Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Academic Program Rules Changes for Undergraduate Students - March 30, 2020

Dear CICS Undergraduate Students, 

This message provides details on how the University's changes to the Pass/Fail grading policy will be implemented in CICS. As a reminder, on March 22nd, the University notified students that the limit on the number of courses that students can take Pass/Fail has been removed for this semester. The University's original email on this policy change is available here

Following consultation with the University administration regarding the updated Pass/Fail policy, CICS is confirming the following changes to the program rules for the Computer Science and Informatics undergraduate programs:
  1. For the Spring 2020 semester, CICS students may elect Pass/Fail grading on any course, including undergraduate courses that were previously letter-graded only.
  2. For students who elect Pass/Fail grading on a Spring 2020 course that is a prerequisite for another CICS course, a grade of P (pass) will be accepted as meeting the prerequisite requirements for the later course, regardless of when that later course is taken. 
  3. For students who elect Pass/Fail grading on a course taken this semester that satisfies a major requirement,  a grade of P (pass) will be accepted as satisfying that major requirement, regardless of when the student completes their program. 
A Pass/Fail grading FAQ has been released by the University and is available here. All program policy changes described in that FAQ will be implemented in the Computer Science and Informatics undergraduate programs as stated. Please note that as in all semesters, an F (fail) grade earned in Spring 2020 will result in an F on your transcript and will be reflected in your GPA.

As a result of these policy changes, some students might continue to more advanced CS and Informatics courses with P grades while feeling less prepared than they might if standard prerequisite grades were required. We want to reassure you that CICS advisors and instructors are committed to working with students to ensure their success.  Part of supporting student success, in this case, may include an advisor suggesting that students take advantage of opportunities for getting additional practice with material from specific courses. The college is actively exploring what these opportunities will look like, and further information will be made available as those options are defined. Likewise, if you are interested in repeating a course or otherwise supplementing your understanding of course material, we encourage you to contact your advisor.

Lastly, we note that we are still working to understand how these policy changes will affect the requirements for the Bay State Master's program. We will provide further details to Bay State Master's program applicants when they become available.

More details about these changes including how to elect Pass/Fail grading for CICS undergraduate and graduate courses are available in this CICS FAQ. If you have additional questions about these program changes, please reach out to the CICS Advising Office at cicsadvising@umass.edu or 413-545-4822. 

Alicia Clemente 
Director of Academic Advising & Student Success

Christine Holbrook
Director of Academic Programs