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How will Spring 2020 classes be conducted?

Please note that each school may have specific circumstances around academics and other areas that will be shared directly with students as it becomes available. The statements below do not supersede the direct information from each school.

All classes and non-clinical or research lab instruction were moved online beginning March 25. This means that faculty will assess and grade student work as originally intended in each course with possible modifications to the syllabus and forms of assessment. Students on campus due to exceptions or living off campus near Tufts will not be permitted to attend in-person instruction. 

Classes for undergraduate students will end on April 27 as scheduled, with the final exam period continuing as scheduled from May 1 - 8. Grades will be due on a normal schedule: May 11 for graduating students and May 15 for all other students. 

SMFA: Information about review boards and other academic issues specific to matriculated SMFA students is being communicated to SMFA students from the school. Additional information for other schools will be added as it is available.

The Fletcher School: Online course instruction began March 23 - please refer to the specific material on The Fletcher School site for details.

Please note that the University will not be issuing refunds for tuition as classes and instruction will continue through the end of the Spring 2020 semester and credits and grades will be assigned normally.

Have any exceptions to academic policy been granted for Spring 2020?

Given the extraordinary pedagogical changes made in the middle of the Spring 2020 semester at Tufts and around the world, several exceptional measures for undergraduate students have been established for Spring 2020 via faculty vote in Arts and Sciences (including SMFA) and Engineering. This includes extended academic deadlines, changes to the Pass/Fail grading system, and waivers for for online instruction. Please see the Academic Policy Exceptions for Undergraduate Students: Spring 2020 webpage for more information.

What academic deadlines have been extended?

The deadline for undergraduates to Withdraw from a course is now April 27, the last day of classes. (Previously, this deadline was April 1.)

The deadline for undergraduates to select Pass/Fail grading is now April 27. (Previously, this deadline was April 1.) All grades of P (Pass) will be changed to EP (Exceptional Pass) for Spring 2020. Please see the Academic Policy Exceptions for Undergraduate Students: Spring 2020 webpage for more information.

These policy changes do not apply to graduate and professional students, who should consult their advisors and program directors for specific academic questions.

How has the Pass/Fail grading system changed for the Spring 2020 semester?

A new grade of EP (Exceptional Pass) has been established, encompassing all grades from A+ through D-. EP will confer credit but no grade points for GPA calculation and will fulfill all degree requirements. Undergraduate students may elect this EP for any or all of their courses for Spring 2020.

Students who have already selected the P/F option will automatically have a P grade changed to EP. The deadline to opt in for EP/F grading is April 27. Please see the Academic Policy Exceptions for Undergraduate Students: Spring 2020 webpage for more information.

The deans and Registrar will be granted discretion in accepting for transfer of credit coursework completed with a “Pass” or equivalent by Tufts students at other institutions that in Spring 2020 adopted a mandatory Pass/Fail grading scheme.

These policy changes also do not apply to graduate and professional students, who should see below for their specific schools, and consult their advisors and program directors for specific academic questions.

SMFA:

  • All SMFA studio art classes have always been graded pass/fail and that will continue during the upcoming COVID-19 period.
  • The liberal arts and sciences requirements for our BFA and MFA students are graded as per the rules of the School of Arts and Sciences.

AS&E Graduate:

The SOE faculty also voted overwhelmingly to extend the undergraduate policies to graduate students. The only change is to replace EP/F with EP/EN, where EN means extraordinary no credit. This is to resolve a technicality in the existing grading system between GR and UG students. Under the existing grading rules, a passing grade for GR students is B- or higher. A grade C is considered a “failing” grade and will not be counted towards degree requirements. So, if we literally extend the EP/F option to the GR students, a GR student opted for the EP/F option with a C grade will end up with an F in his/her transcript. With the EP/EN option, this student will have a C in his/her transcript.

Cummings:

  • Executive Faculty Board adopted a motion to permit the curriculum committee to grant the ability of a course to move to pass/fail at the request of the course director.
  • Each course will be assessed separately. They may also consider flexible grading within a course.
  • These specific decisions will likely roll out over the next two weeks.

Dental:

  • We are already P/F for many courses (practicals, clinical grades).
  • Our graded courses are in year 1 and 2 for didactic courses and will be maintained as is.

Fletcher:

  • The Academic Council of Fletcher decided that students may apply, on a course by course basis, for an accommodation to receive a Pass/Fail grade, to the Registrar’s office. Faculty would continue to give letter grades, but the registrar may alter that to P/F if requested by the student.
  • The Faculty will meet to agree on the deadline by which students must inform the Registrar. The academic council’s recommendation is that a date before the end of semester be set. If other schools select April 15, we will go with that. We intend to inform students of the policy by email.

Friedman:

  • Applies to final course grades for spring 2020 NUTR courses.  Does not apply to NUTB (blended) or NUTC (online certificate) courses.
  • For each course, each student may choose to receive a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) instead of receiving a letter grade as per usual practice.  If a student does not choose the S/U option for a course, the default will be to receive a letter grade.
  • For students receiving course letter grades, the minimum passing grade for Friedman School courses will remain B-.
  • All student decisions must be made by April 27 at 5 pm EDT.  Reversal of S/U choices will be allowed until this date and time.
  • Course instructors will be notified when a student chooses the S/U option for the instructor’s class.
  • Courses with S/U grading will not contribute to student cumulative GPA.

GSBS:

  • GSBS exec council approved unanimously an option for pass/fail decided by the student by May 1.
  • Course directors will be blinded to the student opting for pass/fail and the change will be done by the registrar.
  • We will use S/U (our traditional designation for pass/fail) and not PE. This applies to didactic courses only and not research grades (e.g. thesis committee, lab rotations)
  • The timing was chosen as our courses start at different times (e.g. some start in April) but May 1 should be near the end of all semester courses.

TUSM:

  • Our pre-clerkship curriculum is already P/F.
  • Remaining elective rotations for senior medical students will be credit/no credit.
  • The one area where we need flexibility is our third-year students, 80% of whom who were pulled from the clinical setting during their final clerkship rotation. (Note: 20% have already completed their clerkships and have been evaluated using our H/HP/P/LP/F grading system). Currently, those removed students are doing online work as part of their clerkships. Should conditions improve, allowing a return to the clinical setting, they would complete their clerkships as intended. If this occurs, it is critical that we use a graded evaluation. Indeed, students would demand it as they know the implications for residency applications. Should conditions not improve in a timely fashion, students will receive credit/no credit for the online work completed during this time, and the clinical portion of their clerkship will be deferred to the fourth year.

Tisch College:

  • All of our courses are cross-listed with A&S so we will comply with their policy.

University College:

  • For the current Spring semester, all the courses for which non-degree students register through the Courses at Tufts platform are existing courses in one of the other schools, and so would be covered by grading policies of those schools.  And thus, we don’t have courses operating this spring for which we set the grading policy.
  • We currently have non-degree students enrolled through University College in A&S and the SMFA, SOE, Fletcher, Nutrition, TUSM/Public Health, and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.  We have been working to confirm that all those students receive the regular communications going out from their schools; we also are communicating with them directly when needed.
Will the Academic Resource Center remain open?

The Academic Resource Center will remain open throughout Spring 2020 with normal hours. Individual sessions, group workshops, and classes for Subject Tutoring, Writing Support, Time Management & Study Strategies, Academic Study Halls, and the EAP program are continuing via phone or video conference. Tutors will be reaching out to those who have scheduled sessions with the new appointment format. Please refer to the Academic Resource Center website for more information.

How will this impact the 2020 Summer Session?

At this time, no definitive decisions have been made regarding the Summer Session. The global situation is rapidly changing, and because the beginning of Tufts Summer Session is still over two months away, it is too early to predict the precise impact of the virus on our course offerings. 

No decision has been made concerning in-person summer courses, although we would anticipate if the situation continues through the summer, instructors will be asked to provide their course content online as they will be during the Spring term. Please note that Tufts has long offered a range of very high-quality online courses during the Summer Session.

This FAQ will be updated as soon as any decision has been made regarding Summer 2020.

How will this impact Fall 2020 semester planning for undergraduates?

All 2020-2021 academic dates and deadlines on the Academic Calendar will continue as scheduled. 

  • Fall 2020 course registration will begin April 6. Undergraduate students should consult their Advisors during the Advising Period (March 25 - April 3) via email, phone, or video conference to plan their fall schedules and release registration holds. Graduate students should consult with their departments regarding advising and course registration for Fall 2020.
  • The registration period for Fall 2020 will remain open into late August. (Previously, registration  closed on April 17 and re-opened in June.)
  • The deadlines for taking a medical leave of absence also remain unaffected.

The Office of Undergraduate Education will remain open throughout Spring 2020 with normal hours. Undergraduate students may make appointments with their Advising Dean, Senior Academic Advisor, and/or Academic Resource Advisor, as well as department Advisors, Pre-Health Advisors, and Scholar Development staff. Appointments are continuing via phone or video conference. 

Graduate students should consult with their program faculty and department administrators.

How will this impact undergraduate admissions?

The Tufts Office of Undergraduate Admissions is closely monitoring the developing situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Additional information is available on the admissions site and will be updated as needed.

Will I be reimbursed for tuition?

Please note that the University will not be issuing refunds for tuition as classes and instruction will continue through the end of the Spring 2020 semester, and credits and grades will be assigned normally.

What are the implications for students who are doing credit-bearing internships off-campus?

Students earn academic credit for internships based on written reflection, research, and reports on how the internship connects with theoretical or practical aspects of their major or field of study. If the on-site internship is curtailed or cut short by the employer or the academic department, the student is expected to continue with the academic portion of the internship in order to be assessed by their supervising professor and in order to earn credit. 

Many on-site internships will be cut short because the student must leave campus or the employer decides to end the internship for purposes of social distancing. There is also a chance that the student can work remotely, provided this work is of use at the internship placement. In a few cases, the employer, student, and academic department may all agree that it is acceptable for the student to continue their on-site internship placement. If this is the case, the student may continue on site, with the understanding that this arrangement would be subject to change if the impact of COVID-19 were to escalate. 

Students living in the local area may continue their internship placement but should be prepared to alter it or focus on the academic component remotely.