Unsatisfactory Academic Performance

Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Resulting in Probation or Discretionary Dismissal

See 2021-22 addendum for revised language. Mines.edu/Registrar/program-changes

A student’s progress toward successful completion of a graduate degree shall be deemed unsatisfactory if any of the following conditions occur:

  • Failure to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or greater (see Graduate Grading System section);
  • Receipt of an “Unsatisfactory Progress” (PRU) grade for research; or
  • Receipt of an “Unsatisfactory Progress” recommendation from the following:
    • the head or director of the student’s home department or division,
    • the student’s thesis committee, or
    • a departmental committee charged with the responsibility of monitoring the student’s progress.

Unsatisfactory academic progress on the part of a graduate student shall be reported to the Graduate Dean in a timely manner at the end of each semester. Students making unsatisfactory progress by any of the measures listed above are subject to discretionary dismissal according to the procedure outlined below.

In addition, students in thesis-based degree programs who are not admitted to candidacy within the time limits specified in this Catalog may be subject to immediate mandatory dismissal according to the procedure outlined below. Failure to fulfill this requirement must be reported to the Graduate Dean in a timely manner by the department head or division/program director.

Probation and Discretionary Dismissal Process and Procedure

The process described in this section is based on full-time enrollment.  At the discretion of the Graduate Dean, the academic standing of a part-time student may be evaluated in terms of the credit equivalent of a semester of full-time enrollment.


The first semester of unsatisfactory performance will result in the student being placed on academic probation. The student will be notified by the Graduate Dean and asked to consult with his/her advisor. The notation on the student’s transcripts will indicate that the student is on probation. To have the probation notation removed from the transcript, the student must resolve the issue that caused the academic probation (i.e. bring their cumulative GPA to a 3.0 or above, obtain a PRG (satisfactory) grade for research instead of a second PRU, or address the issue from the department) in the subsequent semester. Students who do not resolve the issue in the subsequent semester will have the academic probation notation remain on the transcript.

Discretionary Dismissal

The second semester on academic probation (not necessarily a consecutive semester) will result in the initiation of a discretionary dismissal process. The Graduate Dean will notify the student in a timely manner and invite him or her to consult with his or her advisor and submit a written remedial plan, including performance milestones and deadlines, to correct the deficiencies that caused or contributed to the student’s unsatisfactory progress in coursework and/or research. The remedial plan, which must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and the department head, division or program director, shall be submitted to the Dean no later than 10 business days from the date of official notification to the student of the potential discretionary dismissal. If the Dean concludes that the remedial plan is likely to lead to the restoration of satisfactory performance and/or successful completion of all degree requirements within an acceptable time frame, the Dean may halt the discretionary dismissal process and allow the student to continue working toward his or her degree. If the Dean concludes that the remedial plan is inadequate, or that it is unlikely to lead to successful completion of all degree requirements within an acceptable time frame, the Dean will notify the student of his or her discretionary dismissal and inform the student of his or her right to appeal the dismissal as outlined below. The academic probation notation will remain on the transcript during the time frame of the remedial plan and will be removed if the plan is successful. 

If the student fails to meet the conditions of the remedial plan, the student will be subject to mandatory dismissal. 

Unsatisfactory Academic Performance Resulting in Mandatory Dismissal

Unsatisfactory performance as gauged by any of the following measures shall result in immediate, mandatory dismissal of a graduate student:

  1. Failure to successfully defend the thesis after two attempts;
  2. Failure to be admitted to candidacy; or
  3. Failure by a student subject to discretionary dismissal to achieve a performance milestone or meet a deadline contained in his or her remedial plan.

The Graduate Dean shall be notified promptly of any situation that may subject a student to mandatory dismissal. In this event, the Dean shall notify the student of his or her dismissal and inform the student of his or her right to appeal the dismissal as outlined below.

Students who have been notified of mandatory dismissal will have 10 business days to submit an appeal based on the existence of extenuating circumstances or withdraw from their graduate program.

Students who have an appeal for extenuating circumstances approved by the faculty committee will be reinstated in the same degree program and will be allowed to continue with their graduate studies. If an appeal is denied, the dismissal will stand.

Students who withdraw or are dismissed, may request re-admission to either the same program or a different degree program by submitting a full application for admission to Graduate Admissions. The application will be reviewed through the normal admission process. To return, the student will need to be re-admitted into a degree program.

If a student who has been reinstated or readmitted to his or her former degree program is subsequently found to be making unsatisfactory progress, the student will immediately be subject to mandatory dismissal.

Appeal Procedures

Both mandatory and discretionary dismissals may be appealed by a graduate student pursuant to this procedure. To trigger review hereunder, an appeal must:

  1. Be based on the documented existence of extenuating circumstances and/or irregularities in process. Examples of extenuating circumstances and/or irregularities in process along with suggested documentation and details can be found on the Graduate Student Dismissal Appeal form on the Office of Graduate Studies website. 
  2. Be submitted using the Graduate Student Dismissal Appeal form.
  3. Include a description of the matter being appealed, supporting documentation, and a plan for successful completion of the degree program.
  4. Be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies, c/o the Graduate Dean, no later than 10 business days from the date upon which the student received official notification from the Dean regarding his or her dismissal.

Upon receipt of a timely appeal of a discretionary or mandatory dismissal, the Graduate Dean will review the stated grounds for the appeal. If the Dean determines that the appeal satisfies the conditions required for review, the Dean will request that the Faculty Senate appoint a review committee comprised of three tenured faculty members who are not members of the student’s home or minor (if applicable) department or division. The review committee shall review the student’s appeal and issue a written recommendation thereon to the Dean within 10 business days. During the course of performing this function, the committee may:

  1. Interview the student, the student’s advisor, and if appropriate, the student’s thesis committee;
  2. Review all documentation related to the appeal under consideration;
  3. Secure the assistance of outside expertise, if needed; and
  4. Obtain any other relevant information necessary to properly consider the appeal.

If the Dean determines that the appeal submitted does not have the required documentation showing sufficient extenuating circumstances, then the appeal will not be accepted and the student’s dismissal will stand.

The authority to render a final decision regarding all graduate student appeals filed hereunder shall rest with the Graduate Dean.

Exceptions and Appeals

Academic Policies and Requirements

Academic policies and requirements are included in the Catalog on the authority of the Mines Board of Trustees as delegated to the Faculty Senate. These include matters such as degree requirements, grading systems, thesis and dissertation standards, admission standards, new and modified degree programs, certificates, minors and courses. No Mines administrator, faculty or staff member may change, waive or grant exceptions to such academic policies and requirements without approval of the Graduate Council, the Senate and/or the Board of Trustees as appropriate.

Administrative Policies and Procedures

Administrative Policies and Procedures are included in this Catalog on the authority of the Mines Board of Trustees as delegated to the appropriate administrative office. These include (but are not limited to) matters such as student record keeping, thesis and dissertation formats and deadlines, registration requirements and procedures, assessment of tuition and fees, and allocation of financial aid. The Graduate Dean may waive or grant exceptions to such administrative policies and procedures as warranted by the circumstances of individual cases.

Any graduate student may request a waiver or exception by the following process:

  1. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies to determine whether a standard form exists. If so, complete the form. If a standard form does not exist, prepare a memo with a statement of the request and a discussion of the reasons why a waiver or exception would be justified.
  2. Have the memo or the form approved by the student’s advisor and department head or division director, then submit it to the Graduate Dean.
  3. If the request involves academic policies or requirements, the Graduate Dean will request Graduate Council approval at the Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting.
  4. The Graduate Dean will notify the student of the decision. The student may file a written appeal with the Provost within 10 business days of being notified of the decision. The Provost will investigate as appropriate to the issue under consideration and render a decision. The decision of the Provost is final.
  5. At the next graduate Council meeting, the Dean will notify the Graduate Council of the request, the decision and the reasons for the decision. If the Graduate Council endorses the decision, then any other student in the same situation having the same justification can expect the same decision.