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Please read these very carefully, as you will have to make a decision on each of your Winter 2020 courses (courses that ended after March 16, 2020) by May 10, 2020. Your decision must be conveyed to Ewa Morphy at firstname.lastname@example.org and will have to then be approved by Associate Dean in charge of your program before it is reported to the Registrar's Office.
The below FAQ is based on university policies available at this point in time. This could be an evolving FAQ as the university considers all scenarios and determines its policies for each one. As the COVID-19 situation is changing, university policies surrounding Winter 2020 grades are periodically being updated in response to the changes. Therefore, we will share future updates of this document should they arise.
For Winter 2020 term courses that were completed specifically after March 16, 2020), the following grade options are being offered:
Accept the letter grade you received. This is the default and standard grading approach. The grade will be used in GPA calculations. If you do not choose one of the alternative options below, this is the approach that will be applied to your course grade.
Alternatively, you may select from OPTION 1 or OPTION 3 below (note that OPTION 2 as outlined by the University is NOT an available option to students of the Stu Clark Gradate School):
If you earn a letter grade of F in Winter 2020, the grade will automatically appear as F* on your transcript. F* grades will automatically be excluded from GPA calculation with a notation in the transcript that it is excluded due to the COVID-19 situation. The F* grade will not be used for Academic Progression (will not prevent you from registering for the next term in the program). However, the F* grade will be used in determining satisfying program requirements, prerequisites, and eligibility to graduate, as well as for admission to other faculties and graduate programs (at U of M and other institutions).
Regardless of which of the options a student chooses, students will need to meet all existing admission, prerequisite, progression, degree, and graduation policies and requirements that may apply to them. It is vital that students understand the implications of their choices both for meeting prerequisite, progression, degree, and graduation requirements within their existing program of study and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and for requirements for admission to, progression within, and graduation from, any other programs in the same or a different Faculty which they may wish to pursue in the future. (For example, another program may require a grade of B or higher as a prerequisite for enrolment in a subsequent course and would not accept a grade of ‘Pass.’)
Note: To help you with deciding which of the grade options is best for your courses, we have provided below some FAQs. The information is intended to focus on potential impacts of student’s choices on issues such as prerequisites, progression in their current program, graduation eligibility and so on. However, please be aware that we cannot give you advice that covers every possible future scenario when you need a particular grade or GPA. There are many future potential consequences from your decision that a student advisor has no way of foreseeing. For instance, you might switch concentrations apply to graduate school at a later point in time. Therefore, the option you choose is ultimately your decision and you are responsible for your choice.
1. What is the deadline to declare my grade option choice(s) for my courses?
You will have until May 10, 2020 to choose any of the options for each of your courses. If you do not make a choice, the default approach (accept the letter grade you received) is the one that will be applied.
2. How do I declare my grade option choice?
Once final grades are available on Aurora you will have until May 10th to make this choice. The process to do so is being determined by the Registrar’s Office and will be communicated as soon as possible, but your choice will have to be approved by the Associate Dean in charge of your program.
3. What happens if I fail (F grade) a course?
If you receive a failing grade in Winter term 2020, it will be noted as F* and will automatically be excluded from UM GPA calculation. Failing grades will appear on your transcript but will be identified as having been excluded from UM GPA calculations due to the COVID-19 situation.
NOTE: The F* grade will be used in determining satisfying program requirements, prerequisites, and eligibility to graduate, as well as for admission to other faculties and graduate programs (at U of M and other institutions). An F* grade will not count toward the maximum 6 credit hours of failures allowed in your program and it will not count as your second attempt at the course (if you failed the course in past).
4. What does “Accept the Letter Grade but exclude it from the GPA calculation” mean for program progression, prerequisites and degree requirement (graduation)?
Grades excluded in the calculation of the Grade Point Average (GPA) will not be used in calculating GPA; however, course grades will continue to be used to satisfy prerequisite requirements for registering in other courses and to satisfy program requirements.
Where the prerequisite or degree requirement requires a minimum grade in a course, the grade in that course must meet that requirement, even if excluded from GPA calculation.
Program Progression: Option 1 will not affect program progression.
Prerequisite requirement: In choosing Option 1, the letter grade in prerequisite courses will be considered for registration, regardless of whether you choose to keep the letter grade you received or whether you choose to keep the letter grade, but exclude it from GPA calculations. If you choose keep the letter grade, but exclude it from GPA calculations, registration in a course will not be permitted if your excluded grade does not meet the published prerequisite requirement for a course.
Example: Suppose you choose to ‘exclude’ a grade of D in FIN 7020. The D grade is not sufficient to take any of the FIN electives in the MBA or MFin because they requires that you get at least a C+ in FIN 7020. You would still have to repeat FIN 7020.
Degree requirement: If the course is required for the degree, the ‘excluded’ grade will suffice only if it meets the minimum grade required stipulated for the program.
Example: Suppose you choose to ‘exclude’ a grade of D in MKT 7010. You would not be able to complete your MSc or PhD degree, for example, with the D as a grade of B or higher is required in each course. You would still need to repeat this course.
5. What does “choosing a “’VW’ instead of letter grade” mean for program progression, prerequisites or degree requirements?
Program Progression: Option 3 (choosing a late VW from your course, after the final letter grade is posted) will also allow the course to be counted toward your degree requirements. If the course was a core course, you will have to repeat it. If it was an elective, you will have to either repeat it or take another elective in its place.
Prerequisites: Choosing Option 3 will also mean you have not satisfied course prerequisite requirements. Where you require a C+ in this course to move on to other senor courses, a VW will mean you have not satisfied the prerequisite requirement.
Degree Requirement: Choosing Option 3 will mean that the course cannot be used toward your degree requirements and you may not be able to graduate without replacing or repeating it.
6. How will each grading option affect my eligibility for U of M awards and Scholarships?
Accept the letter grade received (default): Your course grade will be taken into account as usual for an award GPA calculation.
Accept letter grade, but exclude it from GPA calculation: The course grade will be excluded from an award GPA calculation. Credit hours will still be counted toward minimum credit hour threshold to determine award eligibility.
Accept ‘VW’ instead of letter grade: The course will not be included in an award GPA calculation. Credit hours will also NOT be counted toward minimum credit hour threshold to determine award eligibility.
7. I am a student who has been granted a deferred exam from the April exam series. Can I opt for a grade option alternative when I get my grade from the deferred exam?
Please check back as the University considers this matter.
8. I am an undergraduate student and plan to apply to the Stu Clark Graduate School program in future - how will the options above impact my application?
Although our graduate programs do not require specific grades in specific courses for admission purposes, we do look at the last 60 credit hours of courses completed prior to admission to calculate an admission GPA. Selecting Option 1 will not exclude this course from the Admission GPA calculations. Selecting Option 2 or Option 3 will mean that this course will not be used in the Admission GPA calculations, but instead we will need to reach farther into your past courses in order to calculate an Admission GPA for you. This may bring forward a course with a lower grade from the past. Also, with Option 2, the newly selected pass/fail grade will not replace a previous letter grade for a course you were repeating. Normally, for admission, the new grade for the repeated course will be included in the admission GPA calculations – in this case, if you had an F in the first attempt at a course and then got a Pass in the course in winter 2020, we will have to use the letter grade of F on the first attempt toward the admission GPA, as a Pass grade cannot be used in a GPA calculation.
EXCEPTION – if applying to the MFin choosing Option 2 or Option 3 for certain undergraduate courses in Finance at the Asper School of Business may exclude you from GMAT exemptions that are open to U of M grads. If your admission GPA is 3.25 and above AND you scored either a B+ in Corporation Finance (in the last five years) OR an average of 3.5 on your four finance major courses (FIN 3410, FIN 3480, FIN 4400 or one of the FIN 3400, FIN 3450, FIN 3460, FIN 4240, FIN 4250 - in the last five years), you are exempt from writing the GMAT – choosing to list any of these courses as a Pass/Fail (Option 2) or Option 3 may exclude you for the GMAT exemptions. Finally, if you took Financial Modelling (FIN 4240) and/or Behavioural Finance (FIN 4250) in your undergraduate degree in the last five years and earned at least a B in the course(s), you will be exempted from this course(s) in the MFin, reducing your program course load to only 9-10 courses (24-27 credit hours). Choosing Option 2 or Option 3 for either of these courses will exclude you from the course exemption option.