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University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
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Master's Degree: Performance Standards and Progress

Effective Date: July 2012
Last Update: July 2012
Responsible University Officer:
  • Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Policy Owner:
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
Policy Contact:
CONSULTED WITH: Faculty Senate, UMD Graduate Council, UMD Administration Office

Printed on: . Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.


Students are responsible for knowing all program requirements of their master’s program when they matriculate. If program requirements change, students may elect to continue under the requirements in effect when they matriculated, provided they have remained in good standing.

The advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for the program are jointly responsible for helping each student plan and appropriately complete the requirements in a timely fashion. The DGS is also responsible for ensuring that each student receives training appropriate to the discipline in the responsible conduct of research and ethical teaching and scholarship.

Programs and collegiate units may have additional and/or more stringent requirements.

I. Pre-Matriculation Requirements for Programs

Programs must, before students begin their first term of study:

  • Provide each student a current graduate program handbook, specifying the program's requirements and policies governing successful degree completion
  • Assign each student a temporary advisor

II. Progress Review

  1. Annual Review Programs must review the progress of each master’s student annually. Students deemed not to be in good standing must be informed of the results of the review in writing, with a copy to the student’s advisor.
  2. Degree Plan Master’s degree students must have an approved degree plan on file in the collegiate unit in order to defend and/or apply for degree clearance. It is recommended that the degree plan be filed at least one term (fall or spring semester) before the intended term of the defense and/or application for degree clearance. The degree plan must be archived in the system of record. For students intending to pursue a minor:
    1. In master’s programs that include a final examination/defense, students must declare the minor prior to the examination/defense.
    2. In master’s programs that do not include a final examination/defense, students must declare the minor prior to filing for degree conferral.

III. Performance Standards

  1. Continuous Enrollment Students are required to enroll every semester (fall and spring) from the time of matriculation until degree conferral.
  2. Time Limit for Earning the Master's Degree All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed and the degree awarded within the shorter of five calendar years after initial enrollment in the graduate program or the more restrictive time frame specified by the program.

    Students who are unable to complete the degree within the time limits described above due to extraordinary circumstances may petition the program and collegiate unit for an extension of up to 12 months. Students must obtain the approval of their advisor/s and program DGS and submit the petition by the deadline.

    • If a petition is approved, the student is notified in writing of the expectations for progress and for the month/year of degree conferral.
    • If the petition is denied, the student is notified in writing that he or she will be terminated from the graduate program upon expiration of the limit.

    Students who have been terminated under such circumstances may apply for readmission to the program; however, readmission is not guaranteed.

  3. Minimum Grade Requirements To remain in good academic standing students should meet the minimum GPA requirement specified by the graduate program or 2.800 (on a 4.000 scale), whichever is higher. Students who have filed a master’s degree plan should maintain a 2.800 GPA for courses included on the degree plan. Only courses with grades of A, B, C (including C-) and S may be counted toward the degree. Students who have not yet filed a degree plan should maintain an overall GPA of 2.800. Students who fall below the program's minimum GPA requirement may be terminated from the program.

    Note: Students must have at least a 2.800 GPA for courses included on the degree plan at the time of degree clearance.

  4. S/N grades for courses A minimum of 2/3 of the course credits included on a degree plan must be taken A/F.


Programs with a distinctive student population or approved joint-degree programs may request a program-wide exception to the five-year time limit for earning the master's degree.

Effective Date

This policy applies to all students admitted after January 1, 2013. Students who matriculated before January 1, 2013 may choose to continue under the policies in effect when they initially matriculated in their graduate program.

This policy does not apply to first professional degrees. (The first professional degrees are the J.D., M.D., Pharm.D., D.V.M., D.D.S, and L.L.M. degrees.)


Assists student and advisor in planning for timely completion of program requirements; provides timely evaluations to students as they proceed through program; alerts student and advisors to problems, and provides opportunity to develop best approach for addressing those problems; creates clear record in cases where program decides to terminate student.


There are no procedures associated with this policy.






Primary Contact(s)
University of Minnesota - Duluth
Erik Brown
University of Minnesota Rochester


Good standing/good academic standing
Students remain in good standing if they: (a) make timely progress towards degree completion as required by the program and by this policy; (b) maintain a GPA at or above the minimum set by the program and by this policy; and (c) pass all appropriate examinations within the time frame specified by the program.


Collegiate Units
  • Ensure appropriate review of coursework on the degree plan (including any subsequent changes to an approved degree plan); archive the degree plan in the system of record
  • Set college deadline for students who are requesting an extension to the time limit for completing master's degrees
  • Review and approve program-wide requests for exceptions to the time limit for completing the master’s degree, archive requests in the system of record
  • Review and approve requests for extensions to the time limit for completing the master’s degree; archive petitions in the system of record
  • Clearly state the program requirements for maintaining good standing in the Graduate Program Handbook, even if they are identical to the requirements in this policy
  • Review and approve the degree plan (including any subsequent changes to an approved degree plan)
  • Review and approve requests for extensions to the time limit for completing the master’s degree; notify students in writing of the decision and subsequent actions (i.e., expectations for progress and for the month/year of degree conferral or termination from the program upon expiration of the limit)
  • Must obtain the required approvals and file the degree plan with the collegiate unit
  • Must initiate the request for an extension to the maximum time limit for completing the master’s degree, obtain the approval of their advisor/s and program DGS, and submit their request for an extension by the deadline



July 2012 - New Policy, Comprehensive Review. 1. Continues the five year time limit for master’s degrees, but provides a process for requesting a program wide exception for distinction student populations. 2. Requires an annual progress review for all master’s students. 3. Extends applicability of policy requirements to programs not formerly under the aegis of the Graduate School.

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Last modified on December 17, 2014