Academic standing

Maintaining good academic standing

Each graduate course must be completed with a grade of "C" or better for the credit to be acceptable toward an advanced degree. Some departments, at their discretion, do not accept any grade lower than "B" for the fulfillment of graduate program requirements.

In addition, students must maintain good standing with an overall cumulative graduate credit GPA of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to meet graduation eligibility.

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If the student's cumulative grade-point total is between 2.99 and 2.31, the student is placed on probation. The student must then raise his/her cumulative graduate GPA to 3.0 by the end of the following semester or the student will be dismissed from graduate standing.

University of Nevada, Reno Graduate Student Dismissal Policy

Section 1: Definitions

The term “academic policies” is defined as those policies, procedures, and regulations of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), the University of Nevada, Reno, the UNR Graduate School, particular departments or graduate programs.

A “degree program” is defined as the student’s approved academic course of study, which outlines the courses the student will complete for their degree in the program the student was admitted to.

A “department” is defined as an academic unit housed within a UNR administrative unit that has and maintains graduate level programs.

The term “Dismissed/Separated” includes removal from the student’s program along with removal from the Graduate School.

Section 2: General

A student may be dismissed/ separated from a graduate program for numerous reasons, which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Inadequate grades or academic performance
  • Failure to maintain good academic standing as defined by the graduate program
  • Lack of professionalism or unethical conduct
  • Unsatisfactory performance as a graduate teaching or research assistant
  • Failure to comply with professional or ethical standards applicable to a particular discipline
  • Failure to comply with other specific graduate program requirements

Failure to comply with these procedures may result in the student’s loss of his/her right to exercise any appeal to any action taken by the Graduate School.

Section 3: Dismissal/Separation for Academic Reasons After Probation

Section 3.1: Failure to Make Satisfactory Progress

A student may be placed on probation and then dismissed/ separated from a program for failure to make satisfactory progress in their course of study, which may be indicated by:

  • A failure to complete three (3) graduate credits per semester toward their program (Exceptions can be granted on a case-by-case basis through the graduate school)
  • Unsatisfactory grades (including incompletes, grades below B, or withdrawals)
  • Failure to consult with their advisor when requested
  • Failure to establish a graduate advisory committee
  • Failure to develop an official, approved degree program
  • Failure to establish the groundwork for an acceptable thesis or dissertation
  • Failure of comprehensive and/ or qualifying exams in the number of attempts specified by the graduate program
  • Failure to meet a department milestone or to pass the culminating experience
  • Failure to successfully defend a thesis or dissertation prospectus, or to successfully defend a final document.
  • In programs with clinical or applied practicum components, failure to perform at a level commiserate with training

Departments may establish their own benchmarks for progress, consistent with degree program requirements, standards in the field, or specified in the graduate handbook for the degree program.

Satisfactory academic progress also involves the graduate student’s maintenance of the standards of academic and professional integrity expected in a particular discipline or program.  Failure to maintain these standards may result in termination of the student’s admission to the program.

Departments are required to review the academic performance and progress of a graduate students at least once per year.

Section 3.1.1: Procedures for placing a student on probation

If a department determines that a student is not making satisfactory progress toward their degree, it may request that the Dean of the Graduate School (“Graduate Dean”) place the student on probation.  A student is placed on academic probation first if he/she has a cumulative graduate GPA that falls below 3.0 or fails a comprehensive examination or oral defense attempt.

The department must provide documentation of the student’s failure to meet the specific provisions(s) of this policy to the Graduate Dean. The department must also provide specific requirements and/or conditions, including deadlines, which the student must complete in order for the Graduate Dean to remove him/her from probation.

If the Graduate Dean approves the department’s request to place the student on probation, the Graduate School will notify the student in writing to indicate that he/she has been placed on Academic Probation (the “Academic Probation Notice”).

The Academic Probation Notice shall outline what the student must do and the dates by which he/she must do so in order to return to good standing in his/her program.  The Academic Probation Notice shall also inform the student that if the student does not meet the conditions of probation, he/she will be dismissed/separated from their program, contain information about the Graduate School appeal process and provide the student with the contact information for the Graduate School Director of Operations (“Director of Operations”) for any questions or concerns he/she may have.

If the student fails to meet the requirements and/or conditions of probation or violate the terms of his/her probation, he/she will be dismissed/separated from the student’s program and the Graduate School.

At the student’s option, the student may decide to request and attend a review conference to go over the reasons for their dismissal/separation and possible remedies, and/or decide to go straight into the graduate appeal process.

The student shall have thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the Academic Probation Notice to submit his/her appeal to their program department.  In turn, the program department shall have fifteen (15) calendar days to submit the student’s appeal form to the Graduate School.

Section 3.1.2: Graduate School appeal process

Within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the student’s appeal, the Graduate Dean will review the student’s appeal and provide the student with written notification of the status of the appeal, including, but not limited to rendering a decision.  The Graduate Dean may, in his/her sole discretion, refer the appeal to additional academic professionals that are trained to participate in the remediation of student issues.

The student will be afforded the opportunity for a review conference, which will be administered by the Graduate Dean.  The review conference is an informal meeting that is not intended to be adversarial in nature.  The student may be accompanied by an advisor during the conference, who may serve in a support role to the student during the review conference.  In this process, the advisor has no right to speak during the review conference except to the student.

If a student, who has been given notice does not appear for the review conference with the Graduate Dean, then the review conference will proceed in the absence of the student.

During the review conference evidence to support the reasons for dismissal, such as information, documents, emails, or witnesses, will be presented.  The student is also afforded the opportunity to present information, documents, or other evidence on their own behalf.  Witnesses may present a statement to the Graduate Dean, however, only the Graduate Dean is allowed to ask questions of any witnesses.  Furthermore, the individual who made the recommendation for program dismissal has the opportunity to participate in the review conference and may present evidence to support the case for dismissal.  The Graduate Dean may also include a representative from the applicable discipline or program in the review conference.

The review conference must occur no earlier than three (3) working days after the date on which written notification of the recommendation for dismissal was sent to the student by email.  However, upon request by the student, the Graduate Dean, in his/her sole discretion, may grant an extension of time with regard to the review conference.  Unless an extension of time for the review conference has been granted by the Graduate Dean, the review conference must take place no later than 10 working days after the date that the written notice of dismissal was sent to the student.

The Graduate Dean will notify all parties, in writing, of the decisions, which is final and not subject to appeal or other recourse.

Section 4: Dismissal/Separation for Academic Reasons without Prior Probation

In rare instances, a student may be recommended for separation for poor academic performance or failure to sufficiently progress in his/her program without being placed on probation under the following circumstances:

  • When a student’s GPA drops below 2.3, the student may be dismissed without a probationary period.
  • When a student has failed some significant academic milestone (i.e. an oral defense of his/her final document), resulting in their failure to adequately progress in his/her program.
  • When a student refuses to engage with his/her advisor or graduate coordinator, fails to respond to requests to submit mandatory paperwork, and/or fails to show up to mandatory student meetings, which results in his/her failure to progress in his/her program.
  • When the academic reason for failing to progress is non-enrollment
  • When a sanction is issued by the Office of Student Conduct (OSC”) resulting from a student contact issue.

For the instances described above, the student in subject to the same procedures as outlined in Section 3 for students who have not met the terms of their probation and are therefore being recommended for program dismissal/separation.

For those instances involving non-enrollment, the student is subject to the procedures outlined in Section 5.

For those instances involving student conduct violation (, the student is subject to the procedures as outlined in Section 6.

Section 5: Dismissal/ Separation for Non-Enrollment

Pursuant to the Academic Policies of the Graduate School, all students are required to be enrolled in three (3) graduate-level credits per semester (the “Continuous Enrollment Policy”).

Any student in violation of the Continuous Enrollment Policy is subject to dismissal/separation

Any student in violation of the Continuous Enrollment Policy will be notified in writing that his/her failure to register for the minimum number of credits per rolling three semesters is in violation of the Academic Policies and therefore, that student is subject to dismissal/separation from his/her program.

The student shall have fourteen (14) calendar days to set up a review conference with the Graduate Dean to address the reasons for his/her proposed dismissal/separation; and if relevant, the option of an approved leave of absence.

At the review conference, the student must notify the Graduate Dean if he/she will be submitting an appeal to prevent dismissal/separation. If the student indicates that he/she will be filing an appeal, the Graduate School will place a hold on his/her MyNevada account to preclude the student from registering for additional courses until the Graduate Dean has issued a final decision.  No dismissal/separation will occur until the appeal process has been completed.

If the student does not opt for a review conference, give notice of their intent to file an appeal, or fails to appear for his/her review conference, the Graduate School will commence dismissal/separation of the student from the program.

Any student dismissed/separated pursuant to this section shall have the right to appeal for reinstatement within thirty (30) calendar days of the Graduate School’s Notice of Separation.

A registration hold will remain on the student’s MyNevada account.  Should the student exercise their right to appeal for reinstatement, the registration hold will remain on his/her account and will not be removed until the Graduate Dean has issued a final decision on his/her appeal.

Section 6: Dismissal/Separation for Violation of UNR’s Student Code Conduct

All issues relating to a student’s alleged violations of the Conduct Code are processed through the Office of Student Conduct and not the Graduate School.  The Graduate School does not dismiss/separate students from his/her program as a finding of responsibility of violations of the Conduct Code.  The Graduate School does dismiss/separate a student from his/her program upon direction from the Office of Student Conduct after all Conduct Code hearings and appeals have been completed and the Office of Student Conduct advises the Graduate School that the sanction imposed against the student is dismissal/separation from his/her program.

Section 7: Failure to Matriculate and/or failure to Meet Admission Requirements- Revocation of New Student Admission Offers

Failure to matriculate

In accordance with Academic Policies, offer of admission letter, and letter of admission, graduate students must enroll and matriculate in courses for the semester in which they are admitted.

Failure by the student to do so is deemed a violation of a condition of their admission and subject to separation from the Graduate School.

A failure to matriculate is not considered a “dismissal” from a program at UNR, since the student never commenced his/her program or complied with the conditions of admission and has no enrollment in the newly admitted program.  As such, the Graduate School will rescind its offer of admission to the student in writing and invite them to reapply to the Graduate School if he/she wants to gain admission into a program in the future.

Provisional admissions

A student provisionally admitted pending submission of outstanding documentation (i.e. missing transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, etc.) as outlined in the student’s admission offer and letter of admission may have their offer of admission rescinded for failing to provide the appropriate documentation by the required due date.

At least ten (10) calendar days prior to the deadline for submission of the outstanding documentation, a Graduate School representative will contact the student in writing reminding him/her of their provisional requirements and the deadline.  The Graduate School representative will also remind the student that failure to provide these documents could result in the Graduate School rescinding the offer of admission to the student.  The Graduate School representative will also offer to meet with him/her prior to the deadline to discuss the outstanding documentation.

Failure by the student to provide the missing documentation by the deadline is deemed a violation his/her provisional admission and subject to separation from the Graduate School.  A Graduate School representative will notify the student in writing that they have failed to fulfill the requirements of his/her provisional admission and will be separated from the Graduate School. 

The student’s failure to meet the conditions of his/her provisional admission will result in revocation of the admission offer and separation from the Graduate School.  The student will be notified in writing of the revocation along with their right to appeal the revocation to the Graduate School within thirty (30) calendar days.  The student will also be informed and invited to reapply to the Graduate School if he/she wishes to gain admission into a program in the future. 

View the Graduate School policies