The Pass/Fail Option

Guidelines for Undergraduate Students

Students may register for courses on a pass/fail basis. As outlined in the General Announcements, undergraduate students:

  • May not take more than one course as a Pass/Fail per semester for each full year of residence (students studying in off-campus programs through Rice are considered to be in residence for the purpose of this rule).
  • May not take more than four courses total as Pass/Fail.
  • May not take more than a total of 14 semester hours as Pass/Fail.
  • May register for only one course as Pass/Fail in a semester.
  • May not take as Pass/Fail a repeatable course previously taken and designated as Pass/Fail.
  • May not take as Pass/Fail those courses used to meet the requirements for their major, minor or certificate.
    IMPORTANT: If students take such courses as Pass/Fail, they should request in writing to the Office of the Registrar that the P grade be replaced with the letter grade earned. Otherwise, the Office of the Registrar will uncover the P grade during the final degree audit process (which begins with day one of the student’s final semester). Once the P is uncovered, it will not be restored; therefore, students should review their Degree Works degree audits carefully to ensure that the courses are applied in their degree audit as expected.
  • Must designate courses to the Pass/Fail grade mode online, via ESTHER, no later than the posted deadline, usually the end of Week 10 of the semester.
  • May not take First-Year Writing-Intensive Seminar (FWIS) courses as Pass/Fail.
  • The deadline to convert a Pass to a letter grade is noted on the Academic Calendar.

Pass/Fail Designation and Conversion for Undergraduate Students

All Pass/Fail Designations and Conversions requests for undergraduate students should be made online via ESTHER for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Students may verify Pass/Fail Designations for the current semester by viewing the Student Detail Schedule in ESTHER.

To designate a course to the Pass/Fail (P/F) grade mode:

  1. Login to ESTHER
  2. Click on Student Services and Account Information > Registration > Pass/Fail: Designate a Course as P/F or View P/F Grades
  3. In the Select Pass/Fail Course section, designate desired course to the Pass/Fail grade mode by clicking the Make Pass/Fail button next to course
  4. Print, or save a screenshot, of the Pass/Fail designation screen for your records

To convert the Pass ("P") grade to the originally submitted letter grade:

  1. Login to ESTHER
  2. Click on Student Services and Account Information > Registration > Pass/Fail: View and/or Convert P/F Grades in History
  3. In the View Pass/Fail Grades section, click the Convert Grade button and follow directions
  4. Print, or save a screenshot, of the Pass/Fail conversion screen for your records

Guidelines for Graduate Students

While graduate students may opt or request to register for some courses on a pass/fail basis, they may not take as pass/fail those courses within their graduate degree or program requirements. As noted in the General Announcements:

  • Master's and Diploma students may not take as Pass/Fail any course that could potentially be used to fulfill specific degree requirements or electives
  • Doctoral students may not take a course as Pass/Fail within their graduate degree requirements
  • Designating a course to the Pass/Fail grade mode is done via a paper-based process, a process that must be completed before the deadline posted in the Academic Calendar
  • Students should be aware that while a grade of P does not affect their Grade Point Average (GPA), a grade of F is counted as a failure and is included in their GPA

Please Note: Visiting Post Baccalaureate students cannot take courses on a Pass/Fail grading basis.

Pass/Fail Designation and Conversion for Graduate Students

All Pass/Fail Designations and Conversion requests for graduate students should be made via paper form for Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

To designate a course to the Pass/Fail (P/F) grade mode:

  1. Download the Pass/Fail Designation Form from the Office of the Registrar website
  2. Complete and sign the form
  3. Have your department's Director of Graduate Studies review and approve via their signature to confirm that the course being designated as Pass/Fail is not and will not be used to satisfy the degree or program requirements
  4. The Director of Graduate Studies should additionally send an email to gradenrollment@rice.edu to confirm that the course being designated as Pass/Fail is not and will not be used to satisfy the degree or program requirements.
  5. Send a PDF copy or a photo of the signed Pass/Fail Designation Form via e-mail to gradenrollment@rice.edu for review by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  6. Print, or save a photo or copy of the completed Pass/Fail Designation Form for your records
  7. Upon approval, the Office of the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will send the student's completed Pass/Fail Designation Form to registrar@rice.edu to be processed

To convert the Pass ("P") grade to the originally submitted letter grade:

  1. Download the Pass/Fail Conversion Form from the Office of the Registrar website
  2. Complete and sign the form
  3. Send a PDF copy or a photo of the signed Pass/Fail Conversion Form via e-mail to registrar@rice.edu before the deadline as posted in the Academic Calendar
  4. Print, or save a photo or copy of the completed Pass/Fail conversion screen for your records

GPA Implications

Students should be aware that while a grade of P does not affect their Grade Point Average (GPA), a grade of F is counted as a failure and is included in their GPA.

Summer Courses

Undergraduate students should be aware that courses taken during the Rice summer session(s) as pass/fail count toward their allowable total of pass/fail courses (maximum of 4).