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Pass/Fail Policy

Pass/Fail Policy

Viña del Mar

Students in good academic standing, that is, with a grade point average of 2.0 at the university of San Diego, may elect to enroll for courses on the pass/fail plan. All students who wish to exercise the pass/fail option must have prior authorization from their advisor. Courses taken at other institutions and transferred to USD for unit credit only are not considered to fall under the pass/fail option. Note the deadline announced in the Academic Calendar for changing a course to the pass/fail option or vice-versa. No changes will be made after this date. The following regulations apply:

  1. Lower-division students must have successfully completed at least 12 units at this university
  2. If the course is part of a regular semester, the student must be enrolled in at least nine other units on a regular grading basis
  3. Students may take intersession and summer sessions courses on a pass/fail basis provided that no more than one course is taken in any session or semester and that no more than two courses per calendar year are taken pass/fail. (Courses offered exclusively on a pass/fail basis for all students are not counted in arriving at the limit.)
  4. Major courses (and major prerequisites) are excluded. Courses used in fulfillment of core curriculum requirements must be taken for a grade. Once a student has fulfilled a core curriculum requirement, then additional courses in the same area may be taken pass/fail
  5. Courses required for any state teaching credential are excluded
  6. Certain advanced or highly specialized courses may be excluded by departments acting in concert
  7. Research and reading courses, performance and independent study courses, and courses not lending themselves to specific grading practices may, by determination of the faculty, be included
  8. All courses designated as "activity" courses may be pass/fail (at faculty determination, not students)
  9. There will be no change from pass/fail to grade or vice-versa after the deadline listed in the Academic Calendar
  10. The course, quiz, paper, examination, and attendance requirements for pass/fail students will be the same as for students receiving a letter grade
  11. Pass requires a grade of C- or better
  12. Pass does not affect grade point average; Fail does affect grade point average
  13. A course taken on a pass/fail basis may only be repeated as a pass/fail course
  14. A course in which a grade of D or F is received may not be repeated on pass/fail basis, but may be repeated for a grade
  15. For first honors or second honors consideration, 12 semester units must be earned in fall or spring semesters in which traditional grades are issued
  16. A student wishing to major in a field in which he or she previously earned pass/fail credit may, with departmental permission, select another course to fulfill the requirement
  17. A maximum of 15 pass/fail units at USD is applicable to the fulfillment of degree requirements. However, in the Electrical Engineering (EE), Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), and Mechanical Engineering (ME) majors, pass/fail is not permitted in any required (by title) course; pass/fail enrollment in certain core curriculum elective courses requires prior approval of the Director of Engineering Programs and may be utilized for a maximum of 21 units of required elective core curriculum course units.

If you wish to take a course pass/fail and are eligible to do so, you must contact your academic advisor via email for approval.  Send your name, ID number, program location and also the course you are wishing to take pass/fail to your advisor.  Once you have received email approval, forward this approval to Craig Murken in the Registrars Office at

USD's pass/fail policy overrides the affiliate pass/fail policy