Skip to main content

Current Students

Continuation Policy & Maintaining Academic Progress

Admission to the MSE Department and Graduate School allows students to continue graduate study and research at the University of Washington as long as they maintain satisfactory performance and progress toward completion of their graduate degree program. Each student is expected to adhere to degree program requirements including completing coursework, attending seminars and making satisfactory progress in research capability and achievements.

Unsatisfactory Performance and Progress / Probation Procedures

The Graduate Program Coordinator and Graduate Program Advisor closely monitor students' performance and progress throughout their time in the department.

The following conditions can lead to unsatisfactory progress and result in the actions outlined below. The timeline of the action items may be sped up depending on the severity of the incident.

  • Overall GPA falls below a 3.0.
  • Inability to pass program specific exams or complete in a timely manner.
  • Failure to uphold research or general course capability, progress and performance.
  • GPA is less than 3.0 for Ph.D. students completing the core courses 510, 525 and 541, and the cumulative GPA is less than 3.2 for all three courses.
  • Cheating/plagiarism.

Unsatisfactory Progress Actions

Note: It is at the discretion of the faculty advisor if the student will receive funding support during unsatisfactory progress. Students are generally ineligible to apply for TA appointments.

  1. Warning: The student and faculty advisor receive a letter from the GPC indicating the progress that is not being met and action that needs to be taken to avoid probation. This warning is not reported to the Graduate School. The warning is optional and depends on each individual case.
  2. Probation: If the deficiency is not corrected as indicated in the warning letter, the student will go on probation which generally lasts for three quarters. The student and faculty advisor receive a letter from the GPC indicating these specific quarters of probation and the final probation procedure if the situation outlined doesn’t improve. Depending on circumstances, the Graduate School may be notified of this probation.
  3. Final probation: If the probationary condition is not being met after at least one quarter of probation, the student can be recommended to the Graduate School for final probation. This letter from the GPC will indicate the final quarter that the student can be in the program which is generally quarter three as outlined in the probation letter.
  4. Drop: After one quarter of final probation the student is often recommended to the Graduate School to drop the student. This is the final action taken for students who have not corrected the situation that caused the final probation to occur. If this occurs, this will take place during the final quarter the student is permitted to be a graduate student at the UW.

Example of timeline:

  • Warning Autumn 2020
  • Probation Winter 2021
  • Final probation Summer 2021
  • Drop Autumn 2021

Ph.D. students: This timeline is shortened if the student fails the Ph.D. written QE. See information on retaking the exam.

If the student’s progress improves, the student can remain in the department and go off probation.

See also

Grad School memo on Academic Performance and Progress