UC Berkeley College of Letters and Science allows pass/no pass for major requirements

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According to an email sent to students in the College of Letters and Science from Dean Bob Jacobsen, the college's reading and composition, quantitative reasoning and foreign language requirements may also be taken pass/no pass this academic year.

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UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science will allow students to take major and minor requirements pass/no pass, or P/NP, for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.

The policies, announced by the ASUC Office of Academic Affairs in an Instagram post, include giving students in the college until Dec. 4 to change their classes’ grading options. Students in the College of Letters and Science may also change grading options without meeting with an adviser or petitioning, the post adds.

According to an email sent to students in the College of Letters and Science from Dean Bob Jacobsen, the college’s reading and composition, quantitative reasoning and foreign language requirements may also be taken P/NP this academic year.

“Please note that switching a course or courses to P/NP may not be the best action in all circumstances,” the email states. “Other strategies, such as dropping a course to focus on the remaining courses or taking an incomplete grade to spread out some work, are highly encouraged, and may be better ways of coping with difficulties while still making progress.”

The email reminded students that no more than one-third of required units taken at UC Berkeley can be fulfilled with a pass grade.

Given these policy changes, the ASUC Office of Academic Affairs is still discussing with individual departments alternative methods for admitting students into GPA-capped majors, according to the Instagram post.

According to the email, the College of Letters and Science made these changes to encourage student learning while reducing the stress that comes with the pandemic and remote learning.

“I would like to thank the faculty, administrators, the Academic Senate, L&S Advising and the ASUC Office of Academic Affairs who have worked long hours to make these much-needed academic policy adjustments happen during this extraordinary semester,” the email states. “Throughout this process, student testimonials voiced concerns and experiences that were crucial to finding solutions and weighing decisions.”

Maya Akkaraju is a deputy news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maya_akkaraju.