The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Pass / Fail Option

The purpose of the Pass/Fail option is to encourage students to be venturesome in the choice of their courses.

  • Any undergraduate shall be eligible to exercise a Pass/Fail option in one course each term. Winter and each summer session count as individual terms. Students electing courses offered on a mandatory Pass/Fail basis (e.g., UMASS 298Y) shall also be allowed to take one additional, normally graded course that semester on a Pass/Fail basis.

  • You may not use the Pass/Fail option for any degree requirement. This includes all General Education requirements of the University and all CSE or EE major requirements, even courses that have a minimum grade of D needed for graduation.

  • Students wishing to exercise the Pass/Fail option must do so by the mid-semester date.


  • When students choose to take a course with the Pass/Fail option, the instructor will not be informed. At the end of the semester the instructor will turn in the letter grade earned. If the grade is F, it is factored in. If the student receives a passing grade, an initial computation of the cumulative average will be made. This average will include all graded courses from prior semesters as well as graded courses from the current semester. If the course elected Pass/Fail during the current semester carries a grade higher than the initially computed cumulative average, the reported grade will be recorded and the cumulative average recomputed; otherwise the P or F will be recorded.

  • A grade of P is not assigned any quality points and does not enter into the computation of the cumulative average; the grade of F is always assigned 0.0 quality points and is used in computing the cumulative average.

  • A student may opt for the grade, even if it lowers his or her cumulative average, or a student may opt for a pass, even after the Registrar has changed a pass to a grade because it raised the student's average. Students may request this change at any time prior to graduation by completing a "Revoke Pass/Fail" form available in 213 Whitmore. Once the student is graduated, the transcript is considered closed.