Breakdown: MTSU’s 2020 pass-fail option

MTSU announced in March that it would be introducing a pass or fail option for grades in the 2020 spring semester after moving to online classes as a COVID-19 preventative measure.

Many students have had questions about the option since the announcement and in response, the Provost sent out a frequently asked questions document on Wednesday.

Starting April 19, students will be able to opt-in to a pass-fail system of recording grades for the majority of classes. It has not been announced yet where online students will go to opt-in, but according to the FAQ, it will be announced to students before then.

Professors will not have access to who in their classes has opted in for the pass-fail and will put in letter grades as normal. The letters will then be converted into pass or fail. A grade of B+ to D- will be a pass for undergraduates and a grade of B+ to C- will pass for graduate students. A grade of A will go onto the student’s transcript as normal regardless of if the student opted in to the pass-fail system.

The pass grade will not be factored into a student’s GPA, but will fulfill the hour requirement of the course.

It is not required that students opt-in and students will be able to choose which classes they opt-in for. The only classes exempt from the pass-fail option are classes already use a pass-fail scale, classes completed before spring break and classes that require a letter grade for some kind of accreditation, licensure, certification or university policy.

Students looking to apply to grad school are urged to be cautious of the pass-fail option according to the FAQ. “Students planning to pursue advanced degrees should be aware that some institutions might require letter grades (A-F) for specific courses and will not accept a grade of P.”

Other points the FAQ addresses are:

  • Students on academic probation should contact their advisors before choosing which scale to use for each course. Academic dismissal has been suspended for Spring 2020.
  • Athletes are urged to contact their advisor and coach to see how the pass-fail scale could impact their athletic eligibility.
  • The pass-fail option will not impact international students’ visa status as long as they remain full-time students.
  • Veterans are advised to contact the Transition Manager in the Daniels Center to see how the pass-fail scale could impact benefits.
  • Students who do opt-in will have an explanation of the pass-fail in place of a letter grade due to COVID-19 on their transcripts.
  • Courses where a minimum grade is required, candidacy and/or prerequisite classes will be fulfilled by a pass grade.

Students will have from April 19 to April 29 to opt-in to the pass-fail system and can change which courses use the pass-fail or letter grade system until then.

Read the full FAQ from the provost here.

Students concerned with academic implications of the pass-fail system should contact their advisor. Students with any financial aid concerns with the pass-fail system should contact MT OneStop.

To contact News Editor Savannah Meade, email

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