Academic Standards for Continuation

The Graduate School requires a minimum Graduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 as a condition for continuation in a given graduate program. Consistent with this policy, a GPA of 3.0 or better on 22 units of graded courses will be required for continuation in the chemistry Ph.D. program. It should be noted that a GPA of 3.0 or better is not a guarantee of continuation in the Ph.D. Program, although continuation generally is recommended in such cases.

GPA Calculations
A+ 4.0
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
F 0.0
NC 0.0

Note: In the Chemistry Department, full-semester chemistry doctoral-level 500+ are counted as 4 credits and half semester courses as 2. All such doctoral level, and most Master’s level, courses in other natural science departments will counts as 4 or 2 toward the doctoral degree’s 22-credit requirement, depending on the length of the class. However, the Graduate School counts the courses towards a 30-credit Master’s degree solely on the basis of their credit listing in ACES, e.g. a 3 credit graduate biochemistry course will counts as 3 credits for a Master’s degree by the Grad School.

Monitoring Progress

To monitor academic progress, the GPA for each student will be determined by the DGS office at the end of each semester of study. If a student’s performance at the end of the first semester of graduate study indicates that he/she is unlikely to qualify for continuation in the Ph.D. program unless his/her performance substantially improves, the student will be placed on academic probation. At the end of the first year, a Continuation Committee makes recommendations on all first-year students as soon as possible after course grades become available for the Spring semester. This Committee is composed of the Director of Graduate Studies and four other members of the departmental faculty, appointed to the committee by the Chair of the Department.

On the basis of the course record of the student, the Committee typically recommends one of the following:

  1. that the student continue with the prescribed doctoral program,
  2. that the student remain one additional year to complete a master's degree with an acceptable thesis,
  3. that the student is not eligible to continue in a degree program in the department.

Recommendations other than continuation are made collaboratively with the Chair of the Department and the Director of Graduate Studies. 

In the case of a student who does not complete the required 22 units of course work until the end of the third semester, the Director of Graduate Studies shall review the GPA again following the end of the third semester. If the GPA falls below 3.0, the Director of Graduate Studies shall convene another Continuation Committee to make a recommendation on the status of the student in the program following the procedures described above for the first-year continuation evaluation.

In addition to the academic standards set forth by the department, it is important to be aware of the other academic regulations of the Graduate School, in particular the regulation that “a grade of F in a major course normally occasions withdrawal from a degree program not later than the end of the ensuing semester or term; a grade of F in any other course occasions at least academic probation.”

Students approved for continuation in the Ph.D. program at the end of the third semester will be free of any additional grade level requirement. However, the Review Committee that evaluates the progress of advanced students shall take into account a poor grade performance in making recommendations for specific students. In exceptional cases, the Review Committee has the prerogative of recommending several levels of remedial action including termination of further pursuit of graduate work or termination of departmental support.