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.

The official university policy is featured in the eCalendar, and deadlines are strictly enforced. Arts OASIS will not allow adding or removing S/U, for these and other reasons:
- You missed the deadline; or
- You changed your academic program after you have invoked the S/U option; or
- You have had second thoughts about your ability to live with the grading option you have selected; or
- 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). 

The Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option:

  • You 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.
  • Courses taken under S/U will not count towards any of the following:
    • Minor Concentration
    • Major Concentration
    • Honours
    • Joint Honours
    • Faculty program
    • Freshman / Foundation requirements (ie students in their U0 year)
    • For non-program students (e.g. Special or Visiting students)
  • This 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.  
  • It is based on your degree and not your programs. Refer to the following:
  • It 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 (ie. a minimum mark of 55%).
    • If achieved, 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%



Deadlines to add or remove the S/U option:



  • Select the S/U option by the add/drop deadline of the first part of the course.
  • Once selected, you may remove the S/U option until the "withdrawal without refund" deadline for the course in question.
  • The "withdrawal without refund" deadline normally coincides with the add/drop deadline of the term in which the second part of the course is held.

Note: there are absolutely no exceptions made to the abovementioned deadlines.


How to select - or remove - the S/U Option

  1. Go to the "Quick Add or Drop Course Sections" tool under the Registration Menu in Minerva.
  2. In the "Course Grade Mode" drop down menu for the elective course:
    • To add S/U: select the "Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory" grade mode.
    • To remove S/U: select the "Standard" grade mode
  3. Click "Submit" at the bottom of the menu to save the change.
    • You will receive an email notification - to your McGill account - after adding the S/U option on a course, but not after removing the S/U option.
    • Verify the Grade Mode column:
      • You can confirm that the change was successful by refreshing the Quick Add or Drop Course Sections menu and reviewing the grade mode displaying on the CRN.
  4. You are responsible for ensuring that the grade mode has been changed successfully; requests to add/remove the S/U grade mode after the respective deadlines will not be permitted.

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, complementary or Freshman/Foundation) 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.

  • The Additional S/U Option was only made available for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021, and was discontinued effective as of the Summer 2021 term and for the Fall 2021/Winter 2022 academic year.
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