Failure Policy

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Failure Policy

Students who have failed one course required by their department while registered as a graduate student may automatically write one supplemental examination, if the departmental policy permits, or retake that course or substitute an equivalent course. For the purposes of this policy, “required course” (including a complementary course) includes either a course required by the student's program of study, or a course that has been designated by the department for an individual student's program of study. Students with any further failures in that course, including the supplemental, or a failure in any other course, will be required to withdraw from their program of study. When a student retakes a course, he/she is required to pay the fee charged for the course in question. Ph.D. students and master's students in thesis programs can also be required to withdraw from their program of study for documented lack of performance in research.

The failure policy does not pertain to the failure of comprehensive examinations, doctoral oral defenses, or thesis failures. In the case of a failed thesis or defense, the Thesis Failure Policy, detailed in the Thesis Guidelines, applies. In the case of a failed comprehensive examination, the Ph.D. Comprehensives Policy applies.
  • Senate, October 11, 2000.
  • Revised – GPS Council, February 10, 2003

Procedure to follow in cases of failure:

The procedure in cases of initial failure is as follows: the failing grade is to be recorded and a letter sent to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies indicating that a supplemental examination is to be given under the Failure Policy. If the supplemental is passed, the second grade should be submitted. The same procedure applies for a recommendation of a retake or a substitution. In the event of a failure of a supplemental exam, the department should request, in writing, that the student withdraw (with a copy of said letter forwarded to GPS).

Similarly, in the event of a failure in a second course, a written request for withdrawal (copied to GPS) should be sent to the student.

Note: A student in a graduate program who has failed one course while being a Special Student in graduate studies will have this failure count as a first failure in a related graduate program. Any further failure will require withdrawal from the program of study. A student may not claim medical reasons for a course failure after the fact. In the case of an examination, a dated medical certificate or appropriate document recommending a deferral (see “Other Grades” in Grading and Grade Point Averages (GPA):”

> “L - deferred” and “LE or L* - further deferral”) must be submitted to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies with a departmental recommendation for a deferral before or immediately after the examination. In particular, such recommendation will not be considered if medical reasons are brought forth after a grade is submitted. Medical reasons declared after the fact will not be considered acceptable grounds of appeal of withdrawal under the Failure Policy.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2011-2012 (last updated Aug. 11, 2011) (disclaimer)
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2011-2012 (last updated Aug. 11, 2011) (disclaimer)