Temporary Policy Changes

We know this is a challenging time for our entire campus community and everyone at the University of Oregon is working daily to support all students as they continue their education. To that end, we’ve made temporary changes to some of our policies and procedures while we all navigate a quickly shifting situation.


Modifications to Grading Options for Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020 Graduate Courses (5xx, 6xx, 7xx)

As of Winter 2021, we will return to the standard deadline for changing grade option as well as the standard limitations for Pass/No Pass grading on courses and degree requirements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led the university to shift to remote learning, a modality that is new for many faculty and graduate students. These uncharted learning conditions, coupled with the current social and economic instability our students are currently experiencing, will create a challenging quarter. This policy offers a simple and consistent approach to assessment which should help alleviate graduate student anxiety and encourage a focus on learning.

Based on the principle that the change in course modality due to exogenous challenges should not harm students’ progress toward a degree, the Academic Council voted to make the following modifications to grading options for Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020. These adjustments are in effect for undergraduate and graduate courses except for graduate courses offered in the JD and LLM programs in the Law School, which are under a different policy passed by the Law School.

  1. The deadline to change grade-optional courses from graded to P/NP (pass/no-pass) or from P/NP to grade will be extended 30 days after the date that final grades are posted for that term. That means all students will have time to decide whether to change to P/NP or graded once they see their final grades. Deadlines to change grade-optional courses from graded to pass/no-pass: 
TERMExtended deadline
Spring 2020July 16, 2020
Summer 2020October 16, 2020
Fall 2020January 16, 2021
  1. The option to change from graded to P/NP or from P/NP to graded will be available for all courses that are designated as graded only and for grade optional courses.
  2. Courses that are designated as P/NP only will remain as they are. There will be no additional options for these courses.
  3. Any course grade of P will be counted as a P* grade for the purposes of the policies below. This means that courses taken as P/NP can count toward graduation requirements. Credits earned in courses offered only as P/NP will use the P* designation.
    1. Undergraduate: “Students must earn 168 transfer or University of Oregon credits with grades of A, B, C, D, or P*."
    2. Graduate Master’s degrees: “A minimum of 24 credits must be University of Oregon graded (not pass/no pass) credits.”
  4. Instructors of record shall maintain letter grades throughout the term and record final course grades for students in all courses (and only assign P/NP grades for courses that are designated as P/NP only).
  5. If a student chooses P/N by the deadline, grades will be recorded as follows:
    1. Undergraduate: a P grade for a C- or above, and an N grade for a D+ or below.
    2. Graduate: a P grade for a B- or above, and an N grade for a C+ or below.
    3. Law: a P grade for a D- or above, and an N grade for an F.
  6. Departments are asked to waive any requirements that (a) limit how P/N courses count toward the major; that (b) require specific grades for courses that count toward the major; or that (c) serve as prerequisites for other courses. This is especially important for cases where the lack of such a waiver will require students to enroll in an additional term or delay graduation for students.


GE Full-time Enrollment Requirement

To assist GEs balancing multiple commitments during this health crisis, the University will allow GEs to petition to reduce the CBA mandated minimum credit enrollment requirement from 9 to as few as 3 credits for Spring 2021. This number of credits is consistent with the non-GE graduate student minimum requirement of 3 credits. The Graduate School will evaluate these petitions on a case-by-case basis. Interested GEs should use the Graduate School’s general petition form.

Please note that any GE who registers for fewer than 5 credits will be subject to the FICA tax, meaning that Social Security and Medicare withholdings will be deducted from their paychecks.


Suspension of Petition Fees

Until further notice, the Graduate School will waive the $15 petition fee for all petition types.


Approval Signatures on Graduate School Forms

Until further notice, the Graduate School will accept electronic signatures or approval emails (sent from a UO email address) in place of written signatures. See this page for detailed instructions.


Dissertation Defenses

Until further notice, there is no physical attendance requirement for dissertation defenses. The student and all committee members may attend the defense remotely. Additionally, we are lifting the expectation that dissertation defenses be public and held on campus.


Waiver of Final Term Registration for Students Whose Graduation Timeline Has Been Delayed

Until further notice, students whose graduation timelines have been affected by COVID-19 (for example, dissertation defense date postponed, data collection delayed, finishing Incompletes etc.) may petition for a waiver of the final term registration requirement using the General Petition Form. This option is only available to students who do not require registration in any credits during the final term in order to fulfill degree requirements.


Waiver of Summer Term Registration Requirement

Students who originally planned to complete non-coursework requirements (e.g., comprehensive exams) during the 2020-21 academic year but are now planning to complete those requirements in Summer 2021 because of COVID-19 related delays may petition for a waiver of the summer term registration requirement using the General Petition Form.


Temporary Change to 7-year Extension Process for Graduate Students

Current Process:

  • Student submits initial request for extension of 7-year deadline using the Extension of 7-year Deadline form. The petition lists the student’s anticipated term of graduation and maps out the student’s overall plan for completion with month-by-month milestones.
  • Graduate School approves an initial extension of one term and blocks the student’s registration for the next term
  • Student submits a quarterly renewal using the same Extension of 7-year Deadline form. The renewal outlines the progress made in the previous term and adjusts the month-by-month milestones if necessary.
  • Graduate School removes the registration block upon review of the quarterly renewal.

Temporary Revised Process:

  • Students may request up to a one-year extension by submitting the Extension of 7-year Deadline form. The petition lists the student’s anticipated term of graduation and maps out the student’s overall plan for completion with month-by-month milestones.
  • No quarterly renewals will be required during this initial one-year extension period. Any additional extensions beyond one year will require a new extension request.
  • Petitions for this purpose are not subject to the $15 fee.
  • Graduate School blocks registration for the term after the end of the one-year extension period.

Directors of Graduate Study and advisors are strongly encouraged to monitor the progress of students who are on 7-year extensions and to intervene as needed if a student is not making adequate progress toward meeting the milestones outlined in the initial petition.


Page last updated February 24, 2021