Grading Options for April 2020

Last updated: May 14, 2020 - 7:00 p.m. PST

The COVID-19 global pandemic caused a number of disruptions in the lives of students and in the operations of post-secondary institutions. Because of those disruptions, the Peter A. Allard School of Law has adopted exceptional end-of-term grading options for the 2019 Winter Session to provide as much flexibility as possible to respond to the range of impacts that our students experienced. The UBC Senate agreed to allow an additional grading option to faculties involving an opt in Credit/D/Fail system (Cr/D/F). This option amounts to increasing the flexibility of a grading system that already exists at UBC.

Juris Doctor students enrolled in 2019 Winter Session term 2 and full-year courses will be able to opt-in, if they so wish, to a Credit/D/Fail standing system.

Our goal is to ensure that each student can decide individually how they will complete their 2019/2020 academic year, and so that as many students as possible are able to complete their year in a way that will not disadvantage them moving forward.

Final Grading Options for April 2020

On a course-by-course basis, after having seen your final percentage and letter grade, each JD student will choose one of the following 3 options:

  1. to accept the grade (% and letter grade) assigned for the course. This is the default option. If you take no further action after seeing your grade, this percentage and letter grade will remain on your transcript for that course);
  2. to elect that Allard Law change the student’s % and letter grade in any or all of their term 2 or full-year courses to Credit/D/Fail standing; or
  3. to withdraw from any Term 2 or full-year course with a “W” standing. No credit will be received and no tuition will be refunded for the course. This option is available regardless of the grade received. 

If option 2 above is elected, a “Credit”, “D” or “F” standing will appear on the student’s transcript for the selected course.  The standings are applied as follows:

  • “Credit” is assigned when the grade is 55% or higher. Degree credit is earned.
  • “D” is assigned when the grade is 50-54.9%. Degree credit is earned.
  • “F” is assigned for grades below 50%. Degree credit is not earned.

If you wish to elect Credit/D/Fail or Withdrawal, please use this online form to select your preferred grading options.

The opt-in Cr/D/F approach was chosen at the Allard School of Law based on extensive deliberations by the Academic Procedures Committee, direct input from students, and consideration of developments in other Canadian law schools and UBC Faculties. This approach was approved by Faculty Council in April 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions


Eligibility for Credit/D/Fail

Does Credit/D/Fail apply to paper courses or just exam courses?

These exceptional grading options apply to all 2019W term 2 and full year Allard Law courses ending in April 2020, including both paper and exam courses. 

Does Credit/D/Fail apply to deferred exams or paper extensions?

These exceptional grading options available for 2019W term 2 and full year (April 2020) exams and papers will also apply to any approved deferral or extension of those exams or papers.

For example, a JD student with a 2019W term 2 deferred exam (that was deferred from April 2020) can still elect Credit/D/Fail, or withdraw from the course, after receiving their final grade for the course, which will be entered after their deferred exam has been written and graded. A JD student with an approved paper extension can still elect Credit/D/Fail, or withdraw from the course, after receiving their final grade for the course, which will be entered after their paper has been submitted and graded.

Exams deferred from April 2020 will normally be written in July 2020. Learn more about deferred exams and paper extensions.

Once your deferred exam or assignment has been graded and your final grade submitted for the course, you will be informed by Student and Academic Services via email that your final grade is available for viewing on the UBC Student Service Centre. You will have 7 calendar days after the date of that email to make a Credit/D/Fail or Withdrawal election for that course.

Does Credit/D/Fail apply to re-evaluations?

These exceptional grading options apply to re-evaluations undertaken as part of the current April 2020 exam cycle (or any deferred exams stemming from April 2020 exams). For more information on re-evaluations, view Allard Law’s policy on Advancement Regulation.

Does Credit/D/Fail apply to Visiting or Exchange students?

We worked hard with our technical teams and the University to see if the opt-in Credit/D/Fail grading system could be made available to Visiting or Exchange Students. We are disappointed to report that it is technically impossible under UBC’s information management systems.
We appreciate that this may have an impact on our Visiting and Exchange students.  Upon your request after April 2020 exams, we will provide you with a letter explaining that the Credit/D/Fail option would have been made available to Visiting and Exchange Students if it were possible, and that we would be highly supportive of your home university’s adoption of a similar approach (recognizing that approach may vary depending on your home university’s grading options) in light of the global pandemic we are all facing.  To request such a letter, please email studentservices@allard.ubc.ca after May 15, 2020.  You may wish to provide this letter to your home university to advocate that your Allard Law grades be modified on their transcript to allow for a Credit/D/Fail option, or include it as an addendum to your transcript in future job applications.

Does Credit/D/Fail apply to graduate students?

Graduate courses cannot support the Credit/D/Fail option offered in JD courses. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is currently working on an option that allows graduate students the same options open to JD students. For more information, please visit http://allard.ubc.ca/2020gradgrading for information on April 2020 grading options available for graduate students.

I am in a course that is already graded on a pass/fail basis.  Can I elect to have a percentage grade instead?

No. Any Allard Law courses which are currently graded on a pass/fail basis (which are very few) will continue to be graded that way.

Impact on grades and averages

How will Credit/D/Fail standing affect my Average?

Your sessional or overall Average at UBC is calculated based on percentage-graded courses. Courses where you have elected for Credit or D standing to replace your percentage-grade will not and cannot be used in the calculation of your Average on the UBC Student Services Centre.

How will Credit/D/Fail affect the calculation of Class Averages?

The election of Credit/D/Fail by students does not affect the calculation of the Class Average for a course. Class Averages will include the percentage grades of students who elect Credit/D/Fail standing in a course.

Will Class Averages show up on my transcript?

We worked with our technical teams and the University to see if Class Averages could be removed from transcripts for Allard Law students, but this is technically impossible under UBC’s information management systems.
Class Averages will appear on UBC transcripts for Allard Law students. As indicated above, those Class Averages will include the percentage grades of all students in the class, whether they have elected to keep their percentage grade or change their percentage grade to Credit/D/Fail.

Timing for Opt-in

When will I see my percentage grades for Term 2 or Full-Year courses?

2019W Term 2 and full-year course final grades will be official and available for student viewing beginning at 12:01 a.m. PST on Friday morning, May 15, 2020, via the Student Services Centre.

I’m considering withdrawing from my course after seeing my grade. Is this an option?

You may elect to withdraw from any Term 2 or full-year course in the 2019 Winter Session with a “W” standing. No credit will be received and no tuition will be refunded for the course. This option is available regardless of the grade received. 

What if I change my mind after electing the Credit/D/Fail option or Withdrawal?

Once you have chosen to switch a course(s) to the Cr/D/F standing option or you have withdrawn from a course, and that election has been processed by Student Services staff, you cannot revert back to a percentage grade at a later date.  For that reason, we encourage you to consider carefully all of the information provided on this page and Allard Law emails, and speak with your Allard Law Advisor if you have any further questions before submitting your election.

Procedures for Opt-in

How do I opt in to the Credit/D/Fail or Withdrawal options?

After grades have been released on May 15, 2020, please use this online form to select your preferred grading options. JD students were also emailed the link to this form on May 15, 2020.

JD students will be required to make their elections for Credit/D/Fail standing or Withdrawal by 4:00 p.m. PST on May 21, 2020. To make these elections, you must complete and submit a separate election form per course (except for courses for which you would like the % and letter grade to remain).

The default option, should students not take any action at all, will be for percentage and letter grades for all of your Term 2 and full-year Winter Session 2019 courses to appear on your transcript. If you want to elect the Credit/D/Fail or Withdrawal option, it is your responsibility to elect this option for each applicable course within the time constraints set out above.  

Once the grading elections have been made, our Student and Academic Services team will manually update student transcripts. Transcripts for 3L students who are graduating in May 2020 will be updated by 11:59 p.m. May 25, 2020. Transcripts for 1L and 2L students will be updated by the end of June 2020. We thank you for your patience.

When do I need to opt in to the Credit/D/Fail or Withdrawal options?

JD students will be required to make their elections for Credit/D/Fail standing or Withdrawal between May 15, 2020 and 4:00 p.m. PST on May 21, 2020.

All elections must be submitted no later than 4:00 p.m. PST on May 21, 2020.

The exception is if you have a deferred exam or an assignment with an approved extension. In these situations, the deadline to make a Credit/D/Fail or Withdrawal election for any course in which you have a deferred exam or an assignment with an approved extension is 7 calendar days after you have been emailed by Academic Services staff that your final grade is available for you to view at the UBC Student Service Centre.

When will my Credit/D/Fail or Withdrawal election be processed?

Once the grading elections have been made, our Student and Academic Services team will manually update student transcripts. Transcripts for 3L students who are graduating in May 2020 will be updated by 11:59 p.m. May 25, 2020. Transcripts for 1L and 2L students will be updated by the end of June 2020. We thank you for your patience.

Do I need to submit any supporting documentation in order to elect a Credit/D/Fail standing or withdraw from a course?

No supporting documentation will not be required. However, your Allard Law Advisor may reach out to you to discuss your election before it is processed. Your Allard Law Advisor is also available for general advising should you wish to discuss what considerations to take into account when making your election. You can contact your Allard Law Advisor here (see “General Advising”).

Given the incredible range of impacts experienced by our students during the COVID-19 global pandemic, and the diversity of each law students’ professional and academic interests and goals, there is no single answer to how a grade(s) may impact individual transcripts and job applications.  

Our advice is that you should make the grading choice that best reflects your individual situation and needs. Only you can make this decision. You should not let the questions of what others might be doing impact this decision.
Whatever the case, this is ultimately your decision.

Implications for careers, competitive moots, student loans, and awards

When should I choose the Credit/D/Fail option for a course, and how will it impact my future job applications and career? 

The Career Services Office (CSO) knows that Allard Law students have many questions about Allard Law’s new grading scheme and in particular, the impact their choices may have upon future job applications. The CSO has developed a comprehensive resource which reviews some of the considerations that students may wish to take into account in deciding whether to make a Credit/D/Fail election. This handout, COVID-19: Grade Selection & Career Considerationsis available electronically in ACE’s Resource Library. Please reach out to careers@allard.ubc.ca if you have any questions regarding this resource or require career advising regarding Credit/D/Fail.

How do I explain the impacts of COVID-19 on my learning to future employers and academic institutions?

UBC is working on producing a notation which will be placed on all UBC student transcripts for the 2019 Winter and 2020 Summer sessions, as well as a letter that will be available for all UBC students to download form the UBC Student Service Centre, which explains the university-wide disruption resulting from UBC. More information regarding this transcript notation and letter will be posted on this website once it is known.  
The Career Services Office (CSO) is available to provide career advising to Allard Law students regarding how to explain the impacts of COVID-19 on their learning to future employers. Please see the CSO’s handout, COVID-19: Grade Selection & Career Considerations, available electronically in ACE’s Resource Library. Please reach out to careers@allard.ubc.ca if you have any questions regarding this resource or require career advising regarding Credit/D/Fail.

I tried out for a competitive moot for 2020/2021. How will choosing Credit/D/Fail affect my competitive moot application?

Competitive moot coaches will be making their selections for their 2020/2021 moot teams based on applicants’ term 2 and full-year 2019W grades, after any Credit/D/Fail elections have been made and processed. To be clear, this means that competitive moot coaches will not see the percentage grade(s) for the course(s) in which you have elected Credit/D/Fail when they are making their selections for their 2020/2021 moot teams.

Will withdrawal from courses affect my student loans?

Please contact your Enrolment Services Advisor to discuss how course withdrawals may affect your student loans.

How will electing for Credit/D/Fail standing affect my current and future awards?

Electing for a Credit/D/Fail standing or withdrawing from any or all of your courses will not result in your need to pay back award monies which you have already received. If you are the recipient of a renewable award, however, you may not be eligible for renewal in future years depending on minimum award requirements, and the impact of any Credit/D/Fail elections or withdrawals on your 2019 Winter Session credit load.

However, there are important considerations that students should be aware of when deciding whether to elect Credit/D/Fail standing or a late withdrawal with respect to future award eligibility.

For 2019 Winter Session awards already assigned:
Academic-merit awards will not be cancelled due to students dropping below 24 credits because of withdrawal. 

For 2019 Winter Session awards that have not yet been adjudicated:
Students will require a minimum of 24 percentage-graded credits and a 75% GPA in order to be eligible for consideration for any academic merit-based awards that have not yet been adjudicated for the 2019 Winter Session. 

For 2020 Winter Session awards:
In order to be eligible for awards for the 2020 Winter Session, students must have a minimum of 24 percentage-graded credits and a minimum 75% GPA from the 2019 Winter Session.

Students should contact their Enrolment Services Advisor for more information on award eligibility.

International Students and Exchanges

I’m an international law student.  How will switching to Credit/D/F grading, or withdrawing from a course, affect my immigration status, eligibility to work, and/or health insurance?

Please visit UBC’s International Student Guide specific to COVID19 impacts on immigration status and health insurance for more information. If you have further questions, you can contact isa@students.ubc.ca for assistance (be sure to include your student number in your email subject line).

I am planning to go on exchange during the 2020 Winter Session.  Will Credit/D/Fail affect my exchange?

Students are expected to maintain a 70% average (or, in some cases, higher depending on the partner university) in each term prior to their exchange.  Courses for which a Credit/D/Fail standing is elected will not be included in calculating your average for the purposes of determining your eligibility for exchange.

I was on exchange during the 2019 Winter Session.  Does the Credit/D/Fail option apply to the courses I took abroad?

If you were on exchange for term 2 or the full 2019 Winter Session, you will still receive transfer credit only (i.e. no percentage, letter grade or Cr/D/F standing) on your Allard Law transcript for all courses you passed at the exchange institution. Note that the transcript you receive from your exchange institution will reflect your exchange institution’s grading policies, not those of Allard Law or UBC.

Still have questions?

Where can I get more information? 

We are always expanding the information available on this page for students to consider when making a decision. As you can imagine, the decision by most UBC Faculties to broadly apply this grading option was sudden, and there are still details to be worked out about the impacts of choosing Credit/D/Fail for one or more of your courses. Thank you for your patience as we continue to update this website. Please email studentservices@allard.ubc.ca with any questions regarding Credit/D/Fail, so that we will ensure that your frequently asked questions are answered on the website as well.