Skip to main content


Check here for the most recent announcments from Human Developmental Sciences.


Past Email Announcements

HDS Pass/NP grading Policy for Fall 2020 through Spring 2021

Fall 2020 Announcements:

HDS Pass/NP Grading
Policy for 2020-21

In light of the Academic Senate's decision to allow retroactive grade changes for Fall 2020 from Letter to Pass/No Pass, many of you have been wanting to know about the applicability of this policy to the HDS program.

To address this issue, HDS is introducing a grade policy that also recognizes the reality that remote instruction will not end fall quarter. Therefore, we are implementing a proactive modification to our grade policy that acknowledges the continuation of these circumstances and which will be applicable for the full academic year: Fall 2020, Winter 2021, and Spring 2021. Our hope is that the following policies will empower you to make informed and strategic decisions regarding your educational progress, and provide you with a level of consistency in an otherwise inconsistent time.

HDS Grade Policies for Fall 2020, Winter 2021, and Spring 2021:

HDS Majors

  • Lower Division
    Any lower division HDS major courses taken FA20, WI21, and SP21 will be accepted with Pass grades.

  • Upper Division
    HDS majors can apply a maximum of FOUR pass grades from upper division coursework taken Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, and Spring 2021, with the exception of the following courses:  Experimental Methods (HDS 181), Field Methods (HDS 191), and the Senior Seminar (HDS 150) which must still be taken for letter grades.

HDS Minors

  • All coursework taken for an HDS minor in FA20, WI21, and SP21 will be accepted with Pass grades.

Please note that this policy does not supersede University-wide policies regarding pass/no pass grading. These policies include the official university deadline to select the Pass/No Pass option, as well as a maximum of 25% P/NP total units allowed by the university.  University-wide rules are subject to the jurisdiction of the Academic Senate.

In anticipation of your questions, we have included the following clarification points below.  Feel free to contact us with additional questions:

  • Why do upper division major courses have a limit on P/NP coursework?
    HDS still must report a major GPA for all of its graduates.  The major GPA is calculated specifically from upper division courses for the major (12-13 courses).  In order to extend Pass/No Pass accommodations as far as Spring 2021, HDS must set a cap so we can still calculate a major GPA that is both broadly reflective of a student's skill set in the major, while providing a consistent level of assessment amongst peers in the program. 

  • What should I consider before choosing a pass grade? 

    Prerequisites for graduate school and professional training:
    Prerequisite coursework for admission to graduate and training programs are required to be taken for letter grades. It is not possible to know yet if and how letter requirements would be waived for specific career paths, or if waivers would be applied uniformly across all programs in that discipline.

    As an example, an individual  program may accept pass grades without penalty when the originating school had universal pass implemented that term, but not when the school allowed a choice of Letter or Pass (such as at UCSD). Alternately, they may allow Pass grades, but regard it as a C if the school allowed a choice of Letter grades. Schools may also choose to weight admission GPAs based on the percentage of elected Pass grades.

    Usually, a Letter Grade will be a better reflection of your academic history if you plan on pursuing a graduate degree, medical school, etc. than a P grade.

    Admission to the HDS Honors program:
    If you have interest in participating in the HDS Honors program during your final year, you should choose letter grades for HDS 1 and Statistics. 

  • Will I need to submit a petition to get my pass grades to apply to HDS?
    We are currently working with degree audit programmers to have these exceptions apply automatically through Spring 2021.  This may take some time to get finalized, and we appreciate your patience as the degree programmers work to implement exceptions for a multitude of academic units this term.

For any student inquiries related to this policy change for the 2020-21 academic year, or other program requirements, please direct questions to HDS Advising through the Virtual Advising Center ( 

Farrell Ackerman, Director
Human Developmental Sciences


HDS Accommodations for Students, Spring 2020

HDS Department Announcement about HDS Accommodations for Students in Spring Quarter 2020

Please see below message in regards to HDS Accommodations for Students for Spring Quarter 2020 that was emailed to all HDS students on June 3, 2020:


"Dear HDS Community, Students, Instructors and Staff,

These are extraordinarily traumatic and devastating times, specifically with regard to blatant, systemic abuse and unpunished racial violence against Black lives. Outrage over current and longstanding police brutality, and widespread racist incidents has led to national and international uprisings, creating an impassioned roar for justice and comprehensive structural social change. As representatives of the HDS community, we condemn the shamefully entrenched history of racial abuse and discrimination in the United States. We support strongly the values of the Black Lives Matter movement and affiliated groups.

As the activist and academic Roxane Gay concludes: “Eventually, doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but Black people will continue to wait, despite the futility of hope, for a cure for racism. We will live with the knowledge that a hashtag is not a vaccine for white supremacy. We live with the knowledge that, still, no one is coming to save us. The rest of the world yearns to get back to normal. For Black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free.” (New York Times, 5/31/20)

We understand the need for solutions beyond symbolism. HDS instructors and staff are invested in making meaningful changes on campus-wide, programmatic, and individual levels that reflect our commitment to racial justice in principles, actions, and outcomes. We understand this work must be ongoing, and our responses must extend far beyond the scope of this email, both in intention and impact.   


Students — We see you, we support you, and we recognize the impact of this time on your lives and well being. We value you, first and foremost, as human beings. We do not wish for academic expectations to impose any further undue stress and anxiety. We will not proceed with business as usual.

We have developed strategies to accommodate your needs. These include modifying final exams, providing individual student supports, and recommending a "no fault" testing policy (meaning that a final exam/paper can only raise your grade, not lower it). Your HDS instructors will discuss these with you in order for you to conclude the Spring Quarter successfully. The HDS program uniformly advocates for the utmost sensitivity, empathy, and consciousness to be expressed at this time.


Please be gentle with yourselves, with your peers, with your instructors, and particularly with those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, who are disproportionately bearing the harmful impact of our national crises.

For individuals experiencing severe distress, we refer you to Counseling and Psychological Services (, the Hub Basic Needs Center (, and the Black Resource Center ( as appropriate to your identities and circumstances.

We also encourage students to engage with the Resources for Support and Action ( provided by the Cross Cultural Center. Additionally, a Community Conversation for Non-Black People of Color will be held by the Cross Cultural Center at 5:00 pm on Wednesday and Friday this week (

For any individuals who wish to communicate with us in HDS further, we welcome you to email us individually or as a group for additional support, feedback offerings, and/or community building.

In love, solidarity, and compassion,

Farrell Ackerman
Clarissa Reese
Mariko Cavey
Alia Welch Partida
Paige Turner"

P/NP Grades-Spring 2020

HDS Department Announcement about P/NP Grades in Spring Quarter 2020

Please see below message in regards to P/NP for Spring Quarter 2020 that was emailed to all HDS students on March 27, 2020:

"With guidance and support from the Academic Senate, several temporary academic exceptions have been approved for SP20 in response to the changes in campus operating status during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These are detailed on the Academic Senate homepage:  Please review the information in its entirety.

A quick highlight of the most significant changes--namely changes to the add, drop, and grade change deadlines--are below:

Spring 2020 Deadline Changes (these changes are effective for Spring 2020 only)

  • ADD - Week 3 - April 17, 2020
  • Apply for part-time status - Week 3 - April 17, 2020
  • Drop WITHOUT a W grade - Week 5 - May 1, 2020
  • Drop WITH a W grade - Week 7 - May 15, 2020
  • Change grading option and units - Week 10 - June 5, 2020

In accordance with this, the Human Developmental Sciences Program will allow P/NP grades earned during spring 2020 to be applied toward major and minor degree requirements. Please note the following:

1) If a student elects the P/NP grading option in WebReg, in order to earn a P grade in a course, a student must earn the equivalent of a C- or better. A grade of D would equate a NP grade.

2) All students must continue to have a 2.0 major GPA at time of graduation.

These policy changes for spring 2020 have been implemented to provide flexibility as you navigate your spring term, and we hope they ease some of your concerns. However, we strongly encourage students to think about any long-term ramifications of selecting a non-letter grade for courses. Consult with advisors, financial aid, athletics, and graduate/professional schools about how this may affect your individual circumstances if you choose this option. Courses taken for graduate school prerequisites or professional preparation usually must be taken for a letter grade.

The HDS Advising team strongly recommends you start the spring term choosing a letter grade option for your courses, and see how it goes. Focusing on the achievement of a letter grade will provide a level of continuity with your academic studies, and encourage you to continue to strive for the excellence that is a hallmark of your educational experience at UCSD. With the ability to switch to a pass grade up to 10th week, this option gives you the peace of mind to know that if the term presents challenges, there is grace if you need it.

We look forward to starting the term with you. Any student inquiries related to this change, or other program requirements, can be directed to HDS Advising through the Virtual Advising Center ( Please let us know if you have questions.

Human Developmental Sciences"

FAQ for P/NP Grades in Spring 2020

Click here to see the FAQ page