Student Information:

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading Option / Grade-free Scheme FOR COHORT 2016 ONWARDS

(Revision in S/U Policy due to Enhanced Grade-free Scheme with effect from AY2016/17 Semester 1)

The introduction of the Grade-free scheme (GFS), aims to provide a supportive and enabling environment for NUS undergraduates to make a successful transition into the academic and social culture of university life.

The scheme is also intended to encourage students to pursue their intellectual interests without undue concern that exploring a new subject area may adversely affect their CAP. Students from ALL cohorts are allowed to exercise the S/U option on a given number of MCs depending on the year of matriculation.

What does "Grade-free" mean?

“Grade-free” is not doing away with grades.

Rather, it allows students to exclude the grade of some module(s) from the computation of Cumulative Average Point (CAP). This will take the form of the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option. Students will receive letter grades for their modules, after which they can opt to keep the grade or convert it to a Satisfactory (‘S’) or Unsatisfactory (‘U’) grade, which will not be factored into their CAP.

Definition of ‘S’ & ‘U’ Grades

  • ‘S’ is assigned if the grade obtained for a module is ‘C’ grade or above. MCs are counted towards degree requirement.
  • Conversely, ‘U’ is assigned if the grade obtained for a module is lower than ‘C’ grade. In this case, no MCs are earned. A module with 'U' grade will have to be retaken, if it is a ULR or programme requirement.
  • ‘S’ / ‘U’ grades will be reflected in the transcript issued by the University and will be counted towards the 32MCs S/U limit.

S/U Declaration Exercise

The exercise will take place immediately with the release of examination results each semester. The exercise will be conducted for 3 days, starting from the day of release of results. The S/U option that you have exercised on module(s) is irrevocable once the S/U exercise is over.

Rules Governing The Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grade Policy

With the introduction of Enhanced Grade-free Scheme, students may exercise the S/U option for up to 32 MCs in the first two regular semesters. If this is not fully utilised, the S/U option may still be exercised in subsequent semesters, for up to 12 MCs.

Variations on the limit of S/U options that can be exercised will apply for specific groups of students, such as the following:

  1. Students without prior university experience but are granted 20 or more Advanced Placement Credits (APCs) at the point of admission to NUS may exercise the S/U option for up to 20 MCs in the first two regular semesters; if this is not fully utilised, the S/U option may still be exercised in subsequent semesters, for up to 12 MCs.

  2. Students with some prior university experience (which are being recognised towards the NUS degree) may exercise the S/U option for up to 12 MCs anytime during their candidature, including the first two regular semesters.

  3. Students with a prior university degree are not eligible for the grade-free scheme.

Variation on limit of S/U options

  Total no. of S/U MCs available for first two regular semesters Maximum number of unutilised S/U MCs allowed to be carried forward to subsequent semesters

Group A:
Newly admitted undergraduate students who are grant up to 19 Advanced Placement Credits (APCs) without grade transfer;

Newly admitted undergraduate students who have previously studied in another university and choose to start on a clean slate (i.e. no waiver, credit transfer/exemption of modules)

32 Up to 12

Group B:
Newly admitted undergraduate students who are granted at least 20 Advanced Placement Credits (APCs) without grade transfer

20 Up to 12

Group C:
Newly admitted undergraduate students who have previously studied in another university and are granted credits for modules read (without grade transfer)

(Note: this excludes Returning NSmen who read NUS iBLOCs and Special Term modules prior to their candidature, as well as students who have done university modules to fulfil their ‘A’ Level H3 requirement.)

12 Up to 12

Group D:
Newly admitted undergraduate students who have a prior university degree.

Not Applicable Not Applicable



Key Points to Note

  1. Students who choose to S/U a core module (e.g. MA1505) with a ‘U’ grade, must re-take the core module to meet graduation requirement. This is because no MCs are earned with a ‘U’ grade.  

  2. The S/U option can only be applied for modules taken in the current semester.

  3. S/U option cannot be exercised on modules with Completed Satisfactory/Completed Unsatisfactory (CS/CU) grading basis (e.g. EG1111, EG1112, EG16XX, EG26XX, EG36XX)

  4. S/U option is not applicable to modules in which students are found to have committed plagiarism; and modules which a revised grade had been prescribed by the Board of Discipline

Modules Eligible for S/U option

The abovementioned entitlement is applicable for the following modules:

  • All Level 1000 modules.
  • Level 2000 modules without NUS modules as pre-requisites.
  • Centre for Language Studies’ (CLS) language modules at all levels.
  • Yale-NUS College’s (YNC) language modules at all levels.
  • Centre for English Language Communication’s (CELC) Level 2000 Communication and Ideals & Exposition modules. (ES2002, IS2101, CS2101, ES2660, ES2007D, ES2331, UTW2001%)

The abovementioned entitlement is not applicable for the following modules:

  • Level 2000 modules with NUS modules as pre-requisites.
  • Modules of Level 3000 and above.
  • Modules dropped with W or F-grade (during the module dropping period).
  • Modules in which student had committed academic offense.
  • Modules in which the Board of Discipline had prescribed a revised grade.
  • University Scholars Program’s (USP) Writing and Critical Thinking modules (UWC2101%) and Quantitative Reasoning modules (UQF2101%).
  • Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) Major Study modules.
  • Zero-MC modules.
  • Modules assigned IC grade.


Examples of some common Engineering modules that can/cannot be S/U-ed:

Module Able to S/U? Reason
ES1000 No Zero-MC module
ES1103 Yes Level 1000 module
MA1505 Yes Level 1000 module
EG1111 No Module on CS/CU grading basis
EG2401 No Level 2000 with NUS module pre-requisite
ES2331 Yes CELC’s Level 2000 Communications modules

For more detailed information on S/U policy, students should refer to the Registrar's Office S/U Homepage.