Appendix 2: Grades and Academic Standing

The following information may also be found in the Graduate Catalog. Grades are assigned by professors based on the following notations, mandated by the College of Graduate Studies. The scholastic standing of a student is expressed in terms of grade point average (GPA). A GPA is the total number of grade points divided by the total number of credit hours (exclusive of P, S, and U credit hours). Any transferred courses are included in the calculation. Individual professors provide the grading scale for the courses they teach, using some or all of the assigned notations:

Grade Grade Points
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- 0.67
F 0.00
I (Incomplete) Not calculated
W (Withdrawal) Not calculated
P Pass
F Fail
S Satisfactory
U Unsatisfactory


Incompletes (designated by an I on the transcript) indicate that the student has not completed all course requirements due to illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, especially those that occur towards the close of the term. Mere failure to make up work or turn in assignments on time will not result in an incomplete unless documented extenuating circumstances are acceptable to the professor, who finally determines acceptable criteria for assigning an I.

The College of Graduate Studies provides the following criteria in regard to uncompleted coursework:

  • If the student fails to appear for a final examination without known cause, the grade is determined as follows:
    • If the student has done satisfactory work to that point, the grade I may be reported on the assumption that the student was ill or will otherwise present sufficient reason for the absence.
    • If the student has attended irregularly and has not done satisfactory work to that point, the grade F should be reported.
  • The incomplete must be removed during the succeeding semester, excluding summer, or it will convert to a grade of F.
  • The I grade carries no value until converted to a final grade.
  • An I may not be removed by retaking a course. Only the professor awarding the I can remove it based on the student’s meeting the course requirements. If the professor does not change the I, it will convert to an F.

Individual professors may specify additional or more specific requirements for the assignment of an Incomplete.

Accessing Grades

Grades can be accessed online through PipelineMT at Outstanding financial balances will prevent the release of grades. Contact MT OneStop to verify and clear any financial issues.

Grade Appeals

The grade appeals process is available to any student who wants to contest a course grade.  In general, grade appeals are adjudicated on the basis of policies and procedures outlined in the individual course guidelines and syllabus. The College of Graduate Studies provides the following policies and procedures, which constitute a two-level appeals process that the student initiates.

Level One

This process takes place within the English Department.

  1. Student appeals should be resolved by a conference between the student and the faculty member who assigned the grade and held within ten business days of the official start of the following semester, not including Summer terms. If the grade is assigned during the Fall, the timeline begins in the Spring. For grades assigned during the Spring or Summer, the timeline begins in the Fall.
  2. In the event of an impasse between the student and the faculty member, a student with a grade appeal shall discuss it with the department chair/director within ten business days of the conference with the involved faculty member. In cases where the department chair/director is the person against whom the complaint is lodged, the dean in whose college the department is located shall assume the duties of the chair/director in the investigation and decision-making.
  3. The department chair/director shall investigate the circumstances and record their findings. Although the department chair/director does not have the power to change the grade, they will make a recommendation concerning the appeal. The department chair/director will send a copy of the findings and recommendation to the student and to the faculty member within ten business days of the conference with the student. The student is required to include a copy of the department chair/director’s findings and recommendation with other relevant materials submitted to request a formal grade appeal. (See Level Two below.) The recommendation and findings will become a part of the appeal record.

Level Two (can be initiated only after Level One has been completed)

  1.  If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of level one, they may, within fifteen business days following receipt of the department chair’s/director’s recommendation, refer the appeal, plus all relevant materials to the Office of the Provost. In addition to a copy of the department chair’s/director’s findings and recommendation, materials should include a written statement outlining the basis of the grade appeal. (See MTSU Grade Appeal Student Form.) The appeal to the Provost’s Office must be submitted within forty business days of the official start of the term following the grade assignment, not including Summer terms. The overall Grade Appeals Committee will be divided by college into subcommittees. Each subcommittee will elect a chair. The vice provost for faculty affairs shall determine which subcommittee will hear the appeal and transmit the appeal documents to the subcommittee chair. A given subcommittee will not hear appeals originating in courses offered in its own college but will deal with appeals from other colleges.
  2. Written notification of the meeting and of an opportunity to appear before the Grade Appeals Committee will be sent by the subcommittee chair to the concerned faculty member and student. The subcommittee will receive documents and hear testimony regarding the circumstances and shall render a written decision. A simple majority of members present constitutes a quorum for purposes of reaching a decision. Notification of the subcommittee’s decision will be made by the subcommittee chair to the student, faculty member, department chair/director, college dean, vice provost for faculty affairs, and the registrar.
  3. The decision of the subcommittee hearing the appeal will be final.

Other grade appeals policies:

  •  If a student’s financial aid is reduced or not awarded due to the grade the student is appealing, the MTSU Financial Aid Office may not be able to reinstate the student’s aid because of federal or state deadlines.
  • A student or faculty member involved with a grade appeal may discuss their case informally with a member of the faculty or administration, but not with a member of a Grade Appeals Committee. A committee member who discusses the grade appeal with the faculty member or student concerned shall automatically disqualify themselves from any further proceedings of the case.
  • The number of days indicated at each level above shall be considered the maximum, but every effort should be made to expedite the process.
  • The failure of the student to proceed from Level One of the appeal procedure to Level Two within the prescribed time limits shall be deemed to be an acceptance of the recommendations and/or decision rendered in Level One. All further considerations and proceedings regarding that particular appeal shall cease at that point.
  • A grade appeal may be withdrawn at any level without prejudice. However, the stated time frames continue to be applicable if the student determines to begin the process again.
  • All appeal proceedings shall be kept as confidential as may be appropriate at each level.
  • The Grade Appeals Committee shall have reasonable access to all official records for information necessary in making its determination.
  • Appeals of grades assigned in the Spring or Summer semesters will be considered in the Summer only under two (2) circumstances:
    • If it affects the student’s ability to graduate in the Summer; or
    • If the vice provost determines that there are extenuating circumstances to warrant a special hearing.
  • Otherwise, such appeals will be held over until the beginning of the Fall semester. If an appeal is to be heard in the Summer, an ad hoc committee of the chairs/available members from each grade appeals committee will hear the case. If a chair cannot attend the Summer meeting, they will, if at all possible, endeavor to provide a replacement from their committee. The chair from the college in which the appeal originated shall be excused from the meeting. There will also be a student representative assigned with one alternate, each not from the college from which the appeal originates.

Information about grade appeals also appears in the Graduate Catalog. Students can call the Vice Provost’s office at any time for information and help regarding grade appeals.

Academic Standing

Students should acquaint themselves with the following policies from the “Academic Policies and Procedures” section of the Graduate Catalog:

    1. Up to six semester hours of C grade (C+, C, or C-) coursework may be applied towards a master’s degree; and up to seven hours of C grade (C+, C, or C-) coursework may be applied towards a Ph.D.
    2. No course with a grade lower than a C- may be applied toward any graduate degree requirement.

Master’s degree students are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 for all graduate work completed at MTSU as well as in the major.

Doctoral students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25.

Academic Probation

A graduate student who fails to meet the following academic retention standards will be placed on academic probation for the subsequent term:

    1. the applicable minimum cumulative graduate GPA retention standard listed below; or
    2. cumulative GPA less than 3.00 for three consecutive semesters.

Academic Retention Standards

Degree-seeking students are expected to take appropriate courses and make satisfactory progress toward their degree objectives as determined by the graduate program. A graduate student at the master’s level must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 for all graduate work completed at MTSU as well as in the major. A doctoral student must maintain a minimum GPA of at least 3.25. Six semester hours of C grade (C+, C, or C-) coursework may be applied toward a master’s degree; seven hours of C grade may count toward a Ph.D. No grade below C- may be applied toward a degree; however, all grades are included in calculation of cumulative GPA.

Probation in itself has no serious consequences other than to alert the student to potential academic problems and the requirement to (re)establish satisfactory academic status. Once on probation, a student has three consecutive semesters in which to restore the cumulative GPA to the minimum required. If the student fails to attain the required GPA at the close of the third semester of probation, the student will be suspended automatically. A graduate student who is on academic probation, then returns to good standing, will no longer be on probation. Should the student once again fall below the minimum cumulative graduate GPA for retention (GPA<3.00 for master’s or <3.25 for doctoral) during their course of study, rather than being placed on probation again, they will be suspended. Graduate assistants who are placed on academic probation are also placed on probation in regard to their assistantships. Graduate assistants placed on probation have one semester to restore their GPA to the necessary level.

See the guidelines for maintaining or (re)establishing satisfactory academic status in the “Academic Policies and Procedures” section of the Graduate Catalog under the subtopic “Academic Standards—Retention, Probation, and Suspension.”

Academic Suspension

A graduate student on academic probation who fails to meet the applicable standard described above will be placed on academic suspension. Academic suspension means that the student may not enroll in classes for at least the following semester, not including summer. The student also forfeits any assistantships. The student may file an appeal by following the policies described below.

Academic Suspension Appeal and Reenrollment

In order to reenroll, a student must formally appeal the suspension to the graduate program by following established requirements within the program. The program director must then file a Suspension Appeal Decision Form no later than 4:30 p.m. on Thursday during the first week of classes each semester. In the event that a student is suspended and subsequently upon appeal is granted permission to reenroll, should the student fail to maintain the minimum cumulative GPA, there will be no second probationary period. The student will be terminated at the close of the semester and no longer eligible for matriculation in any program at MTSU.

Students whose appeals have been denied by their graduate programs will have the right to appeal this decision by notifying the dean of the College of Graduate Studies in writing by the first week of the term following their suspension. An ad hoc committee made up of members of the MTSU Graduate Council from other disciplines will be created. The student and program will have the opportunity to represent both the appeal and decision to the committee at this meeting. The decision of the committee is final.

In addition to students who are permanently suspended due to failure to return to good standing following a suspension, students may be removed from their programs due to an unsuccessful suspension appeal or for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.

In the case of failure to make satisfactory academic progress, the program may recommend dismissal to the College of Graduate Studies with clear documentation as to the reasons for recommendation. Action on this recommendation will be made by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Appeals of this dismissal would be made to the College of Graduate Studies and are considered by an Ad Hoc Graduate Council Suspension Appeals Committee. The action of this committee is final.

This form of appeal does not include grade appeals, which are described above.

Reapplication Following Suspension

Students who do not successfully appeal the suspension must reapply to the College of Graduate Studies in order to return to the program. The application must include all new documents, including new letters of recommendation (the same individuals who wrote initial recommendations may provide new letters). The letter accompanying the application must address the facts of suspension and support the request for readmission. The student must also reapply for assistantships. The application will be considered alongside all new applications.


Events in life such as family leave, illness, or military duty-may result in a student being unable to maintain continuous enrollment. In such a case, students may request permission to interrupt their studies on a temporary basis. A stop-out is the period of time during which a student fails to register for successive academic sessions. If the stop-out period exceeds one academic year (Fall and Spring semesters), the student may be required to fulfill degree requirements in existence at the time of reenrollment, rather than those in place at the original matriculation. A formal “Request to Stop-Out Form” must be filed by the student, endorsed by the graduate program director in the department, and approved by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies prior to the beginning of the stop-out period ( If approved prior to the beginning of the stop-out, this period is not counted toward the time limit for degree completion. A stop-out may be utilized no more than one time during the time limit for the degree program. When a stop-out student is ready to return, they must fill out a re-application to the program.


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