Undergraduate Pass/No Pass Grade Option FAQs 

The university has extended the deadline to elect Pass/No Pass grades for Fall 2021 to Friday, December 3, 2021.  You can change your course grade option on Web Registration in the myCourseBin screen.

What is the Pass/No Pass grade option?

The Pass/No Pass grade option is an enrollment option that allows you to earn units for a course without receiving a standard Letter grade.  As long as you earn a C- grade or better in a course, your transcript will show a mark of Pass (P) for the course.  Since the Pass/No Pass grade does not factor into your grade point average (GPA), it may be a good option to use if you do not want to impact your GPA.  

Before changing your grade option, you should verify your current grade in the class, and what is required of you to achieve the minimum C- grade to achieve a Passing grade.

Will the University extend the deadline to withdraw from courses in the Fall 2021 semester? 

Yes, the university has extended the withdrawal deadline to Friday, December 3, 2021 for the Fall semester. You can withdraw from courses on Web Registration in the myCourseBin screen.

How will I make changes to Pass/No Pass for my Fall 2021 class schedule? 

You can change your course grade option on Web Registration in the myCourseBin screen.  The deadline to make changes is Friday, December 3, 2021. Instructions on how to navigate to the myCourseBin screen and make grade option changes are here .

Can I take any or all of my courses for Pass/No Pass? 

Courses taken for Pass/No Pass during Fall 2021 will count towards all major, minor, and university graduation requirements for all undergraduate students. This dispensation is only applicable to Fall 2021 courses. USC allows undergraduates to take up to 32 total units of Pass/No Pass course work, including courses taken in transfer.  If your STARS report shows you are close to reaching or have already reached 32 units of Pass/No Pass, you should not elect Pass/No Pass for any courses in the current semester that you need to count toward graduation requirements. 

What if I have previously taken Pass/No Pass courses and I want to change my Fall 2021 classes to Pass/No Pass? 

USC allows all currently-enrolled undergraduates to take up to 32 total units of Pass/No Pass course work.  If your STARS report shows you are close to reaching or have already reached 32 units of Pass/No Pass, you should not elect Pass/No Pass for any courses in the current semester that you need to count toward graduation requirements.  Consult your academic advisor if you need clarification on this university policy.  If you have met, or are approaching the 32 unit limit for Pass/No Pass units, you should consult with your academic advisor about all your academic options before selecting Pass/No Pass.

When is using the Pass/No Pass grade option a bad idea?

The Pass/No Pass grade option replaces the Letter grade earned in a course and does not factor into your GPA.  

Additionally, certain scholarships may require that students maintain a minimum GPA threshold, which Pass/No Pass courses may not help with, since Pass/No Pass grades do not factor into your GPA.  Furthermore, employers and graduate school admissions boards may utilize Letter grades to distinguish students from one another and a high number of  passing grades can make that challenging.  For these reasons, students should use the Pass/No Pass grade option judiciously.

Note: A student who takes all courses in a semester for Pass/No Pass will have a semester GPA of 0.0.

How will I be graded in my Fall 2021 courses? 

After grading final examinations, faculty members will grade you according to the grade option you selected in Web Registration for each course. For any classes for which you select the Pass/No Pass grade option, a final grade of C- or above will be reflected on your transcript as Pass grade. 

Will changing my grade option to Pass/No Pass affect financial aid? 

Courses taken Pass/No Pass will still count towards pace of progression and maximum time frame for Satisfactory Academic Progress. Grades of Pass/No Pass will not impact GPA; however, a No Pass grade can negatively impact pace of progression. Please review the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for more details at https://financialaid.usc.edu/docs/SAP_undergraduate.pdf 

What if I need to earn letter grades for professional programs, employment or graduate studies? 

You may want to consult with your academic advisor, or opt to keep the Letter grade option for your courses. 

How will this change affect my GPA? 

The Pass/No Pass grade is not counted in the grade point average nor used in the determination of honors. Note: A student who takes all courses in a semester for Pass/No Pass will have a semester GPA of 0.0.

If I receive a high final grade in a course that I have designated for Pass/No Pass by the deadline, may I later ask to substitute that Letter grade for the grade of Pass? 

You must elect your grade option by Friday, December 3, 2021.   No grade option changes will be permitted after Friday, December 3, 2021.

I am an international student. Will selecting the  Pass/No Pass grade option for my Fall 2021 classes impact my visa status? 

As long as you remain enrolled as a full-time student, changing your grade option to Pass/No Pass for the Fall 2021 semester will not impact your visa status. 

I am a Progressive Degree student still working on my undergraduate degree. Should I take my courses for grades of Pass/No Pass? 

Maybe.  If your graduate program is allowing the Pass/No Pass grade option, you can elect Pass/No Pass for the courses on your approved course plan.  If your program has not approved Pass/No Pass, you should take your courses with the Letter grade option.

I am enrolled at USC as a visiting student. How will the Pass/No Pass grade option impact my course of study at my home institution? 

It is important that you contact your home institution to determine if and/or how courses graded on a Pass/No Pass basis can count toward your course of study at your home institution.  If you are a visiting student and need to change your grade option, you can contact the Registrar’s Office via ask.USC.edu for assistance.. 

If I took a GE for Pass/No Pass in a previous semester, can I take another GE with P/NP? 

Yes, the university will permit this in Fall 2021. 

I am an undergraduate student receiving VA education benefits, will Pass/No Pass affect VA payments? 

The VA only pays for degree applicable courses.  Courses taken for Pass/No Pass during Fall 2021 will count towards all major, minor, and university graduation requirements for all undergraduate students.