Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option

For all terms, once you have either invoked the S/U or have removed it, decisions are final after the deadlines. Think carefully and be sure of what you want. Talk to your advisor if you are not sure.

Arts OASIS will not allow reversals of your decision after the deadlines, for these and other reasons:
- You change your academic program after you have invoked the S/U option; 
- You have had second thoughts about your ability to live with the grading option you have selected; 
- You made a mistake (eg. added it for the wrong course; thought you'd added but it never went through; thought you'd removed it by the deadline, etc). 


Students may take one elective course per term to be graded under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option, to a maximum of 10% of the student's resident credits taken at McGill to fulfill their degree requirements. Courses taken under S/U will NOT count towards your Minor Concentration, Major Concentration, Honours, Joint Honours, Faculty program or freshman requirements.

The Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option is an alternative grading option that allows you to take McGill courses outside of your area of specialization without fear of affecting your GPA. Courses taken under the S/U option are NOT included in your GPA calculations.  

Note 1: the application of this policy for Arts students is based on your degree and not your programs. You can find the full Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory policy here.
Note: 2: the S/U option is not an academic accommodation, and cannot be invoked based on circumstance (medical or otherwise). 


To get a "S", a student must earn a C or better in the course. That is a minimum mark of 55%. If that is earned, then the credits are awarded. If a grade less than C is earned, a grade of "U" is posted, and no credits are given.


Grade Points

Numerical Scale of Grades




85 – 100%




80 – 84%




75 – 79%




70 – 74%




65 – 69%




60 – 64%




55 – 59%




50 – 54%


F (Fail)


0 – 49%


The S/U option is not available for non-program students (e.g. Special or Visiting students) or students in their U0 year.



FOR MULTI-TERM COURSES: The last day to add the S/U option on a full-year course is the last day of "add/drop"for the first term of the multi-term course. The last day to remove the S/U option on a full-year course is the "withdrawal without refund" deadline for the first term of the multi-term course.


  • Adding the S/U option: the last day of "add/drop" which is the 4th scheduled class.
  • Removing the S/U option: the "withdrawal without refund" deadline. which is the 9th scheduled class.


Selecting the S/U Option

Step 1: Go to the "Quick Add or Drop Course Sections" tool under the Registration Menu in Minerva.

Step 2: In the "Course Grade Mode" drop down menu for the elective course, select the "Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory" grade mode.

Step 3: Click "Submit" at the bottom of the menu to save the change. Verify the Grade Mode column: Once you have submitted changes and the S/U appears in the Grade Mode column, this indicates that your changes have been saved. 

Under what conditions should you consider invoking S/U?

  1. If the course is in a discipline that you have no prior knowledge or experience with.
  2. You are taking a heavy course load and want to have an elective were you do not need to worry about the impact of getting a lower grade.

Under what conditions should you consider not invoking S/U?

  1. The course is a requirement for a school or program to which you are applying, and they require a regular grade. Always verify the requirements for any school or program to which you plan to apply, as these may change.
    1. Per the above deadlines, once invoked, the S/U option is irrevocable after the fact. Be especially careful about schools that recalculate S/U grades as a C or F.
    2. If you invoke the S/U option on a course now, and then later in your degree opt into a program which requires a regular grade for that course, the S/U is irrevocable. Accordingly, you will have to meet with an adviser to go over your options.
  2. If you want to be considered for a scholarship or award (or renewal), you should check what the requirements are for graded credits. Many awards and scholarships require a minimum of 27 graded credits over Fall and Winter. S/U is not considered a grade for these purposes.
  3. 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 pandemic.


ADDITIONAL S/U OPTION: Exceptionally, for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms, BA students were permitted to select the S/U option on Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 courses to count towards programs (required or complementary) up to a maximum of 6 credits for Fall and Winter combined. This was in addition to the normal limit of one course per term with S/U on electives. For information about this exceptional 'Additional Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option' for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 Terms ONLY, please refer to the adjusted-academic-measures. The Additional S/U Option was not available for Summer 2021 and the Fall 2021/Winter 2022 academic year.

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