In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Maryland’s graduate school announced Friday that all graduate courses this semester will be graded on a “satisfactory/fail” system, unless a student elects to receive a letter grade.
Students will have until the last day of spring semester classes, May 12, to indicate they’d like to receive a letter grade in a class. If they do not do so, all letter grades of C- and above will be converted to “S” and all grades below will be converted to “F” — a departure from the recently announced pass/fail system for undergraduates, where all letter grades above an F will be marked with a “P.”
The graduate school advised students on its website to consult with their academic advisers about how not earning letter grades this semester could affect future employment, certification and other opportunities. Receiving an “S” in a course will not contribute to a student’s GPA, but receiving an “F” will.
Electing to be graded on a satisfactory/fail system will not affect a student’s eligibility for graduate assistantships, fellowships or financial aid, according to the graduate school’s website. International students on F1 and J1 visas will also be able to maintain status if they choose to be graded on this system, so long as they maintain “appropriate enrollment status,” the website read.
A note will also be included on student transcripts, describing the “unusual circumstances” that arose this semester.