A Message from the Vice Provost and Dean: Increased Flexibility for Late Drops and S/U Grading

Dear graduate students,

As we near the end of our second week of instruction for Spring 2020, we would like to acknowledge the extraordinary resilience that you have demonstrated in the face of ongoing change, disruption, and uncertainty. Recognizing the exceptional and stressful times that we are in, Graduate Studies and the Academic Senate engaged in discussions to determine ways to increase grading and course flexibilities that we know are needed to support graduate students. On April 8, the Academic Senate approved the following changes for Spring 2020:

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Optional Grading

For spring term 2020: A graduate student in good standing (or who receives approval from Graduate Studies) is authorized to undertake, in addition to courses graded on a Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory only basis, not more than three courses in spring 2020 on an optional Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) basis.

Students will have until the last day of instruction (June 4) to submit a Grading Option Change request form.

Students must consult with their program to determine which courses they may be allowed to change to S/U grading. Approval from a Graduate Advisor (GA) is still required as GAs will help students comprehensively evaluate the pros, cons, and possible long-term implications of S/U grading. The goal of this process is to support students’ long-term success. Graduate Studies has also prepared an Important Considerations document to guide students through this decision.

To help facilitate a more efficient process for these requests, Graduate Studies will launch a new eform early next week.

Flexibility with Late Drops

Graduate Studies will consider extenuating circumstances relating to COVID-19 as an acceptable reason for requesting to drop a course after the associated 10- or 20-day deadline. Students should explain how COVID-19 has affected their ability to stay enrolled in the course and should indicate their reason under the “Other” category on the Permission to Drop Petition.  Requests for late drops will still require Graduate Advisor (GA) approval, and we encourage students to talk with their GAs and discuss the possible implications of dropping a course. These requests will be accepted until the last day of instruction (June 4).

No Form Fees (Late Drop and Grading Option Change)

Students who wish to submit a Permission to Drop Petition and/or the Grading Option Change form will not be required to pay the associated $3.00 fee. Graduate Studies will cover the cost of these fees. 

These changes will be added to the Coronavirus Guidance Page for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.  Please check this page frequently for the latest updates on changes to policy and student services.

Your commitment to maintaining a high standard of research and scholarship inspires us all, and we know that you are doing your best to rise to the many challenges brought on by COVID-19. We hope that these added flexibilities for Spring 2020 will ease some of the stress and burden that you are experiencing. We encourage you to continue to reach out to Graduate Studies at gradservices@ucdavis.edu for any additional support and guidance you need during this time.


Jean-Pierre Delplanque
Vice Provost and Dean, Graduate Studies

Kristin Lagattuta, Chair
Davis Division of the Academic Senate

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