A Grade Point Average (GPA) of no less than 3.000 will be required to maintain good academic standing and to graduate.
Grades of "S" and "U" are not included in calculations of a student's GPA. However, for the purpose of reviewing academic performance leading to termination, a "U" will be considered the same as an "F"; see Section III.D. Standards of Satisfactory Academic Performance.
Grades received in courses that have been approved for transfer credit and in courses taken through the Consortium are not computed in calculations of the student’s GPA.
Once a final grade for a course has been correctly posted to the transcript, a student may not retake any portion of the course requirements or do additional work to change the posted grade.
Students may not repeat courses for credit. The sole exception is that a student is permitted to repeat a course in which a grade of "F" was received. If such a course is repeated, all registrations for the course and their respective grades, including the original grade of "F," will remain on the transcript record. Both the original grade of "F" and the grade for the repeated registration will be included in calculating the GPA used to evaluate the student's academic standing and eligibility to graduate.
Courses that have been designated by departments and programs to be taken only on a pass/fail basis may be applied toward a graduate degree program. Other courses for which a student chooses to register on a pass/fail basis cannot be applied toward a degree program.
Students may register for language courses on a pass/fail basis, but may not audit them without the approval of their department or program and the Graduate School.
Students who have received permission from an instructor to audit a course or to take a course on a pass/fail basis should first register for the course on a letter-grade basis, then change to audit or pass/fail basis during the Add/Drop period. Changes of grade status (letter-grade, audit, or pass/fail) are not allowed beyond the Add/Drop period. Students who register for courses on an audit or pass/fail basis will be assessed tuition on the same per-credit basis as for letter-grade registrations.
It is expected that students will complete all coursework by the end of the semester in which that coursework is taken. Under special circumstances an instructor may grant a student permission to delay submission of work up to one semester after the course ends. Instructors are not bound to grant such requests, nor are they bound to grant an entire semester to complete such work. When an instructor has granted such permission, he or she will assign the student a grade of "Incomplete" ("I") for the course; this grade will appear on the student's official transcript until a final grade is reported.
The student must submit the completed work to the instructor in a timely manner, sufficient to enable the instructor to review the work and to send a final grade (recorded on a Grade Change Authorization form) to the Graduate School before the last day of classes in the Fall or Spring semester following the semester in which the Incomplete grade was given.
Some departments or programs, as well as some individual instructors, do not permit the "Incomplete" option. Students should determine early in their first semester of study the policy of their department or program, and each semester the policy of their instructors, in regard to “Incompletes.”
Starting with courses taken in Spring semester 2011, if an "I" is assigned by an instructor and is not subsequently changed to a grade by the instructor before the last day of classes in the following semester, it will be converted to an “F” on the student's transcript.
This policy will apply whether or not the student has continued to enroll in the Graduate School. The sole exception is that students who receive an “Incomplete” in their final semester of enrollment, but who are able to graduate without those credits, will retain an “Incomplete” indefinitely. Upon graduation the transcript will be closed and no further grade changes will be made.
This policy will not be applied retroactively to “Incomplete” grades posted in semesters prior to Spring 2011; such courses will remain “Incomplete” indefinitely unless and until a grade is entered by the instructor.
The University Registrar will assign a grade of “NR” (“No Grade Reported”) to a student’s enrollment in a course under either of two conditions: if the instructor does not assign a grade to anyone in the course, or if the instructor assigns grades to some students but not to others.
In the latter case, in which some students are graded while others are not, the “NR” will be treated as equivalent to an “I” assigned by the instructor. If it is not subsequently changed to a grade by the instructor before the last day of classes in the following semester, it will be converted to an “F” on the student's transcript.
a. Appeals Contesting Grades
If a student contests a grade received as part of coursework, the following steps are to be taken:
The student should first seek an acceptable resolution through a discussion with the instructor of the course. This discussion must be initiated no later than thirty days after the start of the semester following the one in which the disputed grade was assigned. If the grade was not assigned until a later date (e.g., if the student had been granted an “Incomplete” in the course), the discussion must be initiated no later than thirty days after the date the grade was posted to the student’s transcript. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, the student should then discuss the matter with the Director of Graduate Studies or program director under whose aegis the course is offered. This discussion must be initiated no later than sixty days after the start of the semester following the one in which the disputed grade was assigned, or sixty days after the date the grade was posted to the transcript.
If a satisfactory resolution is still not reached, the material in question will be sent to a faculty committee established by the department or program in which the course is offered (either a standing committee or an ad hoc committee). This committee review must be initiated no later than ninety days after the start of the semester following the one in which the disputed grade was assigned, or ninety days after the grade was posted to the transcript. That committee's decision (to raise, lower, or sustain the grade) shall be final.
In the case of a student pursing a departmentally-based graduate program who is enrolled in another department's course, the student will be subject to the offering department's appeal procedures. In the case of a student pursuing an interdisciplinary graduate program who is enrolled in a departmental course that is part of the program's curriculum, the Directors of Graduate Studies for the program and the department will establish a mutually agreed upon faculty committee on an ad hoc basis. Requests for a change of grade will not be approved if the new grade results from additional work performed after the initial grade had been assigned.
b. Appeals Contesting the Outcome of Other Faculty-Assessed Academic ActivitiesSatisfactory progress toward a graduate degree, especially those at the doctoral level, is measured by more than successful completion of coursework. Other academic activities that are subject to faculty assessment include but are not limited to such milestones as qualifying or comprehensive examinations and the acceptance of a thesis or dissertation proposal.
If a student contests the outcome any such assessment, the process for appealing that outcome is similar to that for appealing grades.
The student should begin by discussing the matter with the Director of Graduate Studies of his or her program. This discussion must be initiated no later than thirty days after the student has been notified of the results of the assessment.
If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, the student may submit a written appeal to the Director of Graduate Studies. This appeal must be submitted no later than ninety days after the student has been notified of the results of the assessment. The appeal will be sent to a faculty committee established by the student’s program. If the committee decides either to sustain or to reverse the assessment, that decision shall be final. Alternatively, the committee may decide to grant the student another opportunity to repeat the academic activity for reassessment.
Students pursuing either a master's or a doctoral degree may be eligible to transfer credit to their current degree program, but only students pursuing a doctoral degree are eligible to receive advanced standing. Students who have previously enrolled in a Graduate School certificate or master’s degree program may be eligible to incorporate some or all of that coursework into a higher degree program. The double-counting of course credits between two programs in an approved dual-degree program does not involve a transfer of credits; see Section IV.F. Dual-Degree and Joint-Degree Programs.
After satisfactory completion of at least one semester of full-time registration in the Graduate School, a master's or doctoral degree student may make a written request for the transfer of credit for specific applicable courses taken (a) at another accredited institution or (b) at Georgetown University prior to admission to a Georgetown graduate degree program. Requests for transfer of credit must be made in writing through the Director of Graduate Studies of the student's department or program. The Director of Graduate Studies will forward a recommendation to the Graduate School concerning the applicability of both the specific courses and the total number of credits requested toward the student's degree program; final approval rests with the Graduate School.
Credits are transferred in semester equivalency. Graduate School students who are enrolled in a master’s-only program must complete at least 75% of the credits required for the master’s degree at Georgetown. Consequently, transferred credits and Consortium enrollments combined may not account for more than 25% of the credits required for the degree.
The total number of credits that may be transferred by a student enrolled in a Georgetown doctoral degree program may not exceed 25% of the total number of credits required for the degree after any credits of advanced standing, (described below) have been granted.
Some departments and programs may impose more restrictive limits on either degree level, or may not permit transfer of credit at all.
Only graduate-level courses for which the student received a grade of "B" or better can be transferred into a Graduate School degree program. Credits will not be approved for transfer if they have been or are being applied toward another degree, either at Georgetown or elsewhere, or if they have already been used to award advanced standing toward a Graduate School doctoral degree. In addition, courses taken seven or more years prior to the request are not usually acceptable for transfer. Students may not satisfy any academic deficiency (e.g., low overall GPA or failure to achieve a sufficient grade in a required course) through the use of transferred credits
If the courses to be transferred are not included in the transcripts already on file in the Graduate School, the student should arrange for the appropriate official transcript to be sent directly to:
Students may personally deliver official transcripts to the Graduate School, as long as they are still sealed in the envelopes issued by the other institution’s registrar. In the request for transfer of credit, the student should identify any additional transcripts that have been ordered.
After receipt of the applicable transcript, and on the approval of both the department or program and the Graduate School, the credits will be officially recorded on the Georgetown transcript. The grades posted will be those of the institution giving the course; however, the Graduate School reserves the right to determine the number of credits that will be granted. Grades for transferred courses are not counted when calculating the student's overall GPA.
A student who has been awarded a relevant master's degree by another institution may petition for advanced standing toward the coursework required for a doctoral degree program. Only students pursuing a Ph.D. may apply for advanced standing; it is not available to students pursuing a master's degree. A maximum of 30 credits of advanced standing may be awarded. Some doctoral programs may impose a lower limit, or may not permit advanced standing at all. Students who have been awarded advanced standing may be eligible to transfer a limited number of other credits to their degree program.
Requests for advanced standing should be made during the student's first year of enrollment in the Graduate School. Requests for advanced standing must be made in writing through the Director of Graduate Studies of the student's doctoral program, who will forward a recommendation to the Graduate School for its review. This recommendation must include both the number of advanced standing credits to be awarded and the number of credits of coursework that remain to be completed for the degree through registration in the Graduate School or through transfer. The number of approved credits of advanced standing will be recorded on the student's transcript.
It has always been the case that a student pursuing a master’s degree at Georgetown may, if admitted to the Ph.D. program in the same major field, absorb the course credits earned in that program into the Ph.D. program. There is no need to request that those credits be transferred, since they are already posted to the Graduate School transcript.
Similarly, some or all of the credits earned while enrolled in a Graduate School certificate program may be eligible to be absorbed into a master’s program in the same or another major field, whether or not the requirements of the certificate program were completed and the credential awarded. In the same manner, some or all of the credits earned in a master’s program may be eligible to be absorbed into a doctoral program in another major field, whether or not the requirements of the master’s degree were completed. Such credits must have been enrolled through the Graduate School and posted to the Graduate School transcript.
Requests to absorb such courses must be made in writing through the Director of Graduate Studies of the higher program, who will forward a recommendation to the Graduate School for its review. That recommendation will identify the courses deemed relevant to the higher degree and confirm that the student’s performance in each of those courses was satisfactory to fulfill the requirements of the higher degree. Approved courses will be applied to the higher degree with the full credit value posted on the transcript. Courses that are not approved for use in the higher degree, whether because they were not relevant or because of insufficient performance by the student, will be remain on the transcript, but will not be counted toward completion of the higher degree’s requirements.
Special considerations apply to the use of earned graduate credits when a student has withdrawn from one Graduate School degree program and enrolled in another. See Section III.F.2. Use of Earned Course Credits When Changing Programs.
These time limits defined below are the Graduate School's minimum requirements. Some graduate programs may have more stringent overall time limits, or may have time limits associated with specific degree progress milestones. Check with your department or program for more information.
Part-time students are subject to the same time limits for completing Graduate School degrees as are full-time students.
Students who have not complied with the time limits stated below or as defined by their graduate program will be terminated from degree candidacy, unless an extension of time to complete the degree is approved by the Graduate School.
Each graduate program of study that leads to a master’s degree has defined normal progress in terms of both the number of credits its students are expected to complete in each semester and in total, and the total length of time required to complete the requirements for the degree. Normal program length for a master’s program can range from 9 months to three years. These standards are used by the Graduate School to assess student degree progress, but are also used by the Office of Student Financial Services to determine eligibility for student loans under rules set by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Office of Global Services (formerly the Office of International Programs) to set the time limits student visas issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Refer to your program's published policies, consult with your Director of Graduate Studies, or contact the offices of Student Financial Services or Global Services as appropriate if you have any questions concerning your expected time to complete a master's degree.
Students admitted to a Ph.D. program are allowed no more than five years from achievement of candidacy to award of the Ph.D. (see Section IV.E.2. Doctoral Candidacy) and no more than seven years overall from matriculation to award of the Ph.D.
Students admitted to a dual or concurrent degree program typically enroll for fewer total credits than they would if they were to enroll in the two programs separately. Consequently the time allowed to complete the requirements of both degrees is typically less than the time permitted to pursue the two degrees separately.
For master's/master's and master's/Ph.D. dual degree programs, the total time allowed from matriculation to completion of both degrees is typically one year more than what would be permitted for the longer of the two degrees alone.
For a master's or Ph.D. pursued concurrently with J.D. degree from the Law Center, the total time permitted is typically two years longer than that required for the Graduate School degree alone.
If a dual degree program between a Graduate School degree and the M.D. degree from the Medical School results in a reduction in the total number of credits required, the student would be expected to complete the combined program in a comparably shortened period of time.
If it becomes apparent that a student will not complete all degree requirements and graduate within the time allowed, the student may petition the Graduate School for an extension of time to complete the degree. Such a request must be submitted in writing to the student's mentor and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of the student's program. The DGS, in consultation with the student’s mentor, will forward a recommendation to the Graduate School on whether to grant or deny the student's request. If the DGS recommends granting the request, he or she should specify any intermediate deadlines or other academic criteria that are to be met by the student, as well as a realistic date for completion of the degree; the recommended completion date may or may not be the date requested by the student.
The Graduate School will readily grant a first extension of up to one year on the recommendation of both the student’s mentor and the program’s DGS. Subsequent extensions will be granted only in the event of complicating circumstances that warrant such an exception to the policy, and only on the recommendation of the mentor, the DGS, and, if the student is pursuing a doctoral degree, a standing committee of faculty appointed by the Dean to review all such requests. The student must maintain appropriate registration during any authorized period of extension.
International students should be aware that they are subject strict monitoring of their degree progress. The Department of Homeland Security expects all international students to complete the requirements of their degree programs within the time period set when the student’s visa was issued. Students should not presume that they will be permitted to extend their visas, as the circumstances under which such a request will be considered are very limited. If international students have any questions about their ability to complete their degree program within the duration of their visa, they should speak with their international student advisor in the Office of Global Services.
The Graduate School establishes minimum standards for academic performance; departments and programs are encouraged to set higher standards. Students should therefore familiarize themselves with the academic performance standards of both the Graduate School and their department or program.
The initial responsibility for recognizing an academic difficulty and for taking steps to resolve it rests with the student. Those encountering academic difficulty in courses or other degree requirements are expected to consult with the appropriate faculty member immediately and, if necessary, to seek additional assistance. The departments and programs monitor the academic records of their students as a matter of course.
When it is found that a student is in academic difficulty, and depending upon the severity of the situation, the student may receive:
● an oral warning from the department or program;
The first, second, or third actions will be taken when the student receives one "F," or when the student's grade point average or letter grade average falls below the minimum level required for good academic standing. The fourth action, termination of candidacy, will be taken either when the student has accumulated two failing grades (grades of "F" or "U"), regardless of the number of credits assigned to those two courses, or when it is no longer possible for the student's grade point average (GPA) to reach the minimum level required for graduation in his or her degree program. Students will not be allowed to register for additional credits beyond those required for graduation for the purpose of raising an inadequate GPA.
A student's candidacy for a Graduate School degree can be terminated not only for insufficient grades, but also for such reasons as unsatisfactory progress toward a degree as defined by the department or program, inability to pass a comprehensive examination, failure to prepare or to defend a thesis or dissertation satisfactorily, or violation of the time limits for completing degrees. All actions for termination on these and other possible grounds will be determined by the Graduate School in consultation with the student's department or program.
Most of the Graduate School Bulletin is devoted to the responsibilities that students bear in maintaining satisfactory academic progress. But given the central importance of the mentoring relationship to a student’s degree progress and subsequent professional career, the Graduate School believes that the faculty bear a concomitant responsibility toward the student to provide satisfactory mentoring. Consequently, it is the policy of the Graduate School that a student who has been admitted to a degree program and who is making satisfactory academic progress has a right to faculty mentorship.
This right is not without limits. For example, a student who has been unable to gain approval of a dissertation proposal and is unwilling to modify the proposal to accommodate the recommendation of potential mentors will eventually be determined to no longer be making satisfactory degree progress. If the student has not been making satisfactory progress, such that no faculty will work with the student, that lack of progress must have been documented. Absent such documentation, the program’s responsibility to provide a mentor will remain.
The point at which the mentor must be chosen will vary from one program to another, and broadly from one discipline to another. Wherever in a program that decision point occurs, to demonstrate satisfactory progress, the student will have three months to identify a mentor. Once a mentor is in place, if difficulties should arise in the mentor-mentee relationship, the program should attempt to resolve those difficulties. If such mediation proves unsuccessful either the student or the mentor may decide to break that relationship. In that case, the remaining members of the student’s doctoral committee – or, if such a committee has not yet been formed, the Director of Graduate Studies – will provide academic guidance while the student attempts to identify another willing faculty member to work with. The student will have three months to do so. If the student is unable to identify a new mentor within that time period, the program may recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School that the student be dismissed from the program.
While undergraduates are admitted to a college in which they choose from a wide range of majors, graduate students are admitted only to a specific program of study to pursue a specific degree. As a result, a graduate student cannot simply “change programs” the way an undergraduate can change majors. On the rare occasion that a matriculated student’s research interests veer in directions that are better covered by another discipline in which Georgetown has a graduate program, the Graduate School will consider a request to withdraw from Program A and matriculate into Program B in a different major field.
The procedures described below involve switching from one graduate program to another, not the simultaneous pursuit of two programs. Formal dual-degree and joint-degree programs remain governed by the terms of their agreements, and special considerations apply if a student withdraws from such a program in order to pursue a single degree program, whether or not the new program was part of the dual-degree or joint-degree program. See Section IV.F. for information on dual-degree and joint-degree programs of study.
Concurrent pursuit of two programs that are not joined in a formal dual-degree arrangement will require the student to fulfill the requirements of each degree program completely and separately, with no reduction of the course load via “double counting” of courses. See Section IV.G. for information on concurrent degree programs.
Depending on the nature of the programs involved and the individual’s preparation, the student may need only petition for the change, or may be required to submit a formal application to the new program. Several types of requests are described below, along with guidelines regarding the processes to be followed. Variants not discussed here should be considered in light of similar program-to-program changes that are listed.
These processes should be followed whether the Graduate School is contacted by the student or by one of the graduate programs involved.
A student who has withdrawn from Program A may be able to apply some or all of the coursework taken under that program toward the requirements of Program B in another major field. The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of the receiving program must recommend which, if any, of the graduate courses the student has taken to date at Georgetown will be accepted toward the credit requirements of the new program. This specification must be part of the approval process, so that the student will know exactly what will be required to complete the new degree program.
Courses that are absorbed into the new program in this manner will not be considered “transfer” courses. Any courses on the transcript that are not to be absorbed into the new program must be identified and marked by the Registrar for exclusion from the new program.
If the degree for Program A has been awarded, including degrees that are awarded “in passing” or as a “terminal” master’s, some or all of the courses taken under that program may be applied to a Ph.D. program in another major field, subject to the recommendation of the DGS of the receiving program, as above. Such courses cannot, however, be used again to satisfy the requirements of another master’s-level program.
A student’s candidacy for a graduate degree may be terminated by the Dean of the Graduate School for reasons that include, but are not limited to, failure to make satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements or findings of academic misconduct.
A student whose degree candidacy has been terminated for any reason will be notified in writing by the Dean of the Graduate School. The student shall have the right of appeal. The student must present the grounds for appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School in writing within 30 days of the date of the Dean’s letter terminating degree candidacy. While the student may submit any evidentiary materials deemed relevant to the appeal, the narrative presenting the basis of the appeal must be limited to ten typewritten pages, double-spaced.
The appeal procedure is not to be used for the circumvention of standard degree requirements (e.g., grade point average or comprehensive examination standards), but is designed to deal with cases of such a complex nature that an exception is warranted.
If the Dean determines that such circumstances do exist, the student's appeal will be referred to a committee appointed by the Dean and composed of at least three faculty members from within the student's academic division. The student will be notified in writing of the membership of the appeal committee. If the student objects for cause to the appointment of one or more members of the committee, the reason for objection should be made known in writing to the Dean before the committee begins its review of the appeal. The appeals committee reserves the right to make its judgment based on the written materials alone. If the materials so warrant, a formal hearing may also be held. The decision of the committee will be forwarded to the Dean, who will then notify the student in writing. The committee's decision will be final.
If the Dean finds that the student's dismissal was based on failure to satisfy standard requirements for the degree, without complicating circumstances that warrant an exception, the student's request for appeal will be denied.
A student who has been found responsible for academic misconduct under the procedures described in Section VI. Academic Integrity: Policies and Procedures, and who has been sanctioned with termination from his or her graduate program, shall have the right to appeal those findings as well as the sanction imposed.
Appeals of findings or sanctions will be considered only if the student is able to demonstrate either that new evidence has become available since the case was considered by an Adjudication Committee and/or that he or she was harmed by substantial procedural irregularity in the process. Such requests must be filed within 30 days of the date of the Dean’s letter imposing penalties and must include a description of the grounds for appeal. Dissatisfaction with the decision is not in itself sufficient grounds to warrant granting an appeal.
The Dean of the Graduate School will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for appeal.
If the Dean determines there are not sufficient grounds for appeal, the student will be so notified in writing. Such a determination shall be final.
If the Dean determines that there are sufficient grounds for an appeal, the case will be sent back to the original Adjudication Committee for further investigation. In extremely rare cases in which personnel changes or allegations of substantial procedural irregularities make it impossible or impractical to reconvene the original Adjudication Committee, a new Adjudication Committee may be convened.