Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading Option (S/U)


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.  This may be either a full or partial credit course, but you must be enrolled in 4.0 course credits at the beginning of the semster in order to  take one course S/U. 

Only four (4) courses taken on an S/U 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 should consult your academic dean if you have questions about your dean's list eligibility.  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.

Note:  Students permitted to enroll in an underload of 3.0 course credits in a semester via accommodation by the Student Disability Access Office (SDAO) may take a maximum of 1 course on the S/U basis per semester. 


If you are enrolled in a full (4 cc) course load and 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 5 pm on the last day to drop/add.

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).  This form must be signed by the instructor and your academic dean, who will submit the form to the Registrar's office.  This must be done by 5 p.m. on the deadline date (one week after the drop/add period ends in the semester). Bear in mind that you may not be enrolled in a course on the S/U basis when enrolled in an underload of 3 full courses.  

If you enroll in a course on the S/U basis you may subsequently change to a letter grade basis up to the first day of the final four weeks of classes (or by the corresponding date set in a summer term).  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 also not subsequently be converted to a letter grade, and the course may not be retaken.

Note: The S/U deadline is strictly enforced. 

Changing the S/U Grading Basis to a Letter Grade

If you opt to take a course on the S/U basis and subsequently wish to change it to a letter grade basis, you can do so by completing the Change Grading Basis From S/U to Graded form.  The deadline for doing this is the same as that for withdrawing from a course, namely 4 weeks before the last day of classes in a semester.  In a summer term the deadline is likewise the deadline for withdrawing from a course. 

Note:  If you change from the S/U back to a letter grade basis, it is not possible to return to the S/U basis.

Last updated: June 13, 2016