Conditions for Dismissal of Graduate Students from the Doctoral Program

A. Unsatisfactory Progress toward the PhD

  • The Department will dismiss from the program students not making satisfactory progress toward the degree. The legitimate grounds for dismissal include the following:
    • A graduate GPA of less than 3.25 for more than one semester.
    • Two grades less than “B-” (either in the same semester or in different semesters) constitute evidence of unsatisfactory progress.
    • Failure in two qualifying exams. This can be failure in two major exams, two minor exams or one major and one minor exam.
    • Failure to defend the prospectus in a timely manner shall constitute evidence of unsatisfactory progress toward the degree.
  • The submission of a written prospectus and oral defense must happen within nine months of the student’s defense of her or his second qualifying exam. PH.D. Committee Chairs can petition in writing to the Department’s Graduate Coordinator for a three month extension of this period.
  • A recommendation supported by a majority of the supervisory committee members including the Chair of the Committee that satisfactory progress on the dissertation is not being made.
  • A judgment supported by a majority of the supervisory committee members including the Chair of the Committee at the final examination that the dissertation is unacceptable.
  • The passage of five years from the date of admission to candidacy (admission is defined as passing two qualifying exams and successful defense of PH.D Dissertation Prospectus) without the submission of an acceptable dissertation. (See Graduate School Catalog.)
  • Dismissal is the decision of the Graduate Coordinator.

B. Rules on Grades and Dismissal

  • Grades below “B-” in the Ph.D. program indicate a failure to master material at an acceptable level. One grade less than “B-” will precipitate a stern warning from the graduate coordinator, a supervisory Chair, or another designated faculty member. Two grades less than “B-” (either in the same semester or in different semesters) constitute evidence of unsatisfactory progress and grounds for dismissal from the program. Students may request a meeting with their existing supervisory committee, which is formed according to Graduate School rules. The committee may then consider whether the student should be retained. The supervisory committee will then issue a recommendation to the graduate coordinator with the final decision of retention or dismissal resting with the graduate coordinator. In the absence of a supervisory committee, the graduate coordinator may consult with faculty members who have taught the student in question when making a final decision regarding dismissal, consistent with Graduate School rules regarding dismissal for unsatisfactory progress. The decision may be appealed through the normal appellate process to the Associate Dean of the College and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • Appeals are to be governed by Graduate School rules.
  • The Graduate School permits students to carry incompletes into one new semester. If incompletes are not turned into letter grades during the next semester in residence, they will turn into failing grades. A student carrying two or more incompletes at the beginning of a semester will lose an assistantship for that semester. Students who carry one or more incompletes past one semester will be ineligible for an assistantship until the incompletes are removed.