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Graduate students in Arts, Sciences & Engineering are graded in two standard ways: either with a standard letter grade (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, E) or on the basis of pass/fail (S, E). In either case, the course must be graded consistently for all students. Dissertation courses (897, 997, 899, 999) can be graded only on the basis of pass/fail (S, E). 

For more information about the graduate grading scheme, visit the registrar’s scheme page. Please note that the graduate grading scheme is different from the undergraduate grading scheme.

While some courses will be graded via a standard letter grade, GPAs are not calculated for graduate programs due to the number of courses graded on the basis of pass/fail. If necessary, students can estimate a GPA using the GPA calculator found on the registrar’s website. If necessary, the AS&E GEPA office can provide verification that a GPA is not issued.

Incomplete Policy Link to section

The grade of I (incomplete) is an option providing a student with additional time to complete unfinished work. It may only be used in conjunction with a Memorandum of Understanding between the student and the instructor describing precisely what additional work must be completed by the student to enable the instructor to assign a final course grade and when this additional work must be completed. The Memorandum of Understanding should be kept with the department to determine if the student has met the agreed-upon terms.

With the exception of extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the AS&E dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, this additional work must be completed no later than one calendar year (two semesters) after the end of the semester in which the original course was taken.

The official transcript will show only the final grade the instructor assigns.

Academic Probation Policy Link to section

All graduate students are expected to maintain high standards of academic performance in their coursework and their research. The minimum acceptable grades for courses or research work carrying graduate credit are C or S. However, only one C grade is allowed in a student’s graduate program of study. Please note that individual departments may have a higher minimum grade requirement that supersedes this policy.

AS&E Academic Probation Link to section

A student who receives the grade of C in one or more courses or the grade of E in one or more courses will be considered to have an unsatisfactory record and will be automatically placed on academic probation*. A student on academic probation cannot be awarded a graduate degree. Students in extenuating circumstances may appeal to the AS&E dean of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs.

*Students who receive their first and only C in their final semester are not subject to academic probation.

When a student is placed on probation by the AS&E GEPA office, the student will be notified in writing and will be reviewed at the end of the following semester to determine if their probationary status should continue. During the probationary period, students will remain eligible to receive federal and institutional assistance (except when they have exceeded their degree deadline). If a student does not re-establish satisfactory academic standing after attempting 12 semester hours, the student will become ineligible to receive financial aid and will be subject to exclusion (dismissal) by the AS&E GEPA office.

A student will be removed from academic probation if the student completes 12 semester hours of graduate credit with no grade lower than B-. If the student receives a grade below B-, the student is subject to removal from the program.

Academic Department or Program Probation

As noted above, programs may have additional standards beyond the AS&E GEPA office’s set of criteria for determining a student’s academic standing. All programs must make clear and direct reference in their handbook or program materials to any additional criteria for determining a student’s academic standing and to the consequences of failing to meet program-specific requirements.

When a program determines that a student is not making adequate academic progress, the program may place the student on an internal departmentl probation in accordance with the probation process outlined in the program’s handbook or in direct written communication to a student. Programs determine the length of the probationary period in accordance with their handbook or previous communication to a student. When a decision to place a student on probation is made by the program, the student and the AS&E GEPA office must be notified in writing.

Exclusion (Dismissal)

A student who fails to resume satisfactory academic standing during the probationary period after being notified of placement on probation will be excluded (dismissed). The exclusion decision is final when a student does not meet the criteria for satisfactory academic progress and has failed to remediate within the AS&E GEPA office’s probationary period. In such cases, there is no process for appeal, and the exclusion will take effect immediately.

As noted above, programs may have additional criteria beyond the AS&E GEPA office’s criteria for determining a student’s academic standing and may have their own internal probation process. A student who has failed to make satisfactory academic progress according to the program-specific criteria or failed to remediate during a program-specific probation period will be excluded (dismissed) by the program. A student can be excluded (dismissed) by a program when the:

  • Criteria for exclusion (dismissal) have been stated clearly by the program, either in a handbook or via direct written communication to a student, and have been disseminated to the students effectively
  • Decision to exclude is made by the program faculty or a subset of faculty that includes the director of graduate study; no individual faculty member can exclude a student

Funding will cease on the effective date of the exclusion unless other arrangements are made. When a student is excluded (dismissed) by the program, the student has an opportunity to appeal the exclusion decision to the AS&E GEPA office. When a student appeals the program’s exclusion decision, the exclusion becomes effective after the appeal process has concluded if the appeal is denied.

Notification of Exclusion (Dismissal)

When the AS&E GEPA office determines that a student is to be excluded, both the program and the student will be informed in writing (email communication is considered to be “in writing”) within 10 business days of the determination. Similarly, when a decision to exclude a student is made by the program, both the student and the AS&E GEPA office must be informed in writing within 10 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 for Exclusions by Program

Students wishing to appeal a program’s exclusion decision may appeal the final program exclusion decision to the AS&E GEPA office. To appeal a program decision, students should submit a request in writing to the attention of the graduate registrar within 10 calendar 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 10-day appeal period, the program’s decision becomes final and not subject to appeal.

Grounds for appeal of a program’s exclusion decision are as follows:

  • Procedural errors in the exclusion process
  • New information discovered after the exclusion that was not available at the time of the exclusion and could impact the outcome
  • Program’s decision to exclude was manifestly contrary to the weight of the information available at the time of the decision (i.e., exclusion is obviously unreasonable and unsupported by the great weight of information)

Appeals of program exclusions are reviewed by the AS&E dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs (or the dean’s designee) who may request additional information from, or a meeting with, the student and/or program before making a final decision.

If the dean (or the dean’s designee) does not find that any of the aforementioned grounds for appeal are present, the dean will uphold the outcome of the program. If the dean (or the dean’s designee) finds that grounds for appeal are valid, they may amend the decision of the program.

Academic Grievance Policy Link to section

Students may feel that they have legitimate complaints regarding academic matters. It is important that students and faculty have a common understanding of how such complaints may be expressed and resolved. Grievances covered by this policy include problems related to academic issues, such as:

  • Deviations from stated grading and examination policies as they appear on syllabi, on assignments, or in departmental guidelines for graduate study
  • Failure to disclose in writing reasons behind termination or dismissal, either from the program or from employment or other support
  • Unfair treatment on issues related to graduate student appointments
  • Unfairness in the application of graduate requirements or regulations

Grievances not covered under this policy include:

  • Students who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran, as this would fall under HR Policy 106 or Title IX.
  • Student disciplinary proceedings for misconduct, including plagiarism and cheating, fall under the provisions of the Standards of Student Conduct and Academic Honesty.
  • If the matter involves another student, this falls under the Student Conduct Policy.
  • If the matter is not academic in nature, this falls under the AS&E Graduate Student Non-Academic Grievance Policy.
  • Similarly, and as a general proposition, dissatisfaction with a departmental, school, or University policy or practice of broad or general application is not grounds for a grievance under this procedure.


  1. Students with complaints of an academic nature should initially discuss the matter, orally or in writing, with the individual(s) most directly responsible. Students may also seek counsel from an AS&E Ombudsperson while seeking remedy within their department. If a student is uncomfortable with the prospect of having such conversation, they can proceed to step two.
  2. If the result of step one proves unsatisfactory, then the student should consult with the individual at the next administrative level, for example, the chair or director of the relevant department or program. At this stage, the department chair or program director, if any, may inform the AS&E dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs that the consultation is taking place and may solicit their advice on how to ensure that adequate steps are taken to achieve a fair result. The student should set forth in writing a statement of the decision that constitutes the subject matter of the dispute, the grounds on which it is being challenged, and the reasons why the grievant believes that the decision was improperly taken. The statement should also include a description of the remedy sought and the informal efforts taken to date to resolve the matter. A grievance must be filed in a timely fashion, that is, no later than 30 days after the end of the academic semester in which the adverse decision occurred or should reasonably have been discovered. Except in extraordinary circumstances, delay in filing a grievance will constitute grounds for rejection of the grievance.
  3. The department chair’s decision will be final on all complaints that cannot be properly judged by a person external to the department or program (e.g., dismissal from a graduate program based on failure to maintain required grade levels, dismissal from a graduate program based on two failed attempts at comprehensive examinations). Throughout this process, the original complaint, communications, and processes as well as the final decision should be in writing to provide documentation for all involved.
  4. Complaints that remain unresolved and are able to be judged by those external to the department may be addressed to the AS&E dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs. The dean may attempt to resolve the matter informally or make whatever disposition of the grievance that they deem appropriate. The dean may, in appropriate cases, remand the grievance to a lower administrative level (including to the level at which the grievance arose) for further consideration. In undertaking the review, the dean may request a response to the issues raised in the grievance from any individuals believed to have information considered relevant, including faculty, staff, and students. Should attempts to resolve the matter informally not be successful, the dean will decide the grievance and will notify the grievant (and the party against whose decision the grievance has been filed) in writing of the disposition made of the grievance and the grounds for the disposition at the earliest practicable date after their receipt of the grievance.