April 17, 2020

Dear WPI Graduate Students:

First, we’d like to thank each of you for your ability to adapt to this unprecedented situation, which not only WPI but the world continues to face. Your commitment to meet challenges with patience, persistence, and understanding of this new reality is commendable. We are immensely grateful and proud. Thank you.

We recognize that this continues to be an incredibly stressful and uncertain time—not only academically, but in your personal lives as well. In light of the many changes the university has had to make to our learning environment, and the impact such changes may have had on our graduate students, we have made the decision to update our policy on course grading for graduate students for this semester/term. This gives you a choice in how your grades are recorded for one, some, or all of your courses, allowing you to continue to do your best without having to worry about grades. 

The WPI faculty have approved a special grading option for courses in D-Term/Spring Semester 2020:

  • All graduate students will have the option to request that their grade for an individual course be either P (Pass) or NC (No Credit). This means grades of A/B/C would become P. 
  • Your choices can be made any time before Thursday, May 21 at 5:00pm EDT.
  • Graduate students who elect the Pass/NC option cannot receive an I (Incomplete) grade, and the grade may not be changed at a later time to a traditional letter grade (A/B/C/D/F).
  • The P grade has no numeric equivalence, and means that the student received at least the equivalent of a C grade. The student will receive credit, but the grade will not be counted in GPA calculations.
  • Amnesty will be granted to graduate students on Academic Warning or Academic Probation. The usual one semester of course work granted to allow for a student to raise a cumulative overall GPA will be extended an additional semester.

We emphasize that this is an option that you, as a student, may exercise for each of your current courses. However, it should be noted there are potentially significant implications for some students in electing to take a course Pass/NC. If you choose to be graded as Pass/NC, you are responsible for understanding the implications of a non-letter-grade on meeting graduate program requirements and other potential implications. These implications may include, but are not limited to:  

  • Fellowship requirements
  • Teaching assistantship or research assistantship eligibility
  • Employer tuition benefits
  • VISA requirements
  • GPA calculations 
  • Academic standing considerations
  • Financial aid

Please be sure you understand potential implications and consider discussing your options with your faculty mentors or other appropriate staff before making the selection.

Please watch for additional information about how to make your selection and check the university’s COVID-19 website frequently for updates. 

We all hope that this temporary change to the grading policy will help reduce any stress you may have as you continue to adapt to this remote learning environment. As always, we are invested in your success—and we are concerned about your well-being in these trying times.


Terri Camesano, Dean, Graduate Studies

Greg Fischer, Chair, Committee on Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR)

George Heineman, Chair, Committee on Academic Policy (CAP)

Glenn Gaudette, Chair, Committee on Governance (COG)

Tanja Dominko, Secretary of the Faculty

Wole Soboyejo, Provost