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Academic Progress and Expectations

AS&E Criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress Link to section

The University’s graduate studies regulations set the minimum standard for satisfactory academic progress. The Office of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA) in AS&E also follows these regulations; however, individual degree-granting programs within AS&E may impose additional criteria for determining a student’s academic standing. All programs must make clear and direct reference in their materials (in a handbook on the web) to the policies detailed below, to the extent that they differ from the GEPA office’s policies, and any additional program requirements.

There are three sets of criteria that GEPA takes into account in determining whether or not students are making satisfactory academic progress: 

Grades: A student who receives a grade of C or E in one or more courses will be considered to have an unsatisfactory record and will be automatically be placed on AS&E academic probation. To be removed from academic probation, the student must complete 12 semester hours of graduate credit with no grade lower than a B-. If a student receives any grade lower than B-, the student is not making satisfactory progress and is subject to removal from the program. Individual programs may have stricter grade criteria and can determine independently from the AS&E GEPA office that a student is not meeting grade requirements in the program.

Milestone deadlines: Please consult your department for specific milestones and associated deadlines required by your program. This may include deadlines for qualifying exams and/or internal departmental exams. Please note that most milestones require paperwork to be filed with the GEPA office within a certain timeframe before the exam. Please consult your graduate coordinator for guidance on these timelines and other requirements. Students who fail to meet appropriate milestone deadlines are not considered to be making satisfactory progress.

Time to degree: Doctoral students must successfully defend and submit their final dissertation by the end of their seventh year. Note that if a student transfers in a master’s degree toward their doctoral degree, they must complete the doctoral degree requirements by the end of their sixth year.

Master’s students must complete all requirements for the master’s degree within five years of initial registration. Occasional exceptions to extend a program may be granted through a petition process. In the event that a petition is required, the petition to extend the student’s time to degree must be approved by the student’s advisor, department chair, and the AS&E dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs.

Individual programs may have earlier deadlines or additional milestones and can determine independently from the AS&E GEPA office that a student is not making satisfactory progress toward milestones. Program specific policies must be communicated through the program’s graduate student handbook.

Programs may have criteria beyond the AS&E GEPA office’s set of criteria for determining a student’s academic standing. Examples of these additional criteria include:

  • Unsatisfactory performance in classes
  • Unsatisfactory performance on qualifying exams
  • Unsatisfactory research progress
  • Unsatisfactory progress in writing the dissertation
  • Failure to meet requirements outlined in a program’s handbook, annual progress communications, or other direct communications to students from programs or advisors.

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