YSN Students in Academic Difficulty

In the GEPN, Master's, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) programs, satisfactory academic progress is defined as a grade of Pass or higher in all required courses or a grade of Pass in Pass/Fail courses. If a student anticipates difficulty in satisfactorily completing course requirements, their academic adviser should be notified immediately. Satisfactory completion of all required courses in a given term is a prerequisite for progression in the program of study. Required courses are defined in each program’s or specialty's plan of study. These requirements are listed in the YSN Bulletin and on the YSN website. There are three possible actions that may be taken when a student is in academic difficulty. All are separate actions and may, but not necessarily, progress through the levels as defined in this policy: (1) academic notification, (2) academic warning, and (3) academic probation.


Academic notification is a written statement from the lead faculty of a course to a student in the course letting the student know that they are at potential risk for an academic warning. It is sent to the student as soon as the faculty member determines that there is sufficient evidence, based on requirements outlined in the course syllabus, that the student may fail the class. The lead faculty will send copies to the program chair, specialty director or program director, the academic adviser, and the associate dean of student life. An academic notification can be used in all courses.

Academic Warning

An academic warning is a written warning of the risk of failure. It must be provided to the student as soon as course evaluation procedures provide evidence that there is a risk. There is no official cutoff; it is up to the course lead faculty’s discretion to determine a student is a risk. The purpose of the academic warning is to provide the student notice of the risk of failure. Academic warning applies to students at risk for failure in all courses.  It is a faculty responsibility to maintain ongoing documentation of each student’s progress in courses. In academic courses, documentation of a student’s progress may be evident in written work grades, faculty comments on exams/projects, and faculty notes on classroom participation if that is part of the grade. In clinical practicum, documentation may be evident from clinical objective checklists, comments on progress evaluations, faculty notes about observed practice skills, supervisory sessions, or reports of clinical staff working with the student.

The warning should clearly detail deficit areas and, where appropriate, spell out the objectives the student is at risk for not meeting. The written warning should be discussed and sent to the student with a copy to the program chair, the specialty director or program director, the academic adviser, and the associate dean of student life. The faculty member who issued the warning may request a meeting with the student. The faculty member and the student, and, if applicable, the clinical preceptor, should plan corrective action. This may include referral to YSN Academic Success Team (https://nursing.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Academic%20Success%20Plan_FINAL.PDF) for GEPN or M.S.N. students.

Students who fail a required course may not continue with any academic or clinical course work until notified by the specialty director or program director of their status in the school. The program chair, associate dean of student life, specialty director or program director, course instructor, and the student’s academic adviser will review the student’s case to determine which of the following will occur:

  1. The student may be withdrawn from the School.
  2. The student may be placed on academic leave of absence and allowed to return to retake the failed course.
  3. In rare circumstances, the student may be allowed to continue in the program and retake the failed course at the next available offering.

Academic Probation

Each course failed is considered one occurrence of academic probation. Throughout their enrollment at YSN, students may be placed on academic probation a maximum of two times before they are withdrawn from the program. Students will be allowed to re-take a failed course only once.

If the student is allowed to continue in the program, the student will remain on academic probation until the student has successfully completed the failed course(s). For (2) and (3) above, the faculty member, specialty director or program director, and program chair will develop a plan and time frame for re-taking the failed course(s). The student will be charged tuition for any failed course they must retake. If the student achieves a grade of Pass or better upon retaking the course(s), probationary status will be removed, and the student will be permitted to continue in the program. For financial ramifications see the Satisfactory Academic Progress: Implications for Financial Aid policy on the YSN website (https://nursing.yale.edu/students/registrar/satisfactory-academic-progress-implications-financial-aid).

The Financial Aid Office will be notified by the associate dean of student life when academic probation status is assigned to a student.