UVA reverses course, offers “credit / general credit / no credit,” grading scale for undergraduate students

The University of Virginia (UVA) is changing the way it grades students this fall.
Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 6:51 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia is changing the way it grades students this fall.

The university will now give undergraduate students the option to opt in to a credit / general credit / no credit system for classes still underway. Students who would have earned a “C,” grade or higher will receive full credit. Students earning lower than a “C,” receive a general credit, while students that fail would receive no credit. Those will not impact students' GPA.

The university’s deans unanimously agreed to the change after UVA’s Student Council encouraged the move, and more than 1,400 students signed a petition urging the school to do so. Both the council and the petition cited barriers to learning caused by the pandemic-impacted semester, as well as the well-documented toll the pandemic and remote learning is taking on student’s mental health.

Unlike the spring semester, where a credit / no credit scale was the default, students will have to opt in by midnight on November 6.

UVA Provost Liz Magill Letter to Students -- 10/09/2020

Dear undergraduate students,

This summer we announced a return to regular grading for fall 2020 because we believed that the exceptional circumstances last spring that prompted the mid-semester change in grading policy were not likely to recur. For fall 2020, we adopted a series of other academic policy changes intended to provide flexibility and to address some of the difficulties experienced by students as a result of the once-in-a-lifetime challenges the pandemic has created for students and their families.

With the unanimous agreement of your school deans, I write to announce a new grading policy for the fall 2020 semester for undergraduate schools. For undergraduate courses that are not yet complete, undergraduate students will have the option to change from a standard grade in a class to a Credit/General Credit/No Credit (CR/GC/NC) grade. Students will need to make the switch in SIS from a standard grade to a CR/GC/NC option between Monday, November 2, and Friday, November 6, 2020.

We decided to revisit our grading decision after many exchanges with students, student leaders, and faculty and staff who work most closely with students. They reported high levels of stress, anxiety, and personal and family challenges among large numbers of students, and all encouraged both the deans and me to consider flexible grading options this semester.

After extensive discussion, we settled on the policy I am announcing today— the ability for undergraduate students to choose a CR/GC/NC grading option in their classes no later than November 6, 2020. While no decision about grading will be welcomed by all, on balance, this solution seemed the most targeted to the legitimate and serious concerns raised by students, faculty, and staff, without changing the grading system in ways that would have additional consequences for students and faculty who are relying on giving or receiving standard grades.

Several details about this policy are important:

  • Courses taken for CR/GC/NC during fall 2020 will count toward curricular, major, and graduation requirements; however, we cannot be sure how courses taken for CR/GC/NC will be treated by graduate and professional school admissions, licensure requirements, or other similar future endeavors. You should research your options and use your best judgment when deciding how you will receive your grades this semester.
  • Unlike last spring, we will not make any changes to your current grading options. If you take no action, your classes will remain graded as they are now.
  • Students who wish to opt-in to CR/GC/NC for one or more of their classes will have the opportunity to do so in SIS the week of November 2-6, 2020. You will have until November 6, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EST to make this decision in SIS. During that week, students may change their mind for any class up until the deadline. Students who choose CR/GC/NC will not be able to reverse that decision after 11:59 p.m. EST on November 6, 2020.
  • If you opt into CR/GC/NC grading, a CR grade will be awarded if you meet the class requirements for credit (C or higher), GC will be awarded if you receive a passing grade below a C, and NC will be awarded if you receive a grade of F. CR/GC/NC grades are not factored into your GPA.
  • UVA will include a notation on your transcript for fall 2020 to indicate that the CR/GC/NC option was offered during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • A decision regarding grading options for the spring 2021 semester will be announced in early December.
  • This policy applies only to undergraduate students. Professional schools with no undergraduate students (Darden, Law, and Medicine) are not affected by this change. The deans of schools with graduate students are considering how they will approach this question, and they will soon announce their decisions to their schools.
  • University Registrar Laura Hawthorne will send you more details soon about what you will need to do in SIS the week of November 2-6, 2020 if you wish to opt in to CR/GC/NC for one or more of your classes. If you do not take any action, the standard grading option will remain the default option for all of your classes.

I wish to commend the exceptional student leaders, the concerned faculty, and the tireless staff who worked closely with our students for their insight and their leadership on this important topic.


Liz Magill,


University of Virginia

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