Pass/Fail Grading Option

Students may take up to 10% of the credits counting towards their degree using the pass/fail grading system. For ME students the number  of hours that can be taken P/F is 12, with only 6 hours in any given semester. For ME students, only technical electives and free electives may be taken pass/fail unless the course is only offered pass/fail. Required courses and courses used to fulfill the Curriculum for Liberal Education core areas may NOT be taken pass/fail unless they are only offered pass/fail (example – FA2004 for Area 6).

Free electives and other courses NOT counting towards the 130 credit program required to earn a BSME degree (example – military leadership courses, ESM4404 (review for FE exam course), etc.) do not count against the number of tech elective credits that may be taken P/F.-9 transfer credits count towards BSME degree: 12 credits of tech electives can be taken P/F

  • Note that courses used to satisfy a requirement for a minor MUST be taken in the A/F grading system, even if they are being used as an ME technical  elective. A student may only voluntarily take two courses per semester pass/fail. For more information on the pass/fail grading system, please see the Undergraduate Catalog & Academic Policies manual.

Changing grading options: After the add deadline, students cannot change the grade mode through Hokie SPA by themselves. Instead, they should contact their departmental advisor.

  • Deadlines for changing grading options: The deadline to switch a course to P/F grading is the drop deadline (end of the sixth week of classes). The deadline to switch from P/F back to A/F is the resignation deadline (end of the eighth week of classes). Please check the dates listed for these deadlines by clicking on the link for the semester calendar from the course timetable window.

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Grades & Transfer Credits

Students are awarded transfer credit for courses in which they earn a C or higher. If a student earns a C- or lower, they do not receive transfer credits. (Transfer credits should be taken in the A/F grade mode at the transfer institution due to the C or higher grade requirement.)

Transfer credits earned at other schools do NOT affect the student’s Virginia Tech GPA. Students wishing to improve their GPA over the summer while living at home should consider taking online courses from Virginia Tech instead of taking transfer courses.

  • To find out which courses are being taught online from VT, you may do a search of the online timetable and filter the results for “Virtual” campus. (You can also filter by core curriculum area if you are trying to finish your humanities CLE requirements – these courses are much easier to find online than technical electives or required ME courses.)

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What is the Minimum Grade Required to “Pass” a Course?

Students must earn a C- or better in their ENGE1215 ( formerly ENGE1024) and ENGE1216 (formerly ENGE1114) courses and a competitive GPA to transfer from General Engineering into Mechanical Engineering.

Once a student is in ME, the only course with a minimum prerequisite grade is ME2124.  Students taking ME2124 during Spring 2015 and later must now earn a C- to move on to the next courses (ME3124, ME3404, and ME3304).  Other than ME2124, courses in which a student has earned a D- or higher in the A/F grading system will fulfill prerequisite requirements. However, if a D- truly reflects the student’s understanding of the course material, the student should seriously consider retaking that course to avoid grade problems in future courses that build upon that knowledge.

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Continued Enrollment “Policy 91” Requirements

Policy 91 requires that students continue to make progress towards their degree programs.

Identification of students not making sufficient progress towards BSME degree:

Any Mechanical Engineering student not maintaining:

  • an overall GPA of 2.000 or higher,
  • a GPA of 2.000 or higher for all courses with an “ME” or “NSEG” prefix in the course number, and/or
  • a GPA of 2.000 or higher in “ME” and “NSEG” courses plus ESM2104, ESM2204, and ESM2304

will receive an e-mail informing them that they are on “Policy 91” probation.

In addition to meeting the minimum GPA requirements above, students must also make continuous progress towards completing their BSME degree.

  • Students who do not complete 12 credits of courses which apply towards their ME degree during any 1 year period may be placed on Policy 91 probation.  This does not include co-op work terms or terms during which a student enrolls in 0 credits at Virginia Tech.

Students who are not making progress in key courses by a set number of “attempted required credit hours” may also be placed on Policy 91 probation.  These requirements include:

  • MATH 2114, MATH 2204, and ESM 2104 by 45 attempted required credits
  • ESM2304, ME2124, and MATH2214 by 60 attempted required credits
  • ME3124, ME3514, and ME3614 by 72 attempted required credits
  • ME4006, ME4015, and ME4124 by 90 attempted required credits

Here, “attempted required credits” includes any course on a student’s VT transcripts which is listed on the ME checksheet (or degree path sheet) EXCEPT technical electives and curriculum for liberal education (CLE) electives.  Free electives are NOT included in the attempted required credits total.  The attempted required credit total includes repeated courses, transfer credits covering required courses, and courses with grades of W or F.

Students on Policy 91 probation  may be required to meet with the Mechanical Engineering Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Studies or another member of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to discuss goals and requirements for the coming semester to ensure that the student makes sufficient progress toward their BSME degree.

Requirements for students placed on Policy 91 probation to avoid suspension: Students placed on Policy 91 probation must do the following while on Policy 91 probation to avoid suspension:

  • Complete at least 12 credits of required courses on the ME checksheet during any 1 year period, excluding technical electives and CLE electives, AND
  • Improve overall, in-major, and extended in-major GPA’s to 2.000 by the end of two semesters (Fall, Spring), or
  • Take in-major courses and achieve a 2.300 in-major GPA each semester until the in-major GPA reaches 2.000 or higher (or maintain a 2.000 in-major GPA) AND earn a 2.500 semester overall GPA until the overall GPA reaches 2.000 or higher (or maintain a 2.000 overall GPA).


Conditions to have Policy 91 probation lifted: Students must meet the 2.000 overall, in-major, AND extended in-major GPA requirements.  They must also complete key courses in such a way that there are no more incomplete key courses which violate the attempted credit deadlines listed above.


Implications of Policy 91 suspension: Policy 91 suspension is a permanent suspension from the department.  Students wishing to switch to a different engineering department or college at VT must meet the entrance requirements for the new major.  With the new enrollment management plan which takes effect January 2013, changing majors into another engineering department may be more difficult, as ALL degree granting engineering departments will have a variable entrance requirement somewhere between a 2.0 and 3.0 overall GPA.


  • For more information about the Mechanical Engineering Department’s Policy 91 program, please see our Policy 91 FAQ’s.

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Grade Requirements for Graduation

  • In addition to completing all courses on the approved checksheet for the year of graduation and earning a minimum of 130 credits, ME students must meet the following University requirements to graduate:
  • a minimum overall GPA of 2.0000 (required for all students regardless of major)
  • a minimum in-major GPA of 2.0000 (required for all students regardless of major)

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Grades to be on the Dean’s List

If you attempt at least 12 hours with the A/F grading option and earn a 3.4 or higher GPA during the fall or spring semesters, you have made the Dean’s List. If your name does not appear on the online Dean’s List, it is most likely because you have set some of your personal information as confidential (including address, phone number, etc.) or you did not take at least 12 credit hours for a letter grade. You man contact the Engineering Dean of Academic Affairs Office in 212 Hancock if you have questions about the Dean’s List.

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Grades to Graduate with Distinction

If you complete at least sixty (60) hours at Virginia Tech, the distinction noted on your diploma will be:

  • 3.8 or greater overall GPA: Summa Cum Laude
  • 3.6 to 3.7999 overall GPA: Magna Cum Laude
  • 3.4 to 3.5999 overall GPA: Cum Laude

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