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Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory


CONTENTS       The S/NS grade option
Registering for a course S/NS
Counting S/NS courses toward requirements
    Graduation requirements
    Admission deficiencies
    ESL
    Foreign language sequences
    Certificate programs
    Prerequisite checking
    Spring 2001 TA strike
Petitioning S/NS courses
    Petitioning to count S/NS courses toward requirements
    Registration errors
Credit limits
    Undergraduate students
    Postbaccalaureate students
Students on academic probation
Transferred courses
Courses taken as a nonmatriculated student
S/NS and professional schools
S/NS and high scholarship recognition
Previous S/NS rules
S/NS vs. CR/NC

The S/NS grade option

    Satisfactory/Not-Satisfactory (S/NS) is a pass/no-pass grading option elected by students on a course-by-course basis. A grade of 2.0 or higher is converted by the Registrar to an S on the student's transcript, and a grade below 2.0 is converted to an NS on the transcript. Credit is received for an S grade, but not for an NS grade. Neither the S nor the NS is figured into the student's grade-point average.

The instructor submits a regular numerical grade for each student, and is not informed which students have elected the S/NS option for a course until the s/he receives the grade confirmation report.

If the instructor submits the student's grade before the grade deadline, the numerical grade will appear in the student's MyUW for about 24 hours. Numerical grades are converted to S/NS during the first grade run, which is usually the Tuesday after grades are due. After that time the numerical grade is not visible on the student's transcript, but remains visible on the SRF100A and SRF317 screens if it was submitted before the first grade run.

  
  

Registering for a course S/NS

    Students can select the S/NS grade option when registering for a course. Students can switch from graded to S/NS, and vice versa, through the seventh week of the quarter. After the seventh week of the quarter, students are not allowed to change to or from the S/NS grade option.
  
  

Counting S/NS courses toward requirements

   

Graduation requirements

UW courses taken S/NS in autumn 1985 or later may not be counted toward any graduation requirement, except the total number of credits required for graduation. In other words, S/NS courses may count only as electives. They may not count toward English composition, additional writing, Q/SR, foreign language, or Areas of Knowledge requirements, and they may not count toward the requirements of a major or minor. For information about transfer courses and UW courses taken before matriculation, see below.

In Arts and Sciences majors requiring more than 50 credits, the department may choose to allow S/NS credits to count toward major requirements to the extent that the major exceeds 50 credits.

Admission deficiencies

Courses taken to remove admission deficiencies may be taken S/NS, since the restriction applies only to courses counted toward graduation requirements. Students should be cautioned, however, that courses taken to remove admission deficiencies may also count toward graduation requirements, but cannot be so used if taken S/NS.

ESL

Required English Language Program (ESL) courses may not be taken S/NS. Web registration will allow a student to select S/NS grading for an ESL course, but if a student registers for an ESL course S/NS, or changes one of the courses to S/NS grading, the course will be changed back to numerical grading.

Foreign language sequences

If a student has satisfied any foreign language graduation requirement, courses in a second foreign language (or a first language, in colleges where there is no graduation requirement) can be counted toward VLPA if the student completes at least the third quarter of the language. It is not necessary that all the courses be completed for a numerical grade, only the ones that are to be counted toward VLPA. For example, if a student completes (as a second foreign language) FRENCH 101 and 102 for numerical grades and completes FRENCH 103 with a grade of S, the student is allowed to count FRENCH 101 and 102 toward VLPA.

Note that the College of Engineering does not, in general, allow any foreign language courses below the third quarter to count toward VLPA.

Certificate programs

Whether or not courses taken S/NS can be counted toward the requirements of a certificate program is the decision of the department or other academic unit offering the program.

Prerequisite checking

A course with an encoded prerequisite or Cancellation in place may or may not accept a grade of S in the prerequisite, as determined by the department. (The default is that a grade of S is acceptable.) If a course requires a grade above 2.0 in the prerequisite, you can assume that a grade of S is not acceptable. In other cases, the student or adviser should check with the department offering the course. The information is not available on the SDB screens to which advisers have access.

Spring 2001 TA strike

Because of the teaching assistant strike in spring quarter 2001, some English composition classes were changed to CR/NC grading. Students who received a CR were allowed to use the course to satisfy the English composition requirement, where normally a numerical grade of at least 2.0 is required.

There was no special accommodation made for students who switched classes to S/NS grading in that quarter. The deadline to switch to S/NS occurred before the TA strike, although at the time of the deadline it was thought a strike was possible. There is no way for instructors to award a grade of S on the grade sheet, so no blanket S grades were issued. A student who changed to S/NS grading may not count the course toward graduation requirements. The student may petition to change the course back to a numerical grade, but the regular criteria for S/NS petitions will apply (see below).

  
  

Petitioning S/NS courses

    The intent of the S/NS rules is that a student should not be able to choose between S/NS and numerical grading after knowing the course grade. There are certain circumstances, however, in which a student may be allowed to convert an S or NS grade back to the numerical grade originally awarded (See "Petitioning to count S/NS courses toward requirements" below).

It is extremely rare for a student to be allowed to convert a numerical grade to S/NS after the deadline for selecting S/NS grading, unless there is evidence of a registration error (see "Registration errors" below).

Petitioning to count S/NS courses toward requirements

A student may file a request with the Graduation and Academic Records Office to convert an S/NS grade to the numeric grade. The form can be found online at the Registrar's website, and is also available in the Graduation, Registrar, and Registration offices in Schmitz Hall. The student must attach documentation (typically, a DARS report) that demonstrates that the change request arises from one of the following situations:

  1. The course is required to satisfy a graduation requirement (for example, VLPA), and the student is close to graduation.
  2. The course is required to apply for admission to a major.
If the requirement cannot be seen on a DARS report (such as a case where the course would be allowed by exception once converted, or if the student is in a graduate program), then a letter from an appropriate adviser is required (i.e., departmental adviser if the student is declared; Gateway, EOP, or prospective department adviser if the student is not declared).

Requests from students whose situation doesn't fall in one of the two categories listed are usually denied.

Registration errors

There are two types of S/NS errors that may be corrected:

  1. The student intended to request S/NS grading but, unrecognized by the student, the Internet transaction was not completed.
  2. The student mistakenly signed up for S/NS grading.

In both cases, the student should first contact Tina Miller in the Graduation and Academic Records Office. The Registration Office is able to determine if the student attempted to select S/NS grading but the transaction was not completed, if the attempt was made in the current quarter or the previous quarter. If the attempt can be verified, the Registration Office will change the grading option to S/NS.

The second circumstance is more difficult to verify. In general, requests are approved only if it is clear that the student was confused--for example, an international freshman who selected S/NS grading for all her courses. A supporting letter from an adviser who has worked with the student would be helpful. It is more difficult to argue that a student mistakenly registered for the S/NS option for only one course and not others taken in the same quarter.

  
  

Credit limits

   

Undergraduate students

A student may count a maximum of 25 UW credits earned on the S/NS grading option toward the 180 credits required for an undergraduate degree. (Transferred pass-fail courses do not count toward the 25-credit maximum.) A student is not allowed 25 S/NS credits per degree; a student who completes two simultaneous bachelor's degrees (a double degree, usually totalling 225 credits) is also allowed a total of 25 S/NS credits.

If a student earns more than 180 credits in fulfilling requirements for a 180-credit program, he/she may exceed the 25-credit maximum to the same extent. For example, a student graduating with 182 credits may present 27 credits S/NS. If a particular bachelor's degree program requires 225 credits, however, only 25 of those 225 may be taken S/NS. Likewise, if a student is seeking two bachelor's degrees, he/she may exceed 25 credits S/NS only insofar as the total number of credits exceeds the number required for the degrees (usually 225).

Postbaccalaureate students

Postbaccalaureate students may count a maximum of 25 S/NS credits toward a degree, including any UW credits earned on the S/NS grading option in the first degree.
  
  

Students on academic probation

    Students on academic probation are allowed to take courses S/NS. Since S/NS courses don't affect the student's GPA, however, and students on probation need to raise their GPAs, in general such students should be encouraged to take courses for numerical grades.
  
  

Transferred courses

    A student who has taken a course on a non-graded option at another school before transfer to the UW may count that course toward basic skills, breadth, and/or minor requirements. Such courses may usually be counted toward major department requirements, but the student should consult with the department adviser concerning the department's policy.
  
  

Courses taken as a nonmatriculated student

    A student who has taken a course S/NS as a nonmatriculated student at the UW before his/her matriculation at the UW campus from which the student graduates may count that course toward basic skills, breadth, and/or minor requirements. Such courses may usually be counted toward major department requirements, but the student should consult with the department adviser concerning the department's policy.
  
  

S/NS and professional schools

    Students planning on applying to professional schools, such as medical, dental, veterinary, or law school, should use S/NS with caution. Professional schools prefer grades to pass/fail. Also, professional schools may choose to assign grades to pass/fail courses when evaluating students' academic records. For example, a professional school might choose to translate any S grade into a 2.0, the lowest grade possible to qualify for an S, when calculating an applicant's GPA.

Law schools translate all NS (and NC) grades into 0.0 grades, which can substantially alter an applicant's GPA.

  
  

S/NS and high scholarship recognition

    Eligibility for the quarterly and annual Dean's List, baccalaureate honors (cum laude, etc.), and the Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and President's Medals is based on the number of graded UW credits completed. S/NS and CR/NC courses do not count as graded credits.
  
  

Previous S/NS rules

    UW courses taken S/NS before autumn 1985 may be counted toward the basic skills or breadth (AoK) requirements. Before autumn 1985, only certain departments allowed courses in the major to be taken S/NS; students should consult the appropriate departmental adviser.
  
  

S/NS vs. CR/NC

    Credit/No-Credit is an option selected by the instructor or the department, and applies to the entire course rather than to individual students. The Credit/No-Credit system is entirely separate from the student-option S/NS system. The credits for such courses are not counted against the 25-credit S/NS limit, and students are allowed to use CR/NC courses to satisfy graduation requirements.