College of Engineering Spring 2020 COVID-19 FAQs

Important deadlines

To request to drop a class due to COVID-19:
May 6, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PDT

To change your grading options for classes in CalCentral:
May 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PDT

We hope that you find the below questions and answers helpful. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please email your ESS adviser. We will continue to update this page as more questions arise and as we receive more answers.

General questions
Will the College waiver the semester-out rule for Spring 2020?

For the Spring 2020 semester, the College of Engineering is waiving the semester-out rule for students who withdraw (drop all classes) after the eighth week of the semester. Please contact your ESS adviser if you have any questions or if you are considering withdrawing.

Will my grades default to Passed/Not Passed for Spring 2020 as a College of Engineering (COE) student?

Yes.  If you wish to take a class for a letter grade, you must change the grading option back to letter graded in CalCentral once the default P/NP (DPN) update has taken place.  You will be able to change grading options via CalCentral until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Friday, May 8.

When did the global change to default P/NP (DPN) take place?

The changed happened on April 5.

What grade do I need to achieve a “Pass”?

Grades of C- or better are considered passing. Students who believe they will receive a grade in the D range should consult with their ESS adviser.

How do I change my classes back to the letter-graded option?

You will be able to change grading options via CalCentral until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Friday, May 8.

Can we use DPN courses to fulfill degree requirements?

As an exception for courses taken during the Spring 2020 semester, students will be allowed to use Passed courses to fulfill degree requirements.  A notation will be included on transcripts indicating the exceptional change to grading during Spring 2020.

If I choose to retain a DPN in my Reading and Composition (R&C) class and receive a Pass, will the class fulfill an R&C requirement?

Yes. For this semester, as a one-time exception, the campus is allowing students to take R&C classes on a DPN basis and will allow a grade of Pass to fulfill an R&C requirement.

If I choose to retain a DPN in College Writing R1A, will a grade of Pass fulfill my Entry Level Writing Requirement?

Yes, for the Spring 2020 semester a grade of Pass in College Writing R1A will fulfill the Entry Level Writing Requirement.

If I wish to retain the DPN option for my technical classes, will my degree still be ABET-accredited?

Yes.

If I received an Incomplete in the Fall 2019 semester, may I change the grading option for that course to P/NP at this time?

No. If you were enrolled in the course for a letter grade during Fall 2019, you must complete the course for a letter grade. If you don’t wish to complete the course for a letter grade during Spring 2020, you can request to extend the time to complete your Incomplete using this form.

For this semester, may I choose which classes are DPN and which are taken for a letter grade?

Yes. Though all courses will default to DPN, you will be able to change grading options via CalCentral until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 8.

If I am repeating a class this semester and I decide to retain the DPN option, how does it affect the previous grade?

For students who have repeated fewer than 12 units of courses (including the current course):If you received a grade lower than a C- the first time you took the course and you repeat the course with a Pass in Spring 2020, your previous grade in the course will no longer be calculated into your overall GPA. Both grades will remain on your transcript, but the former grade will no longer count.

For students who have repeated 12 units or more of courses (including the current course):
If you received a grade lower than a C- the first time you took the course and you retain the DPN grading option for Spring 2020, your previous grade will continue to count in your overall GPA. If you change your grading option to letter graded, both the previous grade and the Spring 2020 grade will count in your overall GPA.

If you have any questions about your particular situation, please contact your ESS adviser.

If I retain the DPN option for my classes, how will I be affected by the 1/3 Passed unit limit?

For the Spring 2020 semester, all Passed grades, both DPN (default P/NP) and PNP (courses only offered on a P/NP basis), are exempt from the ⅓ Passed unit limit. The calculation will be adjusted so that the total units from Spring 2020 will be counted toward the denominator, but no Passed units from Spring 2020 will count in the numerator.

There is a 1/3 Passed (P) Grade Limit Estimator in CalCentral in the Degree Progress card under My Academics. This Grade Limit Estimator will be updated on April 8 to discount Spring 2020 P/NP and DPN courses.

If I receive a grade of Pass for a class this semester, can I repeat the class for a letter grade in Fall 2020?

Classes for which you have received a grade of Pass cannot be repeated for credit. The full policy on repeating courses can be found at https://registrar.berkeley.edu/academic-records/grades.

May I late drop any of my courses due to the COVID-19 situation? May I drop below 12 units?

The College of Engineering will allow you to request to drop courses late as a one-time exception for the Spring 2020 semester, and you will have the option to drop below 12 units. You should use this form to request late drops this semester. The deadline to submit this form is May 6, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

(Students who wish to withdraw from all of their courses should not use this petition.  Instead, they should follow the directions at: https://registrar.berkeley.edu/registration/cancellation-withdrawal.)

If you receive financial aid, changes to your schedule may affect future aid. Please see: https://financialaid.berkeley.edu/satisfactory-academic-progress.

International students (F-1 or J-1) should consult with a BIO advisor through their drop-in virtual office hours and must follow the guidelines at: https://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/students/current/full-time_reqs.

NCAA athletes must receive approval from their ASC adviser for any drops to be processed by the College of Engineering.

How does this situation affect the COE policy requiring students to be enrolled in two technical courses?

Due to the nature of this semester, the College of Engineering will allow you to drop below two technical courses in Spring 2020 as a one-time exception. Students who are not in compliance with the two technical course policy will not receive an enrollment hold/delay for Fall 2020.

May I late add a class at this time?

Students who wish to late add a class may do so using the Green Petition if they have not already used it. Please note that you are required to have the approval of the instructor in order to add a course late. Students who feel that they have an extenuating circumstance beyond the COVID-19 situation should consult with their ESS adviser.

May I change my graduate-level class back to the letter-graded option?

Yes.

Will Summer 2020 classes be affected?

We have learned that all Summer 2020 classes will be taught online. Please visit the Summer Sessions COVID-19 information page for updates.

http://summer.berkeley.edu/summer-remote-2020

http://summer.berkeley.edu/online

What should I do if I encounter unexpected financial hardships due to the COVID-19 situation?

In these uncertain times, the College of Engineering and the Engineering Student Services (ESS) team would like to do all we can to lower barriers to your success brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. To this end, the college is establishing a Student Emergency Needs Fund to assist engineering undergraduates encountering sudden, unexpected financial hardships. In order to be considered for funding, and to help us better understand the nature of the needs brought on by the crisis, please complete this form.

If I take my courses for letter grades during the Spring 2020 semester, will they affect my GPA?

Yes, letter graded courses will impact GPA as they normally would.

Subject to Dismissal status/Probation
How will DPN grades this semester affect my probation status?

Students who are currently on Subject to Dismissal status will be able to take their classes on a DPN basis as a one-time exception for Spring 2020. Students on Subject to Dismissal status who choose to take one or more courses for a letter grade this semester will be able to return to good academic standing if their term and overall GPA are ≥2.0 at the end of this semester. Students who wish to keep all of their courses DPN will remain on Subject to Dismissal status for the Fall 2020 semester. As a one-time exception, no students will be dismissed due to their academic performance during the Spring 2020 semester. Please contact your ESS adviser if you have further questions.

Changing majors/Double majors/Minors
How will DPN grades impact students who are changing majors (within COE)?

Students who met the criteria to change majors at the conclusion of the Fall 2019 semester will be able to change majors now. Please reach out to your ESS adviser to begin that process.

Changing to any COE major (except EECS):

Students who wish to change to a COE major other than EECS who were counting on their Spring 2020 grades to meet eligibility will not be disadvantaged by taking their courses DPN if they receive all grades of Pass. Due to the circumstances of this semester, applications will be reviewed holistically and less emphasis will be given to Spring 2020 grades.

Changing to EECS:

If you want to change to the EECS major but have not yet discussed your plans with your ESS adviser, please make an appointment with your ESS adviser as soon as possible as EECS has a number of specific requirements (minimum EECS, technical, and overall GPA requirements, as well as, minimum prerequisite course requirements) which are referenced below. If you have already discussed with your ESS adviser your plan to change to the EECS major, please see below the changes for the Spring 2020 semester.

  • For each Spring 2020 course, a student may choose whether or not to include the course in their EECS GPA calculation. Please note that applicants will not be able to choose which courses are included in their technical GPA and overall GPA calculations.
  • Students who receive a grade of Pass in any lower division EECS course in Spring 2020 may request to know which letter grade they would have received had they elected letter grading, and they may choose to use this letter grade (pseudo grade) in place of the Pass in their EECS GPA calculation. Please note that applicants will not be able to choose which courses are included in their technical GPA and overall GPA calculations.
  • Students need at least two letter grades calculated into their EECS GPA in order to be eligible to apply for a change of major to EECS. Note that students may use the pseudo grades referenced in #2 above to count toward these two courses.
  • Students for whom Spring 2020 is their fourth semester and who had been on track to change to the EECS major prior to Spring 2020, but were unable to meet the minimum requirements during the Spring 2020 semester, will be given an additional semester (Fall 2020) to complete the minimum requirements for changing to the EECS major. If you believe this applies to you and you will need the Fall 2020 semester to qualify, you must contact your ESS adviser.

Please contact your ESS adviser if you need further clarity on how these changes affect your particular situation.

How will DPN grades impact students wishing to declare a double major (two majors within COE)?

Students who met the criteria to add a second major (within COE) at the conclusion of the Fall 2019 semester will be able to add that major now. Please submit the Double major application to your ESS adviser to begin that process.

Adding any COE major as a second major (except EECS):

Students who wish to add a COE major other than EECS who could have been eligible to add a second major after Spring 2020 will not be disadvantaged by taking their courses DPN if they receive all grades of Pass. Due to the circumstances of this semester, applications will be reviewed holistically and less emphasis will be given to Spring 2020 grades.

Adding EECS as a second major:

If you want to add EECS as a second major but have not yet discussed your plans with your ESS adviser, please make an appointment with your ESS adviser as soon as possible as EECS has a number of very specific requirements (minimum EECS, technical, and overall GPA requirements, as well as, minimum prerequisite course requirements) which are referenced below. If you have already discussed with your ESS adviser your plan to add EECS as a second major, please see below the changes for the Spring 2020 semester.

  • For each Spring 2020 course, a student may choose whether or not to include the course in their EECS GPA calculation. Please note that applicants will not be able to choose which courses are included in their technical GPA and overall GPA calculations.
  • Students who receive a grade of Pass in any EECS course in Spring 2020 may request to know which letter grade they would have received had they elected letter grading, and they may choose to use this letter grade (pseudo grade) in place of the Pass in their EECS GPA calculation. Please note that applicants will not be able to choose which courses are included in their technical GPA and overall GPA calculations.
  • Students need at least two letter grades calculated into their EECS GPA in order to be eligible to apply for a change of major to EECS. Note that students may use the pseudo grades referenced in #2 above to count toward these two courses.
  • Students for whom Spring 2020 is their sixth semester and who had been on track to add the EECS major prior to Spring 2020, but were unable to meet the minimum requirements during the Spring 2020 semester, will be given an additional semester (Fall 2020) to complete the minimum requirements for adding the EECS major. If you believe this applies to you and you will need the Fall 2020 semester to qualify, you must contact your ESS adviser.

Please contact your ESS adviser if you need further clarity on how these changes affect your particular situation.

How will DPN grades impact students who wish to declare a minor?

Please check with the department offering the minor.

Changing College
I'm applying next year for a change of college into engineering, can I take technical courses for my intended major courses P/NP this semester?

Yes, applicants for change of college for Fall 20 or Spring 21 can take any technical courses for their intended major Pass/No Pass this semester. All “Pass” grades will satisfy requirements.  All Fall 20 applicants will be reviewed at the end of the Fall semester after grades are available, rather than during the Fall semester, so that all applicants will have two semesters of letter graded work.  We encourage you to make the best choice about grades for your situation.

Graduation/Commencement
How will honors be impacted?

The GPA cutoffs for College of Engineering Honors in General Scholarship at graduation have been lowered by 0.05 for COE undergraduates graduating Spring 2020 or Summer 2020. In addition, the total letter-graded UC units (43) required for Honors in General Scholarship will include all units in which a student was enrolled for a letter grade for the Spring 2020 semester at the time the Senate policy change to DPN went into effect (March 18, 2020).

Honors Cutoffs
for Fall 2019
Honors Cutoff for Spring 2020
and Summer 2020 Graduates
Highest Honor 3.985 3.935
High Honors 3.901 3.851
Honors 3.803 3.753

The College of Engineering will not be granting Dean’s Honors or Honors to Date for Spring 2020.

I'm currently taking classes to finish my degree and to raise my upper division major GPA so that I can graduate. If I do not change my classes to letter grades, will I be barred from graduation or is the university also planning to make exceptions to the GPA requirement for graduation?

There will be no exceptions to the minimum upper-division major 2.0 GPA and overall 2.0 GPA required to graduate.  Please consult with your ESS adviser about which classes need to be taken for a letter grade for you to meet minimum GPA eligibility for your degree.

Will there be a College of Engineering commencement ceremony?

We will be postponing Berkeley Engineering’s May 19 commencement ceremonies due to the ongoing public health threat posed by COVID-19. We are waiting to evaluate how the current situation will progress before determining a new date.

In the meantime, we would like to give our graduates the opportunity to celebrate all that they have accomplished. As such, we are planning an online Celebration of the Berkeley Engineering 2020 Graduates on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. All graduates, their family and friends, and the college community will be able to join remotely. Each graduate will have the opportunity to be individually recognized with an official slide that can be personalized with their photo and personal message, and which can be downloaded and shared on social media.

Further details about the online celebration and the plans for the postponed commencement ceremony will be posted on our commencement website. If you have any questions or need further information, please email bears@berkeley.edu.

Will there be a university commencement ceremony?

Due to COVID-19, UC Berkeley’s central campus commencement ceremony has been postponed. Stay tuned for scheduling and ticket information as the situation evolves.  Please see Chancellor Carol Christ’s announcement about this here:  https://commencement.berkeley.edu/spring-2020-letter.

Post-graduation implications
How will this affect my applications for graduate school?

Due to the global nature of the COVID-19 situation, it is highly unlikely that opting this semester for DPN instead of letter grade will have any impact on your graduate school applications. Please note that a notation regarding grades this semester and the impact of COVID-19 will appear on your transcripts.

UC Berkeley evaluates applicants for admission to its graduate and professional schools holistically, meaning that we consider an applicant’s combination of personal accomplishments, letters of recommendation, personal statements, academic record, and test scores in making our admissions decisions. Such a review will take into account the significant disruptions of COVID-19 when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials from SP20. We understand that many institutions across the country instituted Passed/Not Passed grading policies during that semester. Thus, we will not penalize students for the adoption of Passed/Not Passed and other grading options during this unprecedented period, whether the choices were made by institutions or by individual students. Our admissions evaluation will focus primarily on a student’s academic performance prior to this period, and if applicable, following this period. What is most important is that applicants demonstrate that they pursued a challenging curriculum that was relevant to their plan for graduate or professional school.

In addition to Berkeley, other universities have recognized the unusual circumstances of this semester and are following similar principles with respect to grades and graduate school admissions. As we have continued to observe in admissions cycles, Berkeley graduates have a remarkable track record of success in graduate school admissions to the most competitive programs in the country. Our graduates are admired for their academic abilities and resilience, and are assessed, as always, on their overall performance. We are confident that graduate admissions committees will make generous allowances for the academic challenges produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will the COVID-19 situation affect my job search?

A job search during a pandemic is a daunting prospect. As we all know, COVID-19 has shaken our economies and the job search terrain.  Job seekers especially are experiencing the uncertainty of this time, and although anxiety and confusion are present, don’t let them stop you!  Here are some tips to help you weather this turbulence and ultimately prevail.

The Career Center has assembled some Job/Internship Support Resources that you might find helpful.