Guidelines for evaluating and providing feedback on graduate student progress in coursework programs

Non-research Masters programs are normally structured such that degree requirements consist primarily of completing a specified number of graduate level courses. These programs do not require students to conduct substantive research (such as a thesis); as such, these students do not have a research supervisor or an advisory committee. For students in these programs, progress is determined by the timely and successful completion of graduate courses.

The Graduate Officer in the student’s home department is responsible for monitoring student progress. This includes reviewing student’s registration status, the number of courses taken, as well as the performance in courses relative to articulated standards for the program.

If a student fails to meet the program’s requirements, then the Graduate Office will carry out an academic review to determine if there exist Extenuating Circumstances that may have limited the student’s ability to be successful. This review should be an opportunity for the Graduate Officer to identify students who are struggling with their academics due to health (including mental health), financial, or other challenges and provide direction to appropriate campus resources. If the review determines that no such conditions exist, then the student will be placed on conditional status and the Graduate Officer will convey that decision to the student in writing. This communication shall also contain an articulation of all conditions that the student must meet to return to satisfactory standing.

If there are serious concerns regarding performance in courses, whereby the grades are below a point where the average required for the program cannot be met, the Graduate Officer should recommend to the student that they voluntarily withdraw from the program. If the student decides to continue under conditional status for one additional term, they must do so with the understanding of the grades needed to achieve the necessary average required to remain in the program. If these are not met after the second term, then the student will, normally, be “required to withdraw” and communicated to as below.

If in the course of the program the student fails to meet the program requirements a second time, the Graduate Officer shall change the student’s status to “required to withdraw” from the program. This decision will be communicated to the student in writing, specifying the sequence of events that has led to this outcome.

If the student seeks to have the “required to withdraw” reconsidered, they may file a petition or a grievance according to Policy 70 with the Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) for the Faculty. If the outcome is to permit the student to remain in the program, then the student will be placed on conditional status and the Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) will convey that decision to the student in writing and to clearly identify any conditions that the student must meet to clear conditional status.