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Academic Standards


The standards for academic progress are set by GRC and contained in the UCM Graduate Advisor’s Handbook. Graduate students who do not meet one or more of these criterion may be put on probation or dismissed.  A graduate student who has demonstrated Unsatisfactory Progress is not eligible for any academic appointment/employment and may not receive fellowship support or other awards.


1. Your graduate group might have additional academic requirements - check your Policies.
2. It is YOUR responsibility to determine which requirements, procedures and deadlines apply to you.


Criteria for Determining Unsatisfactory Progress

  • An overall grade point average below 3.0; or
  • A grade point average below 3.0 in two successive semesters; or
  • Fewer than 8 units completed and applicable toward the advanced degree requirements in the last two semesters; or
  • Failure to complete required courses or examinations satisfactorily within the period specified by the graduate program; or
  • Failure to pass a required examination in two attempts; or
  • Failure to progress academically within the Normal Time to Degree framework specified for the student’s graduate program; or
  • The appropriate faculty committee's evaluation that there has not been satisfactory progress toward completion of the thesis or dissertation.


Unsatisfactory academic progress may be determined on the basis of explicit requirements such as those outlined above. However, the professional judgment of the faculty, upon review of all graduate work undertaken by the student, is paramount, and the faculty of a particular Graduate Group may establish more restrictive criteria for satisfactory academic progress.


Academic Standards for Employment Eligibility

No student is permitted to begin an appointment who has not met all of the applicable academic criteria as listed below.

For new and continuing graduate students:

1. Enrollment in at least 12 units during the current semester (i.e., the academic semester in which the teaching appointment occurs).

2. Combined campus-wide employment of 49.9 percent time or less during any academic semester.

For continuing graduate students:

3. During each of the two most recent semesters of enrollment:

  • Completion of 8 units or more of upper division or graduate level credit courses.
  • A letter grade of C, S, or above in all courses completed.
  • No more than two incomplete (I) grades.
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in those courses where a letter grade (A through F) was received.

Graduate students who have not advanced to candidacy for the doctorate may be appointed as a Teaching Assistant for a maximum of 8 semesters including the full period of the current or proposed appointment. Following advancement to candidacy, a doctoral student is allowed to be appointed to an additional 4 semesters for a total maximum of 12 appointment semesters. An allowable semester is counted for any semester in which the student is compensated, at any amount/rate or percent time.

Note: International and U.S. Permanent Resident graduate students who are not citizens of countries where English is either the primary or dominant language as approved by the UCM Graduate Council, who wish to be considered for appointment as a Teaching Assistant or Associate, must pass an approved oral English proficiency examination...(See additional information elsewhere on this website.)


Requesting Employment Exceptions

Graduate students who do not meet one or more of the academic criterion for employment eligibility and wish to work for UC must obtain approval from the hiring unit and the Graduate Dean. There is no guarantee that a request for exception will be approved.

  1. Complete an Employment Exception Request Form.
  2. Attach a brief plan for improvement, if applicable.  (This can usually be approximately one page in length, but can be longer or shorter depending on the situation.) 
  3. Also attach a statement of support from your faculty advisor.
  4. Obtain signatures from your faculty advisor and graduate group chair. 
  5. Submit the form to the SNS Graduate Program Staff.