Satisfactory Academic Progress

OVERVIEW

All programs must make clear and direct reference in their materials (in a printed handbook and/or on the web) to the policies detailed below. Programs must also detail any additional program requirements, to the extent that they differ from The Graduate School’s (TGS) policies.

Cases of improper academic and/or research conduct, and inappropriate or unprofessional behavior are considered outside the boundaries of “satisfactory academic progress”. These cases are addressed according to the University’s existing disciplinary procedures, and may result in a range of sanctions up to and including exclusion from the University. Resources for these cases can be found here:

Per federal regulation, recipients of federal financial aid must meet certain requirements (in addition to those listed below) to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Recipients of federal aid should be aware of the Federal Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

CRITERIA FOR SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS

TGS sets the minimum standard for satisfactory academic progress. Programs may have additional criteria beyond TGS’s for determining a student’s academic standing. There are three sets of criteria that The Graduate School takes into account in determining whether or not students are making satisfactory academic progress:

  • Program length. Doctoral students must complete all requirements for the Ph.D. within nine years of initial registration in TGS. Master’s students must complete all requirements for the master's degree within five years of initial registration in TGS. Students who do not complete degree requirements by the established deadlines will not be considered in good academic standing, will not be eligible for financial aid and will be subject to TGS 513 (advanced continuous registration). Students may submit a petition to extend the degree deadline, but those students will not be eligible for financial aid and will be subject to TGS 513.
  • Grades and cumulative GPA. A student whose overall grade average is below B (3.0 GPA) or who has more than three incomplete (Y or X) grades is not making satisfactory academic progress and will be placed on probation by TGS. Individual programs may have stricter criteria.
  • Internal milestone deadlines. Doctoral students who have not been admitted to candidacy by the end of their third year (i.e., passed the qualifying exam), or who have not completed the dissertation prospectus by the end of the fourth year are not making satisfactory academic progress and will be placed on academic probation by TGS

Programs may have additional criteria beyond TGS’s for determining a student’s academic standing. Failure to make satisfactory academic progress, as determined by the program, may be a result of (but is not limited to): unsatisfactory performance in classes, unsatisfactory performance on qualifying exams, unsatisfactory research progress, or failure to meet other program requirements (such as language proficiency or publication requirement).

Each student’s academic progress must be reported annually by the student’s program to the student and to TGS.

Failure to make satisfactory academic progress as determined by either The Graduate School or the program will result in probation or exclusion (dismissal).

PETITIONING FOR EXTENSION

Students who have exceeded their time to degree deadline or a milestone deadline for the qualifying exam or prospectus may petition TGS for an extension. The petition for an extension must contain the following information:

  • The specific length of the extension: Please list the exact date by which the requirement will be met. The extension time frame should be realistic.
  • A detailed rationale for the extension
  • A detailed timeline for meeting the new deadline: What work remains to be completed and what is the specific timeline, with proposed deadlines, by which that work will be completed within the extension period?
  • A detailed letter of support for the extension from the Director of Graduate Study
  • A detailed letter of support for the extension from the student’s academic/research advisor

PROBATION

A student who is not making satisfactory academic progress due to one of the reasons outlined above will be placed on academic probation by The Graduate School and/or the program.

When a decision to place a student on probation is made by The Graduate School, the student will be notified in writing, along with the program’s Director of Graduate Study, and will be given at most two quarters (not including summer quarter) to resume satisfactory academic standing. The Graduate School notifies students of probation status on a quarterly basis.

During the probationary period, students will remain eligible to receive federal and institutional assistance (except when they have exceeded their degree deadline). At the end of the probationary period, progress will be reviewed. If a student cannot re-establish satisfactory academic standing during the two probationary quarters, the student will become ineligible to receive financial aid and will be excluded (dismissed) from TGS.

When a decision to place a student on probation is made by the program, the student and The Graduate School must be notified in writing.

EXCLUSION (DISMISSAL)

The University defines exclusion in the Student Handbook.

A student who fails to resume satisfactory academic standing after at most two quarters (excluding summers) after being notified of placement on probation by The Graduate School will be excluded from The Graduate School.

Under certain circumstances, a student can be excluded by a program without first being placed on probation. This may occur only if:

  • the criteria for exclusion have been stated clearly by the program and have been disseminated to the students effectively.
  • both the Director of Graduate Study and either the Chair of the graduate program’s student advisory committee or the Chair of the student’s department approve the exclusion.

Funding will cease on the effective date of the exclusion unless other arrangements are made.

NOTIFICATION OF EXCLUSION (DISMISSAL) 

When TGS determines that a student is to be excluded, both the program and the student will be informed in writing (e-mail communication is considered to be “in writing”) within five business days of the determination.

Similarly, when a decision to exclude a student is made by the program, both the student and TGS must be informed in writing within five business days of the decision.

The exclusion (dismissal) notification must include the effective date of the exclusion and a clear statement of the reason(s) for exclusion.

APPEAL PROCESS

Students wishing to appeal a program’s exclusion decision may appeal the final program exclusion decision to The Graduate School. To appeal a program decision, students should submit a request in writing to the attention of the Director of Student Services within ten days of the date of the program’s final written determination of exclusion to the student and include any supporting materials at that time. If no appeal is filed within the ten-day appeal period, the program’s decision becomes final and not subject to appeal.

Exclusion appeals are reviewed by the Dean of The Graduate School (or his designate) who may request additional information from, or a meeting with, the student and/or program before making a final decision. The Dean’s decision will be made within 30 days of the submission and will be communicated in writing to both the student and the program. When resolution cannot be achieved within 30 days, students and programs will be informed in writing of the delay and the final disposition will be achieved as quickly as possible.

The Dean’s decision is final in both program and Graduate School exclusions proceedings with the exception of academic dishonesty/misconduct findings where the student has 10 days to appeal the Graduate School Dean’s decision to the Provost.