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Evaluation of Student Progress

The Department of Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation faculty are aware of the different approaches our students take to finishing their degrees. Many of our students work full-time and balance multiple priorities with their scholarly work. Progress to degree is therefore monitored on a case by case basis with the following criteria in mind: Is the student meeting goals as established by the Graduate School? Is the student meeting goals as negotiated with his or her major professor and/or advisory committee? Is there evidence of scholarly activity appropriate to the degree to demonstrate this progress? For all students, progress toward completion of an appropriate program of study (coursework) is determined by the student’s advisory committee led by his or her major professor. For doctoral students, progress toward candidacy is determined by successful completion of the qualifying examination followed by a successful defense of the dissertation proposal. Again, the department does not hold specific expectations regarding the pace of an individual student’s study, but does anticipate steady progress toward degree.

At the end of each semester, doctoral students enrolled in EPE 767 dissertation residency credit will receive a grade of “S” for satisfactory progress or “UN” for unsatisfactory progress from their major professor. Master’s students working on their scholarly paper, but not continuously enrolled (it is not currently required for master’s students to be enrolled following completion of the program of study) will also be evaluated each semester until they sit for their exam. Any student whose progress is judged “unsatisfactory” in a given semester must meet with their advisory committee the following semester to set up a remediation plan. If the student is still judged to be making unsatisfactory progress on the subsequent semester evaluation, he or she may be dismissed from his or her degree program.

Once a year, typically in May, the department faculty conducts an annual evaluation of student progress in all degree programs. Data included in this review include: GPA, scholarly accomplishments, and progress on non-course related activities (i.e. independent study, scholarly paper for the master’s degree, dissertation proposal, and/or dissertation). Students must maintain a graduate grade point average of at least a 3.0 and have no more than two grades of “incomplete” or “I” at any time during coursework. Written feedback will be provided to the student if the faculty determine that a) the student needs to improve to increase his or her chances of success in their degree program or b) the student needs to work with his or her major professor to establish more concrete goals and timeline for completion. Students making satisfactory progress will not receive written feedback. Students’ continuation in the program is contingent upon successful annual evaluations.


If, in the professional judgment of the department faculty, a student continues to make unsatisfactory progress, it may become necessary to terminate the student from his or her degree program. Written notification of termination will be sent to the student by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Leave of Absence

Students wishing to withdraw for a temporary leave of absence are responsible for notifying their major professor (or temporary advisor) and the Director of Graduate Studies. This notification letter (email is also acceptable) should state the (a) reason for temporary withdrawal, (b) period of time requested, and (c) plans for completion of the degree requirements.

Appeal of Termination

From the Graduate School Bulletin: “In cases where the student’s advisory committee recommends termination after the qualifying examination has been passed, the Graduate Faculty in that program will meet to vote on the recommendation. When the Graduate Faculty of that program concurs and the student dissents, the student will have an opportunity to meet with the Graduate Faculty of the program, after which a second vote will be taken and a final recommendation will be made to the Dean of the Graduate School.” In cases where the student is not making progress to degree following completion of his or her program of study (for master’s students) or successful qualifying exams (for doctoral students), the same procedure of appeal to the Graduate Faculty of the program applies.