[Skip to Content]

Academic Evaluation and Promotion

Grading System

The grading system for the College of Graduate Studies includes passing grades of "A", "A-", "B+", "B", "B-", "C+", "C", "S" and failing grades of "F" and "U", "XF" and an "Incomplete". Anything below a "C" is considered failing and therefore will be calculated as an "F".  "F" and "U" are failing grades and are included in the student's GPA. The Incomplete grade, as used in this College, may be changed to another grade at the discretion of the instructor, or it can remain on the record as a final grade indicating incomplete work. The Incomplete carries no credit.  Note: All 700 level research courses in the College of Graduate Studies are considered Incomplete until the student graduates, at which time the Incomplete will be changed to an "S" for satisfactory.

A minimum course grade of "C" is required for graduate credit. An overall "B" average (3.0 grade point average) must be maintained. A grade of "B" may be required for particular courses as determined by department chairs/program directors. Grades in dissertation/thesis research credit hours (designated as the 700 series) are not included in the GPA. Other courses, as approved by the Graduate Council, which are evaluated "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" are also not included in the GPA if successfully completed but may be credited towards fulfilling the didactic requirements of a student's degree program.

Research Courses which are not graded in the letter system are evaluated "Satisfactory" or "Unsatisfactory". Satisfactory indicates performance of sufficiently high quality for credit to be assigned.

Grade Appeal Process

The purpose of the grade appeal process is to protect the rights of both the student in earning a grade and the faculty in assigning a grade. Whereas it is recognized that faculty have the right to use their professional judgment both subjectively and objectively in determining a student’s grade based on academic performance, faculty have the responsibility to award the grade in a uniform manner based on established expectations and criteria for academic (including research) performance. And, whereas it is recognized that students have the right to appeal a grade that has seemingly been awarded in an arbitrary and capricious manner, students have the responsibility to accept the faculty member's professional judgment about quality of work and to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the faculty and the University.

  1. Scope
    1. The grade appeal process is not intended to deal with concerns about the general conduct or instruction of the course.
    2. Grades assigned as a result of a found violation of the Student Code of Conduct cannot be appealed through this process. Rather, the appeal is through the process delineated in the Student Code of Conduct.
    3. Only final course grades can be appealed; however, individual assignments can be evidence if it can be shown that the grade earned on a given assignment resulted in a lower final grade.
  2. Application - Students may appeal a grade based on the following reasons:
    1. The grade awarded is based other than upon academic or clinical performance as outlined in the syllabus.
    2. The grade awarded was not calculated according to the prior established guidelines set forth by the faculty and distributed to students.
    3. The standards for determining the grade were more demanding and rigorous than for other students.
    4. The grade awarded was calculated on false or erroneous information.
  3. Provisions
    1. The burden of proof rests with the student to demonstrate that the final grade was awarded inappropriately.
    2. A formal appeal cannot be accepted until the informal appeal has been exhausted.
    3. Falsification or fabrication of information to support an appeal is subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.
    4. Informal Appeal – the student meets with the faculty or course coordinator in the case of multiple instructors. The student must initiate the informal appeal within five business days from the time the grades are submitted and recorded on the student's academic transcript. If a resolution is reached, the faculty submits a grade form to the Registrar’s Office to record the grade change. If no resolution is reached, the student may submit a formal appeal. In most cases the discussion between the student and the instructor should suffice and the matter should not need to be carried further.
  4. Formal Appeal - The formal appeal is submitted in writing to the Dean of the College from which the course was taken. The Dean will refer the appeal to the Department Chair, or designee if necessary, for mediation of the disagreement between the student and the faculty. If mediation brings forth a resolution, the Department Chair will notify the Registrar in writing of such and indicate the final grade to be awarded. If mediation does not bring forth a resolution, the appeal is reviewed by the Dean. The Dean, or designee if necessary, will review the appeal and make a final and binding determination of the grade awarded. While the Dean does not need to convene a formal appeals committee, it is expected that the Dean will consult with the student, the faculty, and the Department Chair before making a determination of the grade awarded. If the Dean’s decision results in a grade change, the Dean will notify the Registrar in writing of such and indicate the final grade to be awarded.

Deficient Grades

A deficient grade may be remediated by repeating and passing the course in its entirety, or as prescribed, by the course coordinator in concert with the department chair/program director of the program of study in which the student is enrolled. This must be done no later than the next academic year or the next time the course is offered.

Upon completion of the repeated course, the previous grade received is omitted from the cumulative GPA, but remains on the student’s transcript.

Probation/Dismissal Policy

Any student who falls below the required 3.0 cumulative grade point average, in any semester, will automatically be placed on Academic Probation. A student on academic probation has one year to raise their cumulative grade point to 3.0 or higher. Two consecutive semesters with an individual semester grade point average below 3.0 is grounds for dismissal.

Continuation in the College of Graduate Studies is contingent upon securing an eligible dissertation/thesis advisor by mid-August of the first academic year, and retaining an advisor for the duration of the dissertation/thesis work. A student who leaves an advisor's laboratory has 30 days to obtain a new dissertation/thesis advisor to support the stipend. It is the policy of the College of Graduate Studies to dismiss those students that fail to satisfactorily meet this academic requirement.

A student who has successfully completed all remediated didactic and research requirements must be removed from academic probation by the Graduate Council before they are allowed to defend their thesis.

All notations of academic probation will be removed from the student's transcript when, having successfully completed all degree requirements, the student is awarded the degree.

A student may appeal the decision of dismissal by submitting to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, within 5 business days of receipt of dismissal letter, a summary of extenuating circumstances or mitigating factors that would warrant consideration for an exception of decision. A sub-committee of the College of Graduate Studies' Graduate Council will be established to review the appeal.