Academic Progress

Standards for Judging Satisfactory Progress

Continuation in the program and funding in subsequent terms require satisfactory progress in both quality of work and speed in completing the program. Fellowships may stipulate more stringent definitions of satisfactory progress than the following, and students must meet those requirements.

Graduate School rules require a B in all work that is part of the graduate program (i.e., graduate courses and approved undergraduate courses taken outside the department). The department additionally requires a B in all graduate courses, and the department will accept no grade below B in a required course. If a student receives less than a B in a required course while maintaining an overall B average, the required course must be repeated. Should a graduate student fall below the required average, either in graduate courses or overall graduate record, the student must overcome the deficiency during the next term to continue in the program. Note that grades of “I” (incomplete) count as failing grades after one semester. Hence incomplete courses carried over beyond the next term may lead to termination if they lower the student’s average below B.

The Graduate School maintains the following minimum registration requirements for full-time status: graduate students without an assistantship appointment or appointed for .24 FTE or less must enroll for at least 12 hours each semester; those holding .25-.49 FTE assistantships must enroll for at least nine hours; and those on .50-.74 FTE assistantships must enroll for at least 8 hours. Part-time students must enroll for at least 3 hours. Summer enrollment is optional but may be required by some fellowships and assistantships. To graduate in summer, the Graduate School requires enrollment in 2 credits of CCJ 7980 (for the Ph.D.) or CCJ 6971 (for the MA). The department expects students making satisfactory progress to maintain these registration levels.

The department has additional expectations concerning satisfactory progress. Ideally, students will progress more rapidly than the following guidelines. Under special circumstances, students may progress more slowly. Ordinarily, however, students not progressing at the following rates will be considered behind schedule:

For the M.A.:

  • the supervisory committee must be formed before 12 credits or the second semester is completed
  • the final examination of the thesis or non-thesis project should occur by the midterm of the fourth semester
  • a plan of study submitted before the end of the first academic year and updated annually thereafter

For the Ph.D.:

  • the supervisory committee must be formed before 12 credits or the second semester is completed
  • the qualifying exams should be completed before the midpoint of the fifth semester in the program, but may be completed as early as the fourth semester as approved by the committee
  • the dissertation proposal should be approved by the supervisory committee by midterm of the seventh semester, but may be defended as early in the program as approved by the committee and subsequent to successfully written comprehensive exams
  • the final examination or defense of the dissertation should occur by midterm of the tenth semester, but may be defended as early in the program as approved by the committee
  • a plan of study submitted before the end of the first academic year and updated annually thereafter

Graduate Student Annual Report

Each graduate student must complete an annual report reviewing degree progress, accomplishments in research and teaching, and plans for the coming year. These reports are due during the spring term. The department faculty as well as the student’s supervisory committee will review the reports. When faculty determine that a student is NOT making satisfactory progress through the program and/or NOT producing adequate professional accomplishments, they recommend strategies and timelines for improvement. Students who do not make satisfactory progress or produce satisfactory professional accomplishments are at risk of losing funding and of termination from the program