Graduate Academic Progress

Policy Statement

The academic requirements for graduate students include completion of university, department, and program requirements, such as admission to candidacy, successful completion of qualifying exams, and so on in a timely and satisfactory manner. Graduate students must also meet the following standards of minimum progress as indicated by units and grades. (These standards apply to all advanced degree programs except the Graduate School of Business Ph.D., and the M.B.A., J.D., L.L.M., J.S.M., J.S.D., M.D., and M.L.A.)

Graduate students enrolled for 11 or more units must pass at least 8 units per term by the end of each term. Those registered for fewer than 11 units must pass at least 6 units per term by the end of each term, unless other requirements are specified in a particular case or for a particular program.

In addition, graduate students must maintain a 3.0 (B) grade point average overall in courses applicable to the degree.

Department requirements for minimum progress that set a higher standard for units to be completed, or a higher or lower standard for grade point average to be maintained, take precedence over the University policy.

Students identified as not meeting the requirements for minimum progress and timely and satisfactory completion of requirements are reviewed by their departments to determine whether the problem lies with administrative matters such as reporting of grades or with academic performance. Students have the opportunity to explain any special circumstances. Approval for continuation in the degree program is contingent on agreement by the student and department to a suitable plan to maintain appropriate progress in subsequent quarters. Dismissal of graduate students is addressed in separate guidelines.

During the academic year, graduate students who have been granted Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status must enroll for zero units in the TGR course in their department in the section appropriate for the advisor (801 for master's and Engineer degree students or 802 for doctoral students). An 'N' grade signifies satisfactory progress, whereas an 'N-' grade indicates unsatisfactory academic progress. The first 'N-' grade constitutes a warning. A second consecutive ‘N-’ grade normally causes the degree program to deny the student further registration until a written plan for completion of degree requirements has been approved by the degree program. Subsequent ‘N-’ grades are grounds for dismissal from the program

Students receiving federal student aid funds, including student loans, must maintain satisfactory academic progress standards that may be stricter than departmental standards. See the Financial Aid Office website for details.

Graduate Unit Requirements

The university's expectation is that the units counted towards all graduate degrees are primarily in graduate courses. The university has set specific requirements for units applied to the minimum requirement for the M.A., M.S., and M.F.A. degrees: All units must be in courses at or above the 100 level and at least 50 percent of those must be courses designated primarily for graduate students (typically at least the 200 level). Units earned in courses below the 100 level may not be counted towards the minimum unit requirement for the master's degree. Department specifications for the level of course work accepted for a particular master's degree program may be higher than the university's specifications.

Contact Information

Degree Progress, Office of the University Registrar