Academic Probation

Academic Probation Topics

Academic Probation (AP)

Graduate students are considered to be in good academic standing when they have a term and cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, have less than 9 units of U, F, or I grades, and are making satisfactory progress towards their degree.  When those conditions are not met, students are assigned academic probation status.  Probation status is assigned to students automatically in the electronic campus system.  Academic probation status begins after grades have posted for the previous quarter, and continues until the student meets the requirements for good standing.  

Reasons for Academic Probation

There are three reasons students are assigned probationary status for not being in good academic standing.  

  • Term GPA (individual quarter) below 3.0.
  • Cumulative GPA below 3.0.
  • Nine (9) or more cumulative units of Unsatisfactory (U), Incomplete (I), or Failing (F) grades

Three Types of Status Notation

There are three status notations that can be assigned to students who are not in good standing: Academic Probation, Probation Continued, and Subject to Disqualification. 

  • Academic Probation - see section above for criteria - Assigned for the initial quarter in which the student is not in good standing, and in non-consecutive subsequent quarters in which the student is not in good standing.  
  • Probation Continued - After the initial quarter on academic probation, probation continued status is assigned to consecutive quarters in which the student is not in good standing.  
  • Subject to Disqualification - Assigned when 1) term GPA is below a 2.0, 2) after completing two consecutive quarters on academic probation, and 3) when the student received an I or U in the only course in a term or when all other courses were graded S/U or P/NP. 
    • Status is assigned automatically by the campus system. Graduate Studies does not consider students who received an I grade in their only term course to be subject to disqualification or on academic probation status if the student isn't otherwise eligible.  

Being assigned Subject to Disqualification status does not mean you are going to be disqualified, but it shows there are serious concerns in your academic work.  Meet with your Graduate Advisor right away to discuss program expectations and what you can do to meet them.

On this website, the term 'academic probation' refers collectively to academic probation, probation continued, and subject to disqualification statuses. 

Transcript Notation

A student's current academic standing is notated at the end of the Official Transcript.  Official Transcripts for students on academic probation or subject to disqualification status read "STUDENT NOT IN GOOD ACADEMIC STANDING."  The notation will be updated to "STUDENT IN GOOD ACADEMIC STANDING" once the student returns to good standing or they have satisfied all the requirements for graduation. 

Reaching Good Standing

Students on academic probation will reach or return to good standing when they have both a term and cumulative GPA of 3.0+, and no more than 8 cumulative units of U, I, or F grades. 

Considerations for Reaching Good Standing

Enrolling in only S/U or P/NP graded coursework

Students on academic probation for GPA, who enroll in only S/U or P/NP graded courses, will remain on academic probation the following quarter.  Graduate students on academic probation for term or cumulative GPA must take letter graded coursework to change their academic standing. 

Repeat Coursework

Graduate students may repeat up to three courses in which they received a C (including C+), D, F or U, unless the course is variable topic or variable unit.  No special approval is required.  

  • Variable unit courses (e.g. 299, 298, 396) may not be repeated to replace a grade in the same course.
  • Variable topic courses may sometimes be repeated for new credit, but not to replace a previous grade in the same course.  Repeat restrictions for each variable topic course are included in the General Catalog.
  • Letter graded courses may not be repeated as S/U.  Courses in which the student received a U grade, may be repeated for an S/U or a letter grade. 

Retroactive Actions

Retroactive actions, including grade changes, adds/drops, withdrawals, and grade mode changes, are changes to the student record following the last day of instruction for any quarter.  The Office of the University Registrar (OUR) Grade Change Deputies and the UC Davis Grade Change Committee, are responsible for reviewing request for retroactive action.   A request for retroactive action may be appropriate if the student was incorrectly registered, a clerical or procedural error was made in grading, or if the student experienced circumstances (e.g. health/mental health problems, personal or family emergency, etc.) that significantly disrupted their academic work.  More information about retroactive actions is available on the OUR Retroactive Actions & General Appeals webpage and the Grade Change Committee Guidelines webpage

Academic Probation Notices & Next Steps

At the beginning of each quarter, Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisors (SAA's) send email notices to graduate students on academic probation and their Graduate Coordinator.  The purpose of the notices is to inform students about academic probation status and encourage advising.  Students may be assigned a registration hold for the following quarter.  SAA's include hold information in the notices, along with the steps to release the hold. 

Don't panic if you receive an academic probation email from Graduate Studies.  You are welcome to reply if you have any questions, but a response or explanation is not expected. 

Next steps if you are on academic probation:

1. Check your transcript

If you are surprised or not sure why you are on academic probation, check your unofficial transcript on MyUCDavis.  Review the three reasons for academic probation at the top of the page.  If you believe there is an error on your transcript, contact the course instructor or your Graduate Coordinator.

2. Consider why and what next

After you Did you have difficulties learning a new concept? Are you feeling overwhelmed?  Do you have personal or family priorities? Are you struggling with your health or mental health?  All of these and any others are valid reasons, and it's OK to not know.  Try to list or outline what you need to move forward and possible next steps.  The good news is that there's no need to figure it out on your own.  

3. Contact a Graduate Advisor

Even if you know why you struggled academically and have ideas about making positive adjustments, you may not be aware of all the resources and options available to you.  Navigating grad school is not possible to do alone, and every student has layers of support in their program and Graduate Studies.  Advisors can help talk through challenges, make a plan, locate resources, and discuss other options, like building a mentor relationship or taking a break to regroup.  If you were assigned a registration hold for the upcoming quarter, you will need to reach out to your Graduate Advisor for advising as part of the process to release the hold.   

Contact information for Graduate Coordinators is available on your Program page, along with the contact information for your Graduate Chair and Graduate Coordinator. 

Other advising resources

Graduate Advisors in your program are the primary contact for advising students on academic probation, but you also have other support resources in your network .  

  • Your program Graduate Coordinator - contact information is available on your Program Page.
  • Your major professor, committee members, and other program faculty.
  • The Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisors (SAA's) are available to meet if you would like to talk to someone outside your program, or you would like more information about academic probation process and policy.  You can make an appointment with any of the SAA's or email them at gradservices@ucdavis.edu.      

Registration Holds

Registration holds for the next quarter are assigned to students with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 or a term GPA of 2.0 or lower.  Graduate Advisors may request a registration hold be assigned to a student on academic probation for cumulative I, U, or F grades to require advising.  In order to release the hold, students must meet with a program Graduate Advisor to develop a plan for making progress and returning to good standing.  You and your Advisor will document your plan on the Recommendation for Release of Academic Hold

Steps for releasing an academic hold:

  1. Meet with your Graduate Advisor to develop and document a plan to return to good standing using the Recommendation for Release of Academic Hold.  Graduate Advisor contact information is available on each Program page.  
  2. You or your Advisor can give the Release of hold form to your Graduate Coordinator for submission to Graduate Studies SAA's.
  3. SAA's will review the plan, release or move the hold as directed by the Graduate Advisor, and notify you and your Coordinator.

Continuous Academic Probation for U Grades

Unsatisfactory (U) grades in variable unit courses (e.g. 299, 298) can only be adjusted through a retroactive drop/withdrawal or retroactive grade change.  Students who accumulate 9 or more units of U grades in variable unit courses will have academic probation status noted on their record continuously until they graduate.  Probation status is assigned automatically through a campus wide system, and continuous academic probation doesn't necessarily reflect a graduate student's actual academic performance or progress.  In acknowledgement, Graduate Studies differentiates between 'active' and 'inactive' continuous academic probation in regards to employment and fellowships.  

  • Continuous Academic Probation for Single Term GPA - Students who receive a term GPA below 3.0, and do not enroll in additional letter graded courses (e.g. enrolling in only 299), will remain on academic probation unless they enroll in and receive a B grade or better in an additional letter graded course (upper-division undergrad or graduate level).  The 'active' and 'inactive' probation considerations apply to these students as well for purposes of employment and fellowship.  

'Active' continuous academic probation

Graduate students on continuous academic probation are only considered to be on 'active' probation during the initial quarter of probation status, as long as they do not receive additional U, F, or I grades.  Exceptions for employment and fellowships are required for students on 'active' probation.

'Inactive' continuous academic probation

After the initial quarter, continuous academic probation is considered 'inactive', unless the student receives additional U, F, or I grades or their term/cumulative GPA falls below 3.0.  In that case, the student will return to 'active' probation for at least one additional quarter.  Students on 'inactive' probation do not require an exception to policy in order to be employed as an ASE/GSR or to receive fellowships.  

Employment & Fellowships on Academic Probation

Students on academic probation are eligible for employment or fellowships only by exception.  Requests for exception are submitted to Graduate Studies by the program, and reviewed by the Graduate Studies Associate Dean for Students.  The primary purpose is to ensure that students on academic probation are receiving support from their program and have a plan to reach good standing.  

Employment as an ASE or GSR/RA

Graduate Studies approval of a Petition for Exception to Policy (PEP) is required for a student on academic probation to be employed as an ASE (TA, AI, Reader, Tutor) or a GSR/RA.  In addition to the PEP form, programs must also submit a statement of support outlining the student's plan to return to good standing and how the program will academically support the student during the quarter.  PEPs must be submitted at least a month before the employment start date, and may be sent to Graduate Studies by the Graduate Coordinator or the student's hiring department.  The Graduate Studies Associate Dean for Students will review the request, and one of the SAA's will communicate their decision to the student, Coordinator, and hiring department staff (if not the Coordinator). 

Fellowships

Graduate Studies approval of an exception to policy is required for a student on academic probation to receive fellowship funds.  The student's program must submit a letter of support to the Graduate Studies Financial Team (gspayments@ucdavis.edu).  The letter should outline the reasons the student is on academic probation, and the student's plan for returning to good standing.  Letters are reviewed by the Associate Dean for Students, and the GS Financial Team will notify the program of her decision.  

Continuous Academic Probation (see section above)

Students on 'active' continuous academic probation must have an approved exception (PEP or fellowship support statement) in order to be employed or receive fellowship funds.  Students on 'inactive' continuous academic probation may be employed or receive a fellowship without an exception.   

Taking a Temporary Leave - PELP

There are many reasons why students struggle academically, and these may or may not be related to difficulties with academic work.  Academic difficulty may be a sign that you need to take a break to regroup, focus on self-care or family care, or consider your goals.  Graduate students may take up to three quarters of leave through the Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP).  PELP is a temporary break in academic work that guarantees your ability to continue in the program when you return.  It's normal to feel overwhelmed during graduate school, and there is nothing wrong with putting a pause on your program.  If you're on academic probation and considering taking a leave through PELP, schedule a meeting with your program Graduate Advisor to plan next steps when you return.  

Withdrawal & Readmission

If you feel unsure about continuing, would like to take a long-term break, or you want to focus on other areas, like employment or family, you may discontinue your studies by withdrawing.  Students who withdraw from the program no longer maintain a student status, but may apply for readmission to the program at a later date using the Readmission Application.   Readmission requires program approval and is not guaranteed.  If readmitted, you will return at the point you withdrew, and the minimum conditions to reach good standing still apply.  If you're considering withdrawing, meet with a Graduate Advisor to discuss whether withdrawal is the best option and to review the process if you have plans for readmission in the future.  See the Withdrawal & Readmission webpage for more information.  

Disqualification

Graduate students on academic probation are never disqualified automatically or without an opportunity to improve their academic performance.  Programs may recommend the disqualification of a student on academic probation who: 1) received less than a 2.0 term or cumulative GPA, 2) have been on academic probation for two or more consecutive quarters, 3) did not improve their following quarter GPA or academic performance as directed in an unsatisfactory Student Progress Assessment (SPA), or 4) after accumulating 9+ units of U, I, or F grades they do not makeup the number of units required in a SPA or receive additional U, I, or F grades.  Programs may also recommend disqualification of a student who is not making satisfactory progress towards the degree.  Students do not need to be in Subject to Disqualification status for a program to recommend disqualification.  

Students who are disqualified may no longer continue in their degree objective within the major, but they may apply for admission to a different graduate program at UC Davis.  With approval of the program, doctoral students who are disqualified may be permitted to pursue a terminal master's degree in their major.  More information about disqualification is available in the Policy on Disqualification and Appeal or on the Disqualification webpage.