Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading Option


With the consent of the instructor and your academic dean, you can register for grading on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis in one course per semester or summer session, though only four (4) courses taken on this basis may be counted toward the 34 courses required for graduation.  The limit of four does not apply to courses that are only offered on the S/U basis. A grade of S will be awarded if you earn the equivalent of a letter grade of C- or better, while a U will be awarded for the equivalent of a D+ or worse grade.  Neither an S nor a U will be factored into the grade point average.  If you receive a U, you will receive no credit for the course and will be ineligible for dean's list in that semester. An engineering student may choose to be graded on a S/U basis in up to four unrestricted electives.  Taking a course on the S/U basis may make you ineligible for the dean's list.  You cannot study abroad or on a domestic study away program and receive credit at Duke for a course taken on an S/U or pass/fail basis.


If you wish to take a course on the S/U basis, you must obtain permission from the instructor and your academic dean.   You have until one week after the drop/add period ends in the fall or spring semester to secure permission to do so.  (Summer term students must do so by the end of the drop/add period.)  If you enroll in a course on the S/U basis you may subsequently change to a letter grade basis by filing a request with the registrar's office up to the first day of the final four weeks of classes.  You may not change from a letter grade to the S/U option after one week past the end of the drop/add period.    An S grade earned in a course may not be converted subsequently to a letter grade, and the course may not be retaken.

To enroll in a course on the S/U basis, you should add the course normally through ACES and then complete a Declaration of the S/U Grading Basis form (PDF), which must be signed by the instructor and your academic dean.  This must be done by 5 p.m. on the deadline date one week after the drop/add period ends in the semester.

Note: The S/U deadline (which also applies when a student wishes to audit a course) is strictly enforced.

The new S/U option will replace the pass/fail option starting in the fall semester 2010.

Last updated: June 22, 2012