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Pass/Fail

Actively enrolled degree-seeking undergraduates may select up to four standard-grade elective courses in Arts & Sciences and Education as Pass/Fail. The selection occurs when a student is a social junior or senior. 

Information about the full policy, a chart of eligible social classes for upcoming academic years, details about the pass/fail election process, and answers to frequently asked questions are included below. 

Note: Social senior, non-business students can submit a petition to [[m|bba]] to request to change a BUAD course to Pass/Fail. Petitions must be received by the pass/fail deadline for the semester and if approved count towards the maximums outlined in the university policy. All questions regarding this petition should be directed to Mason School of Business.

Read the Full Policy (click to expand)

Actively enrolled degree-seeking undergraduates may select up to four standard-grade elective courses in Arts & Sciences and Education as Pass/Fail. The selection occurs when a student is a social junior or senior.

A maximum of two courses may change to Pass/Fail from any one semester. Up to two of the four Pass/Fail selections may be applied retroactively to courses that have already received a letter grade. The remainder must be selected by the published deadline of the current semester. The selection of any retroactive Pass/Fail grades must occur by the published deadline of the student's last semester. The published deadlines shall not be earlier than the withdrawal deadline in the given semester. Deadlines will be listed on the Office of the University Registrar undergraduate academic calendar.

A student's decision to designate courses as Pass/Fail is irrevocable. For this reason, when changing a graded course to a Pass, students are required to consult with their Major Advisor or Department Chair/Program Director.

The following guidelines apply to Pass/Fail designations:

  • COLL curriculum requirements, proficiency requirements (Arts, Math, and Foreign Language), and major/minor course requirements are ineligible for Pass/Fail, except where courses are designated as pass/fail only.
  • Pass/Fail courses count toward the minimum enrollment requirement of 12 credits, but do not count toward the 12-credit hour Dean's List requirement. Retroactive grade changes could result in a change to Dean's List status for a prior semester.
  • Students may not elect Pass/Fail when found responsible for an Honor Code violation in that course if the student receives a grade consequence because of the violation.
  • A successful Pass will not count toward a student's GPA, but a Fail will count toward the GPA.

Exceptions to the policy should be submitted to the Committee on Degrees. 

Process to Elect Pass/Fail

Reminder: Students graduating in Fall 2022 must have all of their election forms submitted by 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2022. Students cannot make changes after they graduate.

Students will submit pass/fail elections through an Office of the University Registrar Pass/Fail Election Qualtrics form. The form will open each semester after add/drop has ended and will close at the end of the withdrawal period. Specific dates are available on the undergraduate academic calendar.

When a form is fully submitted, an email with a copy of the responses will be sent automatically to the student's W&M email address. Pass/fail election forms will be reviewed and processed by the University Registrar's Office at least once weekly during the election period. Students should allow up to five business days after submitting their election form for changes to be reflected on their record in Banner Self-Service. Students are encouraged to keep this timing in mind as they are deciding to make their pass/fail elections.

Students should review the FAQs section for where current and retroactive elections are available to view in Banner Self-Service.

The pass/fail election form for Fall 2022 was open from September 13 through October 31. Information about the Spring 2023 pass/fail election process will be provided closer to start of the Spring 2023 term.

Eligible Social Classes based on Academic Year

Eligibility for the pass/fail election process is based on a student's social class. Eligible social classes for upcoming academic years are listed in the chart below.

Academic Year Eligible Social Classes
Fall 2022 - Summer 2023 2022, 2023, 2024
Fall 2023 - Summer 2024 2023, 2024, 2025
Fall 2024 - Summer 2025 2024, 2025, 2026
FAQs
When does the election form open and close for fall and spring?

The form will be available after add/drop has ended for the current term. The form closes when the withdrawal period for the current term ends.

Specific dates are available on the undergraduate academic calendar.

When does the election form open and close for summer?

Electing pass/fail during the summer term depends on the session that your course(s) take place. The form will be available through the withdrawal period for Summer Session Two (S2), but whether your pass/fail election is considered a current term election or a retroactive election depends on the session your course is in and the date you submit the form. If you have questions about a specific course, email [[w|grades]]

Specific dates are available on the undergraduate academic calendar.

My course starts after the election form closes for the semester but I'm not sure yet if I want to elect to pass/fail it. What can I do?

W&M has a few courses each semester that are considered non-standard. These courses end earlier or start later in the semester than typical courses. If you are registered in a late starting course, you have until the withdrawal deadline for that specific course to elect to pass/fail it. If the election form is not available, email [[w|grades]] to inquire about electing that course as pass/fail. 

How many courses can I pass/fail?
  • Students can select up to four standard-grade elective courses in Arts & Sciences and Education as Pass/Fail
  • A maximum of two courses may change to pass/fail for any one semester
  • Up to two of the four Pass/Fail selections may be applied retroactively to courses that have already received a letter grade
Where can I view current semester pass/fail elections in Banner?

Once processed, pass/fail elections for the current term will be available for students to view in Banner Self-Service under the Student tab > Registration > Banner 9 Register for Classes:

  • Register, Add/Drop & Withdraw: select the current term from the drop-down menu, select the "Schedule & Options" tab, then review the Grade Mode column for the course
  • View Registration Information: available in two locations
    • "Look up a Schedule" tab - select the current term and review the Grade Mode column for the course
    • "Active Registrations" find your course in the list, then review the Grade Mode line for the course
Where can I view retroactive pass/fail elections in Banner?

Once processed, retroactive pass/fail elections will be available for students to view in Banner Self-Service under the Student tab > Student Records in two locations:

  • Banner 9 Academic Transcript: select the transcript level and transcript type (web self-service), then scroll to the appropriate term and review the grade for the course
  • Banner 9 View Grades: select the term and course level, then review the Final Grade column for the course
I submitted my form but I can't see the change in Banner yet. How quickly will it be there?

The Office of the University Registrar reviews fully submitted election forms weekly. Please allow up to five business days for your election to be reflected in your record, especially during high volume times. 

Does a retroactive pass/fail change my Dean's List status?

Retroactive pass/fail elections may result in a change to Dean's List status for a prior semester. Students should consult with an advisor before making any retroactive pass/fail elections.

Does a pass or fail grade impact my W&M GPA?

A successful Pass will not count toward a student's GPA, but a Fail will count toward the GPA.

 
Further Questions?

Students with questions should contact the [[w|registrar,Office of the University Registrar]]. Students seeking an exception to the pass/fail policy should submit a petition to the Committee on Degrees