A Few Words Regarding the Pass/Fail Grading Option

Dear Pre-Health Students,

Many of you have reached out about taking the P/F grading option for pre-medical requirements. At this point in time, as of March 24, 2020, most medical schools have not formally set a policy regarding requirements taken P/F during Spring of 2020.  We have reached out to many schools, have heard back from several, and will continue to gather information. We are hopeful that most medical schools will be flexible, understanding the difficulties and unusual circumstances that brought about the P/F option.


Keep in mind:

— There are likely to be exceptions as well as variation in terms of flexibility.

— Public state medical schools often have a strong preference for admitting in-state applicants and offer reduced tuition for residents. We encourage you to reach out to the public medical schools in your home state for guidance.

— Many medical schools do not have requirements, but rather competencies. These schools will look at your graded science courses, MCAT, and activities to assess your competency in the sciences. All of the Philadelphia medical schools use competencies: Perelman, Kimmel (Jeff), Katz (Temple), and Drexel. There are many others.  

— We believe the decision to take a science or math course P/F should be made thoughtfully. Admission to medical school never rests on the grade in a single class, nor is perfection expected. We know that medical schools really do look at the transcript, and the entire application, as a whole. Be clear on your reasons for taking the P/F option and, if you are able, engage with your online classes a bit before deciding. Certainly, consult with your instructors, academic advisors and our office as you think things through.

— Know that your pre-health advisors are here to support you. Though you may not be on campus, you are still at Penn and we are with you. We will add extra “drop-in hours” before the April 29th date for a decision regarding P/F. We will also address your personal circumstances this semester in our Committee Letter to place your decision, either way, in context.

If you have quick questions to clarify the content of this email, you can send them to Carol Hagan at chagan@upenn.edu. Questions about your particular situation are better addressed during 15-minute drop-in times.


By Becky Tamayo
Becky Tamayo Administrative Coordinator, Graduate School Advising Becky Tamayo