Personal Interest Credit

In order to encourage students to explore subject matter outside their program of study and to promote interdisciplinary study, all upper-year Arts and Science students will be permitted to designate up to 6.0 units of degree-credit courses for pass/fail grading, thereby minimizing any risk to the students’ GPA.  Such courses designated for pass/fail grading will be referred to as Personal Interest Credits (PIC’s).

Effective for classes offered in Fall Term 2016, students have the option to designate degree-credit courses for pass/fail grading.

Who can select a PIC?

The Personal Interest Credit policy applies to all students who:

  • are registered in a Plan that will lead to completion of a degree program in the Faculty of Arts and Science;
  • have successfully completed a minimum of 24.0 units at Queen's; and
  • are in good academic standing (GPA of 1.60 and higher)

This policy applies to all courses offered by Departments in the Faculty of Arts and Science that are normally graded using a letter-grade system.

FAQs

In order to encourage students to explore subject matter outside their program of study and to promote interdisciplinarity, all upper-year Arts and Science students will be permitted to designate courses taken toward their degree programs for pass/fail grading, thereby minimizing any risk to the students’ GPA.  Such courses designated for pass/fail grading will be referred to as Personal Interest Credits (PIC’s).

When does this Personal Interest Credit become available?

The selection of a PIC will be effective for classes enrolled in the Fall Term 2016 and later.  The PIC is not retroactive, and may not be selected for classes taken prior to Fall Term 2016.

Can every Arts and Science student select a PIC?

Selection of a PIC is totally optional, and may be done by all Arts and Science students who:

  1. are registered in a degree program and Plan in the Faculty of Arts and Science;
  2. have passed a minimum of 24.0 units taken at Queen’s; and
  3. are in good academic standing (minimum GPA of 1.60).

How many classes can I select as PIC classes?

You can select a maximum of one class per term, up to a total of 6.0 units in your entire degree program, to designate as PIC’s.

Can I select any class that I want as a PIC?

No.  These classes may not be selected:

  1. Classes that are offered by other Faculties and Schools (e.g., COMM classes);
  2. Classes that are already offered only as pass/fail classes;
  3. Classes that may count as either core, option or supporting courses to meet the requirements of any Plan in which you are registered; and
  4. Classes in which there is a finding of a departure from academic integrity.

Only classes that are taken to fulfill the elective or total unit requirement of a degree program can be selected as a PIC.

The course I want to designate as my PIC may be used in my plan requirements but I don’t plan on using it towards my plan requirements.  Can I designate it as my PIC?

No.  Even though you have no intention of using the course in your plan requirements you may not designate the course as your PIC.  The intention of the PIC is to explore courses that are outside of your degree plan. 

When can I select a PIC?

The PIC application will be available from the start of each term up until the deadline to drop a class without academic penalty for that term – generally this is up to the end of the 8th week of the Fall or Winter Term, or the May-July Session of the Summer Term, and up to the end of the 4th week of the May-June Session in the Summer Term.

You can select a full-year class as a PIC up to the deadline to drop a class without academic penalty for the Winter Term.

How do I select a PIC?

You can use the online PIC application available on the Arts and Science website.  The application will be available from the first day of each term up until the deadline to drop a class without academic penalty.

What if I change my mind?

You can change your selection any time from the time that you request the PIC up to the deadline for PIC selection (the academic drop deadline in each term).  However, after this deadline you may not change your selection for any reason whatsoever.

Will I still have to do all the work in the class if I select it as a PIC?

Yes you will.  The required class components and grading scheme will be exactly the same for you as for all the other students in the class.

Will my instructor know that I have selected the class to be a PIC class?

No, the instructor will not know if you or any other student in the class has selected the class as a PIC.  

How will the grading work?  Do I have to do different work or get a different grade to pass the class?

You will do the same work and be evaluated in the same way, whether you select the class as a PIC or not.  The instructor will enter the letter grade that you earn in the class.  If you have selected the class as a PIC, a letter grade of D- or greater will be converted to a final grade of P (pass); otherwise a grade of F (fail) will be assigned.  Your transcript will show only the P or F grade and not the letter grade.

Will my grade in a PIC class count toward my GPA?

A grade of P in a PIC class will not count toward your GPA.  However, a grade of F in a PIC class will count toward your GPA in the same way as any other failing grade.

What if I get a really good grade in my PIC and want to include it in my GPA?

You can change your mind about your PIC designation up until the deadline date to drop a class.  After that deadline date the PIC will count as Pass/Fail.  As noted previously, a Pass will not be counted towards your GPA. 

Will I pay less for a PIC class?

No, the tuition fees will be the same whether you select a class as a PIC or not.

If I want to retake an elective course that I failed, can I retake it as a personal interest credit?

Yes!  If you failed an elective and want to repeat it, you can use it as your PIC.  If you repeat the class and pass, then the grade in the previous attempt will be dropped from your GPA.  Both course attempts will be recorded on your transcript.

What if I want to retake an elective class that I passed but my grade wasn’t as high as I hoped.  Can I retake that class as a PIC?

You can, but we do not recommend it.  Repeating a passed course as your PIC will not have any effect on your cumulative GPA, so there is absolutely no advantage in repeating a passed course and designating it as your PIC.  As with any repeated course, both course attempts will be recorded on your transcript.

What happens if I change my plan (major/minor) and the course I used as my PIC can now count towards my new plan?

Once a course is designated as your PIC, you may not use that course to fulfill any of your plan requirements.  If this situation arises you would need to take an additional course towards your plan requirements and the PIC would be counted as an elective.

I’m in an Economics major now but want to change my major to History.  The course I want to select as my PIC can count towards my current plan (Economics) but wouldn’t count in my new plan (History).  Can I request this course as my PIC?

No.  When the PIC assessments are done, we will assess the request against your current degree plan.  If the course can be counted in your plan, then you would not be allowed to designate it as your PIC even if you change your plan later on.

Can Dual Degree students take a Personal Interest credit?


As long as the courses are registered under the ASC program, and they are electives, up to 6.0 units can be selected as PIC courses.

How/when will I know if my PIC has been approved?

Provided you meet the eligibility criteria noted below, your PIC will be approved.  Our goal is to assess PIC applications at the end of Week 2, 4 and 8 and will contact students who are not eligible.

The following conditions must be met in order for a student to be eligible to select a course as their PIC:

  1. Minimum of 24.0 Queen’s units completed (passed)
  2. Student must be on a degree program
  3. Student must have a cumulative GPA >= 1.60
  4. Student may designate a maximum of 6.0 units as PIC (including the current request)
  5. Student may designate a maximum of one course per term as PIC
  6. Course must not be core, option or supporting in any Plan in which student is registered

Can I see what courses are designated as PIC in SOLUS?

Yes, you can see this under My Class Schedule as shown below.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Policy

1.    Students have the option to designate a maximum of 6.0 units of degree-credit courses for pass/fail grading (Personal Interest Credit).

2.    A maximum of one course per term may be designated for pass/fail grading.

3.    Only courses that count for elective credit toward the student’s degree may be designated for pass/fail grading.  Elective courses are those taken to fulfill the total unit requirement of the degree program and are outside the requirements of the Plan(s) (i.e. no courses that may count as core, option or supporting courses may be designated).
a.    If a student successfully completes a course designated for pass/fail grading and wishes to apply it toward the core or supporting course requirements of a Plan in which they subsequently register, they must obtain the agreement of the Department to substitute another appropriate course in its place.
b.    If a course designated for pass/fail grading is to be used to fill the option course requirements of a Plan in which the student subsequently registers, the student must choose a different option course.

4.    A student may designate a course in which they have enrolled for pass/fail grading before the deadline to drop the course without academic penalty in each term. Once selected, the student may change his/her choice up to the same deadline.  If the course is a multi-term course, the student must make the pass/fail designation by the deadline for the B half of the course.

5.    A student cannot change from a letter grade to pass/fail grading, or vice-versa, after the deadline to designate a course for pass/fail grading for any reason whatsoever.

6.    A student may not designate a course for pass/fail grading if there is a finding of a departure from academic integrity in the course.

7.    No variation from the required course components and grading scheme as published in the course syllabus will be made for a student who designates a course for pass/fail grading.

8.    For courses designated for pass/fail grading, a grade of Pass (P) will be assigned where a student obtains a grade of D- or greater in the course as determined by the grading scheme; otherwise a grade of Fail (F) will be assigned.

9.    A passing grade in a course designated for pass/fail grading will not contribute to the student’s term, Plan or cumulative GPA, but will count for credit toward the student’s degree program.

10.    For courses designated for pass/fail grading, the student information system (PeopleSoft) will retain both the Input Grade entered by the instructor and the Final Grade (Pass/Fail).  The letter grade will not be displayed or released to any party.

11.    The official transcript and those PeopleSoft components normally accessible to faculty and staff members will display only the appropriate Pass or Fail grade and not the letter grade.

12.    Tuition fees will be unaffected by the grading option designated.

13.    Instructors will not be informed by the University or PeopleSoft of a student’s designation of a course for pass/fail grading.  The responsibilities of both the student and the instructor in the course will remain the same as when letter grades are assigned.

14.    The Personal Interest Credit is intended to be used by students to make active decisions related to their academic careers.  Students who are facing extenuating circumstances should not use the pass/fail designation to provide accommodation but instead should refer to Academic Regulation 10.3 for other options to consider.  Note in particular Regulations 10.3.1 (aegrotat standing), 10.3.2 (credit standing), 10.3.4 (incomplete) and 10.3.7 (dropped).

Regulations around the Personal Interest Credit

All regulations involving the Personal Interest Credit are contained in the Academic Regulations.

Select Your PIC

The Personal Interest Credit application form for Summer Courses can be found here.

Once you have completed your PIC application form, please send it to asc.registration@queensu.ca