Graduate student academic progress guidelines

Graduate students are expected to make satisfactory progress in their programs. And faculty and administrators need to support their advance toward degree completion. For Ph.D. students, the Annual Review was instituted to provide feedback regarding academic progress and to assist in developing goals for future work. In some cases, however, students are unable to meet goals, and programs must make difficult decisions about whether the student should continue in the program. These guidelines are designed to help programs define satisfactory academic progress and respond when students are not advancing appropriately. The guidelines incorporate existing and new policies.

Student responsibilities in making satisfactory academic progress

To remain in good academic standing, students must:

  • Make satisfactory progress toward the degree as evidenced by:
    • Meeting degree milestones (e.g., candidacy, prospectus approval) in a timely manner so that completion within the degree time limit appears likely
    • For Ph.D. students, passing the Qualifying Exam within two attempts and passing the dissertation defense
    • Meeting the program and the Graduate School requirements for enrollment
    • Accumulating only a limited number of unchanged Y grades.
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average
  • Meet research and scholarship, professional or other criteria stipulated by the program

Program responsibilities in developing academic progress criteria

Programs should develop academic progress policies, tailoring the general progress criteria in these guidelines to their own needs, and should include the following:

  • Definition of what constitutes academic progress and lack of progress: the expected timeframe for achieving degree milestones, enrollment expectations and the number of stopped-out terms that will lead to probation and dismissal, and the acceptable number of unchanged Y grades
  • Statement of any requirement for a minimum 3.0 grade in specific courses or restrictions on the number of grades below 3.0 that will be accepted, als well as a statement of how many graduate courses may be repeated
  • Statement of research and scholarship, professional and other criteria students must meet to remain in good standing in the program

Retention, probation and dismissal procedures

Programs should monitor the academic progress and enrollment of their students. In cases of lack of academic progress, they may place a student on probation for a specified time, during which time the student works to achieve the goals set for the probationary period.

  • Enrolled students: Programs should notify (in writing) students who are not making adequate progress of the specific issues involved and set up a timetable for the student to achieve them. This period is considered probationary, and a copy of the notification letter is to be placed in the student's program file and the college file (master's students) or Graduate School file (Ph.D. students).
  • Stopped-out students: The program should contact students who stop enrolling to determine the student's intent to continue in the program. The program determines the number of allowable stop-out terms and the number that constitutes grounds for dismissal from the program.
  • GPA: Students with GPAs below 3.0 are placed on probation systemically and automatically have a hold placed on their registration. Such students are required to confer with their advisor to develop a plan and timetable for elevating their GPA. If the advisor approves the plan, they should notify the school/college to release the GPA registration hold so the student can register for the agreed upon course(s).

If the student meets the expectations of the probationary period, the program should notify the college (master's students) or Graduate School (Ph.D. students) that the student who was on probation has returned to good standing. If the student does not meet expectations, the program should notify the student of their dismissal in writing and send the college (master's students) or Graduate School (Ph.D. students) a copy of the dismissal letter. These offices will place a hold on the student's future registration.

The student may appeal the dismissal. Such appeal will follow the grade appeals procedures, as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, ending in review by the provost.

If the program readmits a dismissed student, the program should send a copy of the readmission letter to the college (master's students) or Graduate School (Ph.D. students) so the registration hold can be removed by these offices.

If a student withdraws from the program, the program should acknowledge the withdrawal in writing and put the student's withdrawal letter and the program's response letter in the student's program file. It should send copies to the college (master's students) or the Graduate School (Ph.D. students). These offices will place a hold on the student's future registration.

Communication of the program's academic progress policy

Programs should include their academic progress policy in student handbooks and other materials so that all students are made aware of the policy.