best wishes for this midterm period and for a relaxing spring break ahead,

Lisa Hollibaugh

Dean of Academic Affairs

Columbia College

CC-GS Committee on Instruction Modifications to Academic Policies for Spring 2021:

as of Friday, February 12, 2021

As in Fall 2021, students now taking a fully, or mostly, online semester are in a system of learning that is less than familiar to them — one that continues to require them to develop and practice new types of engagement in class, new strategies for learning with online materials, and new habits for work in remote locations. It is also a system of learning that can suffer interference from a variety of technical difficulties or limitations. In recognition of these current challenges, the CC-GS Committee on Instruction (COI) has approved some temporary modifications to certain academic policies for the Spring 2021 semester:

  • Students will be able to elect the pass/d/fail option for one class this semester without restriction — i.e., the course chosen for this grading option can fulfill a requirement for the Core Curriculum; a requirement for a major, concentration, or special concentration; or an elective.
  • The deadline for declaring the pass/d/fail option for a course will be extended to the last day of classes for the term (February 22 for Spring A courses; April 15 for full Spring and Spring B courses).
  • The deadline to withdraw from a course will also be extended to the last day of classes for the term (February 22 for Spring A courses; April 15 for full Spring and Spring B courses).

The usual policy for lifting a “P” to uncover a grade will continue. Students will be able to see their assigned grade for the course in question in SSOL and decide by the end of the second week of the Fall 2021 semester (by September 17) whether to uncover the grade or let the “P” remain on the transcript permanently.It is important to note that there are situations in which it may not be desirable or beneficial for students to use the pass/d/fail option for particular courses of study. The notation of a “P” on a transcript can be read differently by different audiences (within a department or program, within a school, by admissions programs of graduate and professional programs, by employers), and it is important for students to consider future plans when considering a decision that will affect their educational records. Students are therefore strongly encouraged to speak with their academic advisers and their Directors of Undergraduate Studies before making the decision to use the pass/d/fail option, particularly for a class within a major or concentration or for a class that is required or may be important for graduate study.

Email from the School of Engineering and Sciences:

February 17, 2021

Dear Columbia Engineering Undergraduates,

I hope that your semester is off to a good start and that you are all staying healthy and safe.  Please remember to take care of yourselves both physically and mentally this semester.  Please know that your advisers are here to support you in a myriad of ways – just reach out to them.

In acknowledgement of the continuing difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Committee on Instruction has voted to extend the academic policy accommodation from the fall semester regarding pass / D / fail (P/D/F) grading for the spring semester. Specifically:

SEAS undergraduate students will be allowed to take one (1) course this semester for a P/D/F grade with no restrictions on the type of course (core, non-tech elective, major or minor requirement).  The course will count toward its respective requirement.

SEAS undergraduate students will have until the last day of the class to choose this P/D/F option (February 22nd for Spring A courses or April 15th for Spring B or full-semester courses).

Continuing SEAS undergraduate students will have until the end of the second week of the fall semester (September 17th) to choose whether or not to uncover the grade in this class.  Graduating seniors will have until June 1st to decide.  Under no circumstances will a student be allowed to uncover a grade after the respective deadline.

This option to P/D/F a course this semester is in addition to the existing option to P/F a non-technical course (the latter needing to be >=3000 level per the existing SEAS policy).

To exercise the P/D/F option this semester, please send an email to your Center for Student Advising (CSA) advisor with the complete course information.

It is hoped that these accommodations will provide you flexibility for dealing with the added stressors of this unusual situation in which we continue to find ourselves. 

However, it is critically important that you understand the potential implications of choosing the P/D/F option on future plans that may require a transcript, including internships, jobs, or post-graduation education.  Additionally, given the sequential nature of the SEAS curricula, electing to P/D/F a course could have impacts on student-success in future classes.

Students are strongly encouraged to speak with your Advising Deans in the Center for Student Advising before exercising this option.

Best wishes for a successful semester,

Barclay Morrison

Vice Dean for Undergraduate Programs

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Columbia Engineering

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