Graduate Student Handbook

11.5 Satisfactory Progress

The GSC sets the standards for reasonable progress. The following provides a framework for faculty and students when considering whether a graduate student is making satisfactory progress toward the completion of his or her degree.

 The academic progress of all students enrolled in the College will be assessed at the College and Division level on an annual basis. The Division Chair must provide the assessment on the PhD Evaluation spreadsheet.

 After this review, an advisor who feels that a student is not making satisfactory progress toward a degree should inform the GSC and request a formal review by the Graduate Studies Committee. In addition, the Graduate Studies Committee will contact a student’s advisor upon receipt of a Warning Letter from the Graduate School. If in consultation with the advisor the Graduate Studies Committee deems such a meeting is necessary, a formal review of the student’s progress will be held. The student will be informed in a letter from the GSC that a review is being conducted. This is the first step toward dismissal, therefore the committee, in cooperation with the student’s advisor, will meet to conduct a review that will include:

 

  1. Evaluation of the student’s rate of progress toward achieving a graduate degree;
  2. Assessment of the student’s strength and weaknesses in terms of possible successful completion of the program;
  3. The determination of the student’s status in the program as satisfactory or unsatisfactory;
  4. A letter from the student indicating his/her point of view or reason for not making adequate progress.

 Following this review:

  1. If progress is considered satisfactory, the student will be informed of this decision in a letter from the GSC.
  2. If progress is considered unsatisfactory, the student will be informed of this decision in a letter from the GSC, and the advisor and the student will develop a written plan of action to govern the student’s continuation in the program. This written plan will be signed by the student, his or her advisor, and the GSC chair.

 Following two terms of enrollment after the initial review, a second review of progress will be held by the GSC and the student’s advisor.

  1. If progress is considered satisfactory, the student will be informed of the satisfactory review in a letter from the GSC.
  2. If progress is considered unsatisfactory, the student will be referred to the Graduate School for dismissal from the program by the GSC. The student will be informed of this decision in a letter from the GSC.

 Expectations for Master’s and Doctoral Students

Both master’s and doctoral students should communicate with their advisors at least once each term, either in a meeting or via email or phone. All students are expected to be enrolled during autumn and spring semester (summer is optional). Students pursuing a PhD degree must obtain permission from the faculty advisor, Division Chair, or GSC chair if he or she wishes not to enroll during a particular term. Students who do not register for two or more terms without pre-approval of the faculty advisor may be subject to dismissal by the specialization. Students who do not register for two years or more need written recommendation for reactivation from the faculty advisor, the Division Chair, and the GSC chair to reactivate. Approval is not automatic and will depend on a review of the student’s previous progress and performance in the program as well as faculty advisor availability.

Expectations for Master’s Students

MPH and MS degree programs typically take one and a half to two years of full-time study, three to four years for part-time study (but no longer than five years for MPH and MS students, or six years for MHA students.) MPH students should see the progress timeline in the Culminating Project Guidelines. Any exceptions must be approved by the faculty advisor.

 Expectations for Doctoral Students

Doctoral programs typically take between three and six years of full-time study.

A doctoral student may demonstrate progress toward degree completion in a number of ways, including:

  1. Calling an advisory committee meeting at least one term before the Candidacy Exam to finalize the curriculum plan;
  2. Showing progress with agreed upon curriculum plan; and
  3. Completing Candidacy Examinations in accordance with the agreed-upon plan.

 

A doctoral student may demonstrate lack of progress toward degree completion in a number of ways, including:

  1. Not enrolling continuously each term prior to candidacy (refer to Appendix G for specific requirements)
  2. Excessive, repeated ( i.e., a total of two in two successive terms), or overdue incompletes (i.e., more than one year without completion);
  3. Failure to maintain a 3.0 grade point average;
  4. Failure to complete all degree requirements within the five-year time limit following completion of the Candidacy Examination
  5. Unsatisfactory completion of the Candidacy Examination;
  6. Unsatisfactory dissertation progress for post-Candidacy students as evaluated by the advisor and committee members (e.g., failure to submit acceptable draft of dissertation within three years); or
  7. Failure to enroll in the required 3 graduate credit hours every term (except summer) after admission to candidacy