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Graduate College Standards

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6. Graduate College Standards

6.1 Graduate College Standards

The Graduate College is responsible for periodic performance reviews of graduate students in accordance with the guidelines described in this bulletin. If these standards are not met, the Graduate College has the authority to deny further enrollment.

The Graduate Council and the dean of the Graduate College supervise and evaluate the academic units of the university that offer graduate programs to ensure observance of policy and academic excellence.

6.2 Retention

A graduate student will be permitted to continue enrollment as long as the student remains in good academic standing by:

  • fulfilling the specific requirements of their academic unit
  • making satisfactory progress toward the degree
  • maintaining a minimum 3.00 grade point average in all coursework attempted while in the graduate program (including undergraduate coursework, if applicable).

The retention standard and rules apply to all degree-seeking graduate students, unclassified graduate students, graduate visitors, and reciprocal exchange graduate students.

The Graduate College monitors each student’s academic progress by reviewing final grades and calculating grade point averages at the end of each semester. The Graduate College also monitors progress toward degree requirements, progress toward conditions of admission (if applicable), and student evaluations conducted by academic units (see Evaluation of Students). At the end of each semester, the Graduate College will notify students who have not met the required standards of performance. Such students may receive warning notifications, may be placed on academic probation, or may be disenrolled, depending on the details of their academic performance.

Making satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree includes, but is not limited to:

  • timely completion of the coursework required for the degree
  • submission of a program of study
  • progress made in completing research
  • timely completion of the non-thesis examination or general examination
  • timely completion of the thesis or dissertation defense or final submission.

The grade point average (GPA) reported on a student’s academic transcript may not reflect the GPA calculation methods used by the Graduate College to determine academic standing. For all matters involving GPAs, the Graduate College calculates the GPA to the second decimal point.

  • A graduate student’s GPA is calculated in two ways for the purpose of determining eligibility for retention and/or graduation:
    • on graduate coursework only
    • on all coursework attempted (including undergraduate and/or non-degree coursework).
  • These GPAs are based on the coursework taken at the University of Oklahoma since completion of the most recent degree earned.
  • If either of the two calculations yields a grade point average of less than 3.00, the student will be placed on academic probation or disenrolled.
  • All letter grades, whether comprising a part of the degree program or not, will be included in GPA calculations. Exceptions are grades of S, U, I, X, P, NP, W, AW, N, and AU, for which no grade points are awarded.
  • When a final letter grade is transcripted for a course in which an I or N was originally reported, the Graduate College will perform new GPA calculations and notify the student of any change to their academic standing.
  • When a graduate student repeats a course in which a grade of C, D, or F was earned, the Graduate College Course Repeat Policy will apply.
  • If a graduate student previously took letter-graded coursework as an undergraduate that was approved to form part of the graduate degree program, the final grades for this coursework will be included in the GPA calculations.
  • Academic probation is not available to unclassified students or accelerated degree students. These students are required to maintain a 3.00 graduate GPA and 3.00 overall GPA.
  • Students who are placed on academic probation as a result of low GPA or U/NP grades will receive official notification from the Graduate College via OU email. The student’s academic unit will receive the same notification.
  • Advance registration for future coursework is not permitted during academic probation. A temporary enrollment hold will be placed on the student’s record. Enrollment for the next semester will not be permitted until grades for the previous semester have been reported on the academic transcript and the Graduate College has determined that the student’s progress is satisfactory.
  • While on academic probation, a student is not eligible to:
    • attempt the non-thesis examination or thesis defense
    • attempt the general examination or dissertation defense
    • graduate.

6.2.4.1 Low Graduate College GPA

  • Students who fall below a 3.00 on either of the two GPAs calculated by the Graduate College will be placed on academic probation. The student must earn enough hours of A grades to bring the GPA(s) up to a 3.00 within the next 12 credit hours of enrollment. (See the previous Grade Point Average section.)
  • The Graduate College Course Repeat Policy allows students to repeat a course and have only the second grade earned count in the calculation of the GPA (see Graduate College Course Repeat Policy).
  • The probationary period includes both letter-graded and S/U graded courses. If a student does not enroll in enough letter-graded hours to reach a 3.00 GPA during the probationary period, the student may be denied further enrollment.
  • Students who do not improve their GPAs each semester may be denied further enrollment before the standard 12-hour probationary period elapses.
  • A student who would need to earn more than 12 hours of A grades in order to reach a 3.00 GPA will be disenrolled from the graduate program.

6.2.4.2 U and NP Probation

  • A student who earns two or more credit hours of U and/or NP grades in one semester will be placed on academic probation for the next two semesters in which the student enrolls.
  • Earning two or more credit hours of U and/or NP during a U or NP probation will be grounds for disenrollment from an academic program and the Graduate College.

6.2.4.3 Disenrollment for Low Grades

  • A student will be denied further enrollment when placed on any type of academic probation for the third time (see Disenrollment).
  • Doctoral students who accumulate nine credit hours of C, D, and/or F grades in any combination will be disenrolled from the doctoral program (see Disenrollment). The Graduate College Course Repeat Policy does not negate this limit.
  • Academic units may have additional and more stringent criteria for evaluating a student’s performance and progress.
  • An academic unit may, under some circumstances, report an unsatisfactory performance or progress evaluation and recommend disenrollment of a student from a graduate program even though a 3.00 GPA has been maintained. In such cases, the academic unit must notify the student and the Graduate College in writing to explain the grounds for the unsatisfactory evaluation, the criteria the student must meet to improve their performance, and the time frame allowed for the student to meet these criteria. A student who fails to meet the criteria as outlined is subject to disenrollment.
  • Grounds for disenrollment include, but are not limited to:
    • failure to be accepted by an appropriate thesis or dissertation advisor within the stipulated time limitations
    • failure to make timely progress toward the degree
    • failure to perform in coursework, qualifying examinations, or research at an acceptable level in the respective academic unit.

The graduate faculty of each academic unit must conduct an annual review and evaluation of their graduate students’ progress in meeting degree requirements. Any exceptions to this requirement must receive prior written approval of the dean of the Graduate College.

6.2.6.1 Evaluation Criteria

  • The evaluation may include, but is not limited to, such considerations as:
    • progress made in meeting conditions of admission
    • completion, within the prescribed period of time, of those courses in which the student has received an I
    • completion of core course requirements
    • progress made in completing research requirements
    • timely filing of the prospectus
    • the general quality of research
    • completion of the thesis or dissertation.
  • The evaluation also may encompass the student’s broader scholarly capabilities and professional development.
  • The evaluation should not include an assessment of the student’s performance as a graduate assistant.

6.2.6.2 Evaluation Notification Letter

  • The academic unit will notify each student and the Graduate College by letter of the student’s performance and progress toward satisfying degree requirements. This letter must clearly state whether the overall evaluation is satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
  • If the overall evaluation is unsatisfactory, the academic unit should specify clearly what the student should do to improve any deficient areas and receive a satisfactory evaluation.
  • If the student does not receive an evaluation from the academic unit by the end of the 14th week of the spring semester, it is the student’s responsibility to request in writing that the academic unit provide such an evaluation.
  • This request must be received by the academic unit prior to the beginning of the summer session.
  • Failure to receive or request the written evaluation does not change the student’s responsibility of maintaining satisfactory progress in meeting academic unit and Graduate College requirements.

6.2.6.3 Unsatisfactory Evaluations

  • The academic unit is responsible for monitoring the progress and performance of a student who receives an unsatisfactory evaluation.
  • The academic unit will conduct another evaluation at the end of the next semester or designated period and notify the student and the Graduate College by letter of the results of the second evaluation. This letter must clearly state whether the overall evaluation is satisfactory or unsatisfactory. 
  • A student who receives consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations will be disenrolled.

6.2.7.1 Options for Disenrolled Students

Some degree programs require that students successfully complete a professional experience such as an internship or practicum.

  • Students who have advanced to this point in their academic programs must exhibit the highest level of professional standards and conduct.
  • For this reason, a student who earns an unsatisfactory grade or engages in inappropriate conduct in a professional experience such as an internship or practicum may be disenrolled from the academic program.
  • To recommend a student for disenrollment under these provisions, the chair or director will:
    • meet with the student involved
    • conclude that the incident or incidents involve misconduct so egregious that the student must not be assigned a second professional experience
    • write a letter to the dean of the Graduate College with a copy to the student reporting on the incident, describing the professional standards that have been violated, the results of the investigation and the results of the meeting with the student, and recommending that the student be disenrolled.
  • The dean of the Graduate College may then approve or disapprove the recommendation or may conduct a further investigation. If the recommendation is approved, the dean of the Graduate College will notify the student of disenrollment from the academic program and advise the student of the right to file an academic appeal of the matter. The Academic Appeals Board for the Graduate College will hear appeals of disenrollments made under the provisions of this policy.

6.3 Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct

Graduate students must uphold the highest standards of academic integrity. It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the definitions, policies, and procedures concerning academic misconduct. These are explained in A Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at the University of Oklahoma.

The Academic Integrity Code (pdf) defines academic misconduct as any act which improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement.

Examples are:

  • cheating and unauthorized material on examinations
  • improper collaboration
  • submitting the same assignments for different classes
  • fabrication, forgery, alteration of documents, lying, etc., in order to obtain academic advantage
  • assisting others in misconduct
  • attempting to commit misconduct
  • destruction of property, hacking, etc.
  • intimidation and interference with integrity process.

Academic misconduct reports fall into two categories, admonitions (warnings) and violations. A graduate student who has received a report of violation in a course may not drop the course in which the report has been made, unless the report is dismissed.

Complete information about academic integrity is available at the OU Academic Integrity website.

6.4 Academic Appeals

A Graduate College Academic Appeals Board will be appointed and given authority to hear all appeals involving qualifying examinations, non-thesis examinations, general examinations, theses and dissertations, and other appropriate matters as determined by the dean of the Graduate College.

The only issues to be resolved are those of prejudiced or capricious evaluation, or alleged inability to speak the English language to the extent necessary to adequately instruct students.

Complete information about Graduate College academic appeals may be obtained from the Graduate College. (For information about grade appeals and academic appeals boards, visit the Academic Integrity website.)

The student is responsible for notifying the instructor of any dispute that meets the above criteria. If the student’s attempts at resolution with the instructor fail, the student should notify the Graduate College of the potential academic appeal immediately to make an appointment to discuss the matter.

  • In cases of end-of-term evaluations, a student must notify an instructor of a dispute regarding an academic evaluation and must attempt to resolve differences no later than Feb. 15 for the previous fall semester or Intersession, and no later than Sept. 15 in cases of end-of-term evaluations for the previous spring semester, spring Intersession, or summer session.
  • In cases of an evaluation made known to a student during the term, the student must notify an instructor of a dispute regarding an academic evaluation and must attempt to resolve differences no later than 15 calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and university holidays from classes) after the results of an evaluation are made known to the student.
  • If a student fails to notify an instructor or fails to attempt resolution within the appropriate time limit, the panel will deny any request for a hearing on the claim unless, in the view of the board, the student has been prevented from complying with the appropriate time limit (e.g., a student being called into military service).

When a potential academic appeal is brought to the attention of the Graduate College, the following steps will be taken:

  • An attempt will be made to resolve the problem with the academic unit.
  • If the matter is not resolved in conference, the student will be briefed on the procedures for filing an academic appeal.

Appeals must be filed in writing in the Graduate College office. The written appeal should state:

  • the action being appealed
  • the individual(s) responsible for the action under appeal
  • the basis for the appeal
  • the relief sought by the student.

A written appeal must be filed as soon as possible, but in no event later than 10 calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and university holidays from classes) following the day when attempts at resolution are completed. The board will deny any request for hearing on a claim that does not meet this deadline unless, in the view of the board, exceptional circumstances exist whereby the student is prevented from filing a claim.

6.5 Graduate Assistant Appeals

A graduate assistant may appeal either an assistantship termination request made by an academic unit or other employment grievance. Before filing a written appeal, a student should arrange an appointment with the associate dean of the Graduate College to discuss the issue. Any appeal of a termination based on a finding of impropriety by the Sexual Misconduct Office will be handled through the appellate process of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, www.ou.edu/eoo and the Sexual Misconduct Office, (405) 325-2215.

To initiate the appeal process, the graduate assistant must submit a written statement of appeal to the dean of the Graduate College within 10 working days from the date of the incident causing the grievance. The written appeal should describe:

  • the action being appealed
  • the evidence supporting the appeal
  • the relief the student is seeking.

A Graduate Assistant Appeals Board will be appointed to hear appeals by graduate assistants regarding termination requests by academic units and/or employment grievances. Decisions made by the Graduate Assistant Appeals Board will be considered as recommendations to the provost, who has final responsibility for such employment concerns. The provost will notify the parties of the final resolution of the dispute. Any appeal of this decision should be made to the provost within 10 working days of the decision.

6.6 Other Student Grievances

The University has a policy of internal adjudication of student grievances. There are specific procedures for many grievances that are set forth on the Student Conduct website. In cases where University policy designates no specific procedure, grievances regarding academic matters, financial aid, educational records, or payment of tuition and fees should be addressed to the provost; grievances regarding other aspects of student life should be addressed to the vice president for Student Affairs.

  • The University of Oklahoma is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all persons who participate in university programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free from all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation.
  • The university condemns discrimination based on sex or gender, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual orientation discrimination, discrimination based on gender identity or expression, and sexual misconduct, including but not limited to dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
  • Because some members of the university community hold positions of authority that may involve the legitimate exercise of power over others, including graduate assistants, it is their responsibility to be sensitive to that power.
  • To report an instance of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, contact Bobby Mason, Title IX Coordinator, at (405) 325-3546 or bjm@ou.edu, or complete the online Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment Complaint Form.
  • The complete Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, and Harassment Policy is available from the OU Institutional Equity Office. This policy includes a list of resources that accept confidential reports.