Pass/Fail Policy

FAQs for Watson Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Policy

What is the Pass/Fail limit for Watson students?

Watson students may Pass/Fail a total of 12 credits in the Spring 2020 semester.

Will choosing to Pass/Fail a course still fulfill my major, gen-ed or prerequisite requirements?

Yes, courses taken as Pass/Fail in Spring 2020 will fulfill major, gen-ed and prerequisite requirements as long as you earn a P.

For example, if you choose Pass/Fail for MATH 227, it will fulfill the prerequisite requirement for MATH 324.

How do I know which of my courses I should take Pass/Fail?

Watson Advising is happy to guide you in making this decision so please reach out to us!  We will help you consider all factors: GPA impacts, graduate school, financial aid, etc.

If I switch a course to Pass/Fail, how will it impact my GPA?

If you change a course grade option to Pass/Fail and you earn a P, there will be no impact to your GPA.  If you change to Pass/Fail and earn an F, the F will still be counted in your GPA.

What is the deadline for changing to Pass/Fail?

The deadline to change your grade option is June 5, 2020.  The university is allowing students to make these decisions once letter grades are posted.

Will our decision to Pass/Fail a class be final?

Yes. Once you decide to pass/fail the course you can not change it back to a letter grade at a later date.  Exceptions may be given for extraordinary circumstances but must be done so through by petition with appropriate signatures.

What if I need to Pass/Fail more than 12 credits?

The University will only allow for 12 credits to be changed to pass/fail.  If you are unsure of which courses you should pass/fail, we encourage you to discuss your options with a Watson Advisor by contacting

How will this impact the Dean’s List?

Dean’s list criteria will not change for the spring 2020 semester.  Students who complete at least 12 credits for letter grades with an average GPA of 3.5 or higher is required.

How do I know if changing the grading option will impact my financial aid?

For questions related to financial aid, please review details here:

How do I know if graduate programs will accept my courses as prerequisites if I pass/fail them?

Different universities are handling the COVID-19 outbreak in their own way. However, we believe it is generally understood by everyone that this semester has been subject to extreme circumstances. For information about a specific graduate program, it is best to directly contact that graduate program’s school directly. Watson Advising is happy to advocate on your behalf if necessary to demonstrate to your potential graduate program that a pass/fail option is best for you.

How do I switch my courses to Pass/Fail?

The normal Pass/Fail option has been removed from BU Brain until further notice. The University is working to create an online portal that will allow you to submit pass/fail requests. Watson Advising will provide additional directions via email as soon as the portal is made available. Do not worry; the University will allow students to submit pass/fail requests after grades are posted, so there will be time to submit requests.

How would a Pass/Fail look like on my transcript to employers, is it similar to Ws?

The Office of Student Records is developing official language that will be shown on your transcript if you choose to make any of your courses pass/fail. This language will show you took pass/fail courses in accordance with University policy during the Spring 2020 semester.

How do I know if Pass/Fail is the right choice for me?

If you are considering the P/F option for a course, we encourage you to speak to a Watson Advisor first.  We can discuss any pros and cons there may be and give you guidance as you make your decision.

Even though probation is not being enforced this semester, what happens next semester if my GPA is still below 2.0?

If you are currently on probation and your GPA remains below a 2.0 this semester you will remain on probation for the Fall 2020 semester.

If you are considering changing your grading option please contact Watson Advising by either making an appointment (zoom, phone) with an advisor or by emailing