Spring 2020 grading policies

March 27, 2020

Dear Johns Hopkins Students:

As we continue to adjust our daily lives in the face of COVID-19, the university’s commitment to you, your wellbeing, and your academic experience remains steadfast. I am sincerely grateful to our entire university community for showing flexibility, humanity, and resolve over the past several weeks. With the significant disruption to our way of life and academic and societal norms, it is keenly important that we take a holistic view in determining how best to measure academic performance.

We recognize that the difficult task of mastering the course material in your field of study is now complicated by the challenges of adapting to a remote learning environment, and that those challenges are not evenly felt by all students. Consequently, all of our divisions, in consultation with the Provost’s Office, have taken steps to expand the use of pass/fail grading this term. Schools are taking somewhat different approaches based on their individual circumstances and the concerns of their students.

The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering, with the input of the Homewood Academic Council, are adopting universal satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading this semester for their undergraduates. Some schools will begin offering forms of opt-in pass/fail, and others opt-out. Each of the Johns Hopkins school deans will be communicating to their students regarding adapted school grading policies, taking into consideration school-specific variables. All of the changes are based on the common recognition that we must provide greater accommodations to our students in this unusual and disrupted semester.

We realize that no one grading option fits every individual student’s unique circumstances or desires. Each option has consequences for some that are less favorable than for others. And in an academic environment such as ours, simply passing or failing a class may seem antithetical to our nature as achievers. Both proponents and opponents of policies like universal pass/fail have raised thoughtful concerns and have principle on their side. We believe our divisions have adopted approaches that best maximize equitability and meet the needs of each student body in this unique time.

I encourage all of you to continue to take advantage of the resources available to you, including your advisor, as well as health and well-being services. Johns Hopkins University is committed to ensuring that our community can successfully complete the current academic term with the least amount of disruption possible. We will continue to keep you informed of any critical changes and remind you to use the Hub COVID-19 information page for ongoing updates.


Sunil Kumar
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Johns Hopkins University grading policies

Bloomberg School of Public Health
Carey Business School
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Peabody Institute
School of Advanced International Studies
School of Education
School of Nursing (access limited)
School of Medicine
Whiting School of Engineering