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Academic Policy & Deadline Changes Due to COVID-19

Below serves as an archive regarding the Department and University academic policies that were enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, covering the Spring 2020 through end of Spring 2021 quarters. 

Department Decisions re: P/NP Grades

The Department of Political Science accepted Political Science (POLI) courses taken in the following quarters to be allocated toward requirements in it's majors and minors if a student has earned a "Pass" grade:

  • Spring 2020
  • Fall 2020
  • Winter 2021
  • Spring 2021

Students still had the option to take courses for a letter grade as normal; this was not been taken away. If a student took a Political Science course for a letter grade, a C- or better must have been earned in order for the course to be allowable for the major or minor. This policy is valid at any time, regardless of the quarter.

General Information about the Pass/No Pass Grading Option

  • A “Pass” grade means the student’s work was at or above the minimum standard of performance for a C- letter grade. A “No Pass” grade means the student’s work was below the minimum standard of performance for a C- letter grade.
  • A “Pass” grade means the units will count toward the units needed to reach degree requirements. With this exception in place, it would count toward your major requirements and toward the minimum 180 units needed to graduate from UCSD.
  • A “Pass” grade does not help – or hurt – your UCSD and Political Science GPA. Since it is not a letter grade, it is disregarded from your GPA.
  • There is NO WAY for anyone or any system – not your professor, TA, Registrar, you, academic advisors, the degree audit etc. – to determine what your grade “could have been/should be” if you chose the “Pass/No Pass” grade option, earned a “Pass” grade, and then want to know what it translates to as a letter grade.

Important Implications Regarding "Pass" Grades in Political Science Courses

For Political Science Majors and Minors

As you move forward in your academic journey at UCSD, and afterward, please carefully consider the impact of how your decisions regarding the “Pass/No Pass” grading option this quarter may have future consequences.

  1. An undergraduate student must have a 2.0 or higher grade point average to receive a bachelor’s degree. (Academic Senate; Regulation 515, Number 2)
  2. All Political Science majors must earn a 2.0 Major GPA to be eligible to graduate with a Political Science degree. When calculating a student’s major GPA, the Department uses ALL Political Science courses taken at UCSD.

Keep the following in mind:


Your cumulative UCSD and/or Political Science major GPA are required for many campus and Department programs. Many require that a certain minimum be met, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Department: Senior Honors Seminar Program, Research Apprenticeship Program, Alumni Mentor Program, Local Internship Research Program, Independent Study, and Pi Sigma Alpha
  • Campus: Study Abroad, UCDC Program, UC Center Sacramento Program, College’s Honors Program, Academic Internship Program, Research opportunities/programs outside the Department, Campus Jobs, Satisfactory Academic Progress, etc.


  • Raising GPA - Students who need to raise their GPA above a 2.0 to be in good standing or for purposes of financial aid may be harmed in taking P/NP grades.
  • Financial Aid (loans, grants, scholarships, etc.) & Satisfactory Academic Progress - In addition to GPA, a student must maintain “Satisfactory Academic Progress” (SAP). Students are still considered to be making SAP according to the standard “PACE formula” even if they get a C-, D+, or D. Students should always check with the UCSD Financial Aid Office to verify how taking courses as P/NP would impact their aid.
  • Graduate and professional school applications and program prerequisites - Graduate, medical, and other professional schools may not accept a grading option of P/NP for some courses. Students will need to check with the specific graduate/professional school they are applying to and inquire what courses are required to apply and if those courses can be graded as P/NP. 
  • Veterans - Students who are veterans and receive financial assistance need to check with their campus Veterans Affairs liaisons to determine how taking a course as P/NP will impact their financial support.
  • Job/Internship/Fellowship applications, etc. - Some companies and programs require that potential employees complete certain coursework with a certain minimum letter grade and/or overall GPA in order to be considered for a position. 
  • Additional Units - Students should carefully consider taking additional units under the assumption they will need to devote less time to each course if it is graded P/NP. The expectation is students will apply the same amount of time and energy towards each enrolled course regardless of how the course is graded. If adequate time is not planned for each course, a student could easily find themselves overwhelmed at the amount of work required for the quarter.

This is not an exhaustive list of potential unintended consequences

Course Modality Glossary

To help clarify the different course delivery options for fall instruction, please see details and examples below. As always for all courses, instructors must provide reasonable accommodations for students who are ill to continue in the course without being penalized. As a reminder, students are not required to provide a doctor’s note as documentation of their illness (see UC San Diego Medical Excuse Policy).
In-Person Only
  • This is the traditional form of instruction with students and instructors joining the course in the classroom or lab (onsite). Physical attendance is required and course materials do not need to be provided asynchronously online. This option may be appropriate for courses such as labs that require the use of specialized equipment only available on campus.
  • Similar to the In-Person Only option, In-Person courses will be delivered on campus with students and instructors physically present in the classroom. However, all course materials must also be provided asynchronously for students to access anytime online. For example, lectures are provided in real time in the classroom, recorded, and posted on Canvas along with all assignments and other course materials. This is appropriate for courses that benefit, but do not depend on physical presence, where the connection between student and instructor are particularly important (e.g. foundation courses), or for instructors that prefer to engage with their students in-person.


  • This option combines elements of the In-Person option and remote instruction. Some course components are delivered on campus while other course components are offered remotely. All course materials, including components offered in-person, must be provided asynchronously for students to access anytime. For example, a course may deliver lectures online by posting recordings on Canvas and convene weekly discussion groups in the classroom. Students who are unable to join the discussion groups in person would complete an equivalent assignment, such as submitting a paper with their comments about the discussion topic. This modality may be appropriate for classes that require interaction and problem-solving with an instructor, or hands-on group work, but are too large to fully accommodate in-person due to social distancing requirements.


  • This is the only option without an element of in-person instruction. Instruction and all course materials are provided remotely and asynchronously, just as courses are currently being delivered in our remote learning environment. This option provides the most flexibility for students and instructors to continue the course with minimal disruption during the university’s transition back to campus. This may be an appropriate option for instructors who are unable to return to campus, for classes that are too large to be safely accommodated, and classes with large populations who may be unable to join us in person.

University-wide Academic Policy Changes

Winter 2021 and Spring 2021 Quarters ONLY


Pass/No Pass Grades Regulations

  • P/NP grades taken during Winter 2021 and Spring 2021 will not count towards the 25% cap on P/NP courses (P/NP courses will be removed from both the numerator and denominator in this calculation).
  • Students will be able to select P/NP (and S/U) grades through the end of the 10th week.


1. The Deadline to Change Grading Option or Units has been extended from the Friday of Week 4 (standard deadline) to Friday of Week 10 for Winter 2021 and Spring 2021
  • Friday of Week 10 in Winter 2021: Friday, March 12th
  • Friday of Week 10 in Spring 2021: Friday, June 4th
2. The Deadline to Drop a Class or Withdraw from the Quarter (with a W) has been extended from the Friday of Week 6 (standard deadline) to Friday of Week 7 for Winter 2021 and Spring 2021.
  • Friday of Week 7 in Winter 2021: Friday, February 19th
  • Friday of Week 7 in Spring 2021: Friday, May 14th
  • Students will need to submit a petition to drop a class or withdraw from the University after the end of week 7 and by the end of Week 10 for emergency reasons. These petitions are decided by the college provost.

Summer 2020 ONLY

The deadline to drop a course with a 'W' grade for undergraduate students in Summer 2020 has been extended.  The new deadlines follow:

  • Summer Session 1: Tuesday, July 28, 2020
  • Summer Session 2: Tuesday, September 1, 2020
  • Special Session: See the Summer Session Deadline Calendar for specific dates by class.

Please see the Enrollment and Registration calendar for a complete list of academic deadlines.

Spring 2020 Quarter ONLY

Pass/No Pass Grades Regulations

  • P/NP grades taken during Spring 2020 will not count towards the 25% cap on P/NP courses (P/NP courses will be removed from both the numerator and denominator in this calculation).
  • Students will be able to select P/NP (and S/U) grades through the end of the 10th week.


EASy Preauthorization System

  • All students will be able to request to enroll in more than 22 units starting the first day of instruction. This will allow students to access CANVAS and other learning tools at the very beginning of the quarter.

COVID-19 Academic Policies Affecting:
Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, & Spring 2021
Non-UCSD Political Science Courses for Incoming Students

Acceptable Grades for Non-UCSD Political Science Courses: Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, and Spring 2021 Semesters or Quarters

The Department of Political Science will accept either a letter grade of C- or better or a grade of "Pass" for lower division-equivalent Political Science courses and applicable upper division Political Science courses taken at a community college, CSU, UC, or other four-year university during the Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, and Spring 2021 semesters or quarters ONLY

This policy does not extend to applicable Political Science courses take in the Winter 2020 quarter or Fall 2019 semester and prior. This policy also does not extend to applicable Political Science courses that are planned to be completed during the 2020 summer sessions, 2021 summer sessions, and the quarters and semesters that follow.

Equivalent lower division Political Science courses at the California Community College system can be found via

Lower division or upper division Political Science courses taken at CSUs, UCs, or out-of-state community colleges and universities must be reviewed by the Department's Undergraduate Advisor