Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Guidance for Spring 2020

Important Information from Dean Forehand

Answers to many questions regarding the S/U option may be found in the Graduate Student section of Frequently Asked Questions. Additional clarification for graduate students is provided here. Graduate students may elect to convert any, all, or none of their spring course grades to S/U in most graduate programs. Specific exceptions are noted below. If your program is not noted, please check with the appropriate coordinator directly. We also advise that you contact your advisor and or graduate program director for guidance if you are considering the S/U option.

  • For graduate students, selecting the S/U option by May 14, 2020 means that any grade of C- or better in a course will be automatically converted to "Satisfactory". If you do nothing, you will retain the letter grade earned in that course.
  • The Graduate College requires a minimum of 15 graded credits and a GPA of 3.0 for graduation. Courses graded S/U do not count towards the graded credit requirement.
    • Be sure that selecting S/U will not mean you do not have enough graded credits to graduate.
    • If you are expecting to graduate in May and you currently have a GPA such that a grade below a B in a course will bring your cumulative GPA below a 3.0, you should elect S/U (if there are no other restrictions).
  • The 15 graded credit and 3.0 GPA requirements apply separately to your master’s or doctoral degree and any Certificate of Graduate Study (CGS) you are pursuing at the same time.
    • If you are completing a stand-alone 15 credit CGS you may not elect the S/U option.
    • If you are completing a CGS along with a master’s or doctorate, be sure that you have 15 unique graduate credits for each program before selecting the S/U option.
    • If you are uncertain about how to calculate separate CGS and degree GPAs, and which classes count towards each, contact the Graduate College for assistance.
  • Universities generally do not accept credits for which no letter grade was received as transfer credits (and a grade of B or better is required for transfer of credit). If you are considering another graduate degree in the future and want the option of transferring current graduate credit for a course to that program, do not select the S/U option.
  • UVM graduate programs that have indicated they have no program restriction on the S/U option include:

      Clinical and Translational Science
      Community Development and Applied Economics
      Computer Science
      Electrical Engineering
      Higher Education and Student Affairs
      Historic Preservation
      Human Functioning and Rehabilitation Science
      Interdisciplinary Studies of Disability
      Leadership for Sustainability
      Materials Science
      Mathematical Sciences
      Mechanical Engineering
      Natural Resources
      Physical Activity and Wellness Science
      Physical Therapy
      Plant and Soil Science
      Plant Biology
  • The following programs have program restrictions on the S/U option. Most of these are professional programs with licensure or certification requirements. If you do not see your program on this list – and it is not in the "no restrictions" list above - check with the program directly.
    • Accountancy: Colorado Board of Accountancy has a rule that a P (S) only counts for letter grades of C or better. Since the S grade could represent a grade as low as C-, it will not count with the Colorado Board. Local states including New York accept "courses taken for credit". Check with your program director (Professor Hughes) for specific state information.
    • Clinical Psychology: The S/U option cannot be used for PSYS 305, PSYS 319, PSYS 350, PSYS 375, PSYS 376, PSYS 380. These courses require a letter grade of at least a B- to obtain licensure as a clinical psychologist. Thus the grade of S is not allowed as it may indicate a grade of C-. There are, unfortunately, no licensure accommodations being made (as of 4/15/20) and unlikely that any will be made in the future.
    • Communication Sciences and Disorders: Vermont bases its licensure decisions on ASHA certification, which has no restrictions on the S/U option, so state licensure in Vermont is also not at risk. If you are contemplating working in another state, it would be a good idea to check the licensure requirements in that state.
    • Counseling: No program restrictions but while the Vermont licensure board does not specify the grade format, in some states, courses must include a letter grade in order for the course to count towards licensure. Also, if you are receiving reimbursement from an employer for your tuition, many employers will not provide reimbursement for courses that do not include a letter grade.
    • Education MAT and Special Education Programs: For students completing student teaching internships, a letter grade of B or above in student teaching internship is required by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) for teacher licensure. Other states may have similar requirements for reciprocity.
    • Educational Leadership: No restrictions, but students who are pursuing administrative licensure should discuss that option with their advisors, as licensure requirements might include minimum grades in certain core courses.
    • Engineering Management: No restrictions, but please discuss with the EMGT Program Director, Professor Burkman, before proceeding with S/U.
    • Greek and Latin: Not recommended; please see your advisor.
    • History: No restrictions but note that the program requires that students maintain a GPA of 3.3 each semester, so consider S/U option if the grade you receive brings you below that GPA for the term.
    • Medical Laboratory Science: A grade of S could represent a grade as low as C- and is thus not acceptable for curriculum progression or certification in the profession. Also note that prospective employers may not favorably view grades of S/U in core professional didactic courses.
    • Nursing: S/U is not an option for any currently graded courses. There is no indication that national certifying bodies are making exceptions (information current as of 4/6/2020)
    • Physics: S/U not allowed for core courses: PHYS 301, 311, 313, 323, 362, and 365 because a B or better is required and the S grade could represent a grade as low as C-.
    • Social Work: A candidate for a graduate degree may not have a grade lower than a C. Thus, the grade of S is not allowed, as it may indicate a grade of C-. Contact Professor Comerford for possible exceptions.
    • Sustainable Innovation MBA: A grade of S could represent a grade as low as C- and is thus not acceptable in the academic modules or summer practicum.