Satisfactory Progress


The academic standards for graduate student employment eligibility are separate from the standards for satisfactory academic progress. The information below has been extracted from the UC Merced Graduate Advisor's Handbook (rev. 2013-2014) and the Graduate Division website, and is provided for your convenience.


  1. Your graduate group might have additional requirements — check your policies.
  2. It is your responsibility to determine which requirements, procedures and deadlines apply to you.

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 eight units completed and applicable toward the advanced degree requirements in the last two semesters; or
  • 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 members of any 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. Each such written communication should include specific details of areas that require improvement, 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 his or her academic status so the student can successfully complete 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.