Faculty of Education Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option for Winter 2020


UPDATED April 1, 2020

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option for Winter 2020

The S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) grading option is available to students (including Foundation, Visiting and Special) for all courses in the Winter 2020 term, including spanned (D1/D2) year-long courses that began in Fall 2019 and end in Winter 2020. If a grade of S (Satisfactory) is earned, then these courses can be counted towards programs in the Faculty of Education as required or complementary courses, or as electives. Courses with final grades of U are treated as a failing grade.

For any additional questions not covered below, consult the University FAQ or speak to your Student Advisor or Program Director:

DISE Undergrads

DISE Graduates


KPE Undergrads

KPE Graduates

Student Advisors:

  • Grace Wong-McAllister
  • Tina Schiavone
  • Susie Vodopive
  • advisedise.education [at] mcgill.ca


Administrative Coordinator for OFNIE:

Seyissa Pinheiro ofnie.education [at] mcgill.ca

Graduate Student Affairs Coordinators:

  • Micheal Larivière (PhD and MA Programs) michael.lariviere [at] mcgill.ca


  • Andrea Nguyen (MATL and Graduate Certificate Programs) andrea.nguyen [at] mcgill.ca 

For all students, contact:

ecpinfo.education [at] mcgill.ca

Nada Abu-Merhy (Undergraduate Student Advisor) nada.abu-merhy [at] mcgill.ca


Gordon Bloom (Director of Undergraduate Programs) gordon.bloom [at] mcgill.ca

Catherine Klempa (Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator) catherine.klempa [at] mcgill.ca


Shane Sweet (Director of Graduate Programs) shane.sweet [at] mcgill.ca

What is the S/U Option? How does this affect my GPA?

Instructors will give the usual letter grades. Students will then have the option to transform the letter grade to a “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” that will appear on their transcript. The S/U grade in the transcript will be identified as occurring during the COVID-19 health crisis. Moreover, this S/U grade will not be calculated in a student’s GPA.

Why is the S/U option being offered for the Winter 2020 semester?

With the sudden shift in social norms due to the COVID-19 situation, McGill University understands that this health crisis may negatively affect people’s capacity to perform. The option is available to reduce stress to students so they needn’t put added pressure on themselves to achieve a certain grade or maintain a certain level of GPA.

Is the S/U option open for all students and courses?

The Faculty of Education is offering the S/U option for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for all course given by the Faculty. If you have questions about courses you are taking outside the Faculty, please consult with your Student Advisor.

Will the S/U option contribute to credits completed? What about major/minor requirements?

Yes, the S/U option will contribute to credits completed. Courses for which the S/U option is exercised this semester indeed count toward a student’s major or minor requirements.

Is there a maximum number of courses I can select the S/U grade option for?

For the Winter 2020 semester, any and all courses you are currently enrolled in are eligible for the S/U grade. All previous standards for using the S/U option (i.e. up to 10% of your credit degree courses) have been suspended.

Does selecting the S/U option affect my admission to grad school, professional schools, or my accreditation eligibility?

There is a general understanding that consideration will be given to the special circumstances. The Faculty of Education is in discussions with other universities and academic institutions as well as the various teaching and psychologist accreditation bodies to determine the official answer to this question. In the interim, please consult with your Student Advisor or Program Director.

What is the timeline for deciding if I want to use the S/U option?

Students have until May 22, 2020 to decide and submit. This timeline will enable students to see their letter grade before deciding to use the S/U option. Decisions are final and can not be reversed. Students are encouraged to think carefully when making their decisions and to consult their advisor as needed.

What is the latest date that I can select a withdrawal from a course in Minerva?

The deadline for selecting a Withdrawal from a course in Minerva has been extended to April 15, 2020. This will result in a student receiving a notation of “W” on their transcript for the course in question, which means it is excluded from any GPA calculation or to credits completed. 

How do I determine which grades equal an “S” and which are a “U”?

UNDERGRADUATE student grades are calculated as per this rubric:


Grades Points

Numerical Scale of Grades


A 4.0 85 – 100% S
A- 3.7 80 – 84% S
B+ 3.3 75 – 79% S
B 3.0 70 – 74% S
B- 2.7 65 – 69% S
C+ 2.3 60 – 64% S
C 2.0 55 – 59% S
D 1.0 50 – 54% U
F (Fail) 0 0 – 49% U

GRADUATE student grades are calculated as per this rubric:


Grades Points

Numerical Scale of Grades


A 4.0 85 – 100% S
A- 3.7 80 – 84% S
B+ 3.3 75 – 79% S
B 3.0 70 – 74% S
B- 2.7 65 – 69% S
F (Fail) 0 0 – 64% U

When should you consider using the S/U option?

  • If your course grade is below your CGPA, then the S/U will prevent your CGPA from being lowered.
  • If the course is a prerequisite for a program or school that you are applying to, you should check with the admission people for that program or school to see how they view S/U grades. Normally we would caution against using S/U on a prerequisite for admission, but conditions have changed due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

When should you consider not using the S/U option?

  • If your course grade is higher than your CGPA. Your CGPA will rise if you leave the grading as is. The S/U option will prevent your CGPA from being raised.
  • The course is a requirement for a school or program to which you are applying, and they insist on a regular grade. (If you failed, then S/U the course and try again.) Always verify the requirements for any school or program to which you plan to apply, as these may change in the coming weeks.

How do I submit the S/U option so that it appears in my transcript?

Please note that the process to select this option is still in progress but a webform should be available as of April 13, 2020. Please check the Student Records website or check back with this Faculty of Education COVID-19 FAQ page. 

Will I be able to re-take a course if I want to show a strong performance?

No. If you receive a passing grade, this grade (either “S” or a letter grade) will be automatically submitted to your transcript. 

How does the S/U option affect scholarship recipients with regard to grades and GPA scores??

The eligibility criteria to receive and/or renew scholarships have been amended to require 12 graded credits for the 2019/20 academic session (Fall and Winter) instead of the traditional 27 graded credits. This temporary policy is published in yellow alert boxes within the relevant Scholarship Regulations on the Scholarships & Student Aid website. 

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