Flexibility for students: A message from the Provost

Dear students, faculty and staff,

We are excited that classes will resume Monday, and that Ohio State students will be able to resume their academic careers.

At the same time, we recognize that the transition to virtual classwork for the rest of the semester requires innumerable adjustments. Our faculty and staff deserve great credit for developing ways of delivering their courses in such a short time period.

We know that students also will be adjusting to new ways of learning, and the university is committed to supporting you through this journey. We do not want you to face negative consequences because of extraordinary circumstances, so we are bringing forward two proposals to the University Senate next week to provide undergraduate and graduate students with more flexibility for spring semester.

The first proposal would allow undergraduate students to receive a pass/no pass grade instead of a letter grade in general education and elective courses. The Graduate School plans to provide the same flexibility for electives taken by graduate students. The second would allow undergraduate and graduate students who are granted an incomplete grade in a course to have more time — 10 weeks from the start of the next term, instead of six weeks — to complete work and receive a grade.

Both proposals must be approved by the University Senate to take effect, and we strongly recommend that students who are interested in these options discuss them with their academic advisor.

Our faculty are committed to providing the highest quality instruction, and we know that Ohio State students are equally committed to academic excellence in your work. We hope these options help to remove some anxiety about how the academic changes occurring this year will affect you.


Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost 

Pass/No Pass Option

If approved by Senate, the pass/no pass proposal would allow undergraduate students to use this option for general education and elective courses. Courses that are required as part of a major are not covered by this rule. Refer to your major college for policies on pass/fail for major courses.

The Graduate School plans to provide the same flexibility for electives taken by graduate students.

Students who want to opt-in for pass/no pass grading instead of a traditional letter grade must do so by April 17. Pass/no pass classes provide credits toward graduation, but they do not factor into a student's grade-point average.

Please note that pass/no pass are not appropriate for all circumstances. For example, some scholarships, financial aid and graduate programs require students to earn certain grades for particular course work. Your academic adviser can provide guidance on how this option might affect you.

Extension of Timeline for Incompletes

Under current rules, a student who has completed a substantial portion of the work in a course in a satisfactory manner may request additional time to complete course requirements.

We are proposing to extend the time period to resolve an incomplete, providing students with up to 10 weeks from the start of the next term to complete their course work. This would add four additional weeks to the current flexibility.

To seek an incomplete (I) grade, students must request one from their instructor before the scheduled final for the class. This proposed change would apply to undergraduate and graduate students alike.