Graduate students

Academic Continuation and Dismissal, Graduate

Policy Number: 100319

Current Policy

Category: Academic » Enrollment



Academic Continuation relates to graduate students’ eligibility to continue attending the university by meeting pre-established standards of performance and to remain in a particular program or to maintain the same status, e.g., graduate degree-seeking student.

 I.    Academic Requirements

  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
    • other requirements specified in the departmental/program handbook for graduate students.

 II.  Degree-Seeking Graduate Students: Probation

Students who fail to maintain Good Academic Standing or to meet the Conditional Admission Standards will be automatically placed on academic probation by the Graduate College at the end of each regular academic term for any of the following reasons:

  • grade of “D” or “F,”
  • 6 or more units of “C” grades,
  • GPA below 3.00, or
  • failure to meet the Conditional Admission Standards

Academic units may also recommend academic probation for failure to meet academic requirements, including Academic Progress, by notifying the student in writing with a copy to the Graduate College of specific failures leading to the recommendation of probation.

A student who is on academic probation is required to meet with her or his advisor to discuss the steps necessary to remediate problems that led to probation and to devise a written action plan.  This written action plan must be submitted to the department chair/director and the Graduate College for final approval.

If a student has not met the terms of the approved action plan or fails a second time to maintain Good Academic Standing, 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.

 Certain infractions may warrant the imposition of serious disciplinary measures, including dismissal, without prior discipline having been imposed, usually in collaboration with the Office of Student Life.

 III. Dismissal for Academic Reasons

A student who is recommended for dismissal for academic reasons will be given fifteen business days to present any evidence that may influence the recommendation for dismissal. Evidence presented by a student must be reviewed by the academic unit before a final recommendation is forwarded to the Graduate College within fifteen business days of receiving the student’s evidence.  The academic unit must submit the unit’s review materials and all materials submitted by a student to the Graduate College, with a copy to the student.  After reviewing the submitted materials and gathering additional information as necessary, the Graduate College will make the final dismissal decision and notify the student and the academic unit in writing within fifteen business days of receiving the academic unit’s recommendation and materials. Notification of dismissal will be accompanied by a copy of the Graduate College Academic Appeals Policy.

Dismissed students may apply to a different program or for non-degree status, which allows them to take graduate courses as non-degree seeking students.

 IV.  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. A request for readmission after dismissal from the program will be evaluated by program faculty, taking into account the student’s potential for improved performance in 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.

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

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 Graduate College for a one-semester extension if the student indicates a high probability of returning to good academic standing with an additional semester. 

Academic or Research Misconduct and Illegal, Fraudulent, or Unethical Behavior

The process for dismissing students as a result of academic or research misconduct or as a result of illegal, fraudulent, or unethical behavior is outlined in the University’s Student Handbook.

Special Circumstances

Financial Implications: Be aware that eligibility for financial aid, Veterans assistance, graduate assistantships, and university housing may be impacted by the number of units a student is enrolled. Please contact Financial Aid.

Students can appeal


Graduate students at NAU have the right to appeal academic dismissal decisions using the Graduate College Academic Appeal Policy.

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