Page last modified: January 11, 2021 at 8:53 am

Please note that these FAQs apply to ASEN undergraduate students only.

Additional information can be found on the Pre-Professional Advising FAQ or Study Abroad FAQ.

A. Undergraduate Grading Policy: General Questions

QA1: What is the Spring 2020 grading policy for WSE and KSAS undergraduate students?

Undergraduate grades will be limited to S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) grades in Spring 2020 courses for all Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering undergraduate students.

The sole exception to S/U grading is courses completed prior to the implementation of this policy (e.g., first half-term courses, or courses taken in Term 3 of the Bloomberg School of Public Health).

S and U grades have no direct impact on a student’s overall GPA. 

All degree requirements that ordinarily require a letter grade, including those that would require a grade of C or higher, will be satisfied by a grade of S earned in the Spring 2020 semester. Please note that it is up to each department to decide how they will award departmental honors. 

QA2. How will these grades appear on my transcript?

The advising offices are currently working with the Registrar’s Office to develop two unique grades that will signify that these grades this semester were assigned under extraordinary circumstances. We are planning to use S* and U* rather than the typical S and U grades. The transcript key distributed with every transcript will include an explanation of what these grades are and why they were assigned in this manner during the Spring 2020 semester. There will also be a transcript note added to all transcripts of students affected by the mandatory S/U grading policy in spring 2020.

QA3. Do I need to do anything to convert to the S/U policy?

No, this will be done automatically for all students. You do not have to do anything.

QA4. Can I opt to receive a letter grade in some or all of my full-term or second half-term classes during Spring 2020?

No, students may not opt for a letter grade during the Spring 2020 term.

QA5. I had already selected the S/U grading option for one of my courses prior to the changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. What will happen to that course?

That course will be graded in the manner described above (QA2), with the S* and U* grades.

QA6. Can I “uncover” the letter grade for the class later if I need this grade for a professional school application or other purpose?

No, a letter grade will not be determined or recorded in any official student record for this term, so there will be no grade to “uncover.”  Faculty will submit S* and U* grades to SIS, so there will be no underlying grade to reveal in the future.

QA7. I was hoping to increase my GPA by doing well in my Spring 2020 courses. Is that still possible?

Because S/U grades have no direct impact on GPA, your cumulative GPA as it stood after Intersession 2020 will remain the same, unless you were enrolled in a first half-semester class in Spring 2020 or you are retaking a course (see section C).  

QA8. I took a Biomedical Engineering course, a Public Health Studies course, or another course that has already ended. Will my grade in this class be changed to S/U? 

No, your letter grade will still be recorded in these classes as they were completed before this policy was announced.

QA9. Will there be any explanation of the universal Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading policy for Spring 2020 on my Hopkins transcript?

Yes. To ensure that prospective employers and admissions offices of graduate and professional schools can properly evaluate the performance of Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering undergraduate students in the spring 2020 semester, we will include a notation on students’ transcripts stating the following: “Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, final grades for all undergraduate students in spring 2020 semester-long and second-half semester courses were reported as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Final grades for courses completed in the first half of spring 2020 were reported in the standard manner.” A similar explanation will also be added to the transcript key that accompanies all transcripts that students request be sent to outside parties.

B. Deadline Questions

QB1. What is the deadline to drop a course?

The deadline to drop a course, previously extended to April 10, has now been extended to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 17. The deadline to withdraw from a course remains Monday, May 4. This deadline extension is intended to allow students more time to consider their educational options for summer 2020 and beyond. Students must remain enrolled in at least 12 credits to maintain full-time status and to remain in good academic standing, except for certain students graduating in May 2020, as described below.

As a result of this change, any course withdrawals from full-term Spring 2020 courses processed previously will be converted to course drops, as long as the student maintains 12 credits for the Spring 2020 semester. Course withdrawals that were completed for first half-semester courses, or the relevant term from another JHU division, will remain course withdrawals.

QB2. What is the deadline to withdraw from a course?

The deadline to withdraw from a course will be extended through 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 4, 2020.  Students must remain enrolled in at least 12 credits to maintain full-time status and to remain in good academic standing.

QB3. I want to drop or withdraw from some of my courses, but I will be below 12 credits if I do this. Are students allowed to drop below 12 credits?

Students must enroll in at least 12 credits to maintain full-time status and to remain in good academic standing. This is our standing policy.

QB4.  How do I drop or withdraw from a course?

The advisor alerts for fall 2020 registration have already been applied to students’ records. For some students, the hold has been released because they have met with their advisor already. Students can drop courses via SIS if they do not have a hold on their account preventing them from doing so. If students have a hold on their account, they can email ugregistration@jhu.edu who will drop them from the course.  The Registrar’s Office is currently in the process of creating a fillable form students can use to withdraw from a course.

This form will be available online and should be sent to the student’s academic advisor (AS) or faculty advisor (EN) for approval, who will then forward the form to the registrar’s office. Please note that even with the email process for dropping a course, students are strongly advised to discuss the decision to drop a course with their academic advisor and/or faculty advisor. We want you to be sure you have evaluated the effect of the course drop on your academic plan/graduation and considered any other alternatives.

C. Course Retake Questions

QC1. I am retaking a course this semester.  What does this mean for my grade and cumulative GPA? 

As always, when students retake a course, the retaken course grade replaces the prior grade in the cumulative GPA.  If a student earned a C grade in the spring of 2019 and is retaking that same course in the spring of 2020 and gets an S* grade, the C grade will be removed from the GPA calculation and in many cases the cumulative GPA will rise.  If a student earned a C grade in the spring 2019 semester and the student retakes the course and gets a U* grade, the U grade will replace the C grade which could result in an increase in the cumulative GPA, however, the student would lose the credits for the course because U* grades do not provide any earned credit.

QC2.  Can I retake a course in the future for a letter grade?

Yes, students can retake Spring 2020 courses in the future to earn letter grades.  As always, the retaken grade will replace the prior grade in the cumulative GPA calculation. This is a modification of our usual policy where courses taken for a letter grade may only be retaken for a letter grade, and courses taken S/U may only be taken S/U.

D. Academic Standing Questions

QD1. I am on academic probation, How can I return to academic good standing if I am only receiving S*or U* grades?

If you complete 12 or more credits with S* grades you will return to good academic standing.

QD2. I am on academic probation and I am concerned about my ability to pass my classes. If I do not pass, will I be academically dismissed from the University?

Any student who would normally be dismissed for academic reasons will, instead, be asked to submit a request to continue, along with an academic success plan. When this process is completed, students will continue on academic probation for the fall 2020 semester. Our goal is to provide structure and support for students who are facing academic challenges as indicated by completion of fewer than 12 credits in the spring 2020 semester.

E. Graduation Questions

QE1. I am graduating in May 2020 and I was hoping to earn General Honors. How can I qualify for General Honors?

Students who are graduating in May 2020 and have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher will earn General Honors.

QE2. I am graduating in May 2020, and I was hoping to earn departmental honors. How can this happen?

Check with your department to learn how they will award departmental honors. This is up to each department to decide.

QE3. I am graduating in May 2020 and taking courses this semester that I don’t need in order to meet degree requirements. Is there anything I can do about this?

Yes. Students graduating in May 2020 who needed fewer than 12 credits in the spring 2020 semester to meet degree requirements will be permitted to petition to drop the courses they don’t need. Petitions will require review and approval by the student’s advising office and must be initiated before 4 p.m. on April 17. If approved, the schools will permit these students to adjust their registration to part-time for the spring 2020 term.  

  • To request conversion to part-time status and the corresponding tuition adjustment, eligible students should use either the KSAS Petition to Request Part-Time Status for Spring 2020 or the WSE Petition to Request Part-Time Status for Spring 2020.
  • Students graduating in May 2020 will receive a 40 percent refund of the per-credit tuition rate associated with the number of credits they are dropping below the 12-credit full-time minimum, or $738 per credit hour based upon the per-credit tuition rate of $1,845. Institutional financial aid and scholarships will be adjusted at the same rate.
  • Students graduating in May 2020 who submit petitions should continue participating in classes and completing all required coursework and exams while their petitions are being reviewed.
  • Students graduating in May 2020 who have already been approved for a reduced course load through Student Disabilities Services are also eligible to convert to part-time status with the same tuition adjustment described above. Such students should notify their academic advising office.
  • A change to below half-time status (fewer than six credits) may accelerate repayment schedules for federal and private student loans. 
  • To be eligible, students must have already applied for and be eligible for graduation in May 2020, completed 100 credit hours in residence by the end of the spring 2020 term, completed at least four semesters at Hopkins, and have no further requirements than may be satisfied through successful completion of any remaining spring 2020 course enrollments.
  • International students on visas that require full-time status are not eligible.

Please see Section J. Leaves of Absence, below, if you do not need any of your spring 2020 courses to complete degree requirements for May 2020 graduation and wish to drop all of them.

QE4. When can I expect to my petition for part-time status to be approved?

Academic advisors will need to confirm that a student petitioning for part-time status is eligible for May 2020 graduation and that any courses dropped will not prevent graduation in Spring 2020. With spring registration starting the week of the 20th, it may take longer than anticipated for academic advisors to review the petitions.  Patience with the process will be necessary and appreciated by the advisors.

QE5. How and when will I be reimbursed?

A refund will be issued to you according to the Bank Mobile preferences you selected in SIS within the 7 -10 business days of you request being approved by your academic advising office and processed by the Registrar’s Office. Student Accounts is notified as a part of that process. If you have not already set your refund preferences, please review the instructions and make your selection as soon as possible in order to expedite your refund.

F. Dean’s List Policies

QF1. How will you determine who makes the Dean’s List for Spring 2020?

There will be no Dean’s List for Spring 2020.

G. Special Situations Questions

QG1.  I am a Homewood undergraduate student who is taking a course at another institution through the Baltimore Student Exchange Program.  Can I choose to earn a grade in that course?

No, all Homewood undergraduate students will receive S*/U* grades on their Hopkins transcript regardless of their course enrollments in other schools.

QG2.  I am a Peabody dual degree student.  Peabody has implemented an optional S/U option for the semester.  Can I choose to receive grades for the semester?

Peabody dual degree students are classified as Homewood undergraduate students and will receive S*/U* grades for all their courses including courses taken at Peabody.  

QG3.  I am currently enrolled in a bachelor’s/master’s program and am enrolled in graduate courses for this semester.  Can I choose to earn grades in my graduate courses for this semester?

Any student who is classified as a Homewood undergraduate student will receive S*/U* grades only.  Any student who is classified as a graduate student will follow the policies associated with the graduate school with which they are affiliated.  If you are unsure of your classification, you can contact your academic advisor. 

QG4. What if I cannot complete a course as scheduled?

Discuss this with your instructor. Existing policies regarding incomplete grades will remain in place for Spring 2020. Students and instructors must have clearly articulated written agreements regarding when and how Incompletes will be resolved. The default deadline for completion is three weeks into the Fall 2020 semester. The grade will be recorded as I/U*, and if the work is not completed by this deadline, the grade will revert to a U*.

QG5. I was involved in research (or independent study) for credit, but I cannot continue this project under current conditions; what can I do?

Students enrolled in independent academic work should talk to their research or course supervisor to discuss the parameters under which this work can continue. If you wish, you may drop the class before the April 10th deadline.  However, if you want to continue your project, your research or course supervisor may be able to alter your project so you can continue to work on it from home. Students may request a reduction in the number of credits for independent academic work.  The deadline to change credits for independent academic work is 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 4, 2020.

H. JHU Summer Program Questions

QH1. What is the plan for Summer 2020 classes at Hopkins?

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic developments, and with an ever-present focus on the health and well-being of the university community, all summer 2020 courses offered by the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences in either summer term will be offered online only.

QH2. How will I be graded in my summer 2020 courses?

For summer 2020 courses, you will be graded according to the standard grading options. The emergency universal satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system used in spring 2020 will not be in effect. The universal satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system was implemented for the spring 2020 semester due to the emergency transition from onsite to remote learning. This summer, in collaboration with our faculty and instructional design team, we will be offering high quality online courses and these courses will be graded according to the standard grading options.  

I. Financial Aid Questions

QI1. My financial aid package includes an amount of money I am supposed to earn during the summer to contribute my education. I am very worried about being able to find paid employment this summer. What can I do about this?

Students receiving need-based financial aid are typically expected to contribute earnings from a summer job ($1,800 for first-year students and $2,600 for sophomores, juniors, and seniors) to help pay for expenses during the following academic year. However, given the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have chosen to waive those requirements for the 2020–21 academic year and to replace the funds with an institutional grant.

QI2. I want to take a leave of absence for the spring 2020 semester, but I am worried that by dropping or withdrawing from all of my classes, I will need to enroll for a ninth semester later. My financial aid is only guaranteed up to a maximum of eight semesters. Is there anything I should know about this?

Yes. For a student who takes a leave of absence, the need-based financial aid will be reinstated when the student returns to Hopkins as long as the student submits all the required application materials, continues to demonstrate need, and meets Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. Students who will need a ninth semester of study in order to meet degree requirements due to their COVID-19 leave of absence will also be eligible to receive a ninth semester of financial aid. This does not apply to students who were already on an approved leave of absence for the spring 2020 semester only prior to the COVID-19 response announced on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Merit scholarships, such as Hodson Trust, Westgate, and state of Maryland awards will not be renewed beyond eight semesters. If you have private scholarships, you will need to check the organization’s policy. If you have any financial aid–related questions, do not hesitate to contact the Financial Aid Office.

J. Leave of Absence Questions

QJ1. Can I take a leave of absence from the university in spring 2020 and have my tuition refunded?

The deadline for students to take a leave of absence and drop all courses and receive a partial tuition return for the Spring 2020 semester has been extended to 4 PM EDT on Friday, April 17. Students who apply by the deadline and are granted a leave of absence are eligible to receive a 40% refund of full-time tuition for this semester, reflecting an extension of the previous refund deadline of March 27. The leave of absence, but not the type of leave, will be noted on the transcript. To take a leave of absence, students must request either a medical leave or an emergency leave through the Office of Student Outreach and Support.

The last day to take a leave of absence for the spring 2020 semester is May 1, and there is no opportunity for a tuition refund from April 18 to May 1. From April 18 to May 1, registration changes for spring 2020 will be processed as course withdrawals and noted with “W” on the transcript.

QJ2. How and when will I be reimbursed?

A refund will be issued to you according to the Bank Mobile preferences you selected in SIS within the 7 -10 business days of you request being approved by your academic advising office and processed by the Registrar’s Office. Student Accounts is notified as a part of that process. If you have not already set your refund preferences, please review the instructions and make your selection as soon as possible in order to expedite your refund.