Frequently Asked Questions

Special Edition FAQs: COVID-19

(last updated 4/27/2020)

We have received a number of questions regarding the University's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will keep this page updated with best current information.  If you have additional questions, please email an advisor or

General Advising

The Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC) Grade Option

At the end of the term, you can see what letter grade is posted for your course, and then decide whether to change to S/NC. Read more from Provost Ann E. Cudd »

More guidelines were announced from the Office of the Provost on March 31, 2020.

If you are not sure how to decide, check with an advisor BEFORE you change to S/NC, to go over any issues not addressed in the questions below.

General S/NC Questions

S/NC Questions Related to Degree Requirements

Summer Pitt Courses


How can I talk with my bio advisor now that the office is closed?

The Bio Advising Office is open virtually! The advisors are available by to talk by email, phone, and Zoom.

For phone and Zoom appointments, please schedule through Navigate (Pathways) and choose from the following:

  • Pre-Enrollment Advising: If you still need your academic advisement holds removed.
  • General Advising: If you have general advising questions that are more extensive and related to academic planning, career goals, etc.
  • 10 Minute Question: If you have quick questions that are easier to talk through than back-and-forth emails.

If you want to email - please reach out to either or to a specific advisor if there is one with whom you feel most comfortable talking. Please do not send the same email to multiple advisors.

How do I schedule an appointment with my bio advisor?

We are using the Navigate Student app for scheduling advising appointments. To make a remote enrollment appointment to get your Fall hold removed, download the mobile app called Navigate-Student (Pathways) or access Navigate Student through Check out the newsletter from Tuesday March 17 for more detailed instructions on accessing Pathways.

Please know that as we adjust to remote advising appointments, you can only schedule appointments at a minimum of 4 hours out. You will not be able to get an appointment last minute, although we can answer simple questions via email. You must plan accordingly!

How do I know what will get me a Satisfactory (S) grade as opposed to a No Credit (NC) grade?

Per Pitt's Policy, the table below tells you which letter grades will convert to S and which will convert to NC for undergraduate courses.

Regardless of whether you earn S or NC, neither will impact your Pitt GPA. However, an S earns you the credits for the course, whereas an NC does not earn you the credits.

A+ / A / A- converts to S
B+ / B / B- converts to S
C+ / C converts to S
C- converts to NC
D+ / D / D- converts to NC
F converts to NC

When do I have to decide on switching a course to S/NC?

For spring 2020, instructor grades are due 11:59 PM on May 4, 2020, the registrar posts grades on May 5, 2020.

All S/NC grade option change requests must be submitted by May 11 at 11:59pm (EST). Read more on Dietrich School guidelines »

How do I switch a course to S/NC?

The mechanism to switch a course to S/NC will take place through a Qualtrics form for Dietrich School and CGS students only.

I am repeating a course, will an S/NC grade count as a repeated attempt?

If you earn a Satisfactory (S) grade, this will count as a repeated attempt. Your original grade and credits earned will be excluded from your GPA calculation and total credit count, respectively.

If you earn a No Credit (NC) grade, this will NOT count as a repeated attempt. Your original grade and credits earned will continue to be included in your GPA calculation and total credit count, respectively.

How do I decide which of my courses should be switched to S/NC?

Check out our decision trees for help on how to decide.

I'm enrolled in more than 1 bio course this term, can I use S/NC for all of them?

Yes! You will have the option to choose as many courses as you are currently enrolled in to be graded on an S/NC basis. Follow up by reading our "Should I even use the S/NC option?" FAQ.

If I take a bio course S/NC this semester, does that mean that I cannot take a bio course as S/NC in the future?

There is no limit on the number of BIOSC courses you can change to the S/NC grade option for this Spring 2020 term. Any/all BIOSC courses earned with a Satisfactory (S) grade will count towards any of the biology majors.

If you have not yet used the S/NC option for a BIOSC course prior to Spring 2020, you can change any BIOSC course this term to S/NC AND you will still be allowed to change ONE BIOSC course to S/NC in a future term.

I already used my 1 bio S/NC - does that mean I cannot use the new S/NC policy this semester?

There is no limit on the number of BIOSC courses you can change to the S/NC grade option for this Spring 2020 term. All BIOSC courses earned with a Satisfactory (S) grade will count towards any of the biology majors.

However, since you have used up your 1 bio S/NC prior to Spring 2020, you will not be not be allowed to change any BIOSC courses to S/NC after Spring 2020.

I am trying to get the chem minor, but am worried that I might have to convert a required minor course to S/NC this term - will I still be able to get the minor?

Yes! We have confirmed with the Department of Chemistry that any courses required for the chemistry minor can be taken for S/NC credit this term. You just have to make sure that you earn the Satisfactory (S) and not the No Credit (NC).

What are the rules on S/NC for general education requirements or wildcard courses?

There are none in our department. We have never had restrictions on how many gen eds or wildcards you elect to take on an S/NC basis.

If you are enrolled in any courses that are required for another major/minor/certificate, you may want to double check about the S/NC grade option with those departments.

How will taking an S look for med/grad/dent/pharm/vet/PA/etc. school applications?

In short, we do not know yet and these programs may not know yet. Historically, it is recommended that you opt for letter grades for courses that are considered pre-requisites for admissions to your preferred graduate programs. However, it is worth realizing that every institution across the country has been affected and will know that this was an unusual term.

More information from national associations may be released as we progress into the upcoming application cycles for many of these programs. If you are on a pre-health path, the Pitt Interprofessional Center for Health Careers may also be a valuable resource at this time.

Do we know what is happening with summer classes?

Per the Office of the Provost, the summer sessions courses will be delivered remotely. It is up to each instructor, whether a course will be offered synchronously or asynchronously.

If you are currently enrolled in a summer course at Pitt, here are some things to consider:

  • Think about a backup if you cannot do synchronous. This may include adjusting your academic plan or asking for permission to take online courses elsewhere to transfer back. Email with questions.
  • If the course ends up being cancelled, drop the course, and then you will get a refund if you paid your bill.
  • If you decide to not stay enrolled in the course, make sure to drop it before the end of the add/drop period for that session to not be held financially obligated.

Are PLE courses going to happen?

Yes, but not at PLE! For those interested in PLE courses, the field and lab components for all PLE courses are cancelled.

Most courses instead will run as online lecture electives.

How do I apply for August/December graduation?

You can now do this digitally! Go to Student Records - the applications are on the right side in the blue boxes.

  • For August 2020 grad applicants: email your complete application to by Friday, April 17. (The deadline has now passed, you may be subject to a late fee).
  • For December 2020 grad applicants: email your complete application to by Tuesday, July 7.