Academic Deficiencies

Academic Warning

The Professional Studies Committee will review the academic performances of students and place them on warning if their record in any term shows a significant decline or reason for concern about the quality of their work, e.g., a course graded Low Pass (LP), Fail (F), or No Credit (NC). Students placed on warning will be reviewed by the committee following the end of the term, and either removed from warning, continued on warning, or placed on probation. The warning notation will not be placed on students’ transcripts. Both the student and the faculty adviser will be notified in writing of the warning.

Academic Probation

The Professional Studies Committee will place on probation students whose academic work is unsatisfactory. In every case the committee will take into account the personal situation of the student; but the following record, accumulated during the course of any one term, will normally result in probation:

  1. two courses graded Low Pass, or
  2. two Incompletes, or
  3. two Fs or NCs, or
  4. any combination of inadequate or incomplete work in two or more courses.

In addition, students may be placed on probation if their records show a pattern of academic warnings in multiple terms.

Students are responsible for knowing at the end of a term whether or not they have completed each course satisfactorily. As information becomes available to the Professional Studies Committee, written notice of probation will be given both to the student and to the faculty adviser, and the notation will be placed on the transcript. The student must meet with the academic dean to develop a plan for a return to good academic standing. Failure to successfully complete this academic plan can result in the loss of federal financial aid eligibility. For more information about Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and financial aid eligibility, see below.

Students on academic probation must observe the following conditions when they register for courses:

  1. during the term in which students are on academic probation they may not take more than twelve hours of course work;
  2. they may not take any reading courses;
  3. they may not register to begin a thesis.

Students will be removed from probation when they have completed four courses (twelve credits) under the following conditions:

  1. all work for each course must be completed by the end of its term, without extensions;
  2. all incomplete work from previous terms must be completed;
  3. the grade received in each course must be HP– or better.

Dismissal for Academic Reasons

Any student who is placed on academic probation and whose probation is not lifted at the conclusion of the probationary term may be recommended to the faculty for dismissal from YDS.

A student who receives a grade of Fail/No Credit in nine or more credits attempted in a given term, or, for part-time students, nine credits attempted over consecutive terms, shall be dismissed from the Divinity School. A student who is dismissed for this reason may appeal in writing to the Professional Studies Committee within five days of the notice of dismissal, presenting information concerning relevant extenuating circumstances; the Professional Studies Committee then issues a final decision concerning dismissal. The outcome of the appeal will be determined prior to the day on which online registration ends for the term.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

All degree-seeking students are required to meet standards regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP refers to the student’s success in meeting the minimum standards deemed acceptable for the program of study. Failure to maintain SAP jeopardizes a student’s eligibility to receive University or federal financial aid (subsequently referred to as “financial assistance”). Federal regulations require institutions to monitor each student’s “pace,” which is the progress that a student is making toward earning a degree. Monitoring pace ensures that the student will graduate within the maximum time frame permitted for the student’s degree or course of study. (For a description of the maximum length of time permitted in each program, see the chapter Programs of Study.) SAP standards apply to all degree-seeking students regardless of their financial aid status. The Divinity School has established a set of standards below which a student will be placed on academic probation (see section on Academic Deficiencies, above). Failure to maintain these standards, and/or failure to progress through the program at the pace necessary to complete the degree in the time permitted, means that the student has failed to maintain SAP.

In addition to the qualitative standards referenced in the Academic Deficiencies section, YDS has established the following set of quantitative standards:

  • Students must successfully complete 67 percent of credits attempted.
  • Courses graded W, F, or NC will be considered credits attempted but not completed.
  • For part-time students, the pace calculation will be made after the equivalent of each full-time term.
  • If a student fails a course and retakes it, the first enrollment will be considered an uncompleted attempt, and any future enrollment in the course will be considered a separate course attempted.
  • Transfer credits accepted from other institutions are not included in pace calculations.

Student grades are reviewed each term to determine whether each student is meeting SAP. The registrar will provide the Office of Financial Aid with a list of students who are failing to meet SAP and have been placed on academic probation. Such students will be placed on one term of financial aid warning. A student on financial aid warning may continue to receive financial assistance for that term. After a term on financial aid warning, students who are still failing to meet SAP may continue to receive financial assistance for the next term only if they are placed on financial aid probation. In order to be placed on financial aid probation, students must (1) successfully appeal the determination that they are not making SAP and (2) meet with the academic dean to create an academic plan for return to good academic standing. Students may appeal the determination that they are not making SAP by submitting a written petition to the academic dean, who will review the appeal and notify the student of the outcome. The student’s written petition to the academic dean should include information about why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation. Once a student is on financial aid probation, the student must follow the academic plan and meet its benchmarks on time, or meet SAP by the end of the term, in order to continue to receive financial assistance.