Academic Progress

Students are required to make progress toward their degree each semester they are enrolled. This page describes key milestones and when in a student's program the Department expects them to be completed. It also describes what a student should do if the milestones are not being met.

Expected Academic Progress

The Department expects that MS-only students will:

  • complete at least one core requirement per semester; and,
  • complete the MS degree before the start of the 5th semester.

 

The Department expects that MS/PhD students will:

  • pass the portfolio (be admitted to candidacy) by the end of the fifth semester;
  • complete the MS degree before the start of the seventh semester;
  • submit an approved dissertation proposal within a year after being admitted to candidacy; and,
  • pass the final oral examination (thesis defense) before completing thirteen (13) semesters.

 

The Department expects that PhD-only students will:

  • pass the portfolio (be admitted to candidacy) by the end of the fifth semester;
  • submit an approved dissertation proposal within a year after being admitted to candidacy; and,
  • pass the final oral examination (thesis defense) before completing eleven (11) semesters.

 

In addition, the Department expects that students will:

  1. take at least six graduate credits each semester or be actively engaged in research with their advisor;
  2. complete coursework for each semester with a 3.0 or higher average;
  3. meet with their advisor each semester;
  4. make up all grades of incomplete (INC) from the previous semester; and,
  5. submit a progress report every January or as otherwise required.

 

A student who does not meet one of the milestones above must contact the Graduate Program Director to explain the situation, to describe plans for addressing the problem, and to request an extension for a designated period of time. The student's advisor will be asked to support such a request.

In addition, the Graduate Program Committee requests regular progress reports from all students to ensure that unnecessary delays do not happen accidentally. Students whose progress is deemed unsatisfactory or worrisome will be notified by the Graduate Program Committee of the concerns. Depending on the specific issues, the student and advisor may need to respond as outlined above.

Statute of Limitations

Independent of the Department's milestones for expected progress, the Graduate School defines a "Statute of Limitations" (SOL) deadline for thesis work to be completed. Currently the Graduate School allows three years for MS-only students and six for MS/PhD & PhD students.
Statute of Limitations dates can be extended if they turn out to be too short (and they often are for PhD-only students in particular). The Department monitors the deadline and arranges extensions as necessary. The Graduate School has historically been very lenient about extensions.

Inadequate Academic Progress

When reviewing the progress reports, the Graduate Program Committee may determine that a student's progress is sufficiently poor. If that happens, the Graduate Program Director will consult with the student, the faculty advisor, and possibly the entire faculty. As a result of those consultations, the Graduate Program Director may opt for immediate remedial action by the student, academic probation, or even a recommendation of dismissal. A student may appeal a recommendation for dismissal to the Dean of the Graduate School who will then make the final determination.