Changes in College of Chemistry Policies & Procedures for Spring and Fall 2020

Updated July 6, 2020

We hope you and your families are well and staying safe. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, please check this page regularly for important updates to academic policies and procedures. Don’t hesitate to contact your adviser if you have questions or concerns about these changes.

P/NP Grading

  • All Spring 2020 courses will default to P/NP, on or around April 5.
  • Berkeley instructors will calculate and keep letter grades in reserve; students may request them for admissions or employment purposes in the future if necessary.
  • Courses completed with a P in Spring 2020 will satisfy University, campus, College, major, and minor requirements.
  • For this semester only, a grade of P will satisfy R&C requirements as well as College Writing R1A.
  • If you are repeating a course in which you previously earned a letter grade, a P will replace the letter grade in the calculation of your GPA (if you are within the repeat limit of 12 units and this is your second attempt at the course).
  • A notation on every student’s transcript will explain the P/NP grade default.
  • The deadline to change your grading option to letter grade in CalCentral is May 8, 11:59pm, PST.

Other Key Updates

Academic Probation

  • No students will be dismissed after the Spring 2020 semester, regardless of grades.

  • Students on probation may take classes for P/NP. Indeed, we encourage you to take your classes for P/NP in order to reduce your stress and anxiety as much as possible. Please discuss your situation with your adviser if you have any concerns.

  • Students on probation who take ALL major technical requirements for a letter grade, and who achieve a term AND cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher at the end of the semester, WILL clear probation.
  • If one or more technical requirements are taken for P/NP, you will be continued on probation in Fall 2020. We recommend this option to help you reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Students who receive more than 50% NPs or who earn a GPA of less than 2.0 will remain on probation and will not be dismissed, but will be required to meet with their adviser.

  • Students on probation who receive all Ps will remain on probation.

  • If you receive a P in a required course which you’re repeating because you previously failed it (or failed to achieve a C- in a CoC course which requires a C-), you will satisfy that requirement.

ACS Exam

The ACS Organic Chemistry Exam requirement is waived for incoming Fall 2020 transfer students. Students who received a B or better in their organic chemistry course(s) will receive credit for Chem 12A (and Chem 12B if you completed the equivalent of a second semester with a B or better). If you received below a B, please contact Maura Daly ( immediately.

Applying to Graduate and Professional Schools

Recognizing the challenges to teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Provost and Deans of the University of California, Berkeley, adopted the following principle:

“UC Berkeley evaluates applicants for admission to its graduate and professional schools holistically, meaning that we consider an applicant’s combination of persona. Accomplishments, letters of recommendation, personal statements, academic record, and test scores in making our admissions decisions. Such a review will take into account the significant disruptions of COVID-19 when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials from Spring 2020.

We understand that many institutions across the country instituted P/NP grading policies during that semester. Thus, we will not penalize students for the adoption of P/NP and other grading options during this unprecedented period, whether the choices were made by institutions or by individual students. Our admissions evaluation will focus primarily on a student's academic performance prior to this period, and if applicable, following this period. What is most important is that applicants demonstrate that they pursued a challenging curriculum that was relevant to their plan for graduate or professional school.”

Dropping a Course or Courses Late

For Spring 2020, CoC students may drop courses between now and May 6 at 11:59pm without using the "free" one-time late action option. 

Students who wish to drop multiple classes must check first with Financial Aid, if relevant, because going below minimum units may impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress either this semester or in the future.

To drop a course, please use the Late Schedule Change with Extenuating Circumstances Petition, with these modifications:

  • Discuss your request with your adviser by phone/Skype, email, or video conference (No in-person meeting with your adviser is required, but email confirmation of any decisions is highly recommended.)

If you want to drop a required course, submit the Program Planning Form to your adviser to indicate when you’ll retake it. Course descriptions in the Academic Guide include info on when courses are offered.

If dropping a course or courses will mean extending your time to graduation, please discuss with your adviser.


Dean’s Honors and Honors to Date

  • There will be no Dean’s Honors or Honors to Date awarded in Spring 2020, per a campus-wide decision.

Honors in General Scholarship (bestowed at graduation)

  • Honors in General Scholarship GPA standards will be lowered by 0.05 for each form of honors (Honors, High Honors, Highest Honors) for Spring and Summer 2020 graduates. The total letter-graded units calculation will include any courses enrolled for letter grades at the time the Academic Senate’s P/NP policy change went into effect.

Honors in the Major

Criteria will remain the same.


If you are completing an Incomplete from a previous semester, your grade option will be the same as it was when you took the Incomplete. I.e., if you originally took the course for a letter grade, you must complete the course for a letter grade (make sure you tell your instructor when you submit the remainder of your coursework). You may request to extend the incomplete for another semester if you don’t want to complete the course for a letter grade this semester. You can submit the extension request by email to your adviser.

Incomplete grades earned in Spring 2020 will maintain the grade option you select this semester.


Mail the Undergraduate Application for Readmission and a $70 check or money order payable to UC Regents with your SID clearly printed on the check to:

UC Berkeley Office of the Registrar
Attn: Readmission
123 Sproul Hall #5404
Berkeley, CA 94720-5404

Once the application has been approved your student record will be reactivated and you will be assigned an enrollment appointment in CalCentral. This process can take several days, so be mindful of the readmission deadlines. Please see this CoCUSS web page for more info.


A notation on every student’s transcript will explain the Spring 2020 changes. Please bear in mind that future employers and admissions committees will see similar notations on transcripts from virtually every college and university in the U.S. and around the world. The exact wording will be determined by the Office of the Registrar.

Transferring Credit

If you’re taking courses at another institution in Spring 2020 (e.g. through Concurrent Enrollment) and that school moved to P/NP, P grades will be accepted for all degree requirements.

Transcripts from other institutions should be sent electronically to If an electronic option is not available, please postpone the request to send until after the Shelter in Place order is lifted. No one is currently available to scan hard copy transcripts into the system.


You may request a withdrawal at any time during the semester, up through the last day of RRR week (May 8), but please discuss this with your adviser first and make sure this is a good idea in your situation; if you can make it through to the end of the semester and carry on with your studies, please try to do so.

Withdrawal policies remain in effect, except for the “semester out” rule. Students who withdraw this semester will automatically be eligible to return in the Fall if they wish.

We believe medical withdrawal procedures also remain unchanged, but students considering a medical withdrawal should check with the Tang Center.