[FUN_Mail] New P/F Options and Advice for Students Considering Grad School

Judith Ogilvie judith.ogilvie at slu.edu
Mon Mar 30 13:15:57 EDT 2020

I am on the grad admissions committee at Saint Louis University, Biology Dept. I would much rather see a grade with an asterisk than a P. Especially if it is a C, because otherwise I might assume it would have been a D-. I'm teaching during this craziness, I'm talking to my colleagues and my students so I know how to make allowances for the circumstances when I review a transcript. If I see a P, I don't have any way to interpret it and will likely ignore it, limiting my attention to courses that do have grades. We're not sure what the fall will bring, so it might be more than one semester on-line. Just my perspective, others may differ.

BUT (and this is important): a lot of programs that have accreditations (med schools, clinical psych, PA, optometry, etc) are NOT relaxing their standards. If a student changes their mind and decides to go to one of these programs instead of grad school, they may have to retake the class. I just saw Beth Wee's post while I was writing this. I don't know if our system will be able to keep both grades or not.
-Judy Ogilvie

Judith Mosinger Ogilvie, Ph.D., FARVO
Associate Professor of Biology

Co-Director, Neuroscience Program

Saint Louis University

email:      judith.ogilvie at slu.edu<mailto:ogilviej at slu.edu>


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From: FUN_Mail <fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org> on behalf of Korey, Christopher A <KoreyC at cofc.edu>
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2020 10:23 AM
To: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Mailing List <fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org>
Subject: [External] [FUN_Mail] New P/F Options and Advice for Students Considering Grad School

Dar Colleagues,

I hope this finds you all safe and healthy in these unusual times. I am sending this message to gather some advice about how to best advise students considering graduate school in the context of COVID-19 P/F policies for this semester. Our institution has created a policy that will allow students to choose a Pass (A to D-) or No Pass (F and WA – excessive absences) once grades have been posted for the semester. The student will receive course credit toward graduation and major requirements, but the grade is not factored into their GPA.

This is entirely the student’s choice and they can pick and choose individual courses. Faculty will grade their courses as they normally would and post letter grades.  There will also be a transcript notation for this semester highlighting the unusual nature of this semester so that there is a historical record.

I have had several students who are considering graduate school ask me how graduate admissions committees will view the choice to take a Pass rather than the letter grade. For example, a student is likely to earn a C in Cell Biology and is considering taking the Pass.  Should she do this? Will committees take into account the significant disruption to a student’s ability to learn in the current environment?

I would particularly like to hear from faculty that have schools that have PhD programs. Thanks for responding in this generally stressful and overwhelming time.



Christopher Korey, Ph.D.


Professor | Biology Department

Faculty Affiliate | Women’s and Gender Studies

Faculty Fellow | Center for Academic Performance and Persistence

College of Charleston

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