Disqualification (DQ) Topics

What is Disqualification (DQ)?

A disqualified student is no longer eligible to continue pursuing the degree objective in their major program due to one or more academic reasons.  There are three reasons a student may be disqualified:

  1. Failing the Qualifying Exam - either a first or second QE fail.
  2. Multiple quarters of academic probation.
  3. Unsatisfactory progress - documented on interim or annual Student Progress Assessments (SPA's) and U grades in 299 Research.  

The Disqualification Process

UC Davis Graduate Studies Disqualification and Appeal Policy 

The disqualification process begins with a written recommendation from the student's graduate program. The recommendation format is either a memo outlining the circumstances of the DQ, or a first or second QE fail report along with a memo of explanation from the QE Chair.  In all disqualifications, the program or QE committee must notify the student that they have been recommended for disqualification, or in the case of a QE fail, that the failed QE results in disqualification.  The program or QE committee may recommend the student change majors (specific majors must be identified), or receive a terminal master’s degree (for students being disqualified from a doctoral program).

When Graduate Studies receives the DQ recommendation, the Associate Dean for Students will review the recommendation memo and the student's record.  They may meet with the student and/or the Graduate Chair to discuss the circumstances.  In a DQ for academic probation or unsatisfactory progress, the Associate Dean may advise options for remediation prior to considering disqualification.  

If the DQ process moves forward, Graduate Studies will notify the student in writing that DQ has been recommended and that the student may appeal the DQ within 30 days.  If the student is enrolled in courses when the DQ process begins, they should continue to attend and complete the coursework.  Graduate Studies staff will place a hold on further registration, and they will ask the Registrar's Office to place the student on PELP (leave) status for the next quarter.  If there is cause why the student cannot be placed on leave pending the outcome of the DQ process (e.g. an international student living in the US), the student's Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisor will assist with revising procedures on a case-by-case basis.  

If the student appeals, they will submit a statement to Graduate Studies.  This statement along with the DQ recommendation and any additional documentation, will be considered by the Graduate Council Administrative Committee.  Graduate Council may recommend confirming or overturning the DQ decision.  The Dean of Graduate Studies will make the final decision, within 60 days. The Dean's decision following appeal is final.

If the student does not appeal within 30 days of Graduate Studies notice, or if the disqualification is confirmed after the appeal has been reviewed, Graduate Studies will notify the Registrar’s Office that the student has been disqualified from their program/degree objective.  If eligible, the student may accept the terminal master’s in their program or change their major. Readmission to the disqualified major/degree objective is not permitted.

Writing and Submitting an Appeal

Send appeals to: gs-appeals@ucdavis.edu

Reasons for Appeal:

As stated in the policy on Disqualification and Appeal (see top of page 3), a student may appeal their disqualification for one or more of the following appropriate causes: 

  • Procedural error  
  • Judgments based on non-academic criteria  
  • Verifiable evidence of personal bias  
  • Specific mitigating circumstances contributing to your performance 
Preparing the Statement of Appeal

Students who wish to appeal the disqualification must submit a statement of appeal. The statement should address the following:

  • Extenuating events/factors that contributed to the disqualification
  • Preparedness to achieve academic goal(s)
  • The statement should be about 2 pages in length and will be considered, along with the transcript and letters of support, by the Graduate Council Administrative Committee (GCAC) who will make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies. 
  • Evidence of appropriate cause (as listed above)

Mental Health Support During and After the Disqualification Process

Disqualification can take a toll on anyone's mental and physical health.  We highly encourage that those in the disqualification process consider talking to a mental health professional about their experience.  Meeting with a counselor can help students clarify issues, explore options, and cope more effectively. 

Call 911 in an emergency

Students in Davis or residing in California
  • Dr. Bai-Yin Chen is a psychologist specializing in college mental health and graduate student concerns and issues.  You can email her at bychen@ucdavis.edu.  
  • Counseling Services at SHCS offers individual counseling via secure video conferencing or by telephone consultation.  You can schedule an appointment via the Health-e-Messaging secure portal or by calling (530) 752-0871. 
  • Mental Health Acute Care Services are available at the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHCS), on LaRue between Hutchison and Orchard, during business hours.
  • 24-hour Suicide Prevention Line – Call 530-756-5000.
  • The Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7, immediate and confidential texting service for students in crisis. Text RELATE to 741741 from anywhere in the US, to text with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Mental Health Crisis Consultation Services are available by calling (530) 752-0871, or by texting RELATE to 741741
  • LiveHealth Online provides no cost online health and mental health services for students.  Links to access and coupon codes are available on the Online Visits site. Make a free appointment with the coupon code: UC DAVIS COUNSELING.
Students residing outside California, but within the United States
  • If you have UC SHIP, you can make a no-cost video appointment with Live Health Online.
  • If you have a different insurance provider, contact your insurance company to find out about the mental health resources available through your plan.
  • If you are unable to use insurance for mental health support, visit the SHCS website for information on how to get a Live Health Online coupon code.
Students residing outside the United States

Learn about specific mental health resources available in your location and/or with your insurance coverage. Call 530-752-0871 or visit hem.ucdavis.edu to schedule an appointment with a Mental Health Advocacy Specialist.

Students who have been disqualified

After being disqualified, students have the option to make three counseling appointments with Student Health and Counseling services, within three months of their disqualification.  Sessions are used to assist students with transition and to connect them with off-campus resources and community services.  Disqualified students can schedule an appointment via the Health-e-Messaging secure portal or by calling (530) 752-0871.

Terminal Master's Degree (PhD Students Only)

If a PhD student is recommended for disqualification, their program may permit them to complete a terminal master's degree.  The availability of the terminal master’s is dependent on whether the program offers a master’s degree, whether the program recommends the master’s, and whether the student has completed or will be provided the opportunity to complete the requirements for the master’s.  In some cases, programs will award the terminal master’s in lieu of continuing the disqualification from the PhD.  If a student pursues a terminal master’s degree, they must complete the requirements for the degree - required coursework, GPA of 3.0 or higher, candidacy paperwork, and complete a thesis or pass a comprehensive exam.

Additional Topics Related to the Disqualification Process

  • International Students during and after the DQ process
  • If the student is an F-1 or J-1 international student, they must notify their SISS advisor that they have been recommended for disqualification.  If the student is disqualified, they need to contact SISS immediately to discuss how disqualification will affect their status, and to review options (i.e grace period, leaving the U.S., possible transfer of I-20, etc.). 
  • Employment during the DQ process
  • If a student is employed as a TA/GSR when the disqualification process is initiated, they may continue to work until the end of the quarter.  Students may not be employed if they are placed on administrative leave (PELP) for a subsequent quarter. 
  • Coursework during the DQ process
  • If a student is enrolled in coursework when they are recommended for disqualification, they should take into consideration that the grades for those courses may appear on their transcript.  If they appeal and the disqualification is overturned, the student will have the opportunity to continue in their program.  To the extent possible, students should continue to do their best in the courses in which they're enrolled.  If the student determines it’s not possible to continue, they may discuss options for dropping courses with their Senior Academic Advisor.  
  • Fellowship Funding after DQ
  • In order to maintain internal fellowship funds, students must remain enrolled through the quarter.  If the student received internal fellowships during the quarter they are disqualified, or if they withdraw, the student will need to repay the total amount received. 
  • Financial Aid/Loans after DQ
  • If the student received loans in the quarter in which they are disqualified, they should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if their award will be impacted and for advising about the repayment timeline.  
  • UC SHIP (Health Insurance) after DQ
  • If a student is disqualified during a quarter in which they are enrolled, they may continue to use their UC SHIP benefits until the end of the quarter.   If they haven’t used their UC SHIP benefits, they can request a refund by submitting a Cancellation and Refund Request to Insurance Services (insurance@shcs.ucdavis.edu) no later than the last day of the term in which they are disqualified.  If the student is placed on Administrative PELP pending determination of disqualification, they may elect to enroll in voluntary UC SHIP
  • UC Davis Email and Computing account after DQ
  • A student's UC Davis Computing Account is closed when they leave UC Davis, but they may retain their UC Davis email address/account indefinitely through Google.  Review this Knowledge Base web page for more information. 
  • Refund of Fees after DQ
  • If a student is disqualified during a quarter in which they are enrolled, they are eligible for a full refund of registration fees and NRST if applicable.  The student should contact Student Accounting for information about receiving a refund.  Refunds generally take 4-6 weeks to process and can be received by direct deposit.