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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

Revisions approved November 6, 2019 by the OU Graduate Council.

The Graduate College monitors each student’s academic progress by reviewing grades, progress toward degree requirements, and student evaluations conducted by academic units (see Evaluation of Students). 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.

At the end of each fall, spring, and summer term, the Graduate College reviews the academic progress of any student enrolled in a graduate program who receives a grade of C, D, F, U, I, or N. One of the four following actions will be taken based on the student’s current and past academic performance. The student and their academic unit(s) will be contacted via OU email.

6.2.2.1 Academic Notice

  • The Graduate College will send an academic notice to a student who receives any grade of C, D, F, U, I, or N.
  • The academic unit is encouraged to review the student’s performance to determine if any intervention is needed and report the findings to the Graduate College.

6.2.2.2 Academic Warning

  • The Graduate College will send an academic warning to a student whose graduate GPA for the term is less than 3.00.
  • A student who has received an academic warning is not in good academic standing. The student may return to good academic standing by earning a graduate GPA equal to or greater than 3.00 in the next term of enrollment.

6.2.2.3 Academic Enrollment Stop

The Graduate College will stop a student’s enrollment (and cancel any future enrollments) if:

  • The student’s graduate GPA for the term is less than 3.00 and their record shows a graduate term GPA below 3.00 for one or more of the last two terms of enrollment, and/or
  • the student receives a grade of U in two consecutive terms, and/or
  • the student receives two unsatisfactory term or annual evaluations from the academic unit.

The program’s graduate liaison may recommend that the student be permitted to continue in the program. In order to recommend continuation, the graduate liaison must propose a plan to remedy the academic situation. The plan should:

  • Identify strategies to mitigate or resolve any factors that are negatively impacting the student’s academic progress, which may include mentorship and advising strategies to support the student’s successful completion,
  • outline all criteria necessary for the student to be judged as making satisfactory progress toward the degree,
  • outline specific expectations for enrollment, grades, progress, and research/degree milestones in current and/or future term(s),
  • include input from the student’s major professor and thesis/doctoral committee, if applicable.

The dean of the Graduate College will approve or disapprove the recommendation, or investigate further.

6.2.2.4 Academic Dismissal

The Graduate College will dismiss a student from their graduate program (and cancel any future enrollments) if:

  • The student has previously had enrollment stopped and the graduate liaison does not recommend continuation, and/or
  • the student has previously had enrollment stopped and has failed to fulfill the criteria outlined in the approved plan for continuation, and/or
  • the student has failed the second attempt of the non-thesis examination or doctoral general examination, and/or
  • the student has failed the thesis or dissertation defense, and/or
  • the student has accumulated 9 or more credit hours of C, D, and/or F grades at any level in any combination as a doctoral student.

A student who has been dismissed from a graduate program may apply to a graduate program in another major field.

  • 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 that the student's enrollment in the graduate program be stopped, even though grades have been satisfactory. 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 dismissal.
  • Grounds for dismissal 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.

6.2.4.1 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.

6.2.4.2 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.

6.2.4.3 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. 
  • Enrollment will be stopped for a student who receives multiple unsatisfactory evaluations.

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 dismissed from the academic program.
  • To recommend a student for dismissal 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 dismissed.
  • 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 dismissal 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 dismissals 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.