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Personal Interest Credit (PIC)

In order to encourage students to explore subject matter outside their program of study and to promote interdisciplinary study, all upper-year Bachelor of Health Sciences 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 (PICs).

The Personal Interest Credit policy applies to all students who:

  • are registered in the Bachelor of Health Sciences degree plan;
  • have successfully completed a minimum of 24.0 units at Queen's; and
  • are in good academic standing (GPA of 1.60 and higher)

Only non-Health Sciences elective courses may be designated for pass/fail grading. No core or option courses, as indicated by the Bachelor of Health Sciences curriculum, may be designated as a PIC. Courses offered by other Faculties and Schools are subject to the policies of that Faculty or School. The Faculty, School, or Department offering the course will determine whether the course is eligible to be designated as a PIC.

In order to encourage students to explore subject matter outside their program of study and to promote interdisciplinarity, all upper-year Bachelor of Health Sciences 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 (PICs).

When does this Personal Interest Credit become available?

The selection of a PIC will be effective for courses enrolled in the Summer 2021 term and later.  The PIC is not retroactive, and may not be selected for courses taken prior to Summer 2021.

Can every Bachelor of Health Sciences student select a PIC?

Selection of a PIC is totally optional, and may be done by all Bachelor of Health Sciences program students who:

  1. are registered in the Bachelor of Health Sciences degree program,
  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).

NOTE:  Some graduate programs and professional schools may not accept a PIC pass/fail grade.  Be sure to consult with the graduate program and/or schools that you may be applying to after you finish your undergraduate degree. You can reach out to your Academic Advisor for advice on how this may impact you.

How many courses can I select as PIC courses?

You can select a maximum of one 3.0 unit course 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. Only non-Health Sciences elective courses may be designated as a PIC. The following can not be designated as a PIC:

  1. Courses that may count as either core or option courses to meet the requirements of the Bachelor of Health Sciences degree program as indicated by the Bachelor of Health Sciences curriculum (even if you do not plan to use the course as part of your degree plan requirements);
  2. Courses that are already offered only as pass/fail courses;
  3. Courses in which there is a finding of a departure from academic integrity; and
  4. Courses not taken at Queen's University

Only courses 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 option requirements but I don’t plan on using it towards my option requirements. Can I designate it as my PIC?

No. Even though you have no intention of using the course in your option 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?

Students may submit their PIC application up until the deadline to drop a course without academic penalty for that term – generally this is 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 course as a PIC up to the deadline to drop a course without academic penalty for the Winter Term.

How do I select a PIC?

The PIC application is available on the Bachelor of Health Sciences website. Once completed, the form may be emailed to bhsc@queensu.ca or you can bring it in to our office located in Botterell Hall.

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 course if I select it as a PIC?

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

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

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

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

You will do the same work and be evaluated in the same way, whether you select the course as a PIC or not.  The instructor will enter the letter grade that you earn in the course.  If you have selected the course 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 course count toward my GPA?

A grade of P in a PIC course will not count toward your GPA.  However, a grade of F in a PIC course 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 course. 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 course?

No, the tuition fees will be the same whether you select a course 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 course 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 course that I passed but my grade wasn’t as high as I hoped.  Can I retake that course 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.

I took a 6.0 unit course as my PIC and failed it.  Can I repeat that course and request it as my PIC again?

No. The maximum number of units a student may designate as PIC over their degree is 6.0, regardless of whether you pass or fail the course. You may still repeat the course if you like, but you will receive a grade for the course that will be included in your GPA. If you repeat the course and pass, then the higher grade will replace the failed PIC grade from your GPA.

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

Provided you meet the eligibility criteria noted below, your PIC will be approved. We assess PIC applications as we receive them, but it could take us 24-48 hours to notify you.

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 registered in the Bachelor of Health Sciences 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 be a non-Health Sciences elective that would noramlly have letter grading; no core or options courses as indicated by the Bachelor of Health Sciences curriculum may be designated as a PIC

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

Yes, you can see this under My Class Schedule.

A student may choose to designate a non-Health Sciences elective that would normally have letter grading for pass/fail grading, designating the course as a Personal Interest Credit (PIC), subject to the policies of the Faculty or School offering the course. Note that this policy applies to courses taken at Queen’s University only.

The intention of such a designation is to encourage a student to explore a wide variety of subject matter and to promote interdisciplinarity.

A student may designate a course in which they have enrolled for pass/fail grading by submitting the appropriate application form to the Bachelor of Health Sciences program office before the deadline to drop the course without academic penalty, as indicated in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Sessional Dates, in each term.

Personal Interest Credits may not be applied for retroactively. Once the academic deadline to drop a class has passed for a specific term, students may no longer designate a course in that term for pass/fail grading.
The following regulations will apply to the designation of any pass/fail grading by the student:

  1. The student must have passed a minimum of 24.0 units at Queen’s before a pass/fail course can be designated.
  2. The student must be in good academic standing at the time that a course is designated for pass/fail grading.
  3. The student may designate a maximum of 6.0 units as a PIC throughout their degree program (excluding any courses designated pass/fail by an academic unit). The 6.0 unit total includes any units designated for pass/fail grading that result in a failing grade.
  4. The student may designate a maximum of one course per term as a PIC.
  5. Once a course has been designated as a PIC, the student may change this designation only up to the deadline to drop the course without academic penalty, as indicated in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Sessional Dates, in each term. In the case of multi-term courses, the student may change the designation up to the deadline for the B half of the course. After this deadline, the student may not change this designation for any reason, regardless of academic performance.
  6. The student may not designate a course as a PIC if there is a finding of a departure from academic integrity in the course. If a finding of a departure from academic integrity occurs in a designated PIC course, the grading scheme will revert to a letter grade and be included in the student's GPA.
  7. Only non-Health Sciences elective courses may be designated for pass/fail grading; no core or option courses, as indicated by the Bachelor of Health Sciences curriculum, may be designated as a PIC.
  8. Courses offered by other Faculties and Schools are subject to the policies of that Faculty or School. The Faculty, School, or Department offering the course will determine whether the course is eligible to be designated as a PIC.
  9. 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 as a PIC. If the instructor assigns a grade of D- or greater, as determined by the grading scheme, the student will be deemed to have met the minimum standard in the course and will be given a grade of P.
  10. Any course designated for as a PIC that results in a failing grade will be included in the student’s GPA (see Pass/Fail Grades). No part of this regulation may be appealed.

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

The Personal Interest Credit application can be found here.

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