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Satisfactory Academic Progress

In addition to maintaining a minimum 3.00 grade-point average, students enrolled in a graduate degree program are required to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress toward degree completion. Students may change major professors with departmental approval, but are required to have a major professor or advisor to maintain satisfactory academic progress. The major professor typically serves as the chair of the student's graduate committee. Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements is grounds for disqualification by the Dean of the Graduate College. Each department has its own criteria for evaluation of a student's academic progress. The Graduate College will apply the appropriate department's criteria if the department requests a student's disqualification for failure to meet satisfactory academic progress guidelines. Departmental policies on satisfactory academic progress are available from departments and should be available online.

Guidelines for Departments

Program guidelines should include dates by which students will receive annual reports on their progress and be notified of any concerns. When a student fails to meet program guidelines for satisfactory progress, the student must receive written notification with a clear statement of what he or she must do and a date by which such actions must be completed. The Graduate College should receive a copy of letters of unsatisfactory progress. Students must be given an opportunity to appeal or rebut, and program guidelines must indicate a process for such appeals. Students who fail to remediate by the deadlines specified may be dismissed from the program. Students have the right to appeal such decisions to the Graduate College, but the Graduate College will limit its review to whether or not the program followed their established policies.
Departments will necessarily vary in their definitions of academic progress. Some possible criteria are listed below. Not all will apply to all departments and some departments may have other indicators of progress.  
Possible Criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress 
  1. Specific (core) courses that
    1. Must be completed by a certain time and/or
    2. Must be completed with a certain GPA
  2. Internships/clinical experiences/practica that have evaluation beyond the grade or that must be completed by a certain time
  3. Annual evaluation that goes beyond GPA, such as judgment by advisor (and/or others) as to research potential and/or specific skills (e.g., clinical, writing, laboratory)
  4. Must have completed various milestones by certain times (e.g., approved prospectus, successful passing of qualifying exams, comprehensive exams, constitution of thesis or dissertation committee, capstone courses, clinical or internship requirements)
  5. More stringent time to degree than Graduate College’s policy
  6. Specific grade requirements such as
    1. Minimum GPA in major requires a higher than 3.0 GPA or
    2. No courses below a B in major, or specific courses
    3. Minimum cumulative GPA above the Grad College requirement
  7. Rules for comprehensive exams (master’s and orals), such as
    1. When they must be taken
    2. Repeatable? Under what circumstances?
    3. Relation between written and oral, e.g.,
      1. How much time between
      2. What constitutes a PASS for written
      3. Whether or not writtens may be re-taken - if so, just failed questions or whole exam
    4. Who grades exams and how. Criteria for PASS
    5. Any special program requirements (such as a grad rep, specified length, etc.)


Last updated 15 Aug 2017