Grades and Exams

The College will return to its standard grading for the 2020–2021 academic year.  However, recognizing that students may encounter challenges this fall, several temporary grade-related policy changes for the fall semester will be implemented:

  • Credit/D/Fail grade mode will be available for students to choose until the day before Thanksgiving break begins (Tuesday, November 24, at 5:00 p.m.). Additional time to choose this option recognizes that students may encounter difficulties related to the public health and online learning context at any point in the semester, no matter how much effort they have been putting into their coursework.
    • Students may choose one course Credit/D/F with a full load of four credits, and this will not count against their career total of four.
    • As is standard policy, students may not choose the Credit/D/Fail mode for first-year writing seminars, distribution and division requirements, and in most cases, major and minor requirements. However, in light of the current context, the faculty will meet early in the fall semester to discuss potential changes to these institutional policies on a temporary basis, and departments and programs will be asked by CEP this summer to consider whether any of their required courses might be taken Credit/D/Fail for current Bowdoin students.

From week seven to eleven (Wednesday, October 21, to Tuesday, November 24), all students carrying four credits or more who have already chosen to take one course Credit/D/Fail will be able to choose to take a second course Credit/D/Fail, and it will not count against the student's career total of four Credit/D/Fail courses. Students will initiate this request via a form that must be approved by the instructor of the course, the student’s advisor, and the student’s dean.

As guidance to advisors and students, CXD has offered the following: Students who are thinking about attending graduate school should try to take courses for credit in their (related) major if able. Those planning to apply to law school should plan to write an addendum to their application explaining their decision to take courses Credit/D/Fail.



As stated in the Academic Standards and Regulations section of the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook, "The College expects students to complete all course requirements as established by instructors.  In unavoidable circumstances (personal illness, family emergency, etc.) and with approval of the student’s dean and the instructor, a grade of Incomplete may be recorded.

An Incomplete represents a formal agreement among the instructor, a dean, and the student for the submission of unfinished coursework under prescribed conditions. If approved, “the Incomplete Agreement Form is signed by all necessary individuals, and a date is set by which time all unfinished work must be submitted.  In all cases, students are expected to finish outstanding coursework in a period of time roughly equivalent to the period of distraction from their academic commitments. In no case will this period of time extend beyond the end of the second week of classes of the following semester.”

At the end of the grading period, any student for whom a grade has not been submitted and a signed Incomplete Form has not been received will automatically be given a grade of F. Any student subsequently wishing to contest an F received under these circumstances must petition the Recording Committee. Contact your student dean if you have questions and/or wish to request an Incomplete. If you need additional assistance, stop by the Office of the Dean of Students on the second floor of Moulton Union or call (207) 725-3149.

Final Exams


Students with questions about Fall 2020 examinations should contact their instructors directly.