COVID-19 Grade Options & FAQs

The Science Advisors and staff in the Faculty of Science have tried to anticipate your questions in regards to the grade options due to the current COVID-19 situation. If you do not find the answer, or don’t understand the information, please reach out to an advisor through email: sciadv@umanitoba.ca ***Emails MUST come from the student’s UM Email AND include your UM Student Number.***

Please note: “regardless of any choice made with respect to course grading, students will remain obliged to meet all existing admission, prerequisite, progression, degree, and graduation policies and requirements that may apply to them.” (approved by Senate Executive Committee, April 1, 2020)

Below please find greater details to help students understand their options.

FAQ's

What is a prerequisite?

A prerequisite is a course that must be completed before being able to register in a subsequent course(s). A minimum grade must be achieved in the prerequisite course. I.E. MATH 1500, with a minimum grade of C or higher, is a prerequisite for a number of courses within the Faculty of Science. Specific course prerequisite information can be found in course descriptions in the Academic Calendar or Aurora Student.

What is meant by progression in a program?

Progression in a program occurs when a student meets the required grades and GPA requirements to continue in, or graduate from, their selected program. Specific progression regulations, also referred to as continuation or graduation requirements, for Faculty of Science degree programs can be found in the Academic Calendar.

As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic the University Senate Executive Committee approved grading alternatives for courses completed in the Winter 2020, or in spanned Fall 2019/Winter 2020 courses. Students have until May 10th, 2020 to advise the university of their choice. To summarize, the three grading approaches are as follows:

Standard Approach: You can accept the letter grade you received. This is the default grading approach and your letter grade will be used in GPA calculations. No action needs to be taken on your part for this option.

Option 1: You can accept the letter grade received, but have it excluded from your UM GPA calculations. Your letter grade will appear on the transcript, with a note that you chose to exclude it from UM GPA calculations. All grades will appear with an asterisk (i.e. B*, C+*)

  • All F grades earned will automatically be excluded from a student’s GPA. No action needs taken on your part. It will be designated with an asterisk (i.e. F*)

Information on how to exclude a grade that is a D or higher will be available soon.

Option 2: You can choose to receive a “pass” grade if you receive a grade of D or higher. No letter grade will be recorded on your transcript and a note will indicate that you chose this approach. The “pass” grade will be excluded from UM GPA calculations, which is the normal way “pass” grades are treated at UM.  These pass grades will have no letter grade equivalent.

Option 3: You can choose to Voluntarily Withdraw (VW) from the course(s). The VW will show on your transcript, however, Limited Access will NOT apply for courses voluntarily withdrawn from Winter 2020 and Fall 2019/Winter 2020 spanned courses.

Standard Approach

  • The grade will be calculated as part of your GPA.
  • If the letter grade is between a C and A+ then you will likely meet the prerequisites* for subsequent courses required in the degree program. (*some exceptions where a C+ or B may be required as a prerequisite; consult the Academic Calendar for more information)
  • If the stated minimum grade, as per the Academic Calendar, is met, and your GPA meets the stated requirement, you will be able to declare a Major or Honours program, progress through your degree, or graduate, without needing to repeat the course.

Example: Most Major programs require a minimum grade of C+ in at least one course, and a minimum GPA of 2.0 to enter. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required to continue and graduate. If these requirements are met a student will be able to enter, continue or graduate from a Major degree.

  • Eligibility for scholarships and awards will not be affected. The letter grade will be included in the calculation of your earned GPA. 

Option 1 (excluding grade from GPA):

F* grades, and grades chosen to be excluded, will not be calculated into your GPA.

  • An excluded grade will appear on your transcript, with a comment that states it is not calculated in the UM GPA due to COVID-19.

How will excluded courses be used?

  • If the grade(s) that is excluded is high enough, while it is not impacting your GPA, it can still be used for prerequisite purposes, entry to a Major or Honours program, progression through your degree, and graduation.

Example 1: Most Major programs require a minimum grade of C+ in at least one course, and a minimum GPA of 2.0 to enter. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required to continue and graduate.

  • The minimum grade of C+ must still be fulfilled to enter, even in an excluded course;
  • But, the excluded course(s) will not contribute to the GPA for assessment in terms of entering, continuing or graduating from a degree.

Example 2: An Honours program requires a minimum grade of C in all courses to graduate, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 to continue and graduate.

  • A minimum grade of C can be used to fulfill a graduation requirement, even in an excluded course; (some exceptions apply, please see Academic Calendar for your program)
  • But, the excluded course(s) will not contribute to the GPA for assessment in terms of entering, continuing or graduating from the honours degree.
  • The benefit of this option is that if the grade earned is lower than you normally would earn, then your GPA is not lowered if you exclude the grade.
    • Note: the excluded grade may still be used when calculating AGPA for admission purposes to other faculties including professional and graduate programs by the University of Manitoba, and other institutions.
  • Eligibility for scholarships and awards could be affected; particularly those that are based on GPA.
  • F* grades earned in courses from Winter 2020, or from Fall 2019/Winter 2020 spanned courses, will not be counted as part of F Count assessments. 

Example: Students in the Faculty of Science who accumulate more than 36 credit hours of F grades are suspended for a period of 1-year. F grades earned from Winter 2020, or Fall 2019/Winter 2020 spanned courses, will not count towards this maximum and will not result in a suspension.

Option 2 (PASS/FAIL option):

  • A minimum letter grade of D must be earned in order to choose Pass (P*).
  • Pass and Fail grades will not be calculated into your GPA.

How will a grade of P* be used

  • Courses receiving a P* can only be used as a prerequisite if the requirement is a D. Most courses in the Faculty of Science, and many other faculties, have prerequisites with a grade of C or higher. Therefore, P* not recommended if you earn the required grade as a prerequisite.
  • Courses receiving a P* cannot be used for entry into any Major or Honours programs in the Faculty of Science.
  • Courses receiving a P* will allow for a credit, progression, and graduation where a D grade will satisfy degree requirements. If a D grade is not acceptable in your program, the course will not be used for credit.
  • Courses receiving a P* cannot be used to fulfill a degree requirement where a grade of C or higher is required.

Example 1: In an Honours program where all grades must be a C or better; a P* grade will not be used.

Example 2: In a Major program some requirements must be a C or better; a P* grade will not be used for this requirement. Further, some requirements within the degree can be a D or better; a P* grade could be used for this requirement. Please see Academic Calendar for your program.

Example 3: In the General Degree a D grade is acceptable; a P* grade could be used to fulfill a requirement. (Note:  the GPA must be 2.0 minimum to graduate, but courses graded as a P* will not be used as part of the calculation)

  • Required courses recorded as a P*, that cannot be used in your degree, will need to be repeated.

Example: Your degree program requires a C or better in CHEM 2370 and you elect a P* you will be required to repeat CHEM 2370.

  • Courses recorded as a P* that are required courses for entry to another faculty will need to be repeated. 

Example: The admission requirements for a program you are planning to apply for require a grade of C or better in CHEM 2370 and you elect a P* you will need to repeat CHEM 2370 to attempt to be eligible.

Sample Scenarios:

Student is an undeclared major who aims to enter the chemistry major. Student earns a grade of C+ in CHEM 1300; a minimum grade of C is required to take CHEM 1310.

  • Student can take CHEM 1310 IF they choose to keep the grade or exclude from GPA.
  • Student will be unable to take CHEM 1310 IF they choose Pass option.
  • If the student’s GPA remains above 2.0 AND they have completed a minimum 24 credit hours as specified, they are eligible to enter the major program

Student is in the Microbiology Major Program. Student earns a grade of D in BIOL 2410; a minimum grade of D is required to take BIOL 2420.

  • Student can take BIOL 2420 IF they choose any of the three grading options (because P is considered a minimum grade of D)
  • If the student’s GPA remains above 2.0 they are eligible to continue in the major program
  • For this option in the Microbiology Major, a grade of D or better is acceptable, all three grading options would allow the student to use the course for credit.
  • If the student’s GPA would go below 2.0 it would be recommended the student elects the exclude from GPA option or Pass option.

Student is in the Honours Computer Science Program. Student earns a grade of C in COMP 3170:

  • If the student’s GPA remains above 3.0 they are eligible to continue in the Honours program and can elect to keep the grade or exclude the grade.
  • Student is eligible to take any subsequent courses that require COMP 3170 as a prerequisite.
  • As this course is required in the program, the Pass option would not be advisable as it would not count towards the degree requirements.
  • If the student’s GPA drops below 3.0 the student will want to exclude the grade from their GPA as it would require they be removed from the Honours program.

Student is in the General Science Program. Student earns a grade of D in PSYC 1200

  • Student is eligible to continue in the General Science Program; therefore, could choose keep grade, exclude from GPA or Pass option.
  • If the student’s GPA is close to 2.0, they may elect to take the exclude from GPA or Pass option to avoid pulling their GPA down.
  • Student is NOT eligible to take any more PSYC courses as electives as the minimum required grade is at least C.