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S/U, Dean's List and Latin Honors clarifications

March 21, 2020

Dear CALS undergraduate students and faculty:

CALS Office of Student Services understands you are managing a lot during this time; we want to provide you with this email to help consolidate important Spring 2020 university academic and degree policy modifications specifically in CALS. This information is available on Cornell's FAQ website. Please check this website frequently, as additional information will continue to be posted as it becomes available.

Academic Policy Modifications for Spring 2020 (undergraduates):

S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory)

  • Tuesday, April 21 is the new deadline to change the grade option or drop a class (without a 'W' appearing on the official transcript).
  • S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) grading will be an option for any full and second 7-week course until April 21st. Students will have the ability to change their grade option in student center shortly. When conversion is complete, a notification will be sent.
  • The limit on the number of courses taken S/U is suspended for this spring 2020 semester.
  • 'S' grade can be used to meet requirements toward satisfying major and college requirements*.
  • To earn a 'S' (Satisfactory) grade, the minimum grade of 'C-' is required for successful completion, whereas a minimum grade of 'D-' would count as a passing letter grade. A grade of 'S' will not count toward the GPA calculations, but a failing letter grade 'F' will.
  • Courses offered exclusively S/U may not be changed to a letter grade.
  • For the Spring 2020 semester, the 'S' grade will count towards the minimum letter-graded requirements to ensure students do not fall behind in total letter credits.

*Students planning to apply to graduate school may want GPA-impacting letter grade courses in order to be competitive for graduate school admissions. It is unclear how these programs will consider S/U grades from this semester. We are currently awaiting information or further direction from health sciences (medical, dental, PA, veterinary, etc.) programs across the country. We will share updates as they become available.

Dean's List and Latin Honors

  • Dean's List for Spring 2020 semester will be suspended given the unprecedented situation.
    • While we understand this is a disappointment to some, this is the most equitable solution and is intended to help students not make the choice to keep courses as graded given the stress and challenges of this term and virtual instruction. This is not limited to CALS.
  • Latin Honors will be based upon the GPA for either Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 semesters, whichever is highest. This gives the greatest benefit to students in this unprecedented situation.


Take care,

Don Viands
Associate Dean, Office of Academic Programs

cals-studentservices [at] (cals-studentservices[at]cornell[dot]edu)