Student Progress Evaluation

submenu

Evaluation of Student Progress

Progress of graduate students in the program, both Master’s and Doctoral, follows the policy and procedures of the University of Minnesota for performance standards and progress.

Master’s Degree Performance and Standards:

Find master's degree and performance standards on the University's policy site.

A portion of the content of this web page is given here.

Policy Statement

Students are responsible for knowing all program requirements of their master’s program when they matriculate. If program requirements change, students may elect to continue under the requirements in effect when they matriculated, provided they have remained in good standing.The advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for the program are jointly responsible for helping each student plan and appropriately complete the requirements in a timely fashion. The DGS is also responsible for ensuring that each student receives training appropriate to the discipline in the responsible conduct of research and ethical teaching and scholarship. Programs and collegiate units may have additional and/or more stringent requirements.

Pre-Matriculation Requirements for Programs:

  • Programs must, before students begin their first term of study:
  • Provide each student a current graduate program handbook, specifying the program's requirements and policies governing successful degree completion.
  • Assign each student a temporary advisor.

2.  Progress Review: Annual Review Programs must review the progress of each master’s student annually. Students deemed not to be in good standing must be informed of the results of the review in writing, with a copy to the student’s advisor.

3.  Degree Plan: Master’s degree students must have an approved degree plan on file in the collegiate unit in order to defend and/or apply for degree clearance. It is recommended that the degree plan be filed at least one term (fall or spring semester) before the intended term of the defense and/or application for degree clearance. The degree plan must be archived in the system of record.

4.  For students intending to pursue a minor:

  • In master’s programs that include a final examination/defense, students must declare the minor prior to the examination/defense.
  • In master’s programs that do not include a final examination/defense, students must declare the minor prior to filing for degree conferral.

Performance Standards:

1. Continuous Enrollment: Students are required to enroll every semester (fall and spring) from the time of matriculation until degree conferral.

2. Time Limit for Earning the Master's Degree: All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed and the degree awarded within the shorter of five calendar years after initial enrollment in the graduate program or the more restrictive time frame specified by the program.

  • Students who are unable to complete the degree within the time limits described above due to extraordinary circumstances may petition the program and collegiate unit for an extension of up to 12 months. Students must obtain the approval of their advisor/s and program DGS and submit the petition by the deadline.
  • If a petition is approved, the student is notified in writing of the expectations for progress and for the month/year of degree conferral.
  • If the petition is denied, the student is notified in writing that he or she will be terminated from the graduate program upon expiration of the limit.
  • Students who have been terminated under such circumstances may apply for readmission to the program; however, readmission is not guaranteed.

3.  Minimum Grade Requirements: 

  • Minimum Grade Requirements: To remain in good academic standing students should meet the minimum GPA requirement specified by the graduate program or 2.800 (on
  • a 4.000 scale), whichever is higher. Students who have filed a master’s degree plan should maintain a 2.800 GPA for courses included on the degree plan. Students who have not yet filed a degree plan must maintain an overall GPA of 2.800. Graduate programs may require a higher GPA for individual major fields and may apply the requirement to the overall GPA instead of only to degree plan coursework. Students who fall below the program's minimum GPA requirement may be terminated from the program.
  • Note: Students must have a 2.800 GPA for courses included on the degree plan at the time of degree clearance.
  • S/N grades for courses: a minimum of 2/3 of the course credits included on a degree plan must be taken A/F.

Doctoral Degree Performance Standards and Program:

Policy Statement

1. Students are responsible for knowing all program requirements of their doctoral program when they matriculate. If program requirements change, students may elect to continue under the requirements in effect when they matriculated, provided they have remained in good standing.

2.  The advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for the program are jointly responsible for helping each student plan and appropriately complete the requirements in a timely fashion. The DGS is also responsible for ensuring that each student receives training appropriate to the discipline in the responsible conduct of research and ethical teaching and scholarship.

3. Programs and collegiate units may have additional and/or more stringent requirements.

4. Pre-Matriculation Requirements for Programs:

  1. Pre-Matriculation Requirements for Programs
    1. Programs must, before students begin their first term of study:
      1. Provide each student a current graduate program handbook, specifying the program’s requirements and policies governing successful degree completion
      2. Assign each student a temporary advisor.
    2. Progress Review
      1. Annual Review Programs must review the progress of each doctoral student at least once a year and must provide the results to the student in writing.
    3. Degree Plan
      1. Doctoral students must have an approved degree plan on file with their collegiate unit prior to taking the preliminary oral exam.
      2. If a student intends to complete a minor, the minor must be declared on the degree plan prior to taking this exam. The degree plan must be centrally archived in the system of record.
      3. It is recommended that the degree plan be filed, at minimum, three months prior to the exam date.
  2. Performance Standards:
    1. Continuous Enrollment: Students are required to enroll every semester (fall and spring) from the time of matriculation until degree conferral.
    2. Time Limit for Earning the Doctoral Degree:
      1. All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed and the degree awarded within the shorter of eight calendar years after initial enrollment to the graduate program or the more restrictive time frame specified by the program.
      2. Students who are unable to complete the degree within the time limits described above may petition the program and collegiate unit for one extension of up to 24 months. Students must obtain the approval of their advisor/s and program DGS and submit the petition for an extension at least six months prior to the end of the time limit.
        1. If a petition is approved, the student is notified in writing of the expectations for progress and of the month/year of degree conferral.
        2. If the petition is denied, the student is notified in writing that he or she will be terminated from doctoral candidacy and from the graduate program upon expiration of the time limit.
        3. Under extraordinary circumstances, students may file a second petition for an additional 24 month extension after the first 24 months have expired; however such petitions after the initial extension must be reviewed and approved by the advisor/s, program DGS, and Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education.
        4. Students who have been terminated under such circumstances may apply for readmission to the program; however, readmission is not guaranteed.
  3. Minimum Grade Requirements:
    1. To remain in good academic standing students should meet the minimum GPA requirement specified by the graduate program or 3.000 (on a 4.000 scale), whichever is higher. Students who have filed a doctoral degree plan should maintain a 3.000 GPA for courses included on the degree plan. Students who have not yet filed a degree plan must maintain an overall GPA of 3.000. Graduate programs may require a higher GPA for individual major fields and may apply the requirement to the overall GPA instead of only to degree plan coursework. Students who fall below the program's minimum GPA requirement may be terminated from the program.
    2. S/N grades for courses A minimum of 2/3 of the course credits included on a degree plan must be taken A/F.
  4. Doctoral Preliminary Written and Oral Examinations
    1. Each doctoral candidate must pass a written examination in the major field.
    2. The doctoral preliminary written examination will be graded either pass, pass with reservations, or fail in accordance with program standards.
    3. For students who pass with reservations, conditions to be met must be given in writing to the student within ten working days, including a timeline for completion.
    4. Every doctoral student must pass a preliminary oral examination in the major field in programs where such an examination is a degree requirement. The preliminary oral examination is conducted as a closed examination, attended by only the student and the examining committee.
    5. The oral examination may not take place before examiners have certified that the candidate received a passing grade on the preliminary written examination and that any reservations have been removed.
    6. The doctoral preliminary oral examination will be graded either pass, pass with reservations, or fail.
    7. If a student fails the exam, he or she may retake the examination once. All committee members, or all committee members save one must approve this option.
    8. The second attempt to pass the preliminary oral examination must use the same committee members unless an emergency situation necessitates a substitution.
    9. If the committee does not approve a retake, or if the student fails the second attempt, the student will be terminated from the program.
    10. The doctoral preliminary oral committee must consist of at least four members, including the advisor/s. All members of the committee and the candidate must participate in the preliminary oral examination. Committee members and/or the student may participate remotely as long as all conditions for remote participation in the examination are met.
    11. At least three members (including the advisor) must be from the student's major field.
    12. At least one member must represent a field outside the major
    13. If the student has declared a minor, at least one member must represent the minor field.
    14. Members cannot satisfy the requirement with respect to more than one field.

The DGS initially serves as advisor to each entering student. Most of the students will, after two or more semesters, have their advisor changed to the faculty with whom they do their Master’s project or PhD dissertation. The DGS continues to meet with each student at least once per year or as needs arise. A yearly assessment of progress is performed for each student. At these meetings, grades, project status, and expectation of completion dates are discussed. The DGS then contacts the student’s advisor to compare notes regarding the student’s progress. If the two parties give divergent descriptions of the state of progress of work, a meeting is arranged involving the student, the advisor, and the DGS. If necessary, other members of the student’s committee may be invited.

The curriculum is set so that a Master’s student can finish the program in two years. For Doctoral students, particular attention is given to ensure that the student, the student’s advisor, and the faculty on the student’s committee all agree on the scope of the dissertation work. We have put a great deal of effort into avoiding the situation where the student believes that they are done but the advisor believes that the student must accomplish more before being given permission to finish writing and do their final oral defense. We view the Oral Preliminary Exam as the time when we establish a “contract” between the student and the rest of the student’s committee. Part of the student’s presentation is to work with his or her advisor to make a list of the main stages of the project and go into as much detail as possible regarding the specific work that is to be done. The student’s PowerPoint presentation is kept and used as a reference to avoid future conflict.