Spring 2020 Grading Scheme

Message From Provost

Dear SMU Undergraduate Students:

I hope you are adjusting to your studies online in response to efforts to keep our campus community as safe as possible during the COVID outbreak. We received many emails and calls from you requesting that we modify our grading policies because of this unusual semester. After carefully consulting with faculty, deans and records administration, we developed a Temporary Grading Policy for Spring 2020, which has been endorsed by the Faculty and Student Senates.

The policy is designed to provide flexibility for individual students’ circumstances and encourage you to finish your courses. Basically, the way it will work is professors will report letter grades as normal. Then, students will have the option to keep that grade or choose Satisfactory (S), Satisfactory Minus (S-) and No Credit (NC) based on the guidelines in the policy. Students may make this selection course-by-course after the letter grade is posted at the end of the term. Seniors must act promptly as the deadline will be quick - May 19, 2020, at 5:00 pm CST. This temporary grading policy should relieve anxiety and uncertainty about course grades and GPAs.

Please carefully review the policy specifics to learn more about the grade options and how these detailed scenarios may apply to you. I hope these accommodations will help you successfully navigate this challenging time. Thank you.


Peter K. Moore
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim


Temporary Grading Policy for Spring 2020 (PDF) (Last revised 4/1/2020)

Tools & Tutorials


The policy outlined here and these FAQ’s are for undergraduate courses enrolled in by undergraduate students. Graduate courses and graduate students are covered by separate grading schemes.
No. A student may decide with each class individually whether to convert assigned grades from Spring 2020 to a S/S-/NC basis.
Assigned grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, and C- will all be eligible for conversion to a S. The S will have hours earned but will not be included in your GPA.
Assigned grades of D+, D and D- will all be eligible for conversion to a S-. The S- will have hours earned but will not be included in your GPA.
Assigned grades of F will all be eligible for conversion to a NC. The NC will not have hours earned and will not be included in your GPA.
For a faculty assigned final grade, May 2020 degree candidates have until 5:00 p.m., May 19th. All other undergraduates have until 5:00 p.m., May 25th. See FAQ’s for a grade of Incomplete and Study Abroad
No! Late requests will not be accepted or considered. See FAQ’s for Study Abroad.
Plans for this process at the end of the term are being made now and will be broadly communicated and posted to the University Registrar’s website as soon as they are finalized.
No. Once a student decides to elect to convert an assigned grade to a S/S-/NC basis, it will be irrevocable with no appeal.
Since individual scenarios will vary, please talk to your advisor. A list of FAQ’s specific to pre-health students will be posted by April 13 on the following website: https://www.smu.edu/Provost/ProvostOffice/SAES/UAC/Pre-Professional/Pre-Health-Advising.
Students should consult an academic advisor, dean's office, financial aid officer, or any other campus resource with whom they regularly work on decisions related to registration, add/drop, repeating coursework, etc. Students are responsible for completing their own due diligence to be fully aware of the implications of their decision to convert an assigned grade to S/S-/NC. Taking this step will be especially significant as students consider the impact of converting a course (or courses) to S/S-/NC and its impact on scholarships. other forms of financial aid, veterans' benefits, licensure, graduate/professional school admission, and/or other professional goals. There are additional FAQ’s touching on some of these categories.
The S grade will meet pre-requisites. However, if there is any question or doubt about a student's preparedness for a subsequent course, the student should seek advice from his/her academic advisor and/or the department offering the course. The S- will meet a few, but not most prerequisites. Doing D level work is generally not adequate preparation to move forward into more difficult courses. If a catalog states a course prerequisite must be met with a C- or higher, than a S- will not satisfy the requirement since it is a D+ or lower.
The S grade will meet general education, major and minor requirements. With a two exceptions noted below, the S- grade will meet general education requirements. The S- will meet the few major and minor requirements where the minimum grade is a D-. Consult with your adviser.
A S- or NC will not satisfy DISC requirements, and you must retake the course.
If the “S-“ is in FREN or SPAN 1401, you may go on to enroll in FREN or SPAN 1502. For any other languages, you must repeat the initial course. Please consult Tana Smith (tanas@smu.edu) in the WLL Dept., or consult your academic advisor, for more information.
A grade of “S” will satisfy subset requirements. Grades of “S-“ or “NC” will not. Contact your academic advisor if you’d like to discuss further.
No. This is a special grading scheme that will only apply for Spring 2020.
All student athletes must consult with their athletic academic counselors in ADSA or the LEC prior to changing a grade to S/S-/NC. The counselors will ensure decisions do not negatively affect eligibility.
International students should consult with their academic adviser and with staff in the Office of International Student Services.
Grades of S will not affect VA benefits. Grades of S- and NC may affect VA benefits which may affect your financial aid. Please contact the VA Certifying Official in the Registrar’s Office and your Financial Aid Adviser before choosing a grade of S- or NC.
Yes. Although you will still be held to the terms of your academic probation for the Spring 2020 term, you can utilize this temporary grading policy, which may prove beneficial. Please contact your adviser if you have any questions.
The Spring 2020 Grading Scheme will impact your cumulative SMU GPA. Students on a scholarship should consult with their Financial Aid Advisor before making a declaration.
You should consult with your academic adviser and other advisers before repeating a course. There are a number of reasons a student might want to repeat a course. Since the NC and the S- are not calculated in the GPA, repeats of these courses will not count against the limit of 6 grade replacement repeats.
No. A Spring 2020 P/F declaration cannot be changed. That is your grading basis for the course. However, if your final grade is F, you can elect to change the F to a NC.
No. The declaration of S, S- or NC does not count as a Pass/Fail attempt.
Grades are posted in my.SMU continuously once finals start as they are submitted by course instructors.
You will receive an email notice when a grade is posted. Logon to my.SMU to view your grade.
The Grading Policy for Spring 2020 is more favorable for students in several key ways than the Pass/Fail policy.
Students can know their performance grade before declaring the S, S-, NC option whereas in Pass/Fail declarations must be made by the 12th class day.
Credit can be earned for performance at the D+, D, D- levels with the S- whereas in Pass/Fail performance at the D+, D, D- level result in a Fail.
The NC grade is not calculated in the GPA whereas the Fail grade is calculated in the GPA.
Discuss your situation with your course instructor. Receiving an Incomplete is possible if the majority of the course requirements have been met. The instructor can set a time frame for you to complete the course but not longer than one year. At the time the course is completed or the Incomplete expires, you’ll have 48 hours to elect the S/S-/NC option.
You cannot change an Incomplete to S/S-/NC. When you receive an Incomplete, the course instructor will tell you what work must be completed and the highest grade you can earn in the course. At the time the course is completed or the Incomplete expires, you’ll have 48 hours to elect the S, S-. NC grading option.
You must earn 12 or more hours with a grade of A – D- with a term GPA that meets the Honor Roll cutoff. S and S- will not count in the 12 hours. P also does not count in the 12 hours.
The minimum cumulative GPA for Latin Honors is set each year. If a student chooses to elect the S/S-/NC grading basis wisely, the opportunity to elect this option should only be advantageous to students.
Students pursuing these professional goals are eligible to make this choice, but they should do so only after careful consultation with their pre-professional adviser.
No. At the end of the spring 2020 term, instructors will submit course grades based upon the grading scale in their syllabi as they would do at the end of any other term.
Yes, any student classified as undergraduate and taking undergraduate courses for Spring 2020 may elect this grading option.
No. Once a student elects to convert an assigned grade to a S/S-/NC basis, then the assigned grade will not appear on the student's transcript or be available.
No. You cannot drop all your courses. You must remain enrolled in at least 1 course. You can resign (withdraw) from the University. In the case of a Withdrawal the courses enrolled at the time of the withdrawal appear on the academic record with grades of W and a Withdrawal statement is recorded.
Enrollment certifications are based on your enrollment status at the time the certification is done. When a student drops below 12 hours they are considered part-time at that point regardless of the original enrollment. The University Registrar can provide you a statement of your previous full-time status or of the courses you were enrolled in for the term.
Yes, this policy applies to all undergraduate SMU enrollments for Spring 2020. The declaration deadline for a course enrolled through the Study Abroad program is 10 business days after the grade is posted.
At the time a student withdraws (resigns) from the University all courses being attempted at that time are marked with a grade of W, and the courses with the W and a Withdrawal statement is added to the academic transcript. There is no refund for a Withdrawal or dropped courses at this time of the term. A Medical Withdrawal has a pro-rata refund of tuition and fees but also carries with it additional documentation and other requirements.
No. A student is not eligible to use the Spring 2020 Grading Option for a course if they are determined responsible for a violation of the Honor Code either thru Faculty Disposition or the Honor Council regardless of the type of sanction given.