Clarification for Engineering Courses

UVA Engineering Faculty and Staff:

We are writing to provide an update on UVA Engineering undergraduate and graduate grading policies. Yesterday, you were forwarded the message, “Spring 2020 Grading Options” sent by UVA Registrar Hawthorne to undergraduate students on April 15, 2020. Registrar Hawthorne’s message provides additional information about how the CR/NC default grading system will be implemented for students. We have extended these undergraduate grading policies to all UVA Engineering graduate courses for spring 2020. Additional details for instructors about the grade entry process are forthcoming.

Additional clarifications for Engineering courses: 

●      Courses that were already being taken for CR/NC or as satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) will remain this way, just as before. They will not be changed to CR/GC/NC, and students will not have the option to receive a letter grade in these courses.

●      For undergraduate students, whether general credit (GC) in a prerequisite course will enable a student to proceed in their program of study is a decision to be made by each program. Program directors should make all students in their program aware of their standard as soon as possible.

●      For graduate students, a grade of GC will not satisfy any degree requirements.

●      What level of course performance constitutes a C or a D-minus is at the discretion of the course instructor but should be consistent between students receiving letter grades and those receiving CR/GC/NC. UVA Engineering faculty are requested to amend their syllabi, if necessary, to specify what constitutes a C and a D- in their course(s) this semester for those students who select the letter grade option.

●      This policy applies to courses at all levels offered by UVA Engineering. If students are enrolled in courses in another school at UVA, please have them contact the registrar of the school in which they are enrolled to learn about that school’s grading policies.

●      Students may request a grade of IN (incomplete) if they need additional time to complete the requirements of a specific course. Incompletes must be agreed to and arranged with the course instructor. Please see the Undergraduate Record or Graduate Record for more information on incomplete grade policies. Students requesting a grade of IN must still decide by April 28 if they would like to receive a letter grade or CR/GC/NC upon completion of the course requirements.

 Additional considerations for undergraduate students:

●      The undergraduate policy on unexcused absence from a final examination will not be enforced. 

Student advising:

Students are expressing a great deal of anxiety about how CR/GC/NC on their transcripts will be viewed by schools and employers. Please assure students that their transcripts will be annotated that this was an emergency measure, this is a change being enacted by schools across the country, and that employers and schools will be well aware that transcripts from this semester will look atypical. There is no reason to believe that there will be negative consequences for their acceptance to graduate and professional schools, or to their employability, as a result of CR/GC/NC grading. Rumors abound to the contrary. Be prepared to address those as rumors.

We recommend as general advice that if a student needs a letter grade to raise their GPA that they opt for a letter grade this semester in any class they feel confident will do so. Students who are comfortable with their GPAs, or those who feel that they have not performed at the level of which they are capable, may be best served by sticking with the default CR/GC/NC grading system.


N. Scott Barker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs 

Will Guilford, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education

James Smith, Assistant Dean for Graduate Education