Skip Navigation

Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Subscribe Now
Campus & Community

Graduate Courses to Be Graded S/F This Semester

Students Can Elect to Receive Earned Grades

By Maryland Today Staff

Students in front of Martin Hall

Photo by John T. Consoli

UMD announced today that graduate students have the option to be graded satisfactory/fail (S/F) this semester unless the student elects to receive an earned grade for the course.

Provost and Senior Vice President Mary Ann Rankin and Associate Provost and Graduate School Dean Steve Fetter sent the following message to faculty today:
As we continue to navigate this uncharted territory and make difficult decisions that are in the best interest of the health and safety of our community, as well as the academic integrity of our university, I write to share with you a new grading policy for graduate courses for the Spring 2020 semester. I want to thank you again for your flexibility and understanding as we make these unprecedented changes to how we teach and learn.
All graduate courses in Spring 2020 will be graded satisfactory/fail (S/F) unless the student elects to receive an earned grade for the course.

Students will have the opportunity to choose to receive an earned letter grade in each class and may make that choice until the last day of spring semester classes, May 12. A new website is being created for this purpose. Faculty will not know if a student has chosen to receive a letter grade.

  • There are no limits on satisfactory/fail credits for graduate students.
  • S/F is an appropriate grading scale for F1/J1 students to maintain status, so long as they also maintain appropriate enrollment status.
  • Any graduate program requirements related to letter grades in a particular course will be waived for the Spring 2020 semester. However, students who do not do well in a course should be aware that they may not be adequately prepared for courses or exams that rely on prior knowledge of the subject. Students receiving a S/F may retake the course for a letter grade.
  • Students on academic probation who do not elect to accept course grades will be continued to the next semester, since they cannot increase their GPA with S grades.
  • S/F grades will not affect a student's eligibility for graduate assistantships, fellowships or financial aid.
  • At the University of Maryland, graduate credit can be earned only for grades of C- and above. If students do not elect to receive a letter grade, all letter grades of C- and above will be converted to S and all grades below C- will be converted to F.
  • Students will earn graduate credit with an S but not with an F. An S does not contribute to a student's GPA, but an F does.
  • Students should consult with their academic advisors about any possible consequences for employment, certification, or other opportunities that might be affected by a decision to choose satisfactory/fail vs a letter grade.
  • The last day of classes, May 12, is also the last day to drop a course.
  • A note will be included on student transcripts indicating the unusual circumstances prevailing in spring 2020

The website is available to you for additional guidance and resources regarding online course delivery. Please continue to follow the CDC and UMD guidelines, and check for updates. If you have non-medical questions specific to UMD and coronavirus you can email . If you have a medical question or concern, please contact your physician.

I hope you and your families are staying safe and well, and thank you again for your tremendous partnership and cooperation as we prepare for classes to begin on Monday.


Mary Ann Rankin
Senior Vice President and Provost

Steve Fetter
Associate Provost and Dean, Graduate School


Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.