Flexible Grading Option FAQ for Spring 2020

Q: I elected a course as an FGO during add/drop. Does this course still count against the total I can use while at Amherst?

A: No. All prior FGO course elections this semester have been cancelled and replaced by the new policy.


Q: I was granted an emergency FGO after add/drop. Does this still count as my one emergency FGO?

A: No. The new policy cancels all prior FGO course elections this semester, including emergency FGOs.


Q: I am a senior in my final semester. Can I use the FGO this semester?

A: Yes. Senior grades are due May 18. Seniors will have until May 22 at 5:00 P.M. EDT to decide to either accept the assigned grade in each course, or in the case of any passing grade, elect to have a pass (“P”) displayed on your transcript.


Q: I am a senior who elected to take a course pass/fail this semester. Can I change that to an FGO instead?

A: Yes. All courses are now FGO, including previously elected pass/fail courses. This is automatic and no action is required on your part.


Q: What is the deadline for deciding if I want to keep my grade or receive a pass (“P”)?

A: For graduating seniors in the class of 2020, the deadline is May 22 at 5:00 P.M. EDT. All other students will have until June 15 at 5:00 P.M. EDT. Failure to meet these deadlines will result in the assigned grade appearing on your transcript. These deadlines will be strictly enforced, so please act promptly.


Q: What do I need to do to decide to keep my grades or take a “pass”?

A: If you want to keep your assigned grade(s), no action is required. Directions for electing to take a pass (“P”) on course where you have a passing grade (D or better) will be sent to students prior to finals week.


Q: Will pass grades (“P”) count towards major requirements?

A: This decision is up to individual departments. We have encouraged departments to be flexible this spring, but you should contact your advisor, the department chair, or consult the department webpage for specific guidance.

We are tracking the departments who have agreed to accept a "P" grade in spring 2020 for major credit on this Google Sheet.


Q: I am considering taking a pass (“P”) on a pre-med course and I plan to apply to medical school. Is this a good idea?

A: We strongly suggest you contact our health professions advisor, Dr. Richard Aronson, in the Loeb Center for Career Exploration or Professor William Loinaz before making this decision. 


Q: Does the new FGO policy apply to Five College courses I am taking?

A: No. Five College courses are graded based on the policies of the host institution. If they are offering a pass/fail option, we will accept the grade for credit this semester. Any pass/fail grades awarded will not count against the total you can use while at Amherst.


Q: I am studying away this semester. Does the FGO apply to courses I am taking as a part of an international or domestic study away program?

A: No. The spring 2020 FGO policy only applies to Amherst courses. We will, however, accept pass/fail grades if they are awarded by your program, at no penalty. Graded courses must still be awarded a C or better to be counted towards your degree requirements.


Q: I am a Five College student taking a course at Amherst. Does the new FGO policy apply to me?

A: You should contact the registrar at your home institution.