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Taking a Course as Pass/Fail

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Do NOT take a course as Pass/Fail if you want it to count for a University, College, or major requirement. Students may choose to take one course per semester Pass/Fail. A total of no more than 24 credits may be taken Pass/Fail and have it still count toward the 124 total credits needed for graduation.

Pass-fail might be a good option if you are not doing well in a class but you still want to get some credit towards graduation. You won't fulfill any specific requirements, but at least the course will go toward the necessary total of 124 credits. Keep in mind, though, that if you eventually retake the same class (e.g., you take PSYC209 Pass/Fail this semester, and then retake it next semester), you'll only get 3 credits total towards graduation. You cannot take the same class twice and get credit both times.  

You must make this decision by the 8-week late registration deadline. Pass/Fail courses count toward your general graduation credits, but passing grades do not enter into your GPA.


Drop vs. Withdraw ("W") vs. Auditor/Listener

First, it's a good idea to discuss your standing with the course professor before making decisions about changing your course status!

You are able to drop a course without any penalty until the free Add-Drop deadline (usually after the first two weeks into the semester). A dropped course will not appear on your transcript. You can drop a course on your own through UDSIS.

After the free Add-Drop deadline, you are withdrawing from a course. At this point, you will be charged a $25 fee and will no longer be able to receive tuition refund.  A "W" will appear on your transcript next to that course, and you will not receive credit for the course, or a grade in it. You must make the decision to withdraw by the 8-week late registration deadline.

You may take a class as an auditor/listener. You should select this option if you plan to continue sitting in on the course but you do not complete any assignments and do not get a grade in the course. A "L" will appear at the end of the semester. This option is helpful if you plan to retake the same course. The credits you take as "auditor/listener" do not count for graduation. You must make the decision to withdraw by the 8-week late registration deadline.


Frequently Asked Questions
  • When are the deadlines for making changes to course registration?

Please see the Academic Calendar for exact dates. The free Add-Drop deadline is noted as "Last day to register or to add courses". The 8-week late registration deadline is noted as "Last day to change registration or to withdraw from courses".

  • Does a "W" make me less than fulltime?

No. Your full time status is determined by your credit load as it stands right after the free Add-Drop deadline has passed.  If you withdraw from a course, you are still technically enrolled in it, but you are just getting a grade of W in that course. You will not lose full time status, according to UD. 

Though, if you live in the residence halls, the housing agreement requires 12 or more credits of "active enrollment".  In this situation, changing to "Audit/Listener" is the best option.  

​"If matriculated student withdraws from a course that takes them below 12 credit hours of graded course credits, student must contact Residence Life and Housing within three business days to request an exception by Residence Life & Housing or an accommodation through the Office of Disability Support Services. A reduction of graded course credits hours does not release student from the Student Housing Contract. " Read more about the housing agreement on the Residence Life & Housing website.

​There are other caveats too - some student visas or scholarships require you to maintain a fulltime "active" course load, and they may not view you as being full-time if you take a "W". You will need to check with your financial aid or scholarship organization to be absolutely sure before withdrawing from the course. 

  • Does a "W" look bad on my transcript?

Although a "W" doesn't look good (most people will assume you withdrew from the class because you were not doing well), it's better than an "F", and it does not get factored into your GPA. Be careful not to have too many "W"s on your transcript, though. It's a good idea to discuss your standing with the course professor before making this choice!

You could also consider taking the course as Pass/Fail. Although you won't fulfill any specific requirements, but at least the course will go toward the necessary total of 124 credits. Keep in mind, though, that if you eventually retake the same class (e.g., you take PSYC209 Pass/Fail this semester, and then retake it next semester), you'll only get 3 credits total towards graduation. You cannot take the same class twice and get credit both times. 

  • What if I need to withdraw from classes after the 8-week late registration deadline?

After the late registration deadline, you will need permission from the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. The Assistant Dean's approval is granted only when non-academic extenuating circumstances exist, such as a serious illness or severe emotional crisis. Documentation by a physician or a counseling professional must be presented. Approval will not be given because of failing grades, circumstances resulting from a change in major or a student error in registration. To learn more about or initiate the process, please contact the Undergraduate Academic Services for the College of Arts & Sciences.


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