Fall 2020 through Summer 2021: Economics P/NP Grading Option Policy Modifications

Changes made to Economics academic policies in light of Fa20-Su21 L&S P/NP Grading Option Policy

On November 5, 2020, the College of Letters and Science notified students of changes to how Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) grades can be used during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021semesters. Please see "L&S Fall 2020 and Spring 2021:Policy Modifications and FAQ" for full details. On April 14, 2021, the College of Letters and Science announced that this policy will continue into Summer 2021. In light of this update, the Economics Department implemented P/NP grading option policy modifications for courses taken in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021.

Questions? Reach out to us at ugrad@econ.berkeley.edu.


Prospective students intending Economics

Students intending to major in Economics may elect the P/NP grading option for any Economics prerequisite course taken in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, or Summer 2021 to fulfill the Economics major admission requirements. Please note, there is no change in the GPA requirement for admission to the Economics major.

  • The letter-grade equivalent (as reported by the instructor) for any P grade earned in Economics prerequisite courses completed Fall 2020, Spring 2021, or Summer 2021 will be used in the GPA calculation for admission to the major. Students are encouraged to confirm with instructors of non-Economics prerequisite courses that a letter-grade equivalent can be determined if the P/NP grading option is elected. For courses in which this is not possible, students are strongly encouraged to retain the letter grade option.
    • Example: A student chooses the P/NP grading option for ECON 100A in Fall 2020. This student earns a letter-grade equivalent to a B+, which converts to a P under the P/NP grading option (REMINDER: P grades require a level of performance of C- or higher). This B+ grade will be used when confirming that the student meets the GPA requirement for admission.
      • Students who completed prerequisite courses in Spring 2020 should refer to the adjusted GPA policy to determine their GPA requirements.
  • The time frames to apply to the major remain unchanged.
  • In the event that an NP is received in a prerequisite course in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, or Summer 2021, it will have no negative impact on a student's application for the major. The course may be taken again and the first attempt will not be factored into the admission review. Only the second attempt will be used in calculating the prerequisite GPA for admission to the major. 
    • Transfer students who receive an NP in a prerequisite course in their first semester may repeat the course and apply for the major in their second semester without penalty. Transfer students are still required to complete the prerequisites and meet the GPA for admission.
  • For concerns about not meeting the criteria for admission to the major, please review our Admissions Policies and speak with an Economics Undergraduate Advisor.
  • See email sent to prospective students on 11/9/2020.


Declared Economics students

Declared Economics majors may elect the P/NP grading option for any upper division Economics major course taken in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021. This includes the upper division core courses (ECON 100A/101A, ECON 100B/101B, ECON 140/141) and elective courses, including cross-listed courses. 

NOTE: P grades earned in Summer 2021 courses will not automatically count in the Academic Progress Report (APR) and must be manually updated by the Economics Undergraduate Advising Office. Please contact us at ugrad@econ.berkeley.edu after the grade has posted and we will update your APR.

  • Declared Economics students must still meet the 2.0 GPA in the upper division courses taken for the major. Courses taken P/NP will not be included in the calculation of the GPA in the upper division courses taken for the major.
    • Students pursuing the Economics honors program must still meet the honors GPA requirements in order to be eligible for honors in the major. Courses taken P/NP will not be included in the calculation of the GPA for honors in the major.
    • Effective for students graduating in Summer 2021 and later: To be eligible for honors in the major, a maximum of two P graded upper division courses* earned in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, or Summer 2021 may count towards the upper division Economics major requirements. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.   *excludes ECON H195A, ECON 197, ECON 198, and ECON 199.
    • Please contact ugrad@econ.berkeley.edu for further questions.
  • All letter grades earned in upper division Economics major courses (3 upper division core and 5 upper division electives) will be included in the calculation of the major GPA.
    • In the event that more than 5 upper division electives are completed, P grades may not be used to replace letter grades in the major GPA. See chart below.
Number of Upper Division Electives Grading Option Major GPA calculation
5 Letter grade only All letter grades included.
5 Mix of P and letter grades All letter grades included, P grade(s) only count for fulfillment of requirement.
>5 Letter grade only 5 highest letter grades included.
>5 Mix of P and letter grades All letter grades included (up to 5 highest letter grades). P grade(s) only count for fulfillment of requirement, if needed to reach 5 total electives.
  • In the event than an NP is received, the course will NOT count towards the Economics major requirements. As always, students are responsible for ensuring that they have completed the appropriate number of upper division courses to complete the Economics major. See major requirements for the full list of required courses.
  • See email sent to declared Economics students on 11/6/2020.


Things to consider when deciding on P/NP grading option...

  • As mentioned in the L&S email"...switching a course or courses to P/NP may not be the best action in call circumstances. Other strategies such as dropping a course to focus on the remaining courses or taking an incomplete grade to spread out some work are highly encouraged, and may be better ways of coping with difficulties while still making progress."
  • For concerns about the impact of P/NP grading on graduate school applications, we recommend reviewing this statement from the Council of Deans which reaffirms UC Berkeley's Graduate Division commitment to a holistic review.
  • There may be unforeseen consequences of electing the P/NP grading option.
    • P/NP grading may impact instructors' ability to provide substantive letters of recommendation.
    • If too many courses are elected for P/NP, students risk exceeding the 1/3 unit limit on P/NP courses, which could require the completion of additional letter graded courses. (NOTE: The 1/3 limit excludes P grades earned in Spring 2020).
    • (Prospective students): There are other departments that require Economics prerequisite courses in their major requirements. The revisions to their major policies in light of the L&S P/NP policy will likely differ from ours. Be sure to check with the advisors in your other intended major(s) before deciding whether to elect the P/NP grading option.
  • Once grades are posted, they are final and students may not change a P grade back to a letter grade.

Please refer to the L&S Advising website for deadlines and how to submit a late change of class schedule, including grading option changes. Requests for late enrollment changes after the deadline will not be considered. For Fall 2021, the deadline for submission is FRIDAY, December 3, 11:59pm (PT). See L&S Advising for specific deadline dates.


A note from the advisors:

"The year of 2020, and likely beyond, continues to present many difficult challenges and obstacles, some of which you have never faced. For those of you who are struggling, having the option to take your Economics major courses P/NP might be helpful. We hope that you view this option as one of several ways in which to move forward through this academic year. We encourage you to continue to think broadly about what resources and supports you may need during this time, including the Basic Needs Center, the Student Learning Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, and many more."


Last Updated: 9/7/2021