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COVID-19 Updates

Academic Senate Guidance on Temporary Educational Policy Changes

Academic Senate 2020-2021 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 during academic year 2020-2021. 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 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.
    • The limited-term exception allows UC San Diego to implement a flexible plan for the full academic year that includes fully remote courses.
    • The limited-term exception allows UC San Diego to return to fully remote instruction during any quarter in which a heightened state of emergency associated with COVID-19 makes instruction infeasible. 
  • The Senate recommends that instructors follow established best practices for remote teaching (see the Keep Teaching website). This includes providing students with asynchronous options for course material and assignments. 


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

  • 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 Winter and Spring 2021: Winter and Spring 2021 courses are excluded from the 25% limit on Pass/Not Pass units.


Grade Requirements for Majors, Minors, and Degrees

  • Status for Winter and Spring 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 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 and Spring 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: 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 Summer 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: 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 admissions cycle.