Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option

What is it?

The Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option is an alternative course-specific grading scheme that lets undergraduate students take courses outside their areas of specialization without fear of decreasing their GPAs. Courses with final grades of "S" or "U" are not included in GPA calculations and do not count towards your major or minor requirements.

Most eligible students can designate one elective course to be graded under the S/U option each term, and can use the S/U grading option for up to 10 per cent of their total degree credits completed at McGill.  Refer to the "Courses Taken under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option" section of the eCalendar for more conditions and restrictions.

Who is eligible?

The S/U option is open to most students, with some exceptions:

  • U0 (Freshman year) students in the faculties of Agricultural and Environmental Science, Arts, B.A. & Sc., and Science
  • Students in the faculties of Dentistry and Medicine, or the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy.
  • Graduate students
  • Continuing Studies students
  • Non-degree students (eg. Special students)

The full regulations on students who are eligible to use the S/U grading option can be found in the eCalendar.

How do I add or remove the S/U option?

Note: Although most students apply the S/U option to courses through Minerva, some exceptions exist. Please refer to the eCalendar for faculty-specific details.

To choose — or remove — the S/U option for an elective course:

  1. Navigate to the Student > Registration > Quick Add or Drop Course Sections menu in Minerva.
  2. In the "course grade mode" drop down menu associated with the elective course you have chosen:
    • to add S/U: select the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade mode.
    • to remove S/U: select the Standard grade mode.
  3. Click Submit to save the change. You will receive an email notification after adding the S/U option on a course, but not after removing the S/U option. 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 course section.
  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.


  • You can add the S/U grading option until the end of the course change period (Add/Drop deadline).
  • You may remove the S/U grading option until the "Withdrawal without refund" deadline.

No further changes to the grading mode can be made after these deadlines.

Be careful! If you accidentally select the S/U option for a required course, you may be required to complete a substitute course approved by your advisor to fulfill your program requirements. You should verify with your Faculty if in any doubt about your course choice.

If you require additional information about the S/U option, please contact your Departmental Advisor or Faculty Student Affairs Office, as appropriate.

Note: Visiting, Exchange, and Quebec Inter-University Transfer Agreement (IUT) students cannot select the S/U option using Minerva; please refer to the eCalendar for instructions.


  • Adding the S/U option: the last day of "add/drop" for eligible course sections
  • Removing the S/U option: the "withdrawal without refund" deadline for the course section in question

Please refer to the Key Dates website to view these dates for the current term.

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