Pass/Fail Policy

Harpur College Grade Option Change (Pass/Fail)

Students taking Harpur College courses are graded in one of two ways:

  • Standard letter grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F; or
  • Pass/Fail option using grades of P for Pass and F for Fail.

Students may elect to change a course's grading option from standard letter grade to Pass/Fail or vice versa) at any time up to the end of the course withdrawal period.

Students may apply up to 24 credits of "P" courses toward their 126 credits needed to graduate.

  • General Education: General Education courses must be taken for a letter grade (normal grading option) unless a course is only offered pass/fail.
  • Major or minor requirements: Courses used to fulfill major or minor requirements may not be taken pass/fail in most cases. Some departments have specified the number or type of courses that can be taken pass/fail and still count to fulfill major or minor requirements. Please consult the bulletin, your degree audit and the department to determine if a course can be taken pass/fail.
  • Harpur College Requirement (Writing or Upper Level): Courses used to fulfill Harpur College requirements, including the upper level requirement and the Harpur College writing requirement can be taken pass/fail.

Students will need to take at least one C or J course for a grade to complete the general education requirement.

If you have any questions about the spring 2020 pass/fail policy, please see below.

  • Spring 2020: Harpur College Undergraduate Pass/Fail Policy FAQs (*rules for spring 2020 only)

    *Due to the academic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2020, the Pass/Fail policy for coursework taken in the Spring 2020 semester differs from the standard policy.

    What is the Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Policy?

    Up to 12 credits taken with a Pass/Fail grade option in Spring 2020 may be used to satisfy all degree requirements, including General Education, overall credit hours, upper-level, writing, major and minor requirements. The spring 2020 pass/fail policy also allows a student to see their final grades before deciding if changing the grading option to pass/fail is in their best interest. Students have until June 5, 2020 to change the grading option to pass/fail.

    Under normal circumstances, 24 credits of pass/fail coursework may fulfill Harpur College degree requirements. Further, under normal circumstances, Pass/Fail courses do not fulfill general education requirements. In addition, many Harpur majors and minors either do not allow or limit the number of Ps that fulfill major or minor requirements. However, the Spring 2020 policy will allow up to 12 credits of P coursework to fulfill degree requirements regardless of our usual university, college, major and minor policies.

    General Questions About Pass/Fail and Binghamton University’s Spring 2020 Policy:

    What is the Pass/Fail Grading Option?

    • If you select a Pass/Fail option for a course, grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, and D are converted to P (Pass). No grade other than P or F (Fail) will appear on your Binghamton University transcript.
    • If a course was originally set up as pass/fail only, refer to the course syllabus for minimum passing grade.

    What impact does P/F have on a GPA?

    • If you pass a course that you have taken with the P/F grade option, it will not be factored into your GPA. Failed (F) courses that are graded on either a Pass/Fail or standard letter grading system are factored into your GPA.

     How many credits can a student P/F in the Spring 2020 semester?

    • Students can take up to 12 credits of spring 2020 coursework with the P/F grade option with the credits earned with a P satisfying degree requirements.
    • Students may elect to take more than 12 P/F credits for this semester, but please note that any P/F credits beyond the initial 12 will be subject to the normal restrictions on P/F coursework and may not count for certain degree requirements. If you are considering taking more than 12 P/F credits for the Spring 2020 semester, please contact Harpur Academic Advising.

    Will courses taken P/F in the spring 2020 semester count towards Harpur College’s limit of 24 credits taken P/F?

    • Yes. Any credits taken pass/fail in the spring 2020 semester do count towards the 24 credit limit on pass/fail allowed during a student’s years at Binghamton University. Further, students may take 12 credits pass/fail during the spring 2020 semester even if this puts them over the 24 credit limit. If you feel you may exceed the 24 credit limit, please contact Harpur Academic Advising.

    What is the spring 2020 pass/fail deadline?

    • June 5, 2020

    Which degree requirements may Spring 2020 Pass/Fail courses fulfill?

    If students take 12 or fewer credits P/F in the spring 2020 semester, coursework earned with a P will fulfill the following requirements:

    • General Education
    • Harpur College requirements: overall credit hours, upper-level (300+), and writing
      • Special note: Even under normal circumstances, up to 24 credits of P/F typically satisfies these Harpur requirements.
    • Major requirements, regardless of the P/F restrictions noted in the Bulletin

    Additional Requirement Questions:
    • If I take a course P/F and pass it, will the P fulfill prerequisite requirements for future coursework?
      • Yes.  Courses taken in Spring 2020 with the P/F grade option will satisfy progression requirements in prerequisite courses if you pass the class.
    • Are there courses that should not be taken under the pass/fail grading option
      • Yes. Coursework needed for Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences must be taken for a letter grade. Please contact Decker's Division of Advising and Academic Excellence for additional information.
    • Can pass/fail courses count toward Pre-Health prerequisite requirements?
      • It depends. At this time, Binghamton University's Pre-Health Professions Team recommends maintaining the standard grading option for your health graduate school prerequisite courses until official guidelines from professional school organizations are issued. Given the new grade option change deadline, you have plenty of time to decide which option is best for you. If you have any questions or concerns, you should contact the Pre-Health Professions Team by phone, email or through Starfish.

    Other Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Questions:
    • Will courses taken P/F count toward New York State Financial Aid requirements (TAP/Excelsior/STEM)?
      • Yes. Courses taken in Spring 2020 with the P/F grade option satisfy requirements for New York State Financial Aid.
    • How will Harpur College calculate Harpur College Dean’s List eligibility for the spring 2020 semester?
      • Harpur College Dean’s List eligibility for spring 2020 remains the same: students must earn a semester GPA of 3.5 in at least 12 graded credits. Courses passed with a P /F option are excluded from dean’s list calculations.
    • If I fail a course under the pass/fail grading option, does the course fulfill degree requirements?
      • No. F grades do not satisfy degree requirements, even if taken under the pass/fail grading option. Note: F grades are calculated into GPAs.
    • Can students on academic probation Pass/Fail courses?
      • Yes. Normally students on academic probation are prohibited from changing the grading option to P/F. However, due to the extraordinary nature of the semester, Harpur will allow all students to change the grading option to P/F for the Spring 2020 semester.
    • Will Harpur College enforce academic probation, suspension and dismissal rules at the end of the spring 2020 semester?
      • No. Harpur College is not enforcing academic probation, suspension or dismissal due to grades earned at the end of the spring 2020 semester. If your Binghamton University cumulative GPA drops or remains below a 2.0, your academic standing from the prior term will continue during your next term of enrollment so that you are not penalized for the events of this semester. If you were on probation, you will continue on probation, rather than being academically suspended or dismissed. Your probation will continue and you will be allowed to enroll in a future term.

        If you were on academic probation and your spring 2020 GPA results in a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 or higher, your spring 2020 standing will be updated to good standing.
    • When should I decide whether or not I should take spring 2020 courses pass/fail?
      • As we adjust to our new online semester environment, we encourage our students to not rush with their P/F decision. Students should decide if pass/fail is appropriate as we progress through the rest of the semester, including finals. Students will be able to change their grading option to pass/fail after grades are posted.
    • What is the process to change spring 2020 courses from standard letter grade to pass/fail?
      • The default grade option for most Binghamton University undergraduate courses is the standard letter grade (A, B, C, etc). Students have until June 5, 2020 to decide if they should continue with the standard grade option or switch to Pass/Fail. Students will be able to view their letter grades prior to making a final decision about which grade option they wish to pursue.

        To change the grade option to Pass/Fail for a spring 2020 course, students will need to complete the Spring 2020 Grade Change Option form on the portal between May 21 - June 5.
    • Where can I see how many P/F credits I am enrolled in or previously completed?
      • Your DegreeWorks tells you how many P/F credits are currently on your BU record. This is listed at the top of your DegreeWorks audit, above your General Education requirements.
    • What is the spring 2020 individual course withdrawal deadline and how do I withdraw from a course?
      • June 5th, 2020 is the spring 2020 course withdrawal deadline.
        Students may withdraw from individual courses. (If students choose to withdraw from ALL their courses, see "University WIthdrawal" below.) Courses withdrawn appear on a student’s schedule with a notation of “W”. Withdrawn courses are noted on a student’s transcript but there is no grade associated with a “W”. The spring 2020 deadline to withdraw from individual courses is June 5th, 2020.

        Course withdrawals before May 5: Course withdrawal can be completed on BU Brain (Student Tab > Registration > Add/Drop Courses > Web Withdrawal).

        Course withdrawals between May 5 and June 5: These require a different procedure. Instructions will be provided around May 5, 2020.
    • What is the spring 2020 university withdrawal deadline and how do I withdraw from the university?
      • Students who want to withdraw from ALL courses for the semester should complete the Undergraduate Semester Withdrawal Form. The semester withdrawal is noted on a student’s record as an Official Withdrawal and, in place of grades, all courses will have a “W” on the student’s transcript. The deadline to withdraw from the full semester (all classes) is June 5th, 2020.