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University of Wisconsin–Madison
 

Satisfactory Progress and Expectations

AOS Handbook: Satisfactory Progress

ACADEMIC PROGRESS EXPECTATIONS

Continuation in the Graduate School is at the discretion of a student's program, the Graduate School, and a student's faculty advisor. The Graduate School sets minimum standards that all graduate students in the university must meet. Many departments and programs have additional requirements that exceed these Graduate School minimum requirements. The definition of satisfactory progress varies by program. The Graduate School Catalog includes the Graduate School's minimum degree requirements and each program's minimum criteria for satisfactory progress. Satisfactory progress is required to continue guaranteed funding support.

All Students

All AOS graduate students are expected to participate in the intellectual life of the department including attending weekly seminars, annual events, and other activities. All students should meet with their advisors regularly and prepare and fill out the annual progress report at the end of spring semester each year.

The Graduate School requires that students maintain a minimum graduate GPA of 3.00 in all graduate-level work (300 or above, excluding research, audit, credit/no credit, and pass/fail courses) taken as a graduate student unless probationary admission conditions require higher grades. The Graduate School also considers Incomplete (I) grades to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the subsequent semester of enrollment; however, the instructor may impose an earlier deadline.

A student’s failure to comply with expectations for satisfactory progress may result in disciplinary action or dismissal. A student may be placed on probation or suspended from the Graduate School for low grades or for failing to resolve incompletes in a timely fashion. In special cases the Graduate School permits students who do not meet these minimum standards to continue on probation upon recommendation and support of their advisor.

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MS Degree

We expect students to take 2-2.5 years to complete an M.S. degree (thesis or non-thesis). All students normally take a full load of 8 to 12 credits (maximum 15) during each of the first two semesters. International students might take fewer credits if necessary to allow time to improve their English. A grade of B is required in the minimum 12 credits of 400 of higher level lecture courses required for the thesis M.S. Students generally form an M.S. committee after the first year. A thesis should be completed and presented to the committee no later than two weeks prior to the public presentation. We expect all M.S. students to conduct a public presentation of their thesis results, preferably at the Wednesday department seminar series.

A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of full time enrollment (or 12 credits of enrollment if enrolled part-time) the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for 1 additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School. The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

When the student and his/her advisor determine that all degree requirements will be met during the current semester, the student should see the graduate coordinator to obtain a warrant request form. The graduate coordinator will send the warrant request to the Graduate School. The warrant request should be made at least three weeks before the degree deadline for the current semester. Once all degree requirements have been fulfilled, the warrant is signed by the student's major professor, thesis committee, or advisor as appropriate. The student delivers the signed warrant to the Graduate School, room 217, Bascom Hall. Your thesis must be deposited to Memorial Library and your signed warrant delivered to the Graduate School by the degree deadline in order for your degree to be conferred. You must be enrolled for the semester in which you complete your degree.

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PhD Degree

Students normally take a full time credit load of 8 to 12 credits each semester (maximum 15) prior to the preliminary examination. During this time they complete the minor course requirements, the ATM OCN 900 course requirements, and any other required courses. As time continues, a larger percentage of the credits each semester are research and/or seminar credits, as recommended by the major professor and Ph.D. committee. After the preliminary exam, the student can take only 3 credits each semester as a dissertator.

Each student must make satisfactory progress. Failure to maintain satisfactory progress may result in probation, or dismissal from the department. The Ph.D. degree should be completed within five years. All grades must be C or better to count towards the degree. The cumulative GPA in Graduate School must be no less than 3.0. The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of full time enrollment (or 12 credits of enrollment if enrolled part-time) the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for 1 additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School. The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

The qualifying exam should be taken within one year of completion of the MS degree or within two years of beginning graduate studies at UW-Madison if student already has MS or intends to go directly for the Ph.D. The student is provided two tries to pass the qualifying exam. The department recommends leaving with an MS if the student fails both times. However, the prospective PhD committee, advisor, and student can made an academic exception petition in exceptional cases.

The candidate, under the guidance of the major professor, must form a committee of five professors to supervise and evaluate their work after passing the qualifying exam. The committee consists of the major professor, three other professors from our department, and one professor from outside our department (often from the minor department). If the committee dissolves for any reason, the candidate cannot continue in the Ph.D. program unless a new committee is formed. The first meeting of this committee should normally occur after the Qualifying Exam, but within the same semester.

Each Ph.D. student must meet annually with their committee to discuss degree progress. A written summation of the meeting should be given to the grad coordinator for the student's file.

The Ph.D. committee administers an oral preliminary exam that is essentially a defense of the research proposal. It is normally taken within about one year after completion of the qualifying exam, which roughly coincides with the time when all of the other course requirements are completed. Significant delay (> 1 year) in completion of preliminary exam will lead to being placed on academic probation.

Dissertation writing should take typically two to three years after the preliminary exam, and an oral defense should occur no longer than five from start of Ph.D. program.

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Academic Exceptions

Academic exceptions are considered on an individual case by case basis and should not be considered a precedent. Deviations from normal progress are highly discouraged, but the program recognizes that there are in some cases extenuating academic and personal circumstances. Petitions for course exceptions/substitutions or exceptions to the Satisfactory Progress Expectations (academic or conduct) shall be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies or relevant committee chair. The following procedures apply to all petitions:

  1. The specific requirement/rule/expectation pertinent to the petition must be identified.
  2. The student's academic advisor must provide written support for the petition.
  3. All course work substitutions and equivalencies will be decided by the Graduate chair in consultation with the curriculum committee.

More generally, the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the student’s advisor, may grant extensions to normal progress requirements for students who face circumstances (similar to tenure extensions) as noted in university regulations, this includes childbirth, adoption, significant responsibilities with respect to elder or dependent care obligations, disability or chronic illness, or circumstances beyond one’s personal control. Where warranted, the petition should provide good evidence of plans and ability to return to conformance with the standard and to acceptably complete the program. The normal extension will be one semester; anything beyond this will be granted only in the event of highly extraordinary circumstances. Extensions will be granted formally with a note of explanation to be placed in the student’s file.

A student who fails the Qualifying Examination may be offered a second opportunity to pass the qualifying examination. We recommend students who fail to the qualifying exam twice to finish the program with an M.S. Petitions to continue in the Ph.D. is made in consulation with your advisor and proposed Dissertation Committee and must be made to the graduate chair in the same semester as the exam date.

Students who have not completed the degree on schedule may request extensions. Requests for a one-semester/year extension can be made to the Graduate Chair. The Graduate Chair is authorized to approve these requests upon written justification from the student and their advisor. The student must describe the reasons for the request and provide a proposed timetable for completing all program requirements. The major professor must sign the request form and write comments endorsing the request. The request should be made as soon as the need for an extension becomes apparent. The Exceptions Committee may request additional documentation as needed. Appeals or requests for additional extensions must be approved by the full program faculty.

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CONDUCT EXPECTATIONS

Professional Conduct

All students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of professional behavior and ethics. Students should avoid even an appearance of improper behavior or lack of ethical standards while in Graduate School at UW-Madison, in all professional settings, and in their personal lives. Students should conduct themselves according to the standards expected of members of the profession to which the student aspires. Concerns about infractions of Professional Conduct may be effectively handled informally between the instructor/advisor and the student. If a resolution is not achieved, a graduate program representative may be included in the discussion. Separate and apart from a violation of Professional Conduct, a student may face University disciplinary action with regard to the same action. Students are responsible for reading the information here as well as the information published on all the relevant web sites. Lack of knowledge of this information does not excuse any infraction.

This graduate program, the Graduate School, and the Division of Student Life all uphold the UW-System policies and procedures in place for academic and non-academic misconduct. In addition, graduate students are held to the same standards of responsible conduct of research as faculty and staff. Furthermore, unprofessional behavior towards clients/subjects, faculty, staff, peers and public are significant issues in the evaluation and promotion of students. In turn, we hold expectations for the highest level of academic integrity and expect professional, ethical, and respectful conduct in all interactions. Students may be disciplined or dismissed from the graduate program for misconduct or disregard for professional conduct expectations regardless of their academic standing in the program. Separate and apart from a violation of Professional Conduct, a student may face University disciplinary action with regard to the same action. Students are responsible for reading the information here as well as the information published on all the relevant web sites. Lack of knowledge of this information does not excuse any infraction.

Professional Ethics: Students shall show respect for a diversity of opinions, perspectives and cultures; accurately represent their work and acknowledge the contributions of others; participate in and commit to related opportunities; aim to gain knowledge and contribute to the knowledge base of others; understand the UW Student Code of Conduct; represent their profession and the program; and strive to incorporate and practice disciplinary ideals in their daily lives. Resumes/CVs must reflect accurate information.

Honesty and Integrity: Students shall demonstrate honesty and integrity as shown by their challenging of themselves in academic pursuits; honesty and ethics in research and IRB applications—including honesty in interpretation of data, commitment to an unbiased interpretation of academic and professional endeavors; and the need to document research activities, protect subject/client confidentiality and HIPPA regulations. Students shall follow-through and pull their weight in group activities and understand where collaboration among students is or is not allowed; not plagiarize others or past work (self-plagiarism), cheat, or purposefully undermine the work of others; and avoid conflicts of interest for the duration of their time in the program. As a professional, honesty and integrity also extends to personal behavior in life outside of the academic setting by realizing that students are representatives of the program, UW-Madison, and the profession as a whole.

Interpersonal and Workplace Relationships: Students shall interact with peers, faculty, staff and those they encounter in their professional capacity in a manner that is respectful, considerate, and professional. This includes and is not limited to attending all scheduled meetings, honoring agreed upon work schedules, being on-time and prepared for work/meetings, contributing collaboratively to the team, keeping the lines of communication open, offering prompt response to inquiries, and employing respectful use of available equipment/technology/resources. Chronic or unexplained absences are unprofessional in the workplace and could be grounds for termination or removal of funding. To facilitate the free and open exchange of ideas, any criticism shall be offered in a constructive manner, and the right of others to hold different opinions shall be respected. 

Commitment to Learning: Students are expected to meet their educational responsibilities at all times. Be actively prepared for class and be ready for questions and answers. Be on time for every class and always show courtesy during class or if you have to leave class early. If possible, students should notify the instructor at least one day in advance of a planned absence. Students who are unable to attend class are responsible for finding out what occurred that day and should not expect instructors to give them individual instruction. Recognizing that the pursuit of knowledge is a continuous process, students shall show commitment to learning by persevering despite adversity and seeking guidance in order to adapt to change. Students shall strive for academic excellence and pursue and incorporate all critique, both positive and negative, in the acquisition of knowledge in order to understand and respect the community in which they work.

Professional Appearance: Students shall convey a positive, professional appearance in order to represent the program in a dignified manner. Appearance includes a person’s dress, hygiene, and appropriate etiquette/protocols for the environment (including safety protocols and protective clothing in environments that require them).

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Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is an act in which a student (UWS 14.03(1)):

  1. seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation;
  2. uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise;
  3. forges or falsifies academic documents or records;
  4. intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others;
  5. engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student's academic performance; or
  6. assists other students in any of these acts.

Examples of academic misconduct include but are not limited to:

  1. cutting and pasting text from the Web without quotation marks or proper citation;
  2. paraphrasing from the Web without crediting the source;
  3. using notes or a programmable calculator in an exam when such use is not allowed;
  4. using another person's ideas, words, or research and presenting it as one's own by not properly crediting the originator;
  5. stealing examinations or course materials;
  6. changing or creating data in a lab experiment;
  7. altering a transcript;
  8. signing another person's name to an attendance sheet;
  9. hiding a book knowing that another student needs it to prepare for an assignment;
  10. collaboration that is contrary to the stated rules of the course; or
  11. tampering with a lab experiment or computer program of another student.

Additional information regarding Academic Misconduct:  Graduate School Policy & Procedure: Misconduct, Academic

Dean of Students Office: Information for Students: How to Avoid Academic Misconduct? What Happens If I engage in Academic Misconduct? What Should I do If I know a Classmate is Cheating?

Dean of Students Office: Academic Misconduct Flowchart

University of Wisconsin System: Chapter UWS 14: Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures

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Non-Academic Misconduct

The university may discipline a student in non-academic matters in the following situations:

  1. for conduct which constitutes a serious danger to the personal safety of a member of the university community or guest;
  2. for stalking or harassment;
  3. for conduct that seriously damages or destroys university property or attempts to damage or destroy university property, or the property of a member of the university community or guest;
  4. for conduct that obstructs or seriously impairs university-run or university-authorized activities, or that interferes with or impedes the ability of a member of the university community, or guest, to participate in university-run or university-authorized activities;
  5. for unauthorized possession of university property or property of another member of the university community or guest;
  6. for acts which violate the provisions of UWS 18, Conduct on University Lands;
  7. for knowingly making a false statement to any university employee or agent on a university-related matter, or for refusing to identify oneself to such employee or agent;
  8. for violating a standard of conduct, or other requirement or restriction imposed in connection with disciplinary action.

Examples of non-academic misconduct include but are not limited to:

  1. engaging in conduct that is a crime involving danger to property or persons, as defined in UWS 18.06(22)(d);
  2. attacking or otherwise physically abusing, threatening to physically injure, or physically intimidating a member of the university community or a guest;
  3. attacking or throwing rocks or other dangerous objects at law enforcement personnel, or inciting others to do so;
  4. selling or delivering a controlled substance, as defined in 161 Wis. Stats., or possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver;
  5. removing, tampering with, or otherwise rendering useless university equipment or property intended for use in preserving or protecting the safety of members of the university community, such as fire alarms, fire extinguisher, fire exit signs, first aid equipment, or emergency telephones; or obstructing fire escape routes;
  6. preventing or blocking physical entry to or exit from a university building, corridor, or room;
  7. engaging in shouted interruptions, whistling, or similar means of interfering with a classroom presentation or a university-sponsored speech or program;
  8. obstructing a university officer or employee engaged in the lawful performance of duties;
  9. obstructing or interfering with a student engaged in attending classes or participating in university-run or university-authorized activities;
  10. knowingly disrupting access to university computing resources or misusing university computing resources.

Additional information regarding Non-Academic Misconduct

Graduate School Academic Policies & Procedures: Misconduct, Non-Academic

Dean of Students Office: Non-Academic Misconduct Standards Statement

Dean of Students Office: Non-Academic Misconduct Process

University of Wisconsin System: Chapter UWS 17: Student Non-Academic Disciplinary Procedures

University of Wisconsin System: Chapter UWS 18: Conduct on University Lands

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Research Misconduct

Much of graduate education is carried out not in classrooms, but in laboratories and other research venues, often supported by federal or other external funding sources. Indeed, it is often difficult to distinguish between academic misconduct and cases of research misconduct. Graduate students are held to the same standards of responsible conduct of research as faculty and staff. The Graduate School is responsible for investigating allegations of research misconduct. This is often done in consultation with the Division of Student Life as well as with federal and state agencies to monitor, investigate, determine sanctions, and train about the responsible conduct of research. For more information, contact the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Policy, 333 Bascom Hall, (608) 262-1044.

Please see section on “Grievance Procedures and Misconduct Reporting” for further information on reporting research misconduct of others. Here are links for additional information regarding Research Misconduct and

Graduate School Policies & Procedures: Responsible Conduct of Research

Graduate School Office of Research Policy: Policies, Responsibilities, and Procedures: Reporting Misconduct

Graduate School Office of Research Policy: Policies, Responsibilities, and Procedures: Responsible Conduct of Research Resources

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