Changes to Grades, Final Assessments, Course Outlines, Academic Standing, and Course Withdrawal Deadline

Posted: March 20, 10:30 a.m.

Updated: May 20, 8:50 a.m. (Sample transcript added to Revised Grading Regulations)

We understand the transitions of the past weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been extremely challenging. The University of Alberta is working hard to minimize negative impacts to your academic life and future. Your health, safety, and mental well-being is of paramount importance. 

As a result, the university is making a number of changes to our normal practices in order to set students up for continued academic success and with your best interests in mind. 

We have heard from many of you about your concerns related to these changes and we have developed a series of FAQs to clearly answer some of the most pressing concerns you have. These will be included in our website at the link below.

The changes detailed here are meant to ensure equity among students, preserve academic integrity in these challenging circumstances, and to manage the issues presented by an uncertain future including the impact on our students and human resources. We do this not only with our current semester in mind, but also with a desire to preserve our traditional academic structure as much as possible for Spring and Summer 2020.

We know this is a different approach than we typically follow. All post-secondary institutions across the world will be faced with the same challenges. While we anticipate many different approaches will be developed, we also know that other institutions will be aware of, and consider, the exceptional circumstances for the Winter 2020 term in evaluating transcripts.

We recognize that the changes will have an impact on you as a student. There are still many uncertainties to be resolved, including how the sector will align these approaches, however we are confident we are making the best possible decisions for the University of Alberta and our students.  While we can’t control all of the external factors, we will be engaging with our partner institutions, key stakeholders and funding agencies to communicate these decisions and to identify solutions that minimize potential negative impacts on scholarships, funding applications and admissions to other institutions.  

Frequently Asked Questions

These changes have also been communicated to instructors.

IMPORTANT: The following information applies to both undergraduate and graduate courses


The decision to go to the revised grading regulations was motivated by our desire to ensure equity among all our students, preserve academic integrity in these challenging circumstances and manage the issues presented by an uncertain future including the impact on our students and human resources.

  • All students will receive a credit (CR) or no credit (NC) grade for all Winter 2020 courses. No letter grades will be assigned.
  • The only exceptions to this will be made by Deans of programs where grades are required for accreditation or licensure requirements. Students will be contacted directly, no later than March 27, 2020, if this exemption applies to them.
  • A sample of a transcript including Cr/NC grades as related to Winter 2020 grading is available here.

We understand that having a sense of relative performance within a course may be very necessary for some students applying to highly competitive programs.

  • We are working to develop a template letter for instructors where they can easily indicate how a student performed relative to their peers within a course. 
  • While this won't replace traditional grading, it will be a useful addition to applications.
  • There will be no in-person final exams or assessments for Winter 2020 courses.
  • There will be no proctored remote exams for any Winter 2020 courses unless approved by the Dean of the Faculty offering the course. These will be exceptional circumstances. Students will be contacted directly if this exemption applies to them and their final exams will be delivered by remote proctored delivery.
  • All final exams and assessments will be delivered remotely and will be held according to the schedule previously published by the Registrar.
  • Students will be informed by the instructor of the format of their final exam or assessment and receive a modified course outline that communicates this information to you clearly no later than March 27, 2020 to allow you to make an informed decision before the withdrawal deadline. 
  • If students require alterations in their approved accommodations, please contact
  • All Winter 2020 course outlines will be updated by March 27, 2020 to outline all changes to assessments and grading so that students are informed of exactly how assessments and grading will be dealt with for each of their courses.
  • The modified syllabus will clearly communicate the revised expectations for grades, assessments, and exams.

 The following information applies to both undergraduate and graduate students

  • Academic standing is used to determine the eligibility of students to continue or graduate from their programs. 
  • Academic Standing Regulations may be modified by the Dean of each Faculty to minimize any negative impact on students as a result of the changes to grading, exams, and final assessments for the Winter 2020 term.
  • Students affected by this will be notified by their faculty Dean no later than April 1, 2020.
  • The withdrawal deadline has been extended to April 8, 2020. If you withdraw at this point, your transcript will reflect a “W” 
  • This deadline gives students an additional week to review the revised course outline, consider their individual circumstances with respect to the changes to course delivery, grades, assessments, and exams, and make an informed decision about whether to complete or withdraw from Winter 2020 
  • The last day to withdraw from courses without being assessed for full fees was, in most cases, February 5, 2020. (Please refer to the University Calendar).

Important Note


  • In the event the University is required to cease all activities, the above information about grades and assessment may change.
  • In this circumstance, all grades which have not yet been submitted and approved will be considered to be Incomplete (IN) temporarily.
  • When activities resume, Credit (CR) and Non-credit (NC) grades will be determined based on whether or not the student has demonstrated achievement of the majority of the course learning objectives and learning outcomes as outlined in the revised course outline (syllabus) in effect on March 27, 2020.