Spring 2021 Emergency Academic Regulations and Recommendations announced

Sophomore Exploratory, Junior-Senior P/D/F, Graduate P/D/F options are available in addition to PE/NE

Chair of MIT Faculty Rick Danheiser and the Academic Policy and Regulations Team (APART) announced the Spring 2021 Emergency Academic Regulations and Recommendations in an email to the MIT community Jan. 21. Both undergraduate and graduate subjects will be graded on an A, B, C, D/NE, F/NE basis, with the exception of D/NR and F/NR for first years. 

No academic credit can be received for D/NE/NR and F/NE/NR. Sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students can, however, accept a grade of D to “fulfill a requirement for graduation.” 

A letter grading system was designed with “extra flexibility” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Like Fall 2020, all students can elect one subject to be graded as PE/NE by Drop Date April 29. Sophomores may additionally designate one subject as Exploratory, then either accept the letter grade awarded or change the class to listener status. Junior-Senior P/D/F option and Graduate P/D/F option are also available, though they cannot be used to fulfill departmental and Institute requirements. 

The Emergency Academic Regulations and Recommendations contain three sections: Class Meetings and General Regulations; Scheduling of Classes and Midterm Exams; and End-of-Term Assignments, Final Exams, and Theses. 

All instruction must be “delivered remotely during the first two weeks” from Feb. 16 to 26. Several three- and four-day breaks have been scheduled throughout the semester to compensate for the elimination of Spring Break: March 6–8, March 20–23, April 17–20, and May 7–9. “No required meetings may be held and no assignments may be due” during these days. 

Instructors are encouraged to announce if their classes require attendance in advance of Registration Week Feb. 8–12, as well as to “survey their classes” to identify students in “remote time zones” in order to accordingly schedule recitation sections and office hours. Instructors are further advised not to “utilize third-party online proctoring” for exams unless “all other options have been exhausted.”

For subjects with final exams, no assignments can be due and no tests can be held after the “last test date,” May 14. For those without final exams, the deadline for assignments “due the last week of classes” is on the last day of classes, May 20. An ex camera final examination may be held with the permission of the Chair of the Faculty. Students should be permitted “unrestricted use of resources” in these exams.

Update 1/28/21: This article was updated to state that the Spring 2021 Emergency Academic Regulations and Recommendations were announced Jan. 21. A previous version of this article stated that the full Spring grading policy was announced Jan. 21. The full policy was actually announced Nov. 30.