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General Policies and the Academic Record

Developing a Program

The student is responsible for ascertaining and complying with the policies and procedures of the Graduate School and all applicable graduate program requirements that govern the individual program of study. Registration for the newly admitted graduate student seeking a certificate or degree begins with a visit to the student's academic advisor in the graduate program to which the student has been admitted. There the student will obtain information about specific certificate or degree requirements for satisfactory progress that supplement those of the Graduate School. The student should consult the Schedule of Classes, and should develop an individual program of study and research in consultation with his or her graduate advisor. Students admitted as Non-Degree Seeking Students may seek advice from the Graduate School , Graduate Directors, or from appropriate faculty members. Petitions for waivers of regulations of graduate degree requirements or for appeals of decisions of graduate program faculty or administrators should be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School, 2125 Lee Building.

Academic Integrity

The University is an intellectual community. Its fundamental purpose is the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Like all other communities, the University can function properly only if its members adhere to clearly established goals and values. Essential to the fundamental purpose of the University is the commitment to the principles of truth and academic honesty. The Code of Academic Integrity is designed to ensure that the principle of academic honesty is upheld. While all members of the University community share this responsibility, The Code of Academic Integrity is designed so that special responsibility for upholding the principle of academic honesty lies with students.

Honor Pledge

On every examination, paper or other academic exercise not specifically exempted by the instructor, the student will write by hand and sign the following pledge:

I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination.

Failure to sign the pledge is not an honors offense, but neither is it a defense in case of violation of this Code. Students who do not sign the pledge will be given the opportunity to do so. Refusal to sign must be explained to the instructor. Signing or non-signing of the pledge will not be considered in grading or judicial procedures. Material submitted electronically should contain the pledge; submission implies signing the pledge.

On examinations, no assistance is authorized unless given by or expressly allowed by the instructor. On other assignments, the pledge means that the assignment has been done without academic dishonesty, as defined in the Code of Academic Integrity, available online.

The pledge is a reminder that at the University of Maryland students carry primary responsibility for academic integrity because the meaningfulness of their degrees depends on it. Faculty are urged to emphasize the importance of academic honesty and of the pledge as its symbol.

Penalties for Violations of Academic Integrity

Students who are found to have falsified, fabricated, or plagiarized in any context, such as course work, laboratory research, archival research, or thesis / dissertation writing--will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. The Office of Student Conduct has some discretion in determining penalties for violations of the University's standards of academic integrity, but the normal sanction for a graduate student found responsible for a violation of academic integrity will be dismissal (suspension or expulsion) from the University.

To review the whole policy on academic integrity, see the University of Maryland Code of Academic Integrity. The Code was amended on November 7, 2014.

Academic Record (Transcript)

A graduate student's academic record (transcript) is intended to serve as a complete history of the student's academic progress at the University of Maryland. Under no circumstances will academic records be altered because of dissatisfaction with a grade or other academic accomplishment.

Grade Point Average Computation

The A+ and A is calculated at 4 quality points, A- at 3.7 quality points, B+ at 3.3 quality points, B at 3 quality points, B- at 2.7 quality points, C+ at 2.3 quality points, C at 2 quality points, and C- at 1.7 quality points. The grades of D+, D, D-, F, and I receive no quality points. Students do not earn credit toward the degree for courses in which they receive a grade of D+, D, D-, or F. For graduate students, all courses taken that are numbered 400 and above (except 500-level courses, those numbered 799, 898, or 899, and those graded with an S) will be used in the calculation of the grade point average. A student may repeat a course in an effort to earn a better grade. Whether higher or lower, the most recent grade will be used in computing the grade point average. Grades for graduate students remain as part of the student's permanent record. Changes in previously recorded grades may be made if made within one term (semester or 12-week term) from original posting of the grade and if the original instructor certifies that an actual mistake was made in determining or recording the grade. The change must be approved by the department chair and the Dean of the Graduate School. Graduate credit transferred from another institution will not be included in the calculation of the grade point average.

Criteria for Courses to be Accepted for Graduate Credit

Any courses, workshops or seminars that take place in a span of time less than a normal academic term (semester or summer session or 12-week) and offering graduate credit to the participants must meet the following criteria:

  • There must be 15 "contact hours" per graduate credit.
    • Lectures: 50 minutes of lecture are equivalent to 1 contact hour.
    • Non-lecture contact (laboratories, workshops, discussion and problem-working sessions, etc.): One two-hour or three-hour session is equivalent to one contact hour.
  • No more than three "contact hours" per day will be permitted. (Three "contact hours" are equivalent to 0.2 credits).
  • Credit may be accumulated at the rate of no more than one credit per week.
  • Courses numbered at the 100-, 200-, 300, and 500-level are ineligible for graduate credit. 400 level classes are eligible for graduate credit provided they were not used in fulfillment of an undergraduate degree requirement.

Credit by Examination

Credit by examination will be awarded upon successful completion of a formal examination (typically written) at a normal standard for examinations within the department/program. The examination must be approved by a committee composed of the examiner plus two Full Members of the Graduate Faculty. A copy of the examination, the student's answers, and the names of the examiner and the approving faculty member must be placed in the student's file in the department/program.

Normally, credit by examination is not available for 600 level and higher courses. The maximum number of credits by examination that can be applied to a master's degree is 12 for a non-thesis master's degree and six for the thesis option. The graduate program in which the student is enrolled may establish a limit on the number of credits that may be earned in this manner. Information on fees for Credit by Examination is available from the Registrar.

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete is a mark that an instructor may award to a student whose work in a course has been qualitatively satisfactory, but who is unable to complete some portion of the work required because of illness or other circumstance beyond the student's control . In awarding the mark of "I" for graduate courses other than 799 and 899, instructors must fill out an "Incomplete Contract for Graduate Students." The contract will specify the work remaining to be completed, the date by which the work must be completed, and the letter grade that will replace the incomplete if the work is not completed by the date specified. It must be signed by the instructor and the student and maintained by the department offering the course. The student is responsible for providing a copy of the contract to the director of graduate studies in his or her program. All courses must receive a grade by the time the stduent graduates.

The mark of incomplete in 500-, 600-, 700-, and 800-level courses will automatically roll-over to letter grades if the work is not completed by the specified date. Students are expected to complete courses in which they have received an "I" by a date no more than twelve months from the beginning of the term (semester or 12-week) in which the course was taken or by date of graduation. A course is considered complete in the semester that the contract is fulfilled The mark of incomplete in 400-level courses will be governed by the rules for awarding incompletes to undergraduate students, including the provision of automatically converting an "I" to a letter grade.

Advisors should stay current with their students in urging completion of incomplete grades, and programs should review the status of incompletes in their annual reviews of students' progress toward their degrees. Students will remain in good standing despite marks of incomplete if the courses are not required for their degrees. For courses required for graduation, students will be considered to be making satisfactory progress only if they fulfill the conditions of any outstanding incomplete contracts in a timely manner. An "I" can remain in place on a student's transcript for a maximum of one year.

Departments and programs may specify the maximum number of incomplete credits students may carry, exclusive of credits in 799 and 899. For graduate courses 799 and 899, the grade of I(ncomplete) must be assigned until the student has completed the thesis/dissertation. Upon successful completion of all degree requirements and the award of the degree, all Incompletes for 799 and 899 will automatically be changed to S, unless the advisor has provided another grade. It is the responsibility of the instructor or department chair concerned to submit the grade promptly upon completion of the conditions of the Incomplete contract. If the instructor is unavailable, the department chair, upon request by the student, will make appropriate arrangements for the student to complete the course requirements.

Transfer of Credit

All graduate study credits offered as transfer credit must meet the following criteria:

  • No more than six credit hours of graduate work may be transferred from another institution, unless the program has special approval by the Graduate Council. When changing programs within the University of Maryland, the student may request inclusion of credits earned at the University of Maryland. When moving from non-degree to degree-seeking status, Non-Degree Seeking Students may transfer up to nine (9) graduate credits to the degree program (students admitted as non-degree seeking prior to Fall Term 2017 may transfer up to tweleve (12) graduate credits to the degree program), subject to the approval of the Graduate Program.
  • The advisor and Graduate Director will need to certify that transfer courses are applicable to the student's program and, for non-University of Maryland courses, that the courses have been revalidated.
  • Credit must have been granted by a regionally accredited U.S. institution or foreign university. If the latter, evaluation by the staff of the International Education Services and the Graduate School is required.
  • The courses must be graduate level and have been taken for graduate credit at the original institution.
  • The student must have earned a grade of "B-" or better in the course.
  • The credit must not have been used to satisfy the requirements for any other degree.
  • The student must furnish an official transcript to the Graduate School.
  • Transfer work satisfies only the 400-level requirements for the master's degree and does not apply to the upper-level requirements.
  • The transfer course work must have been taken within seven years of the award of a University of Maryland master's degree for which the student is currently enrolled (all other course work must be taken within five years of the award of master's degree.)

A student seeking acceptance of transfer credit is advised to submit the necessary transcripts and certification of program approval to the Graduate School as promptly as possible for its review and decision. It should be noted that programs may impose more stringent requirements and time limitations concerning the transfer of credits. In such cases the Graduate School must be notified accordingly. A form for Transfer or Inclusion of Credit is available online on the Graduate School's Forms webpage.

Satisfactory Progress

The admission of all graduate students is continued at the discretion of the Graduate Director of the program and the Dean of the Graduate School, consistent with the policies and practices of the Graduate School and graduate program.  A student must make satisfactory progress in meeting programmatic requirements, must demonstrate the ability to succeed in his or her course of studies or research, and must attain performance minima specified by the graduate program in all or in particular courses; otherwise his or her enrollment will be terminated. Determinations of satisfactory progress occur at the graduate program level. Please contact the Graduate Director for conditions for satisfactory progress.

Graduate Student Parental Accommodation Policy

The University of Maryland Graduate Student Parental Accommodation Policy provides a period of up to six (6) weeks during which new parents may postpone completion of academic requirements. It is intended to provide graduate students with an opportunity to integrate the challenges of new parenthood with the demands of graduate-level training, scholarship, and research. In addition to providing support to young families, this policy seeks to reduce attrition and improve time to degree for students who become parents.

The Parental Accommodation Policy is not a leave of absence. This policy allows students to maintain status as full-time, registered graduate students, and thus be eligible for the rights and privileges of registered students (e.g., access to University resources) while adjusting to their new familial obligations.

During this parental accommodation period, eligible students will continue to be enrolled as fulltime graduate students and will continue to pay tuition and fees. Students also will be expected to keep the lines of communication with their departments open and demonstrate to their advisors that they are academically engaged and making progress in coursework and research, though perhaps at a slower pace.

ELIGIBILITY: To be eligible to apply for the benefits of the Parental Accommodation Policy, a new parent must (1) have been enrolled full-time for at least one full semester in a graduate program at the University, (2) be enrolled full-time at the time of application, (3) be in good academic standing, and (4) be making satisfactory progress toward degree. Any parent (regardless of gender) is eligible to apply.

In the event that both parents are eligible, each is individually entitled to a Parental Accommodation period of up to six (6) weeks. This Parental Accommodation period may be taken concurrently with or consecutively to the Parental Accommodation period taken by the other parent, with or without some overlap. The total combined Parental Accommodation period for both parents, however, may not exceed 12 weeks and must conclude 12 weeks following the child’s birth or adoption.

ACCOMMODATION: Approval of a student’s application for a period of Parental Accommodation allows the student, assuming the prior agreement of instructors, advisor, and academic program, to modify deadlines and academic expectations to accommodate the student’s new parental responsibilities. Students may be able to postpone completion of course assignments, examinations, and other academic requirements for a period of up to six (6) weeks. Students who will be enrolled in courses during the accommodation period must meet with their instructors to develop a written plan as to how they will satisfactorily complete the course(s). These plans must be approved and signed by the instructor(s) and submitted as part of the Parental Accommodation Application form. At the end of the accommodation period, students are expected to return to graduate study and resume progress toward completion of their degree. Deadlines with regard to time to degree, time to candidacy, time to comprehensive or qualifying exams, etc. will be extended one semester per childbirth or adoption, upon the request of the student. The total additional time granted for the extension of any deadlines as a result of the student’s use of the Parental Accommodation Policy, however, cannot exceed a maximum period of one (1) year, regardless of the number of births or adoptions, or the number of times the student invokes the Parental Accommodation Policy.

The period of Parental Accommodation begins immediately upon the birth or adoption; must be taken in a consecutive block of time; and cannot extend beyond six (6) weeks. The student may not divide the accommodation period into separate periods or defer the accommodation period beyond this time limit. In the event of simultaneous multiple births or adoptions, the maximum Parental Accommodation period for which a student is eligible with respect to that event remains six (6) weeks.

APPLICATION: At least eight (8) weeks prior to the anticipated birth or adoption, students must submit a written application for Parental Accommodation signed by the Faculty Advisor, Director of Graduate Studies, and the Chair of their academic department, to the Graduate School. (In unusual or extraordinary circumstances, the Graduate School may accept applications with less than eight week’s notice.)

Written plans to complete coursework, signed by the student and the instructor, must be provided for each course in which the student will be enrolled during the accommodation period. The discretion to provide an accommodation that allows a student to be away from the classroom for six weeks rests with the individual course instructor. Faculty are strongly encouraged to work with students to develop an accommodation that permits the student to fulfill academic coursework requirements while benefitting from a period of parental accommodation, and that also maintains fairness with regard to other students. In some cases such an accommodation may not be feasible. In such cases, faculty should provide a written explanation to the department’s Director of Graduate Studies as to why the accommodation is not possible, and students should adjust their class schedules accordingly.

The Dean of the Graduate School will review the request and notify the student and the student’s academic program if the request for a period of Parental Accommodation has been approved. The Graduate School will coordinate with academic programs to make appropriate adjustments to the student’s deadlines and records. Retroactive requests will not be considered. A copy of the application form is attached.

International students should discuss plans with the Office of International Students & Scholar Services as soon as possible in order to identify and address proactively any individual or unique visa issues and/or to consider the latest applicable regulations. The intent of this policy is to permit all students to maintain their status as full-time, enrolled students during this period of accommodation. Medical complications, prior to or following the birth, are not covered by this policy. If a student is not able to return at the end of the period of accommodation, s/he should consider applying for a Leave of Absence. See the Graduate School's Registration Policies for more information.

Good Standing

In order to maintain good academic standing, every graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for all courses taken at the University.

Academic Probation and Dismissal

A student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation by the Graduate School. When a student is placed on probation, the Graduate School will notify both the student and the Graduate Director of the student's program. Permission of the academic advisor and the Graduate Director will be required for a student on probation to register for courses. Probation will be lifted when the student achieves a cumulative GPA of 3.0.

A student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 will not be placed on probation until s/he completes 12 credits or two terms (semesters or 12-week), whichever comes first. A student on probation who has completed fewer than 15 credits must raise the GPA to 3.0 or above by the end of the term (semester or 12-week) in which the student completes 15 credit hours or be dismissed from the Graduate School. A student who has completed 16 or more hours of course work and whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on probation and will have one term (semester or 12-week) in which to raise his or her GPA to a 3.0 or be dismissed from the Graduate School.

Time Limitations

Time Limitations for Master's Degrees and Certificates

With the exception of the six credit hours of graduate level course credits applicable for possible transfer to the master's degree and certificate programs, all requirements for the master's degree or graduate certificate must be completed within a five-year period. Time taken for an approved Leave of Absence for Childbearing, Adoption, Illness or Dependent Care does not count toward this five-year limit.

Time Limitations for Doctoral Degrees

Students must complete the entire program for the doctoral degree, including the dissertation and final examination, during a four-year period after admission to candidacy, but no later than nine years after admission to the doctoral program. Students must be advanced to candidacy within five years of admission to the doctoral program. Under certain circumstances, time extensions may be granted by the Graduate School as outlined below. Admission to the degree program terminates if the requirements are not completed in the time specified. Time taken for an approved Leave of Absence for Childbearing, Adoption, Illness or Dependent Care is not counted in these time limitations.

Time Extensions

Master's Degree and Certificate Students

A student who has failed to complete all requirements by the prescribed deadlines may petition his or her graduate program for a one-year extension of time in which to complete the outstanding requirements. This extension may be granted by the graduate program, which must then notify the Graduate School in writing of its decision. The Graduate School will confirm this decision in writing to the student.

A student who has failed to complete all requirements for the degree following the granting of an initial time extension by his or her graduate program, and who wishes to pursue the degree, must seek an additional extension by petitioning the graduate program. If the graduate program supports the request, the request must be forwarded to the Graduate School for review with a letter of support from the Graduate Director that includes a statement that the graduate program has approved the request. Departmental approval may be either a vote of the department as a whole or of a committee designated to deal with such matters, such as the Graduate Committee. The letter must include a time table listing specific goals to be accomplished at various points during the extension period. The letter should also include a request for revalidation of courses that will be more than five years old at the time of graduation. Typically, this extension will be for a maximum of one year. The Graduate School 's decision will be communicated in writing to the petitioner and a copy will be sent to the student's graduate program.

Doctoral Students

Extensions of time for doctoral students must be requested from the Graduate School by the doctoral program. The first request for an extension of the deadline for admission to candidacy or completion of the doctoral dissertation requires a letter of support from the Graduate Director. The letter must include a timetable listing specific goals to be accomplished at various points during the extension period. Normally, the extension will be for a maximum of one year.

The request for a second extension requires a letter of support from the Graduate Director that includes a statement that the graduate program has approved the request. Departmental approval may be either a vote of the department as a whole or of a committee designated to deal with such matters, such as the Graduate Committee. The letter must include a timetable that lists specific goals to be accomplished at various points during the extension period. Typically this extension will be for a maximum of one year.

Requests for a third extension will be honored only in rare instances when serious and unforeseen circumstances that are not covered under the Leave of Absence for Childbearing, Adoption, Illness or Dependent Care policy have interfered with the student's normal progress toward the degree. The request for a third extension requires a letter of support from the Graduate Director that includes a statement that the program has approved the request. The letter must include a timetable listing specific goals to be accomplished at various times during the extension period. Typically, this extension will be for a maximum of one year. The third extension is the final extension. Additional extensions will not be approved by the Graduate School.

In the event that a graduate program wishes to continue a student in the program beyond a third extension, the following procedures must be followed:

  • The student must apply to be readmitted to the graduate program. The application must be accompanied by a letter of support from the Graduate Director, which indicates the approval of the program for the readmission.
  • The Graduate Director's letter must include a timetable listing specific goals to be accomplished at various points during the re-admission period.
  • Doctoral students must be advanced to candidacy within one year of re-admission. No extensions will be given for this deadline.
  • Doctoral students who have previously advanced to candidacy and who apply for readmission and re-advancement to candidacy must demonstrate that their knowledge is current and consistent with those standards that are in effect in the graduate program at the time that the re-advancement to candidacy is made. The program will determine what constitutes an acceptable level of current knowledge on a case-by-case basis and must include this determination in its recommendation for readmission. This could mean that the student will be required to retake the comprehensive examination or otherwise demonstrate that the student's knowledge is consistent with current standards of the graduate program.
  • Re-admitted students who have been advanced to candidacy will be allowed four years to complete the dissertation. No extensions will be given after this deadline.