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Successful Progression

Evaluation of a graduate student's progress is primarily dependent on the judgments of appropriate faculty members of the student's graduate program. The university, through The Graduate School, can define minimal entrance standards and prescribe general rules governing eligibility for continuation. However, the crucial agency in graduate student evaluation is the graduate program in which the student's work is focused. 

Principal evaluators must be faculty members of the student's graduate program.
It is assumed that disputes over unsatisfactory progress will be informally discussed and reconciled at the program or academic unit level. Discussions of this type will commonly occur among the student, major professor and other faculty members in the graduate program.

All graduate courses (including support courses) must be taken on a letter grade basis. The "audit" option may only be used for elective courses that will not count as part of your Program of Study. University funds, including assistantships, will not cover courses taken under the "audit" option. If you feel that a grade has been awarded in error, please consult the section entitled "General Appeal Process" in the Graduate Catalog.


Calculating your GPA

A grade point average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the accumulated number of grade points earned by the accumulated number of credit hours attempted. All graduate credits attempted and all graduate grades earned, whether passing or failing, will be used to calculate a student's grade point average.

  • The student's grade point average appears on his or her transcript.
  • Students must take all courses on a letter grade ("A-F") or satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis, based on how the particular course was approved. Students do not have flexibility in choosing a grading option.
  • A grade of "W" will be assigned to students who withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadline but before the end of the course adjustment deadline.
  • A grade of "WP" or "WF" (according to the status of the student at the time of withdrawal) will be assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor. The "WP" or "WF" will be recorded and remain on the student's transcript. Only the instructor can assign a "WP" or "WF."
  • If students have completed the maximum number of hours allowed by their program for thesis, dissertation or research project courses but have not completed the work, they will register for thesis, dissertation or research project continuance each semester while completing their research or writing. A grade of "NC" (no credit) will be automatically entered for continuance hours.
  • Students should keep in mind that earning a "B-" grade may bring the GPA below 3.0 and prevent students from graduating.
  • In order to graduate, students must satisfy grade requirements specified by their individual academic program.

Auditing Graduate Courses

Graduate students may enroll in graduate courses using the "audit" option for elective courses only. These courses will not count as part of the student's program of study. Students must initially register for the course using the "audit" option. Under no circumstances may a course credit option be changed from "audit" to "credit" or "credit" to "audit." Students are required to pay for courses taken as "audit." Audit courses cannot be paid for using any university sources of funding (i.e., assistantship funding).

Incomplete Grades

The grade of "I" is used to indicate incomplete work in a course. Courses in which a student received a grade of "I" must be completed by the end of the next regular semester or the grade is reported permanently as an "F."

Students should consult academic unit guidelines regarding such courses. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure grade changes are reported to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline. See the university calendar at the front of this catalog for the date by which grade changes must be submitted.

All course work must be completed by the final date of the student's final semester.  Consult the university calendar in the Registration and Student Record Services Handbook or online at

Unsatisfactory Progress

If, at any time, a graduate student fails to make satisfactory progress toward the degree, the student may be denied permission to continue in the program. Such a decision may be reached by the student's adviser, academic unit head, or graduate program coordinator and will be referred to the Graduate School for final action.

Students who receive two "C" grades or a fail to maintain a GPA of 3.0 will be placed on academic warning and will receive written notification. This academic warning will be noted on the student's transcript. A student will be dismissed from the degree program if he/she receives an "F" or "U" in any graduate course or three C" grades in his/her graduate program. A student dismissed from the degree program may not enroll in any graduate-level courses for a period of one year. Students who want to return to the university must re-apply and be re-accepted in the usual manner.

All credits attempted and all grades earned, whether passing or failing, will be used to calculate a student's grade point average. In some cases, graduate students may take undergraduate courses as prerequisite to their graduate program of study. The GPA includes undergraduate courses taken during graduate study. However, if an undergraduate course places a student's GPA below 3.0, it will not place the student on probationary status or prevent the student from graduating.


From Course
You may drop a course without special permission and without an extra fee during the period designated "free course adjustment period" indicated in the Schedule of Classes for the semester in which you are enrolled. You will receive a "W" grade for the course dropped. Please refer to the catalog for complete information on withdrawing from a course.

From The Graduate School
If you withdraw from graduate school (drop all classes) prior to completing the semester (or Summer session), you must complete a Non-Returning/Leave of Absence Notice available in the Office of the Registrar, Warren Hall 5th floor. If withdrawing with official approval, you will receive a "W" in all courses for which you are registered. If withdrawing voluntarily without official approval, you will receive an "F" in all courses for which you are registered. You will be responsible for tuition as determined by the Office of the Registrar and may be subject to a change in enrollment status. Please refer to the catalog for complete information on withdrawal from the University.