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Academic Continuation, Probation, Dismissal, and Readmission - Graduate

Type: Enrollment
Effective Date: 3/25/2016

Meeting Academic Continuation standards means a graduate student has fulfilled certain academic requirements that make them eligible to continue attending the university and remain in a particular program, or maintain the same status (e.g. graduate degree-seeking student). 


Throughout this policy, the terms “Graduate College Dean” and “Graduate College Associate Dean” includes their designees. 

 I.  Academic Requirements for Continuation in a Graduate Program

  1. Good Academic Standing:  Graduate students must maintain Good Academic Standing in order to be eligible to continue in or to return to the University. Good Academic Standing is demonstrated by:
    • a 3.00 grade point average (GPA) for all courses taken including those required in the program of study,  
    • no more than 6 units of “C” course grades*, and
    • no course grades of “D” or “F.”

           * Please note the following exceptions:

    • The Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Occupational Therapy, and Master of Physician Assistant Studies programs allow 11 units of “C” grades.
    • Some programs restrict the number of units of “C” grades to less than 6 units to meet masters and doctoral program requirements (see individual program handbooks for details).
    • Specific courses for certain academic plans require grades higher than a “C” to meet plan requirements, as stated in the academic catalog.
    • No more than 3 units of "C" grades can be counted toward a graduate certificate.  
  1. Conditional Admission Standards:  Graduate students admitted with Conditional Admission Standards must meet the admission conditions within the time period specified in the admission letter. 
  1. Academic Progress: Graduate students must meet the unit’s Academic Progress criteria toward degree completion, including (but not limited to):
    • making satisfactory progress in research, scholarship, or creative activity;
    • completing the program within specified time limits;
    • passing required program examinations; and
  1. Other discipline-specific or departmental academic requirements specified in the departmental/program handbook 

 II.  Degree-Seeking and Certificate-Seeking Graduate Students: Probation

Students may be automatically placed on academic probation by the Graduate College or the academic unit at the end of each regular academic term for any of the following reasons:

  • failure to meet the criteria for “good academic standing” including, but not limited to:
    • earning a grade of “D” or “F,”
    • earning an excess number of  “C” units allowed in their program,
    • earning a GPA below 3.00
  • earning the maximum number of “C” units allowed in their program
  • failure to meet discipline-specific or departmental academic requirements established in the departmental/program handbook**
  • failure to meet any conditional admission standards*** 

**Academic units placing students on academic probation for failure to meet discipline-specific or departmental academic requirements must notify the student in writing, with a copy to the Graduate College, of specific failures leading to the recommendation of probation.

 *** If a student has been conditionally admitted to a program and fails to meet the requirements necessary for regular admission into a program, academic units may deny the student regular admission to the program without a probationary period. 

A student on academic probation is required to meet and/or confer with their advisor, or other appropriate academic personnel, to discuss steps necessary to remediate problems which led to probation. A written action plan must then be developed, and the academic unit will have the final responsibility and authority to specify the terms of the plan. This plan will then be submitted to the department chair/director and the Graduate College for approval and to release any applicable academic holds on the student’s account. 

If a student has not met the terms of the approved action plan or fails a second time to maintain any of the academic requirements for continuation in a graduate program as outlined in this policy, one or both of the following actions will be taken:

  • The academic unit may initiate academic dismissal by notifying the student and the Graduate College, in writing, of the program’s intent to recommend dismissal.
  • The student will be blocked from future enrollment. 

Please note that “Academic Probation” is a designation based on the criteria of this policy and may not be reflected on the student’s transcript. The designation “Academic Standing: Probation” on a student’s transcript is automatically placed by the Registrar if the student’s cumulative GPA drops below a 3.0. Thus, students may be on academic probation without the designation on their transcript. 

III. Dismissal based on Academic Continuation Requirements or Academic Reasons

A student may be recommended for dismissal by an academic unit for:

  • failure to meet academic requirements outlined in this policy or within the academic unit;
  • failure to meet requirements for continuation within an academic program; or
  • any academic reason not addressed by other university policies or procedures. 

Once a unit notifies a student of their recommendation for dismissal from a program, they will allow the student to present evidence that may influence or alter the dismissal recommendation. The student must supply this evidence within 5 business days of the dismissal notification, and this evidence must be reviewed by the academic unit before a final recommendation is forwarded to the Graduate College. The unit has up to 5 business days to make their final recommendation to the Graduate College. 

If the unit’s decision is to uphold the dismissal recommendation, the unit must supply all review and/or informational materials submitted by the student with the final recommendation for dismissal.  The recommendation for dismissal will come to the Graduate College Associate Dean from the academic unit’s Chair/Director or other applicable academic unit administrator. 

The Graduate College Associate Dean will review the materials and issue a decision. If a student is dismissed from the program by the Graduate College, a student may appeal this decision utilizing the process outlined in NAU’s “Academic Appeal Policy and UGCHP - Graduate” (Policy Number 100103). Students will begin with “Step 3” in the process, submitting a written appeal to the Associate Dean and supplying all information requested in policy 100103. The student will also request a meeting with the Graduate College Associate Dean. 

IV. Continuation in a Program During an Appeal

Academic units may allow students to continue participating in courses during the dismissal appeal process. However, if the student chooses to stay enrolled in the program during the appeal process, the student will do so at their own risk, as the student will bear the financial obligation to continue as a student. As such, the student will be held to any financial aid, tuition payment, and refund deadlines set by Student and Departmental Account Services, the Office of Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office or any other applicable university unit. 

If academic units do not wish students to continue in courses after their dismissal recommendation to the Graduate College, they must provide the Graduate College Dean with evidence that the student’s continuation in the program will:

  • adversely affect the academic performance of other students in courses;
  • interfere with other students’ participation in a course or the program;
  • place an undue financial burden on the academic unit;
  • interfere with day-to-day operations of the program 

Students who are dismissed may apply to carry a non-degree seeking status, allowing them to take graduate courses as a non-degree seeking student. 

V. Other Types of Dismissal

Certain infractions may warrant the imposition of serious disciplinary measures, including dismissal, without prior discipline having been imposed. Such measures often, but not always, are determined in collaboration with the Office of Student Life, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of Equity and Access, or any other applicable unit on campus.

VI.  Non-degree Seeking Graduate Students: Academic Standing, Probation, and Dismissal 

Non-degree seeking graduate students may continue to take courses as long as they maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5. A grade point average below 2.5 disqualifies non-degree seeking graduate students from taking courses. The student may petition directly to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for a one-semester extension, if the student indicates a high probability of returning to good academic standing with an additional semester.  

VII. Request for Readmission after Dismissal from a Graduate Program

A student may be readmitted to the same program only once following dismissal from that program. The requested readmission term must be at least one calendar year after the dismissal date. A student may contact the Graduate College in writing to request readmission after dismissal from a program. Program faculty, taking into account the student’s potential for improved performance in the program, will evaluate a request for readmission after dismissal from the program. The academic unit will inform the Graduate College of the recommendation to approve or deny the student’s request for readmission.  There is no guarantee of readmission. If the Graduate College readmits the student, the student must meet all requirements under the catalog in effect at the time of readmission, unless the program requires the student to meet the requirements of a previous catalog. 

VIII. Student's Failure to Submit Materials

If the student fails to submit requested materials or notify the designated administrator within the timeline specified in this policy, such failure will constitute a waiver of the student’s right to an appeal, and the original decision, action, or result from the immediate previous decision will remain final.

IX. Extension of Time

If an extension of time is needed during any phase of this process, the party requesting the extension shall petition the Graduate College Dean and present reasons why the deadline cannot be met. The Graduate College Dean will notify all involved parties regarding the granting or denial of the request for an extension with the goal of ensuring fairness and a timely resolution of the problem. If an extension of time is needed by the Graduate College, that notification will come to all parties involved, identifying the number of additional days granted with the goal of ensuring fairness and a timely resolution of the problem. 

X. Financial Implications: Be aware that the number of enrolled units may impact a student’s eligibility for financial aid, Veterans assistance, graduate assistantships, and university housing. Please contact Financial Aid with any questions or concerns.

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