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    May 24, 2024  
Catalog 2019-2020 
Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Pass/Fail Option for Spring 2020 Courses

In light of the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, CSM is offering students the choice of a Pass/Fail option for the Spring 2020 Semester, as an alternative to the traditional grading system.

How It Works:

Students can choose to opt in to the Pass/Fail option for some or all of their Spring 2020 Semester courses. Under Pass/Fail, instead of receiving a traditional letter grade, you’ll receive a result of “P” for a passing grade or “FE” (“failure under extraordinary circumstances”) for a failing grade, and these results will not be calculated into your Spring 2020 (term) GPA or overall (cumulative) GPA.

If you choose not to opt in for Pass/Fail, letter grades will still be calculated into your term and cumulative GPA.

For a more detailed breakdown, please see below, in “Special Considerations.” Opting in for Pass/Fail is voluntary, and while it may not be right for everyone, it may be beneficial to some students. We encourage you to speak to a faculty or academic advisor for guidance!

Opting In:

In order to take advantage of the Pass/Fail option, students must opt in by submitting this form:

Request Pass/Fail for Spring 2020

You have until 6 p.m. on Friday, May 22, to choose which courses you’d like to switch to Pass/Fail.

Letter grades will be the default for all Spring 2020 Semester courses. You can choose some or all of your classes to switch to Pass/Fail, but this change cannot be reversed!

Please note that the Pass/Fail option is not recommended for some courses and programs; please see “Special Considerations” below. If you have any questions, speak to a faculty or academic advisor!

Special Considerations:

Please read the following information carefully. Certain programs or specific circumstances may have requirements that should be carefully considered when making the decision to opt in for Pass/Fail. Pass/Fail may not be the optimal choice for your particular situation; ask a faculty or academic advisor if Pass/Fail is right for you!

At this time, Pass/Fail is only available for the Spring 2020 Semester; it may be extended to the Summer and Fall 2020 Semesters, depending on circumstances.

Effect on GPA and Credit

Under Pass/Fail, a “P” will be awarded in place of an A, B, or C grade, and credit will be awarded. An “FE” grade will be awarded in place of a D or F, and no credit will be awarded. A Pass grade must be a C- or better. No D grades are eligible for conversion to Pass.

You may not want to convert A or B grades into a “P” if they will improve your GPA, while you may want to consider a “P” grade if receiving a C will lower your GPA. You can opt not to change a D grade to an “FE.”

Information on calculating GPAs can be found on our website here. More helpful information is available here (external link). This will help you determine if Pass/Fail is right for you!

Policies and Program Eligibility

For the purposes of all CSM policies that require a “C or better” grade, a course with a “P” on your transcript will fulfill the “C or better” requirement. To maintain eligibility for enrollment in any credit Health Science program, students must maintain a letter grade of C or better in all courses.

Dean’s List and Academic Standing

For the Spring 2020 Semester, CSM is suspending calculations for the Dean’s List and for academic standing (probation and suspension).

There is a list of programs and courses below that should not be considered for a “P” option. For more information on courses and programs that may be excluded from consideration, please see below.

Transfer Students

Students who intend to transfer to a University System of Maryland school should be aware that the USM has agreed to take Pass grades for Spring 2020 Semester. However, the USM institutions reserve the right to require additional diagnostic evaluations of students’ preparedness before placing them in certain upper-level courses upon transfer.

Students who intend to apply to a selective admissions program, sometimes referred to as Limited Enrollment Programs (e.g. Business, Nursing, Computer Science, Engineering) may not want to change program-specific courses to Pass/Fail if they believe it would hurt their chances of admission. Some schools will not accept a “P” grade for some major-specific courses.

Students who wish to transfer to a Maryland independent college or university or a school outside of Maryland should check with their intended transfer institution. Many, but not all, of these institutions have signaled they will work with CSM students and provide flexibility in some cases regarding “P” grades.

Students Enrolled in English 1010

Maryland Higher Education Commission requires that students pass English 1010 with a C- or better. While this course will be eligible for a “P” grade, students may be asked to provide documentation of having achieved the C- or better upon transfer with a “P” as opposed to a letter grade.


Veterans should note that, currently, guidance on academic progress indicates there is no adverse effect for a “P” grade; however, you should review the guidelines here:

Financial Aid

Students who receive financial aid through the Department of Education (Pell Grants, Direct Loans, etc.) should be aware that courses that are not successfully completed (withdrawn/WE) in the Spring 2020 semester as a result of the COVID-19 impact on instruction will be excluded from the quantitative calculations (maximum timeframe & completion percentage) of the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. FE grades will be calculated in the quantitative calculations (maximum timeframe & completion percentage). The FE grade earned will not be factored into the student’s GPA for financial aid eligibility. If you have any questions about your eligibility, you should contact the Financial Assistance department at:

Course and Program Considerations

If you are enrolled in, planning to major/transfer in, or petitioning to get into any of the following programs, it is strongly recommended that you not choose the Pass/Fail option for ANY prerequisite or program-specific courses:

  • Medical Assisting
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Massage therapy
  • EMS
  • Nursing
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Health Information Management
  • Medical Coding
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Radiography
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Physical Therapist Assistant

If you plan to major in/transfer in Engineering, Business Administration, or Computer Science, it is strongly recommended that you not choose you should NOT choose the “P” option in any of the following courses:

  • CSC 2591, 2592
  • ACC 2010
  • MTH 1015, 1560, 1200
  • CHE 1200, 1219, 1230, 1350, 2200, 2010
  • PHY 1010, 1020, 1210, 2200, 2210
  • Any EGR or ELT course

If you plan on completing an Education or AAT degree, you should speak to an advisor at your transfer institution of choice. There are state requirements and a minimum GPA to apply to education programs. You should not take the “P” option for MTH 2100, 2100, or 2120.