Statement Regarding Winter 2020 Term Grades for Doctor of Dental Surgery Students

Statement from Dean Brenda Hemmelgarn, MD/PhD on March 26, 2020

3 April 2020

“I know that the transitions for our learners during the past weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been challenging. The University of Alberta is working hard to minimize negative impacts to your academic life and future. Your health, safety and well-being are paramount. In addition to transferring courses to an online format, the University also made the decision to go to a CR (credit) or NC (non-credit) system for Winter 2020 as an equitable solution for our students. This was approved by the General Faculties Council Executive Committee and supported by its student representatives. As more and more people become directly or indirectly affected by the crisis, the grades earned by students may increasingly reflect the conditions in which they find themselves rather than level of effort and their talent.

I understand how this decision may cause you concern. The great uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting learners and instructors alike, and we are all being asked to cope with unprecedented challenges, in both our academic and personal lives.

I know you have been working hard to earn strong academic standing in your coursework and want to applaud you for your continued hard work and effort. I understand that you may feel like your career plans are now altered or that you may be at a disadvantage in your plans to apply for graduate, professional and specialization programs.

I also understand that many of you are worried about different things beyond grades—adjusting to learning remotely, accessibility to technology and the internet, staying healthy and well, keeping connected with your family and loved ones while practicing physical distancing, jobs and income, and the COVID-19 virus itself.

Please know that the University, your instructors and I are working together to ensure our students are treated fairly, both in terms of awards and scholarships for coursework completed this 2019/2020 academic year, as well as to identify solutions to minimize the potential impacts on future applications and admissions to other programs and institutions. Discussions are also being held at other academic institutions across the country, and I anticipate globally as well.”

For those of you who are in the process of applying for the University of Alberta’s Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) programs or planning to in the future, we know that many of your post-secondary programs across Canada have introduced various accommodation plans for learners as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include offering credit/no credit (pass/fail) grades for the Winter 2020 term, standardized final grades, and/or changes in the weighting of course components. We are confident that your programs and faculties have worked hard to determine the best options for you.

For current-cycle applicants who will be admitted to our program in the 2020-21 academic year, the following applies:

  • For students applying to the DDS program, grades issued by any post-secondary institution for courses taken in Winter 2020 will not be included in the calculation of admission GPAs.
  • Courses for which students have received a grade of CR or a passing grade will be accepted as satisfying program course prerequisites.
  • Passing grades from Winter 2020 from other post-secondary institutions will contribute to the credit requirements for individual admissions, provided the grades meet the threshold required for transfer credit as outlined in the University Calendar, and will be accepted as satisfying program prerequisites.
  • For the DDS program, grades of CR or passing grades from Winter 2020 will contribute toward the satisfactory completion of *60 credits of transferable post-secondary work, of which *30 must be taken during one Fall/Winter academic year.
  • Grades of NC, or non-passing grades from Winter 2020, will not contribute to credit requirements for admission. Courses for which students have received a grade of NC or have not received a passing grade will not satisfy program prerequisites.
  • For candidates who completed a minimum of *9 graded credits in Fall 2019 and receive credit for a minimum of *9 credits in Winter 2020, the Fall 2019/Winter 2020 academic year will be considered full time and Fall 2019 grades will be included in the OGPA calculation.

All candidates will still be required to meet all minimum admission requirements.

Note: We are only able to consider grades/credits reported on official transcripts. We cannot accept documents noting class ranking or unofficial grades.

We want to assure all of our current and future applicants that we will work to ensure all applicants are treated fairly and equitably while coping with the circumstances created by this pandemic. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at