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COVID-19 Updates

Academic Senate Guidance on Temporary Educational Policy Changes

Academic Senate Educational Policy Updates and Guidelines 

The information on this page is a resource for faculty, instructors, and academic units on the status of Senate policies and Senate communications during changes in campus operating status in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact the Academic Senate Office (academicsenateoffice@ucsd.edu) with questions about Senate policies.


Remote Delivery of Courses

  • The Senate authorized the use of remote instruction for Fall 2021. A limited-term exception to the Policy on Distance Education Courses was granted for Fall 2021. The University is planning for primarily in-person instruction. The exception is in place to allow for remote instruction without Senate approval of an "R" course, as needed.
    • Beginning July 1, 2021, academic departments, working with the Registrar, will be able to change classroom requests and/or instruction modality for specific courses, as needed to support students impacted by visa or travel restrictions, handle any county/state/CDC restrictions on classroom occupancy, and accommodate specific faculty needs. See the Return to Learn FAQ Page for more information about Fall 2021 plans.
  • The Senate authorized the use of remote instruction for the duration of academic year 2020-2021. A limited-term exception to the Policy on Distance Education Courses was granted through Summer Session 2021 to adapt in-person courses for remote and hybrid delivery as a temporary measure in response to COVID-19.


Enrollment Deadlines (Adds/Drops/Withdrawals and Changing Grading Option/Units)

  • Status for Summer and Fall 2021:
    • Deadline to Change Grading Option: Standard deadline applies
    • Deadline to drop or withdraw with a W grade: Standard deadlines apply 
    • Deadline to drop or withdraw without a W grade: Standard deadline applies
    • Deadline to Add Courses: Standard deadline applies
  • Status for Winter 2021 and Spring 2021:
    • Deadline to Change Grading Option: Extended to the end of the tenth week
    • Deadline to drop or withdraw with a W grade: Extended to end of the seventh week for undergraduates; standard deadline applies for graduate students
    • Deadline to drop or withdraw without a W grade: Standard deadline applies
    • Deadline to Add Courses: Standard deadline applies

The 2020-2021 Enrollment & Registration Calendar provides the exact date for all registration and enrollment deadlines for each quarter. 


25% Limit on Pass/Not Pass (P/NP) Grades

  • Status for Summer and Fall 2021: Courses are included in the 25% limit on Pass/Not Pass course units.
  • Status for Winter and Spring 2021: Winter and Spring 2021 courses are excluded from the 25% limit on Pass/Not Pass course units.


Grade Requirements for Majors, Minors, and Degrees

  • Status for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall 2021: Standard policies apply

Decisions about letter grade requirements for majors, minors, and degrees are at the discretion of departments and programs.


Letter Grade Only Courses

  • Status for Summer and Fall 2021: Undergraduate and graduate courses approved with the grading option of "Letter Grade Only" will be offered for a letter grade, unless a department or college requests an exception from the Undergraduate Council (for undergraduate courses) or Graduate Council (for graduate courses).
  • Status for Winter and Spring 2021: Departments and colleges are authorized to offer undergraduate and graduate courses approved with the grading option of “Letter Grade Only” for P/NP or S/U grades. 


Final Exams

  • Status for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall 2021: Final exams are required in all undergraduate courses, unless the Undergraduate Council (UGC) approved an alternative on the course approval form.

If a course has a scheduled final exam, instructors must provide some type of final assessment in keeping with this requirement; flexiblity may be exercised in deciding on a final exam strategy.

Please see the Educational Policy Committee's Guidance for Final Exams during 2020-2021 for additional information on options for flexibility that may be exercised at the discretion of the instructor.


Graduate Examinations

  • Status for 2020-2021 and Fall 2021: A limited-term exception to the general rules for conducting master's thesis defenses and doctoral qualifying exams and defenses allows any and/or all members of a master's or doctoral committee or the student being examined to be telepresent (participating by live video teleconference) through the end of Fall 2021.  


Doctoral Time Limits

  • Status for 2020-2021Time limits were extended by three quarters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Graduate Council noted that the extensions allow for additional time and eligibility for funding but do not per se provide additional or continued funding, as funding availability is not under the purview of the Graduate Council. 


Graduate Admissions Requirements

  • Status for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022: GRE waivers approved by exception. The Graduate Council approved temporary exceptions to departments and programs requesting to waive the GRE requirement for the Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 admissions cycle.