Healthy Brown

To Brown Students: Sharing Resources and Information for the End of the Semester


Dear Students, 

As we approach the end of the last full week of instruction, we are writing to share important information about course grade options, excused final exam absences, and incomplete grades as well as general support for academic standing and summer opportunities.

Grade Option Changes (through May 1)

Please remember that you have the ability to change your course grade options until 5 p.m. E.D.T. this Friday, May 1, via self-service Banner. (A tutorial link on how to change grade options in Banner is available here.) If you have any questions about how to approach this decision for any of your classes, we encourage you to reach out to your academic advisor or schedule an appointment with an advising dean. 

We are confident that your grades this semester and any grade option choices you make will be understood by future employers, graduate schools, and fellowship committees in the context of the global pandemic. In recent weeks, for instance, many graduate and professional schools have declared that they will honor all individual student grade choices this semester. In contrast to early reports that suggested programs might only accept mandatory pass/fail grading, many schools have also explicitly updated their policies to allow for optional S/NC choices and eliminated language about letter grade preferences. More information is available on the Health Careers Advising and Law Careers Advising websites.

Final Exams (May 6-15) and Excused Final Exam Absences

The final exam period will begin on Wednesday, May 6. If you have concerns about connectivity or scheduling regarding remote exams, please be sure to discuss these with your instructor as soon as possible. 

If you have an emergent medical or personal emergency at the time of a final exam, you may request an excused absence. During business hours (8:30am-5pm EDT), you can email [email protected] or call (401) 863-9800; outside of regular business hours, you can contact the Administrator on Call at (401) 863-3322. A Final Exam Excuse Dean will then contact you to discuss your particular situation. If you are granted an excused final exam absence (ABS), you will receive a temporary ABS notation rather than a final grade for the course, and the Registrar’s Office will proctor a make-up final exam to take place in the first two weeks of the fall term. 

Support for Incompletes and Academic Standing 

Our best advice for both final exams and completing courses is to make every effort to finish your coursework during the semester. We have asked faculty to be flexible and understanding in supporting that goal. However, if you have outstanding work that cannot be completed by the end of the exam period, you may request an Incomplete (INC) from your instructor. If you and your instructor agree to pursue this option, you should be sure to discuss a clear structure and timeline, as well as the resources available to you while completing your coursework. 

As a reminder, the Committee on Academic Standing has established guidelines to assure that no student’s academic standing will be adversely affected by their coursework this semester. In the simplest terms, these guidelines ensure that every student’s academic standing for the Fall 2020 term will be at or above their standing at the start of Spring 2020. (An FAQ on academic standing at Brown is available here.) If you would like to discuss your academic standing or strategize about your remaining coursework, you can schedule an appointment with an academic dean during virtual drop-in hours, or request to meet with a dean outside their drop-in hours by writing to [email protected].

Looking Ahead to Summer

We hope you received our recent message about new BrownConnect Summer Opportunities, which are open to all undergraduate students (including graduating seniors). Applications are now open for the BrownConnect Summer Institute, which is a free virtual program for Brown students to explore career pathways, develop professional skills, and analyze real-world problems in partnership with alumni and other members of the Brown community. Applications for funded remote teaching, research, internships and community engagement projects through BrownConnect Collaborative SPRINTs will open this Friday, May 1. 

Registration is also open now for Brown Undergraduate Summer Session, which will be offering a wide range of remote courses. A complete list of courses with brief descriptions is available here.

We hope that you find this information helpful as you complete this semester. Please know that we are here to help support you and that you are welcome to reach out to [email protected] with any questions you may have.


Rashid Zia
Dean of the College

  • Dean of the College Rashid Zia