Deans James J. Valentini and Lisa Rosen-Metsch announced on Monday evening via email that the modifications of academic policies from Fall 2020 and Spring 2021—specific to choosing the Pass/D/Fail option for a course—will be implemented for Fall 2021.

Dean James J. Valentini of Columbia College and Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch of the School of General Studies revealed to students via email that they will now be able to Pass/D/Fail any course. This expansion includes courses within the Core Curriculum and requirements for concentrations, majors, electives, and special concentrations, continuing the policy from the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. The Deans also recommended that students meet with their academic advisers and be mindful of current and/or future plans when choosing to use the P/D/F option for a class. The full text of the email can be found below. 

This announcement comes after both Barnard College and SEAS made similar moves to extend deadlines to elect Pass/D/Fail for courses and announce other modifications for this semester; this adjustment also follows CC and GS’s previous decision to extend the course withdrawal and P/D/F deadlines for their students.

The email also included the CC-GS Committee on Instruction’s formal modifications to the Fall 2021 semester’s academic policies put into place due to “required healthcare protocols” and “interruptions in many courses due to the strike.” In addition to expanding the courses eligible for P/D/F, the Committee also cited previous modifications that will still be honored: the deadline for choosing to Pass/D/Fail a course was extended to December 13, and today, December 6, is the deadline to withdraw from a course for CC students.

Additionally, they announced that the normal policy for uncovering a letter grade marked as “P” is still in place, and students will be able to do so until January 28, 2022 through SSOL. Finally, the Committee did note that there are some instances in which deciding to elect Pass/D/Fail for a course “may not be desirable or beneficial,” especially given that the grade could be interpreted “differently by different audiences.” They also said some courses are “important for graduate study” or pertinent to a major or concentration.

Email from Dean Valentini and Dean Rosen-Metsch sent on Monday, December 6 at 7:02 pm:

Dear Columbia College and Columbia GS students, 

With appreciation for how difficult this term may have been for you, we are writing to share further academic accommodations for the fall semester that were recently decided by the CC-GS Committee on Instruction.

In recognition of the continuing challenges of this academic year, the Committee has decided to continue the modified p/d/f options that were made for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 so that they apply in Fall 2021, as well. Details from the Committee on Instruction on these modifications are included below.

We strongly encourage you to talk with your academic advisers 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.

If additional policy changes are made during this complicated time, we will share updates with you.


James J. Valentini

Dean of Columbia College and Vice President of Undergraduate Education

Lisa Rosen-Metsch

Dean of Columbia GS

CC-GS Committee on Instruction: Modifications of Academic Policies for the Fall 2021 semester

We recognize that undergraduates may have experienced a series of challenges particular to the Fall 2021 semester, as they have adapted to studying and living on campus within required campus healthcare protocols, and more recently as they have experienced interruptions in many courses due to the strike by the student workers in the SWC-UAW. 

In recognition of these current challenges, the CC-GS Committee on Instruction (COI) has approved the following:

  • 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.

This accommodation is announced in addition to the other accommodations previously announced by the CC-GS COI:

  • The deadline for declaring the pass/d/fail option for a course was extended to December 13, 2021, the last day of classes for the Fall 2021 term.
  • The deadline to withdraw from a course for Columbia College students was extended to today, December 6, 2021.

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 spring semester (January 28, 2022) 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.

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