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J-Term and Spring 2021 Grading Option for Students

To all faculty: 

With the unanimous agreement of your school deans, I write to announce I am extending the fall 2020 grading policy of CR/GC/NC for both the J-Term and spring 2021 semester. 

This policy applies to all undergraduate students; in addition, graduate programs that offered the CR/GC/NC option in the fall will do so again in J-term and spring, using the same criteria. Professional schools will announce their decisions for J-term and the spring term soon. 

In making this decision, we considered the same factors that influenced our decision earlier this fall. Students continue to experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and personal and family challenges, and many have reached out to encourage the deans and me to continue the flexible grading option.  After discussions with students, the school deans, academic deans, student affairs professionals, the Faculty Senate and other faculty leaders, we settled on the policy I am announcing today.  

The email I sent moments ago to announce this change to students is appended below; please read it for the full background on this decision. It also has more details about when and how students will be able to make their grading selections. While we have not settled on all the dates for spring, we felt it was important to notify students today, as J-Term registration begins.

My thanks go to the student leaders and the faculty and staff who work closely with our students, for their advocacy on this important topic.  I also appreciate the extraordinary work all of you have put into your teaching.  I recognize that this policy creates challenges for you, both in grading and advising students. I’m grateful for the support you offer our students, now and always.  


Liz Magill, Provost
University of Virginia

Dear students, 

With course registration starting this month, I write to announce that I am extending the fall 2020 grading policy for both the 2021 J-Term and the spring 2021 semester. Following the fall 2020 grading announcement, we consulted with deans, associate deans, the Faculty Senate and other faculty leaders, and students, to consider how best to approach the upcoming academic terms.

After extensive discussion and thoughtful consideration, we determined that it would be best to extend the fall grading policy to both J-term and the spring. Thus, for J-Term and spring 2021, all undergraduates and those graduate students who had this option this term will have the option to change from a standard grade in a class to a Credit/General Credit/No Credit grade. 

As was the case with our decision about the fall grading option, there were many factors that influenced our thought process. Ultimately, we sought to balance serious concerns raised by students, faculty, and staff about the effects of this pandemic on many of our students, while at the same time honoring the views of those students and faculty who seek to give or receive standard grades.

Several details about this policy are important:

  • For J-term, undergraduate students will see the CR/GC/NC grading option when they begin enrolling in J-term classes. Registration begins today, November 9th.  Students may select this grading option at any time, either when they enroll in a class or after they have enrolled, up until 11:59pm EST January 4, 2021, the first day of J-Term classes. Standard grading will remain the default grading option; students will have to change it to CR/GC/NC if they wish to opt into this grading option.
  • For the spring 2021 semester, University Registrar Laura Hawthorne will send by early December the dates by which undergraduate students will need to opt in to CR/GC/NC. 
  • Courses taken for CR/GC/NC during J-term and spring 2021 will count toward curricular, major, and graduation requirements.  
  • A grade of CR/GC/NC does not factor into a student’s GPA. As part of the decision to continue offering students a CR/GC/NC grading option during the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year, the undergraduate schools have agreed that grades of CR/GC/NC will not prevent a student from applying for a major, for a research-intensive program like distinguished majors, or for internal transfer between schools of the University. In all of these cases, schools and departments will not use a GPA that fails to meet the standard requirement, the total number of classes taken on a CR/GC/NC basis, or the nature of these classes as the sole determinant factors for application. Students should be mindful of other potential implications of selecting or not selecting a CR/GC/NC grade in some or all of their classes. For instance, students who need to increase their GPA for graduation purposes or to remain eligible for financial aid should factor that into their decision.
  • For undergraduates who 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. As noted above, CR/GC/NC grades are not factored into your GPA.
  • UVA will include a notation on your transcript for J-term and spring 2021 to indicate that the CR/GC/NC option was offered during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Graduate programs that offered CR/GC/NC in fall will do so again in J-term and spring, using the same criteria. Professional schools will announce their decisions for J-term and spring terms soon. 

I remain grateful to our students, faculty, and staff for their valuable insight and leadership on this important topic. I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during this most extraordinary time.  


Liz Magill, Provost
University of Virginia


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