Spring 2020 Policy Adjustments

In light of the unprecedented challenges associated with the Spring 2020 semester, a few college policies have been adjusted in an effort to provide students with flexibility, while not compromising the integrity of the academic program. These changes are in effect for the 2020 spring and summer terms only. Below you will find detailed information about each of these changes.

Transfer Credit

Courses taken online at any point during the spring semester of 2020 (or in the winter or spring quarter of 2020) may be eligible to transfer to Occidental and may be used to satisfy major, minor, or Core requirements. Courses taken online during summer 2020 may also be eligible to count toward major, minor, or Core requirements. All courses must be otherwise transferrable and approved in advance by the appropriate Occidental College department or program chair. Students may refer to the Transfer Credit section of the college catalog for more information. 

Credit/No Credit

In all courses offered for a letter grade (unless already approved for CR/NC grading), students will receive a letter grade according to the grading criteria set by each professor. After grades are posted, students will have the option to review their final grades and decide if they would like to change to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading for any  of their courses. Students may keep the initial letter grade they receive, and it will be calculated into their GPA . Courses changed to CR/NC will not affect their GPA.  To receive a grade of ‘CR’ in a course the student must earn a grade of D or higher (the usual threshold is a grade of C or better). A grade of F will receive NC (and no units will be earned toward graduation). Courses in which a student earns a grade of CR will be allowed to meet a major, minor, or Core requirement.

Graduating seniors will have from the time that senior grades are posted until 11:59 pm PDT on Sunday, May 17th to make their decision.  Non graduating seniors will have from the time their grades are posted until 11:59 pm PDT on Monday, May 25th. 

Students who are unsure of the consequences of this choice for their graduation plans or post-graduation plans are advised to review the FAQ about this policy. If you have any questions that are not answered by the FAQ page please reach out to your faculty adviser, the Director of Advising, Ed Johnson, the Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs, Caro Brighouse, or the appropriate administrative office.

How do I elect to take a course CR/NC after seeing my letter grade?

In order to change a course from a letter grade to CR/NC students will log-in to MyOxy and follow this path: Academics > Registrar Online Forms > Spring 2020 Credit/No Credit Request. All courses completed for a letter grade and the grade that was earned in each course will be displayed. Students will then select the course(s) that they would like to convert to CR/NC and click the "Submit" button.  

Please note that the form can only be submitted once. Should a student need to make any changes to this selection, they will need to contact registrar@oxy.edu. No changes will be accepted after the deadline without a Petition for Special Consideration.

Once your selection has been submitted, your grades will automatically be updated. GPAs will be recalculated everyday at 9 AM and 5 PM.

How does CR/NC affect my overall, semester, major, and minor GPAs?

A course for which you receive CR will earn you units toward your degree, and if listed as meeting a major, minor, or Core requirement in the catalog, will meet that requirement, but the grade in a course for which you receive CR will not factor into your major, minor, cumulative, or semester GPA.

A course for which you receive NC will not earn any units toward your degree and will not meet a major, minor, or Core requirement, but the grade in a course for which you receive NC will not factor into your major, minor, cumulative, or semester GPA.

To calculate how your GPA might be impacted, please review the GPA calculation instructions, here.

If I get an F in a course should I elect to receive CR/NC?

Yes, you should elect NC because a grade of NC will not impact you cumulative GPA.  While neither F nor NC will earn you  units toward your degree, an F in a course will bring down your cumulative, semester , and/or major GPA.

How does this policy apply if I want to take an incomplete in a course?

If you are approved for an incomplete in a course, your option to choose CR/NC or a letter grade will be available to you at the same time as, and for the same window as,  all your other courses. The option of CR/NC will not be available again once you have finished your work and received your final grade. When you are approved for an incomplete you will know the grade you would receive in that course if you did no more work, and you will need to make your decision about whether you elect to  change to CR/NC grading at this time. If you do choose CR/NC grading, your instructor will not be required to submit a letter grade when you have completed the work for the course. Instead the instructor will submit a grade of CR or NC to replace the grade of INC.

How will graduate schools interpret a CR or NC on my transcript for Spring 2020?

Some version of a grading policy change of this kind is universal among many undergraduate schools at this time, and all graduate school admissions are well aware of the trend. As such, we encourage you to stay motivated, persevere with hard work, and strive for letter grades. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your adaptability and resilience.  If you are concerned about the grades you may receive in a course and you have intentions to apply to graduate school you should contact your academic adviser or the chair of your major department or program for advice.

What should I do if I want to go to Medical School?

CR/NC for Prerequisite Courses: Some version of a grading policy change of this kind is universal among many undergraduate schools at this time, and medical and dental school admissions are well aware of the trend. As such, we encourage you to stay motivated, persevere with hard work, and strive for letter grades. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your adaptability and resiliency as aspiring healthcare providers, clinicians, and scientists. You should reach out to Kat Wang, Director of the Office of Pre-Health Advising, if you have concerns about the grade you are expecting to receive, and would like advice on whether to take CR/NC.

What should I do if I want to go to Law School?

For law school applicants who were enrolled during spring 2020, their Credential Assembly Service reports to law schools will include a letter reminding admission offices that spring 2020 was the semester impacted by the coronavirus and that, during this time, schools were forced to move to online instruction, students experienced disruption in their living and learning arrangements, and a variety of changes were introduced to grading systems.

How does electing to take a course or several courses CR/NC affect my Oxy Aid, Oxy scholarships, or my Federal Financial Aid?

Occidental College has been given flexibility by the US Department of Education in how it assesses satisfactory academic progress. Due to the Covid-19 crisis students have been given the option to receive letter grades or grades of Credit (CR) /  No Credit (NC)  for the spring 2020 semester. 

Typically, there are three components that students must achieve in order to maintain satisfactory academic progress. 

  1. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of the cumulative credits they attempt. For instance, if you have attempted 21 credits you must have completed at least 14 credits to maintain progress. 
  2. Students must complete their degree program within 150% of the length of the program. Occidental College undergraduate programs are typically 128 credits. For institutional purposes we only provide financial aid to students for eight semesters in which they must complete their degree program. This assumes 16 credits per semester. Under federal guidelines students can receive federal financial aid up to 192 credits, or 12 semesters. 
  3. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00. 

Due to students having the option of choosing to receive letter grades (A,B,C,D, etc.) or Credit (CR) / No Credit (NC) grades , this decision may have an impact on some student’s eligibility. 

Students who have a cumulative GPA above 2.00 that choose to receive all grades as Credit (CR)/ No Credit (NC) will not see a change to their cumulative GPA at the end of the semester, however any credits that receive a grade of No Credit (NC) will count against their completion rate as discussed above.

Students that have a cumulative GPA below 2.00 and/or are on financial aid warning or financial aid probation for the spring 2020 semester that have chosen to take Credit (CR) / No Credit (NC) grades for all of their courses will be reviewed individually since their GPA will not change. Notices will be sent to students if they need to appeal again to maintain their financial aid for the fall 2020 semester.

Students will need to be in touch with the Financial Aid Office (finaid@oxy.edu) in order to discuss their individual circumstances.

How will receiving CR/NC rather than a letter grade affect my off-campus scholarship?

If you receive a scholarship from an off-campus entity, check with the organization you receive a scholarship from to see if there are particular requirements around letter grades for the support you are receiving.

How does this affect my Academic Standing?

At the end of each semester the Student Progress Committee (SPC) reviews the grades of each student and determines whether a student should be placed on a Semester of Academic Concern or a Required Academic Leave. This semester the committee will review each student’s record after they have made a decision about CR/NC or letter grade. Since both GPA and units earned toward the degree play a role in the committee’s deliberation, students who are on a semester of academic concern should be aiming for a semester GPA of 2.0, and should try to earn credit for as many units as they can. Students who are concerned about how these decisions will affect their academic standing should reach out to Caro Brighouse, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs (brighous@oxy.edu), Ed Johnson, Director of Advising (Edmondjohnson@oxy.edu), or Jim Herr, Registrar (herr@oxy.edu).

Can I take my CSP CR/NC?

You may elect to take your CSP CR/NC after seeing your letter grade. If you elect to take NC you will need to take WRD 201 during a future semester.

How does this affect my major, minor, or Core requirements?

Any course taken during Spring 2020 that is a major, minor, or  Core requirement may be taken for CR/NC. If you receive CR the course will meet the requirement. If you receive NC the course will not meet the requirement and you will need to take a course that meets that requirement in the future. In neither case will the grade in the course affect your major, semester, or overall GPA. If you receive a letter grade (A through F) in a course that meets a major requirement, that grade will affect your major, semester, and overall GPA.

Does the CR/NC policy apply to Study Abroad students?

Yes. Study Abroad transcripts and grades generally do not all show up at the same time, and often arrive later than Oxy’s grades are posted. With that said, once your study abroad grades are posted to your record by the Registrar's Office you will be contacted with the procedure for making your choice of letter grade or CR/NC for each course.  You will be given the same length of time to make your decisions as those who did not attend Study Abroad programs this semester.

How does this affect my progress toward my degree?

You must earn a GPA of at least a 2.0 overall and in your major in order to graduate. You must also earn 128 units in order to graduate.

  • If you receive a grade below a D in a course this semester, you must think carefully about how this will affect your cumulative, semester, and major GPAs. If you receive financial aid please check the financial aid FAQs to determine if receiving NC will impact your financial aid. 
  • If you elect to take a CR grade, your GPA will not be affected.
  • If you are concerned that your current grades will prevent you from achieving a major or cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above, you may want to take the NC option and take courses at a later date to transfer them in to meet all your degree requirements.

Please reach out to your academic adviser or the chair of your major program or department if you have any questions about your situation. You may also reach out to Caro Brighouse, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs (brighous@oxy.edu), Ed Johnson, Director of Advising (edmondjohnson@oxy.edu), Jim Herr, Registrar (herr@oxy.edu), Vannessa Alvarado, Assistant Registrar (valvarado@oxy.edu) if you have questions or concerns about your situation.

Dean's List

Full-time students who complete at least eight units for a letter grade and have a semester GPA of 3.5 or better are eligible for the Dean’s List. This honor will appear on the student’s transcript.