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Graduate School

Faculty Protocol for Dismissal of a Student from a Graduate Program


The following are some reasons for dismissal of a student with regular status from a graduate program:

  • The student was admitted with conditional status and did not achieve the minimal GPA on the first 9 hours of graduate-level coursework (master’s = 3.0; specialist = 3.25; doctoral = 3.5).
  • The student did not return to good academic standing following probationary semester(s).
  1. A GPA of 3.0 was not achieved. (Some programs have more rigorous standards).
  2. The student did not earn the required improved grade on a retaken course.
  3. The student failed to meet other remediation criteria.
  • The student earned grades that made it impossible to return to good academic standing, thus rendering graduation impossible.
  1. The student earned a grade of C- or below that could not be retaken because the one allowable retake was used to replace a prior low grade.
  2. The student earned the seventh hour of C+ or below that could not be retaken because the one allowable retake was used to replace a prior low grade.
  •  The student failed to show acceptable improvement in research/scholarly progress after a probationary semester.
  •  The student exceeded the time limit for the degree program without completing the degree.
  •  The student was proven to have committed academic/research misconduct or other ethical violation.
  •  The student violated the Code of Student Conduct and required disciplinary action. (In this case dismissal follows review by the Dean of Students).
  •  The student failed to demonstrate professional competency and/or exhibited conduct inappropriate to the profession.
  •  The student failed a qualifying exam, comprehensive exam, or defense twice.
  •  Other (Departments may have discipline-specific policies which stipulate reasons for dismissal).

Dismissals will normally be initiated at the end of a semester following the posting of grades unless the dismissal is a result of academic misconduct or unethical/unprofessional behavior.
Dismissal must be initiated using the following protocol:

  1. The student’s advisor and/or department chair will schedule a termination review with the student. The purpose of this meeting is to communicate the justification for dismissal with the student and to allow the student to provide written documentation of any extenuating circumstances that should be considered in a decision to dismiss. This meeting should be conducted face to face if possible. If the student cannot meet face to face, the meeting should take place via telephone, video conference, or conference call. Email is acceptable but should be used only if personal communication is not possible.
  2. If the department chooses to move forward with a dismissal following a termination review, the following items must be submitted to the dean of the Graduate School electronically:
    a. A letter addressed to the Dean of the Graduate School articulating the reason(s) for dismissal.
    b. A completed dismissal form indicating the reason(s) for dismissal and signed by the advisor, department chair or director, and the college dean.
  3. Upon receiving notice of the dismissal, the dean of the Graduate School will send the student a formal letter of dismissal along with a copy of the letter of rationale from the department as an attachment. The dean’s letter will inform the student of the following:
    a. That scheduled classes (including current semester classes and future classes for which the student is pre-registered) must be dropped using the withdrawal process within seven (7) working days of receiving the dismissal letter from the dean of the Graduate School and that if he/she does not withdraw from classes the Graduate School will initiate the withdrawal.
    b. The impact of dismissal on a graduate assistantship, insurance, and tuition.
    c. The student’s right to appeal the dismissal and instructions for filing an appeal.

The letter will be sent to the student by certified mail through the U.S. Postal Service and by email using the student’s official USM email address.

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