Students in the program are expected to work towards mathematical maturity. It is in general quite difficult to measure the extent to which a student is working, and the extent to which the student is maturing mathematically as a result. A student who is maturing mathematically at an acceptable rate is said to be making satisfactory progress. A student who is not making satisfactory progress may be placed on probation, may have his or her support terminated, or both. A student on probation, who is not making satisfactory progress, may be dismissed from the program. Whether or not a student is making satisfactory progress is a purely academic question; renewal of support decisions are based on both satisfactory progress and satisfactory performance of duties.
For students in the early stages of graduate study, there are relatively easy sufficient conditions for satisfactory progress.
The remaining criteria affect only students in the Ph.D. program.
If you do not meet these criteria, but believe that these examinations do not accurately measure your mathematical progress, you should discuss this with the Graduate Studies Director.
For students who have passed Orals, and are working on their dissertations, satisfactory progress is primarily a question of mathematical maturity and is difficult to measure. The advisor of each such student is asked each year to give a written evaluation of the student's progress, which the student may read and respond to. If the advisor says that the student is not making satisfactory progress, and the student disagrees, the student may appeal to the Graduate Studies Director (see Section 7.5).
In the absence of a written report from the thesis advisor, a student who has passed Orals is presumed to be making satisfactory progress if not more than three semesters have elapsed since the student passed Orals, and not more than four years have elapsed since the student entered the program. However, see Section 7.4 for differences in level of support and time limitations.
All students are expected to have advanced to candidacy by the end of their third year.
Students who are unsure of how well they are progressing are encouraged to seek an assessment at any time from their instructors, their Orals chairman, their thesis advisor, or the Graduate Studies Director. Thesis students, in particular, are entitled to regular feedback from their dissertation advisors. If this feedback is not forthcoming, the matter should be discussed with the Graduate Studies Director.
A student placed on probation by the Department of Mathematics is thereby warned of his or her failure to maintain satisfactory progress. This probationary status will end if and when the conditions specified at the start of probation are met. If these conditions are not met within the specified time, the student may be dismissed from the program. This is the only penalty associated with probation; probationary status is not recorded on any student's transcript. Also, there are circumstances under which a student may be placed on probation while continuing to be supported. It is not required that dismissal or termination of support be preceded by probation.
Grades authorized by the Graduate School are A, A-, B+, ..., C-, and F. The grades S and U (Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory) may be used only where the normal mode of evaluation is impractical and then only with specific approval by the Graduate Council. Currently, approval exists for the Problem Seminar, Teaching Practicum, Independent Study and Directed Research. The grade P (Pass) is not authorized for use in the Graduate School.
Temporary Grades of I (incomplete) and NR (No Record) are also sometimes used. You should be aware of the fact that, unless action is taken, these turn into Grades of F at some point during the semester following the one in which they are given. (the exact date appears in the Academic Calendar).
Graduate School policy is that for students who have completed three or more semesters of graduate work, an average below B (3.0) may be grounds for dismissal.
Grades in the core courses are based upon both homework and final examinations; they are used by the Department as indicators of achievement and progress for beginning students. High grades in more advanced courses do not necessarily indicate significant achievement; however, low grades in advanced courses are indicative of serious problems.