Due to the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our academic calendar and ability to hold in-person classes, the University of Maryland and many other institutions in the country have shifted to a Pass/Fail grading method for the Spring 2020 semester. As a result, the A. James Clark School of Engineering will be accepting a grade of “P” for all gateway requirements completed during the Spring 2020 semester. 

Below we have included FAQs designed to help students better understand the implications of this change on their academic progress. To begin, we wanted to focus on the impact of Pass/Fail grades on your future academics.

Will earning a passing grade have any implications on future success?

During this time of uncertainty, the Clark School of Engineering would like to strongly advise students to be mindful of how the spring 2020 semester may impact future success at the University of Maryland. 

The minimum letter grades required for admission into the Clark School were selected by engineering faculty based on years of research, which focused on the retention and success of our students. 

We have found that students who do not earn the minimum gateway grades in math, physics, and chemistry are not successful in future coursework.

In a review of students who entered ENGR directly as freshmen and who were asked to leave the the major because of poor academic performance, it was found that 75% of students who left the major had less than a B- in MATH141 and/or PHYS161.



75% of ENGR students who struggled academically earned lower than a B- in MATH141 and/or PHYS161



Students who earn a C or D in one of their courses this spring and who are admitted with a passing grade are encouraged to speak with an advisor to discuss how best to prepare for future coursework. 

While these are unprecedented times, the content shared in MATH141, PHYS161, and CHEM135 are foundational for the success of all engineering students. Please be sure to contact an advisor if you have any concerns regarding your grades (transfer_engr@umd.edu). 

A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all courses taken at the University of Maryland and all other institutions is required for internal and external transfer students.

  • Completion of Calculus II (MATH 141) with minimum grade of B- or better;
  • Completion of Calculus-Based Physics I (PHYS 161) with a minimum grade of B- or better;
  • Completion of either Chemistry for Engineers (CHEM 135) or General Chemistry II (CHEM 271) with a minimum grade of C- or better;
    • Students may also complete CHEM 134 with a minimum grade of C- or better.  (Students who take CHEM 134 must also complete CHEM 131 with a C-).

For the Spring 2020 semester only, the Clark School of Engineering will also accept a passing grade “P” in MATH141, PHYS161, and Chemistry for Engineers or General Chemistry II.

The Clark School of Engineering will accept a passing grade “P” for any gateway course completed during the Spring 2020 semester.

Gateway courses taken prior to Spring 2020 must be completed with the minimum letter grades (e.g. B-, B-, or C-). Similarly, any summer course completed in summer 2020 must be completed with the minimum required grade.

At the University of Maryland, a P is any grade above an F. Please see the university’s FAQs for details: https://ugst.umd.edu/keeplearning/grades.html.

Students transferring to UMD from another institution should consult their school to better understand the P/F grading policy. Many schools are adopting similar grading methods for their students. UMD will honor a passing grade from all external transfer institutions that have adopted this policy for the Spring 2020 semester.

If your institution has adopted a P/F grading method for the Spring 2020 semester, UMD will accept a P towards our gateway requirements for admission purposes.

The minimum GPA required for admission to the Clark School of Engineering remains a 3.0. Students who currently have a GPA below 3.0 may want to consider “opting in” to letter grades for the spring semester in order to bring their GPA up to the required 3.0. 

If you have questions regarding your current GPA and your options for achieving a 3.0, please email transfer_engr@umd.edu.

The Clark School of Engineering has not changed their overall admission process. The deadline to apply for Fall 2020 is as follows:

Current UMD students (internal transfer students) should submit the LEP application by June 5, 2020.

Students transferring from another institution (external transfer students) must complete the Coalition Application through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Students who submitted the application by the March 1st deadline will receive a decision in the coming weeks. 

Any external transfer student who has not yet applied may also submit an application by the regular deadline: June 1, 2020.

Students seeking Fall 2020 admission may complete a summer course and use that course towards their application. Current UMD students (internal transfer students) must complete this course during the first summer session (mid-July).

Any classes taken over the summer must be taken via the regular grading method and students must earn the minimum letter grade in that summer course.

No, the Clark School of Engineering will only accept passing grades for the Spring 2020 semester. When registering for Fall 2020 courses, please select the regular grading method. Students are expected to earn the minimum letter grades in our gateway classes in all future semesters.

Students should choose the grading method that is best for them during this time. Admission to the Clark School of Engineering is currently not competitive. Therefore, as long as students meet our minimum requirements (which includes a P in gateway classes this term), they will be admitted into the college. 

For those students working on their cumulative GPA, opting into the letter grade may be the best option in order to meet our minimum requirements. If you feel as though you are not academically prepared to opt into the letter grade, you may want to consider waiting to submit an application in a future semester. Please speak with an advisor to discuss this in more detail (transfer_engr@umd.edu). 

Any student pursuing a pre-health track should consult the university's FAQs for details regarding health professional schools.

COVID-19 holds implications for everyone during the Spring 2020 semester. At this time, the only adjustment that the Clark School has made to its admission process is that we will accept passing (P) grades for any gateway course taken in Spring 2020. However, we understand that not all students have the option to earn passing (P) grades this term. For any student who has faced extenuating circumstances during the Spring 2020 semester, the Clark School encourages that they continue their pursuit of an engineering degree and continue to work towards our gateway admission requirements. Appeals will be considered on a case-by-case basis and special consideration will be granted to those students facing challenges due to the global pandemic.

We encourage students with questions or concerns to contact Shannon Hayes Buenaflor via email at shayes@umd.edu