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Thesis/Dissertation Grade Policy FAQs


What is the basic change in thesis/dissertation grading that took effect Fall 2008?


The essential change is the awarding of real-time, permanent grades to thesis (5000) and dissertation (6000) courses. The previous system, in which interim ‘R’ grades were awarded and replaced by letter grades at the end of the graduating semester, was discontinued.

Why was the thesis/dissertation grading system changed in Fall 2008?


The post-Fall 2008 system provides timely information to students regarding their research progress and eliminates problems associated with failure to replace ‘R’ grades with acceptable letter grades in a timely manner. It also means that the student’s overall GPA reflects only non-research course work. Successful completion of the thesis/dissertation component of the degree is reflected by approval of the document, and its defense, by the advisory committee.

Whose decision was this?


Many campus constituencies were involved in the decision to change the thesis/dissertation grading system. The Graduate & Professional Student Government Association was the body that proposed the new system and the various Graduate Faculty Groups and Graduate Council all voiced approval. This grading system also received full administrative approval from Instruction Council and the Council of Deans.

When did the new grading policy go into effect?


The new grading policy applies to all grades applied after the first day of classes of the Fall 2008 semester. From that point on, all thesis (5000) and dissertation (6000) courses are graded as either ‘SR’ (for Satisfactory Research) or ‘UR’ (for Unsatisfactory Research).

What happens to existing 'R' grades? Can they be changed to letter grades?


Any faculty member who wished to assign letter grades to students in thesis or dissertation hours taken prior to the Fall 2008 semester was allowed to do so prior to the first day of the Fall 2008 semester. After that date, all existing 'R' grades for previous semesters were interpreted thereafter as 'SR.' When a graduate student applies for graduation (files a diploma application), the remaining 'R' grades on that student's transcript are systematically converted to 'SR' at the end of the graduating term.

Can I change 'R' grades earned prior to Fall 2008 to 'SR' or 'UR'?


No, but when a graduate student applies for graduation (files a diploma application), the remaining 'R' grades on that student's transcript are systematically converted to 'SR' at the end of the graduating term.

Did the 'R' grade totally disappear?


No. 'R' grades will still be available for creative component courses and other non-thesis/dissertation courses appropriate for this grade.

What effect do 'SR' and 'UR' grades have on a student's GPA?


Neither the 'SR' nor 'UR' grade has any effect on the student’s GPA.

What about the requirement for a 3.0 GPA in research hours to graduate? How is the research GPA calculated?


Effective Fall 2008, a research GPA is no longer calculated, nor does it serve as a requirement for graduation.

Can a student be placed on academic probation for a series of 'UR' grades?


Since the 'UR' grade is not used in calculating the GPA, no direct academic sanction, such as academic probation or dismissal from the Graduate College, is imposed for earning one or more ‘UR’ grades. However, departments may wish to use a series of 'UR' grades as a basis for terminating a student from that program. Departments and programs should establish these criteria and document them fully in their graduate student handbooks.

Can a student include courses in which a 'UR' was earned on a Plan of Study?


No. Only thesis or dissertation courses with grades of 'SR,' 'R,' 'A,' 'B,' or 'C' may be used to fulfill plan of study requirements.

Can an incomplete grade be assigned in a 5000 or 6000 course?


If a student's circumstances meet the incomplete grade policy (Academic Regulation 6.2), then an incomplete grade may be assigned. To qualify for an incomplete grade, the student should have satisfactorily completed a majority of the course work but has been unavoidably prevented from completing the remaining work of the course. The only appropriate default grade for a 5000/6000 course is "IUR". If the coursework is not completed and the instructor does not change the grade to "SR", the incomplete grade will default to "UR" after one year. Note that completion of the coursework does not imply completion of the entire thesis or dissertation, but instead refers to completion of the portion of the thesis or dissertation associated with the course for the particular term of enrollment. An incomplete grade in thesis or dissertation course may impact academic progress, scholarships, fellowships, federal financial aid, Visa status for international students, etc. Graduate students should check with the appropriate office, such as Scholarships and Financial Aid and Office of International Students and Scholars, to ensure a complete understanding of the implications of receiving an "IUR" grade.

Which office can I call if I have other questions?


For questions relating to the implementation of the SR/UR policy, call the Registrar’s Office at 405-744-6876. If you have questions regarding the academic impact of the policy, call the Graduate College at 405-744-6368.

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