Grade Recording


All eligible Michigan State University students may request to have their grades recorded in a binary grading system of Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory (S/NS) for each eligible course in which they are enrolled during the Spring 2020 semester.

Eligible students:

  • Undergraduate students coded as undergraduate (UN), English language (EL), agricultural technology (AT), or lifelong undergraduate (LU);
  • Graduate students coded as graduate (GR doctoral or masters), graduate certificate (GC), and lifelong graduate (LG);
  • Students who have already chosen to take a course as Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) can request that the Registrar’s Office switch their grading scheme back to the numerical grading system and could then choose to have their grades recorded in the binary S/NS grade recording system.

Non-eligible students:

  • Students in the College of Human Medicine, except in courses graded on the 0.0-4.0 scale and in courses taken outside of the College of Human Medicine;
  • College of Law, except when they take classes outside of the College of Law;
  • College of Osteopathic Medicine, except when they take classes outside of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Non-eligible courses:

  • Undergraduate courses in the College of Veterinary Medicine;
  • Courses for which a binary grade of S/NS would never be in any student’s best interest, as identified by the offering college and approved by the Provost’s Office.



Instructor grade assignment. Instructors will assign grades as usual.

Student choice. For all eligible courses in which the numerical 0.0-4.0 grading system is used, students will receive their instructor-assigned numerical grades before having to decide whether they wish to have their grade recorded by the Registrar’s Office using binary grading system of S/NS. Students wishing to have a grade in one or more of their eligible courses recorded in the binary grading system of S or NS may use an online form to indicate their preference. The online form will be available from Wednesday, May 6, 2020 through Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Students who do not complete the online form before midnight on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 will have their grades recorded in the grading system that is normally assigned to the class(es) or as CR/NC for students who had already chosen to take a course as Credit/No Credit.

Students who choose to have a course recorded in the binary S/NS system and subsequently change their mind and prefer the numerical system should contact the course offering department. The course offering department will submit a grade change form through the Administrative Action Form System. The deadline for all change requests is midnight on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

University conversion of grades. If a student has chosen to have their grades recorded in the binary S/NS recording system, the Registrar’s Office will convert the numerical grade to either S (Satisfactory) or NS (Not Satisfactory). For undergraduate students coded UN, EL, AT, or LU, numeric grades of 1.0 or above will be recorded as Satisfactory (S) and numeric grades below 1.0 will be recorded as Not Satisfactory (NS). For graduate students coded as GR, GC, LG, or LD, numeric grades of 2.0 and above will be recorded as S and numeric grades below 2.0 will be recorded as NS.


Additional Notes

MSU use of assigned grades and future availability of assigned grades. Grades recorded as S/NS will not be calculated into the student’s official cumulative GPA. Credits earned in classes recorded as S/NS will not count in the calculation of Dean’s List, as they are no longer numerically graded credits. A course in which a student earns an S will qualify for Honors Option Credit only if the submitted numerical grade meets the college’s minimum grade requirements for Honors Options.

Students may receive course credit towards graduation for any class in which they earn an S. No students will receive course credit toward graduation for any class in which they earn an NS. Colleges may use the reported numeric grades to monitor and ensure students’ successful progression through their major(s) (degree programs) and enforce major (degree) progression policies, which may impact whether students receive course credit towards graduation. Undergraduate, professional, and graduate programs are strongly encouraged to take into consideration the unusual circumstances of the current situation when interpreting and applying such policies.

Numerical grades that have been converted to an S or NS will not be used by any entity within Michigan State University in secondary admission processes, decisions about probation status, or merit-based financial aid decisions. A student must earn an S in a course that is required for secondary admission in order to be considered for admission. For undergraduates, ASUS, secondary admission, progress toward degree, and other such decisions at the end of Spring 2020 will take into account the extraordinary circumstances students experienced during the semester and make every effort possible to allow students to continue to work toward their degrees.

The numerical grade will be preserved by the Registrar’s Office separate from students’ transcripts so that it can be provided to entities external to Michigan State University at a student’s request.

Transcript annotation. All MSU transcripts that have any grade reported for Spring 2020 semester will include a statement explaining that the COVID-19 outbreak and the university’s decision to switch to remote-only instruction in the course of the Spring 2020 semester caused unusual disruptions.

Course retake policy. Regardless of the grade earned and recorded, courses recorded as S/NS are exempt from any policies that limits a student’s ability to retake the course. These courses will not count toward the 20-credit limit on course retakes.

Future availability of this policy. This optional grading system is available to students only during the 2020 Spring Semester and is being implemented in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.