Additional Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 Terms

Posted: December 16, 2020, 8:10 a.m

Updated: April 14, 2021, 4:24 p.m.

Introduction

On 15 December 2020, Senate approved an Additional S/U Option for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms.

The requirements detailed on this webpage apply only to this Additional S/U Option.

The existing S/U option guidelines (available here) remains in force. This means that students may opt for an S/U notation under both the existing S/U Option and the Additional S/U Option in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021.

Elements of the Additional S/U Option

Exceptionally for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms, and where permitted by Faculty regulations and program requirements (see below for more details):

  • students may take up to a total of 6 credits over the two terms to be graded as S/U under this Additional S/U Option;
  • these credits may be associated with elective, complementary, or required courses; and
  • credits designated as S/U under this Additional S/U Option do not count toward the maximum specified by the existing S/U option (10% of the credits taken at McGill to fulfil the degree requirements). 

Requests and Deadlines

Students who decide to have one or more courses graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) under this Additional S/U Option must do so by the following deadlines:

For Fall 2020 courses

  • All students: 18 January 2021
  • Undergraduate S/U Request form
  • Graduate S/U Request form
    • Opening date: 4 January 2021 at 9 am
    • Closing date: 18 January 2021 at 5 pm

For Winter 2021 courses and spanned (D1/D2) courses beginning in Fall 2020

  • Undergraduate request form
    • Opening date: 15 April 2021 at 9 am
    • Closing date for graduating students (except Law): 11 May 2021 at 5 pm
    • Closing date for graduating Law students (BCL-JD): 13 May 2021 at 5 pm
    • Closing date for non-graduating students: 20 May 2021 at 5 pm
  • Graduate request form
    • Opening date: 15 April 2021 at 9 am
    • Closing date for graduating students: 11 May 2021 at 5 pm
    • Closing date for non-graduating students: 20 May 2021 at 5 pm

Deferred exams

  • If you are writing a deferred exam in March or August 2021 and would like to see your final grade before submitting an Additional S/U Option request, you must submit a request to your Student Affairs Office (SAO) by these deadlines:
    • March 1-4 Deferred exams: 15 March 2021
    • August 16-20 Deferred exams: 30 August 2021 (Faculty of Law: 17 September 2021)

K Grades

  • If you were granted a K grade for a course in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021, you can submit an Additional S/U Option request using the above forms and by the deadlines indicated above. However, if your final grade is not available by the above deadlines, you must submit a request to your Student Affairs Office (SAO) by these deadlines:
    • Fall 2020 K grade: 1 March 2021
    • Winter 2021 K grade: 1 June 2021

 

IMPORTANT: A student cannot request any changes after selecting the existing or submitting an Additional S/U Option form even if the S/U option was selected by mistake. Students are therefore encouraged to speak with an academic advisor in their home Faculty before making a decision to have a course graded as S/U.

Grading

Courses taken under the S/U Option will be excluded from the grade point average (GPA) calculations, but they will be included in the attempted credits total. Credits for courses with a final grade of S will also be included in the number of credits earned.

The instructor will report grades in the normal fashion.

For UNDERGRADUATE students:

  • Grades of A through C are converted to “Satisfactory” (S)
  • Grades of D, F, and J are converted to “Unsatisfactory” (U)
 

For GRADUATE students:

  • Grades of A through B- are converted to “Satisfactory” (S)
  • Grades of C, D, F, and J are converted to “Unsatisfactory” (U)

Notes & Faculty-Specific Info

The Additional S/U option accommodation does not include removing the S/U option from courses already flagged during the add/drop period.

Awards, Designations and Scholarships

Exceptionally, for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms, in order to be considered for undergraduate scholarship renewals, students must complete at least 24 graded credits in the regular academic session, as opposed to the usual 27, not including courses completed under the S/U option. In-course awards and Dean’s Honours List designation also have requirements in regard to the number of graded credits required, which may vary by Faculty. Please refer to Faculty-specific rules, below.

Visiting, Exchange, or Quebec Inter-University Transfer Agreement (IUT) students

Visiting, Exchange, or Quebec Inter-University Transfer Agreement (IUT) students wanting to take advantage of the Additional S/U Option must take the following steps: contact their home university to ensure that a course taken under the S/U option is acceptable to their home university and that the credits will be transferable; after receiving approval from their home university and before McGill's add/drop deadline, they must then consult their McGill Faculty Student Affairs Office for approval.

Special Students

Special Students are not eligible to select the Additional S/U Option.

Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

The Faculty reserves the right to use the actual grade underlying the S/U to assess the relative merits of students for scholarships, awards or prizes.

Faculty of Arts

Visit the Faculty of Arts S/U page for faculty-specific details.

Faculty of Engineering

  • Students in the Faculty of Engineering should consult with an advisor in the McGill Engineering Student Centre to discuss their options and explore the potential effects of selecting the S/U Option for any courses.
  • S/U FAQs
  • S/U Option Guide
  • Students should note the following when considering the S/U Option for courses:
    • For students in undergraduate engineering programs, if the S/U Option is not selected, a grade of D is acceptable as a pass for in the following: Complementary Studies courses (i.e., Group A Impact of Technology on Society and Group B Humanities and Social Sciences, Management Studies and Law), Natural Science Complementary Courses (for Computer Engineering students from CEGEP and all Software Engineering students), and Elective Courses (for Mechanical Engineering students from CEGEP).
    • For undergraduate architecture B.Sc.(Arch.) students, if the S/U Option is not selected, a grade of D is acceptable as a pass for elective courses taken outside the School of Architecture.
    • The Faculty reserves the right to use the actual grade underlying the S/U to assess the relative merits of students for scholarships, awards or prizes.

School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

The Additional S/U Option is not available to students in this school.

School of Continuing Studies

The Additional S/U Option can be selected for a maximum of 3 credits per term in each of Fall 2020 and Winter 2021.

M.D.,C.M. and D.M.D. programs

The M.D.,C.M. and D.M.D. programs function on a pass/fail system. A student’s final grade for each course is recorded on the student’s university transcript as “S” satisfactory (pass) or “U" unsatisfactory (fail).

Schulich School of Music

Visit the Schulich School of Music Academic Resources page for faculty-specific details.

Faculty of Science

Visit the Faculty of Science S/U page for faculty-specific details.

FAQs

With the existing S/U option and the Additional S/U option, how many credits in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 can I opt to have as S/U?

  • Under the existing S/U option, and where permitted by their faculty, students can select one elective or complimentary course, per term, to a maximum of 10% of their credits taken at McGill to fulfil their degree requirements.
  • Under the Additional S/U option, students can select up to 6 additional credits in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 as S/U. These may be required, elective, or complimentary courses.
  • For example, a student could have:
    • Existing S/U - one elective or complimentary course in Fall 2020.
    • Additional S/U - 6 credits of required, elective, or complementary in Fall 2020. Having all 6 credits permitted under the Additional S/U option in Fall 2020 would mean that this student would not be eligible for any additional S/U credits under the Additional S/U in Winter 2021.
    • Existing S/U - one elective or complementary course in Winter 2021.

How and when do I opt into the existing vs Additional S/U option?

The S/U option processes are distinguished by the Registrar’s office with the request mechanisms and timelines:

  • Existing S/U - Students must use the Minerva Registration Menu and opt in by the add/drop deadline (September 15, 2020 in Fall 2020 and January 22, 2021 in Winter 2021) and may opt out of the existing S/U by the withdrawal with refund deadline (September 22, 2020 in Fall 2020 and January 29, 2021 in Winter 2021).
  • Additional S/U Option - Students must use the Undergraduate or Graduate S/U Request forms (links posted on this page) to opt into the Additional S/U Option by:
    • Fall 2020 courses January 18, 2020 at 5pm for all students
    • For Winter 2021 courses and spanned (D1/D2) courses beginning in Fall 2020:
      • Graduating students: 11 May 2021 at 5pm 
      • Non-graduating students: 20  May 2021 at 5pm 
    • Deferred exams
      • If you are writing a deferred exam in March or August 2021 and would like to see your final grade before submitting an  Additional S/U Option  request, you must submit a request to your  Student Affairs Office (SAO) by these deadlines:
        • March 1-4 Deferred exams: 15 March 2021
        • August 16-20 Deferred exams: 30 August 2021 (Faculty of Law: 17 September 2021)

What is the impact of selecting S/U notations?

  • S/U grades are not calculated in a student’s term (TGPA) or cumulative GPA (CGPA). A term with many S/U grades could therefore have just one or two courses feeding into the GPA calculation for that term. This can make it difficult to assess a student's academic strength based on their transcript.
  • Transcripts are used to assess students for admission to graduate and professional programs, and in some employment contexts. A transcript with many S/U notations could make it difficult for evaluators to assess a student’s academic strength.
  • S/U credits are not included in the total number of credits required for assessments of awards, designations, and scholarships. Please refer to the Notes & Faculty-Specific Info tab for more details.

I deferred a Fall 2020 exam until the March deferred exam period. Will I be able to select S/U for the course after I have seen my grade, even if I will miss the January deadline to submit my request?

Yes. If you are writing a deferred exam in March or August 2021 and would like to see your final grade before submitting an  Additional S/U Option  request, you must submit a request to your  Student Affairs Office (SAO)  by these deadlines:

  • March 1-4 Deferred exams: 15 March 2021
  • August 16-20 Deferred exams: 30 August 2021 (Faculty of Law: 17 September 2021)

I submitted a course for the Additional S/U option and now I have changed my mind. Can I reverse the selection?

No. Students  cannot request any changes  after submitting an Additional S/U Option form even if the S/U option was selected by mistake. Students are therefore encouraged to speak with an academic advisor in their home Faculty before making a decision to have a course graded as S/U.

What is the deadline to flag a Fall 2020/Winter 2021 D1/D2 spanned course with the Additional S/U Option?

You must submit the Additional S/U Option request form for Winter 2021, which will open on 5 April 2021 and the deadline to submit the form is:

  • Graduating students: 11 May 2021
  • Non-graduating students: 20 May 2021

Why can’t I apply for the S/U option in Minerva for Fall 2020?

The deadline to flag a course with the existing S/U option for Fall 2020 was the add/drop deadline, i.e., 15 September 2020. Since the Fall 2020 add/drop deadline has passed, you can now use the Additional S/U Option (link on this page) form to submit your request.

Can I remove the S/U option from a previously chosen course?

No. You cannot make a request to remove the S/U option from a course that has already been flagged with this option.

What is the approximate turnaround time for the S/U requests to be processed?

If you have a final grade in the course(s) you are flagging as S/U and are in Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Arts, Education, Engineering, Management, Music or Science, your request will be processed within 3-4 business days.

If you are in Continuing Studies, Graduate Studies, Law, Nursing or P & OT, your request must first be reviewed by your Student Affairs Office before it can be processed. If your request is approved, it will be processed in 3-4 business days.

Can the Additional S/U Option be used solely on the first semester of a course?

Yes. The Additional S/U Option allows you to take a total of 6 credits over the two terms of Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. And you can opt to use all 6 credits in one term only.

If I only chose 3 credits for S/U last year, can I choose 9 this year?

Under the existing S/U option, and where permitted by your faculty, you can select one elective or complimentary course, per term, to a maximum of 10% of your credits taken at McGill to fulfil your degree requirements.

Under the Additional S/U option, you can select up to 6 additional credits in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 as S/U. These may be required, elective, or complimentary courses.

If I failed a course and request to have it flagged as part of the Additional S/U option and then decide to write a supplemental exam for this course, what impact will the S/U option have on my supplemental exam grade?

Your final grade of F will get changed to U since you requested to flag the course as S/U. However, the result of your supplemental exam will not be impacted by the S/U option and the letter grade obtained will show on your transcript and count in your GPA.

Will I still get credit for an S/U course?

Courses with a final grade of S will count in your earned credits total but you will not earn any credits with a final grade of U. And, it is important to note that S/U credits are not included in the total number of credits required for assessments of awards, designations, and scholarships.

Are we permitted to have one required S/U course plus two additional S/U courses in one semester (elective or complimentary studies)?

Yes. As part of the existing S/U you can flag one elective course as S/U in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 and the Additional S/U Option allows you to flag 6 credits of elective, complementary or required courses as S/U in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021. Note that if you flag 6 credits of courses as S/U in Fall 2020 as part of the Additional S/U Option, you will have reached your limit and cannot submit a request to flag any additional courses in Winter 2021.

Can I request to flag courses required for my minor as S/U? Would this affect my course count?

Yes. You can request to flag required courses for your major or minor as S/U under the Additional S/U Option and this would not impact the number of courses required to complete the major or minor.

Can I have access to my letter grade in the future if needed?

No. Once you flag a course as S/U, you no longer have access to the letter grade obtained in that course.

I am a McGill student who took an inter-university course at another Quebec university in Fall 2020, and was allowed to use the pass/fail option for this course at this university. Will I receive transfer credits at McGill for this course?

As long as you pass the course and the course meets all other relevant academic requirements for transfer credits or equivalencies, then you will be granted the transfer credit at McGill.

Will choosing the S/U option for a certain course, have an effect on my future job/internship prospects?

Transcripts are used to assess students for admission to graduate and professional programs, and in some employment contexts. A transcript with many S/U notations could make is difficult for evaluators to assess a student’s academic strength.

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