Minimum passing grades: If you get a D, do you have to retake the course?

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PODCAST UPDATES: Ooh, this one is prime for another re-record. But, until then, the minimum passing grade for a journalism course is now a C. So anything lower than that needs to be retaken. This only applies to majors though. Courses taken for the minor may still be a C-.


This is a re-recording of a podcast that was first released in 2008. This was rerecorded because some of the examples in the original recording are no longer valid.

Hello and welcome to “quick question,” the jcomm advising podcast. Today’s quick question is about minimum passing grades. If you get a D in a class, do you have to retake it?

The lowest passing grade is a D-. It doesn’t help your GPA but the lowest passing grade is a D-. As to whether you have to retake the class, it depends on what the class is being used for.

Let’s start with journalism classes. Most majors require at least a C- in their major classes. That’s only partially true with journalism classes. With journalism, the lower division classes are the only classes that need to be passed with a C or C- or better. If you get a grade lower than a C in Grammar, or lower than a C- in Media Professions or Media and Society, you have to retake that class. The Gateway classes also require a C- or better. Everything else is a go with at least a D-.

That’s not to say you can slack off once you get into the school. The journalism school has a minimum journalism GPA requirement. All journalism students have to have a journalism GPA of 2.50 or better to graduate. So one D in, say, J387 Communication History, doesn’t mean you have to retake it. But it will affect your journalism GPA. Get too many of those and your journalism GPA is sunk.

A side note about J387 Communication History. That class can also be used for the communication studies minor. The comm. studies minor does require at least C- grades. So if you are a journalism major who’s also minoring in comm. studies, that D in Comm. History will count for the major but not the minor. Tricky, huh?

With your general education requirements, there are three requirements that dictate a C- minimum. You must pass the writing classes (WR 121, WR 122, WR 123) with at least a C-. If you are going for the Bachelor of Arts, you must pass the foreign language classes with at least a C-. And if you are going the Bachelor of Science route, you must pass all the math or computer science classes with C-s or better. For all the other requirements – arts & letters, social science, science, multicultural – a D- or better is fine.

One last thing, this whole response to the quick question assumes that you’ve taken the class graded. If you’ve changed your grading option to pass/no pass and you get a “D.” Well, that’s a no pass. And you have to retake the class no matter what.

“Quick question” is an advising podcast provided by the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. Visit the J-school Student Services office in 101 Allen Hall, on the web at or on twitter at SOJCAdvising.

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