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Engineering Graduate Student Services - Academic Standards

Info for academic standards for all graduate students in SoE

Academic standards for UCM graduate students


The academic standards for graduate student employment eligibility are separate from the standards for satisfactory academic progress. The information below has been extracted by SoE from the UCM Graduate Advisor’s Handbook (rev 2011-2012) and the Graduate Division website, and is provided for your convenience.


1. Your graduate group might have additional academic requirements – please check with your Graduate Chair, Faculty Advisor, and your program’s policies.
2. It is YOUR responsibility to determine which requirements, procedures and deadlines apply to you.

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.

4. 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.  This exam is usually administered during Graduate Orientation Week.

Unsatisfactory Progress

A graduate student who has not demonstrated satisfactory academic progress is not eligible for any
academic appointment/employment and may not receive fellowship support or other awards.

a. 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;
  • Failure to establish a GPA prior to the beginning of the third semester


  • 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.

NOTE: 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.

b. Notice of Unsatisfactory Progress

It is very important to give students an early warning of potentially unsatisfactory progress. As a guideline, faculty advisors are encouraged to be direct in communicating orally and in writing with students demonstrating academic difficulties, and should keep a written record of all such communications. Notices of potential unsatisfactory progress should be sent in writing to the student; a copy should also be retained in the Graduate Group files and another copy sent to the Graduate Dean. The written communication should include specific details on areas that require improvement, provide an outline for future expectations of academic progress, and set meeting dates to maintain continuity in advisement. The purpose of the notice of potential unsatisfactory progress is to provide the student with a period of time (usually at least one academic semester) in which to make the necessary improvement in their academic status, and successfully complete their graduate study. If requested by the Graduate Group to do so, the Graduate Dean will also send a notice of potential unsatisfactory progress to the student.