Time to Completion
Time to completion starts when a student begins any program in the Graduate School, whether it be a master’s or doctoral program. All work must be completed within six years of the time of admission to graduate work, for those studying for the various master’s degrees; and within eight years for those studying for doctoral degrees. For those admitted directly into a Ph.D. program without a master’s degree in that field, work must be completed within eight years. Individual programs may set a shorter time period. Exceptions to the time to completion policy may be granted by the Dean of the Graduate School at the request of the Graduate Program Director.
Recency/Validation for Over-Aged Credit Hours
Graduate credit hours transferred from another university may not be applied toward a graduate degree at the University of Miami if their age at the time of acceptance into the University of Miami program exceeds six years. On an individual basis, students may be permitted to validate over-aged credit hours by examination, with program approval.
To maintain status as a graduate student, registration in each fall and spring semester is required. Otherwise, admission lapses and readmission must be granted. Doctoral students for whom course work is no longer appropriate should consult their program for registration guidance.
Graduate students can register on the first day of registration and through the registration period. For more information on registration, students should contact their respective School or College. See academic calendar for dates of registration periods here.
The categories of full-time students include:
- Graduate students taking 18 or more graduate credit hours during the calendar year (9 credit hours in a regular semester or 6 credit hours in a summer semester. In online programs, 6 credit hours in each regular semester and 6 credit hours during the summer.)
- Graduate teaching and research assistants taking 16 or more graduate credit hours during the calendar year (8 credit hours in regular semester or 6 credit hours in a summer semester).
- Graduate students enrolled in any course numbered 800 or above, i.e., any 800-level course required for the completion of the degree.
- All MBA for Executive and Professional students are considered full-time.
In all cases, determination as to whether or not a student is in full-time study is the privilege of the Dean of the Graduate School.
The maximum number of credit hours allowed for full-time study is 12 for each semester and six for each summer semester. Exception to this policy can only be made by the Dean of the Graduate School or his/her designee and requires a signed recommendation from the Program Director.
For thesis and dissertation students, full-time registration is required during the semester or summer session in which a candidate defends the thesis or dissertation. Students who wish to have this requirement waived must have a written request provided to the Graduate School by the Dean of their respective College or School, or the Dean's designee.
No full-time faculty member may be a full-time student, whether or not working toward a degree. Nor may a full-time student be a full-time faculty member.
No full-time student will be a principal investigator in any grant or contract, whether in name or fact. And no principal investigator will be a full-time student.
Exceptions to these rules may be made in cases in which students are encouraged to apply individually for small research grants that are consistent with and contribute to their field of study and their dissertation work, and, in certain programs, in which students in a terminal degree status are obliged, as a part of their degree program, to teach as de facto faculty members. (Note: Faculty from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and from the Physical Therapy program are permitted to pursue doctoral degrees in their home program/school.)
Withdrawals, either from individual courses or from a graduate program, should be processed through the office of the Dean of the School or College of the student’s program. Students who wish to officially withdraw from joint or dual degree programs should consult the office of the Dean of the School or College for both disciplines. The date of withdrawal is that on which the student notifies the office of the Dean or the date of receipt of a letter requesting withdrawal. No withdrawal from the University is official until the student has consulted with the Dean of his/her school or college and has completed the necessary forms.
Students wishing to officially withdraw from the University of Miami must provide the Office of the Registrar notification of their intent to withdraw. Initial notification may be made in person, in writing, by fax, or by telephone. This notification will be recorded and used for notification purposes for the Federal Government. Repayment of any federal funds will be based on the date of notification.
Students must also follow the required process as set forth by their school/college for withdrawing from courses. This process often requires that a signature from a Dean or the Dean’s representative be obtained on a Change of Course form. In some cases, students can complete the Change of Course form (hard copy or through the CaneLink system) without an approving signature. Change of Course forms must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar for final processing/review.
To officially withdraw from the MBA Program or Master of Science in Professional Management program, students must inform the Office of Graduate Business Programs in writing prior to the beginning of a course/term. Tuition will be refunded on a prorated basis based on the number of class meetings attended. No tuition refund will be granted when class attendance has exceeded 50% of class meetings. For further information contact: Office of Graduate Business Programs, 305-284-2510, email.
Tuition refunds of 100% are granted to students who withdraw due to military service, provided they do not receive credit hour for the course (see below under “Credit Hour for Courses After the 12th Week of the Semester”).
If you receive federal financial aid and withdraw before you complete 60% of the semester, a pro rate calculation will determine the amount of financial aid you have earned. It is based on the amount of time you were enrolled. This calculation is independent of any charges incurred at the university.
Credit Hour for Courses After the 12th Week of the Semester
The following statement of policy was adopted by action of the Academic Deans’ Council April 14, 1967:
- On recommendation of the Dean of the school or college, students who withdraw after the 12th week of the semester because of official orders to active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States may be awarded credit hour in any course in which they have achieved a C or better up to the time of withdrawal. Instructors must certify that the student had achieved satisfactory accomplishment on the basis of previous work in the course by awarding an appropriate grade. Accomplishment of less than C should be entered on the permanent record as a withdrawal without prejudice (W).
- Credit hour granted for a course under this policy should count toward graduation.
- There should be no refund of tuition for courses for which credit hour has been granted. Refunds of courses not awarded credit hour should be on the same basis as complete withdrawals for military service.
- The above recommendations are procedures for determining the awarding of credit hour and do not release the student from the usual withdrawal procedures.
Veterans and children of deceased or totally disabled veterans attending the University as students under the government’s educational benefits bills must also clear their withdrawal with the main campus Veterans Affairs Officials in the Office of the Registrar who can be contacted at:
Phone: 305-284-2294 or
Leave of Absence
Leave may be obtained by petition of the Program Director followed by the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. Leave of Absence officially stops the time to completion clock. The Petition for Leave of Absence form may be found on the graduate school website.
Grades and Credit Hours
The same letter grades are used for graduate and undergraduate students, but with somewhat different meaning.
|C||Fair, but below that expected of graduate students (C- is the lowest passing grade. Some programs may require higher standards.).|
|S||Symbol used for acceptable (U-unacceptable) thesis, dissertation, practicum, and internship credit hour. It may be used for regular courses under special circumstances with the prior approval of the instructor, department chairman, and the Dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate School considers a grade of “S” to indicate a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in a graduate course if a student has taken no prior coursework on the graduate level. A grade of “S” reflects that a student is in good academic standing.|
|D||Poor (not acceptable for credit hour toward the advanced degree).|
|W||Course dropped prior to the last day for withdrawing from classes as published in the official calendar of the university. Courses dropped after last date must have approval of Dean of the Graduate School. Credit hour can be earned only by successful repetition of the course.|
|I||Incomplete work in passing status with the instructor’s permission to complete the course. (Not to be used for thesis or dissertation credit hours). The “I” should be changed to a letter grade within one (1) calendar year after it is given, unless the Academic Dean of the student’s primary school or college and the Dean of the Graduate School approve the delay. If the “I” is not changed within one year, credit hour can be earned only by successful repetition of the course. (Note: Fellowships and financial aid may be withdrawn if there is an excess accumulation of “I”s on a student’s transcript).|
|NG||Symbol assigned by Enrollment Services indicating that the instructor has not yet reported the student’s grade. For a student to receive credit hour for the course, the instructor must report a passing grade prior to the student’s graduation.1|
Faculty Senate Legislation #85005(B)
An average of B (3.0) is required for a graduate degree, and no “D” credit hour may be counted toward the degree. All work leading to the graduate degree and taken as a graduate student will be counted in computing the quality point average, including courses graded “D”.
No transferred credit hours are calculated into the University of Miami G.P.A.
Award of Academic Merit
Students who obtain a 3.8 G.P.A. or better will receive an Award of Academic Merit from the Graduate School. The Award is posted on the transcript.
Quality points are awarded as follows:
The quality point average is then determined by dividing the total of quality points earned by the total of credit hours attempted. The symbols “S”, “W”, and “I” are not counted as credit hour attempted.
Graduate Repeat Rule
A student may repeat a course in which a failing grade was earned, but the repetition of the course will not eliminate the previous grade from the record. A course may be repeated only once unless written authorization is provided by the Dean of the Graduate School. All grades are included in the computation of the quality point average. If a course in which an unsatisfactory grade (as determined by the program advisor) was earned is repeated and the repeat grade is a “C-” or higher, the number of credit hours required for graduation will be increased by the number of credit hours repeated.
Graduate School of Business Repeat Rule
Graduate students in the School of Business Administration who fall below the 3.0 GPA may be placed on academic probation. Within one semester after their GPA falling below 3.0, Master's students wishing to repeat a course may petition their program director to do so. If the petition is approved by the Graduate Program Director, the grade obtained in their second attempt will replace the original grade for purposes of calculating their GPA for clearance for graduation only. Authorization to repeat a course is limited to courses in which an unsatisfactory grade was earned (as determined by the Graduate Program Director). Additionally, a course may be repeated only once and students may not repeat more than two courses. The student's transcripts will continue to show all attempts and the GPA computation will include all grades earned for purposes other than computing the GPA for clearance for graduation. If a course in which an unsatisfactory grade of lower than a B- was earned is repeated and the repeat grade is "C-" or higher, the number of credits required for graduation will be increased by the number of credits repeated. Registrations which involve repeating a course in which a grade of "A" or "B" has already been earned may not earn quality points or credit hours, nor count as credits attempted.
Graduate Student Grade Appeal Process
The Academic community is unanimous in its position that the grade an instructor assigns to a student is the instructor's responsibility and privilege. Any effort to alter this would be a violation of academic freedom. It is the instructor's responsibility to establish criteria for assigning grades. Grounds for appeal of how a grade was assigned are:
- Award of a grade based on the student's race, religion, color, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, national origin or any other characteristic set forth in the University's Non-Discrimination Policy;
- Award of a grade based on conduct that violates the University's anti-harassment or anti-retaliation policies; or
- Failure to adhere to the grading criteria established for the course;
- Violations of other policies/procedures for grading that are clearly defined in the Faculty Manual.
The Faculty Senate Student Affairs Committee (FSSAC) has responsibility for graduate student grade appeals, except for MD and JD programs. To facilitate grade appeals from graduate students, the FSSAC will have a non-voting ex officio faculty representative of the Graduate School. The FSSAC reviews graduate student grade appeals that have not been resolved at the department, school/college, or Graduate School levels. The FSSAC reserves the right to not hear appeals that require extensive knowledge of specialized or technical issues, including but not limited to, dissertations, theses, qualifying exams, recitals, and clinical/research assignments. The Graduate School has responsibility for all other graduate academic appeals.
I. Time Constraints
The appeal process must be initiated before the completion of the following semester (i.e. ,Fall or Spring) of the assignment of the grade resulting in appeal and prior to the completion of all degree requirements or withdrawal from the University. Each level of appeal should aim to review the appeal and deliver a judgement within a 20 academic day period from the date the appeal is submitted. The entire process should be completed within one calendar year. Exceptions to this deadline may be permitted by the FSSAC for good cause.
- Student Appeal to the Graduate School Level must follow completion of all internal (i.e., home School or College) grade resolution and/or appeals processes, and then has 20 academic days from the completion date of the internal process to contact the Academic Ombudsperson and/or directly to the Dean of the Graduate School regarding an appeal.
- Academic Ombudsperson has 20 academic days to review, provide a preliminary assessment to the student about whether it is reviewable by FSSAC, after receiving information from the student. The student may appeal directly to the Dean of the Graduate School (step 3).
- The Dean of the Graduate School has 20 academic days to review, decide whether to forward to FSSAC, after receiving all information from the student.
- FSSAC has 20 academic days to review/hear appeal, and to submit recommendation to Dean of Graduate School.
- Dean of the Graduate School has 20 academic days to review recommendation of the FSSAC, and to inform student of final decision.
II. Order of the Appeal
Attempts to resolve issues regarding a grade must be addressed to the following entities or persons in this order:
- The faculty member of administrator responsible for the course, program or activity.
- The department/program chair/director and/or administrative superior(s) of the faculty member or administrator.
- The Dean or designee of the school or college offering the course, program, or activity. If the school, college or administrative unit has a committee constituted to hear graduate student appeals, that committee must be consulted be fore proceeding to the next level, i.e., for advice from the Ombudsperson or appeal to the Graduate School.
- The student is to provide the materials listed in Section IV below to the Academic Ombudsperson who will review the merits of the potential appeal, and attempt to resolve the matter. The Academic Ombudsperson, as part of his/her review should give the student a preliminary assessment as to whether the mater, as presented by the student at that time, is reviewable by FSSAC. After, and only if, all other steps are taken, the Ombudsperson may refer the matter to the Dean of the Graduate School.
- Appeal to the Graduate School Level. If the student has exhausted all levels of appeals in their School/College and has consulted with the Ombudsperson, then the student is to provide the materials listed in Section IV below to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will review the merits of the appeal and attempt to resolve the matter. As part of his/her review should give the student a preliminary assessment as to whether the matter, as presented by the student at that time, is reviewable by FSSAC.
- After, and only if, all the other steps are taken the Dean of the Graduate School (or designee) will decide whether or not to refer the appeal to the FSSAC. If, and only if, the Dean of the Graduate School (or designee) does so, the FSSAC shall have jurisdiction to review a grade-related appeal. As part of the request, the Dean of the Graduate School shall forward to the FSSAC, via the Faculty Senate office, the materials submitted by the student as indicated in Section IV below.
III. Faculty Senate Student Affairs Committee (FSSAC) Appeals Process
The FSSAC will review the student's written appeal (see Section IV below), confer with the appropriate faculty, administrators, and others as it deems necessary in making its recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School. Students may present written materials to the FSSAC, or request an additional in-person meeting with the FSSAC. The FSSAC may request an interview with the student, additional information, or access to records, interviews with relevant faculty or administrators, or additional information or access to records kept by faculty or administrators.
The FSSAC will communicate its findings and recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School. Copies shall be provided to the Faculty Senate. The final decision with respect to the grade-related appeal will be made by the Dean of the Graduate School and communicated to the student in writing. Copies shall be provided to the Faculty Senate Office and to the Chair of the FSSAC.
IV. Materials for an Appeal
When bringing an appeal, the student must state in writing issues they wish to have considered. The appeal must include:
- An appeal letter clearly stating the circumstances of the grade as seen by the student, and offering reasons for granting the appeal.
- The appeal letter must indicate if the student wishes to make a personal appearance and, if so, the reasons why the appearance is necessary.
- Documents of support (e.g., examinations, term papers, syllabi, or medical documentation of illness) that the student wishes to have examined.
- All written decisions made at earlier levels of the appeal by individual faculty/administrators, departments/program/administrative units, college or school committees, and/or deans which are available to the student or in the student's possession.
V. Other Notes and Special Considerations
If the appeal is based on or related to a charge made by the student of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or handicap, a representative of the appropriate University office will be contacted and, as appropriate, consulted in the appeal process.
If the appeal is based on or related to a disability:
- The ADA Coordinating Committee shall serve in an advisory capacity.
- The student is to include in the materials provided the appropriate forms from the Office of Disability Services documenting
- An evaluation of the disability
- Recommendations related to the disability
The FSSAC does not consider appeals based upon the grant, denial or modification of an accommodation by the Office of Disability Services. Instead, any such appeal is as prescribed by the Office of Disability Services Grievance Procedure only.
Levels of Graduate Study
Graduate study implies the need for a minimum of formal courses and a maximum of independent work under faculty supervision. Coursework, in itself, is not necessarily a determinant of graduate progress and achievement. The appropriate determinants are the ability of the qualified student to master the various qualifying and comprehensive examinations that a program requires of the student. All work taken by a graduate student in the major area or area of concentration shall be at the graduate level (600 or above). With the permission of the program of major concentration a student may take elective credit hours (not prerequisite to the major) at any level provided the following limits are observed:
|Total Graduate Course Credit Hours||Maximum Course Credit Hours Below 600 Level|
|31 or above||6|
Approval for undergraduate credit hours as part of the graduate degree program can be made only after a minimum of 12 credit hours are completed. Credit may not be awarded retroactively, nor are credit hours accepted from another institution.
RA, TA, GA Hourly Guidelines
To receive a stipend an RA, TA, GA must be a full-time student.
Graduate students with appointments as RAs, TAs or GAs will be expected to work 20 hours per week with the exception of efforts directly required for dissertation research.
International students may work on campus provided the student is maintaining F1 status and does not work more than a total of 20 hours per week (including any off campus work the student may have been authorized to perform) while school is in session. Questions regarding work for international students should be directed to International Student and Scholar Services.
Graduate students with Assistantships and Fellowships will be classified with the following designations. *(FE) Fellows, *(RA) Research Assistant, *(TA) Teaching Assistant, *(GA) Graduate Assistant, *(TR) Trainee. *Please contact the Graduate School for specific codes.
Responsibilities do not include the provision of direct services to the University and require internal/external fellowship support.
RA (Research Assistant)
Responsibilities are mainly conducting research and/or assisting with research projects.
TA (Teaching Assistant)
Responsibilities are mainly teaching and/or assisting in the area of teaching.
GA (Graduate Assistant)
Responsibilities are mainly in professional support of University operations and programs. Graduate students should not be hired to perform clerical duties.
Designated as such by specific federal guidelines which indicate a complex process wherein the trainee takes on an increasingly independent role in the selection, conceptualization, and execution of research projects under the supervision of an experienced mentor.
In definitions where the word “mainly” is used, “mainly” is defined as greater than 50%.
Requirements for Teaching Assistants
- Graduate teaching assistants who are the instructors of record and responsible for assigning grades in an undergraduate course must have a master’s in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline.
- Graduate teaching assistants must be directly supervised by a faculty member in the teaching discipline, must attend regular in-service training provided by the Instructional Advancement Center (in coordination with the Graduate School or provided by the specific graduate program), and must be reviewed by the supervising faculty member at least once a semester.
- Graduate Teaching Assistants who have previous teaching experience and indication of competency may be exempted from TA Training the Graduate Program Director in the discipline.The Graduate Program Director must then notify the Graduate School of any exemptions that are granted.
Policy on Outside Employment for RA/TA/GA
A graduate student must have prior approval from the chair or advisor to work outside the department, since such activities might impede progress toward his/her degree. Any question or concern should be discussed with the Dean of the Graduate School.
- A graduate student is allowed to supplement his/her stipend by tutoring undergraduate students in courses in which he/she has no direct responsibility at the time.
- A graduate student who is teaching a class or lab of a multi-section course using a common syllabus and common exams may not tutor any student in any section of that course.
- A graduate student, like any other member of the teaching faculty, may offer review sessions for his or her students to which he or she may invite students from other sections of the same course. The graduate student arranging such sessions may not under any circumstances take money from the students in attendance.
- A graduate student may use his or her office for tutoring or may ask departmental permission to use a classroom or other appropriate university facility.
- The graduate advisor or department chair may require a graduate student to limit his or her outside employment or tutoring activity if, in the view of the department, such activity is impeding the graduate student’s academic progress or keeping him or her from fulfilling responsibilities within the department.
- International students should clear their work instructions with International Student and Scholar Services. Questions regarding work for international students should be directed to International Student and Scholar Services, Phone: 305-284-2928, E-mail: email@example.com.
It is the responsibility of the student to apply for graduation through CaneLink during the student’s final semester before the date indicated on the Graduate School calendar and the Schedule of Classes. These dates are published here. Students who previously applied for a diploma but did not receive the degree must repeat the application procedure. Deadlines for the commencement program are firm. Students may walk in the graduation ceremony, but the program will indicate “in progress” if information is missing. Students will be degree candidates until they have been cleared by the Graduate School.
Graduation ceremonies are held in May and December only. Those completing degree requirements during the fall, spring or summer sessions may, if they wish, participate in the graduation ceremonies of the previous or following May or December. Students receiving Ph.D., D.M.A., D.N.P, D.P.T, or Ed.D. degrees who are participating in the hooding ceremony and all master's students marching in the graduation ceremony must have the approval of the graduate advisor, director, or appropriate person in the program to participate in the ceremonies.
Participation in graduation for students in all graduate programs is contingent upon the following:
- The student must have met the requirements for his or her program.
- The student must have a minimum of 3.00 cumulative grade point average; all students receiving master’s degrees must have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours; all Ph.D., D.M.A., and Ed.D. students must have completed a minimum of 60 credit hours.
- The student (Ph.D., D.M.A., and Ed.D. candidates) must be admitted to candidacy one semester prior to graduation.
- The student may not have any outstanding debt including, but not limited to, tuition, fines, and fees. Tuition for the last semester of study must be paid in full by the beginning of the final semester.
- The student must complete an electronic thesis or dissertation (ETD) according to the Graduate School’s requirements and submit all paperwork, online surveys, and agreements (if required) by the last day of exams in the semester the student wishes to graduate. It is recommended that students begin the ETD process early in the semester by discussing with their advisors a suitable timetable for completing the defense of their thesis or dissertation. Students should check the academic calendar for the defense deadline date set for the semester they wish to graduate. The Graduate School also encourages students to familiarize themselves with the ETD process posted on the Graduate School website, or contact the Dissertation Editor early in the semester at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have questions regarding any aspect of the ETD process. (See dissertation section of the Ph.D. description.)
Clearance for Degree Conferral
For the Graduate School to clear a student for graduation:
- All original documents (official transcripts from previous degrees, GRE scores, etc.) must be on record in the Graduate School (except for MBA students).
- The Admission to Candidacy form must have been completed by the program at least one semester before graduation. The Graduate School does not require application to candidacy for master’s, D.P.T., nor D.N.P. degrees.
- The student must defend his/her thesis or dissertation no later than two weeks before the last day of class in the semester he/she wishes to graduate.
- The student must submit his/her final, Dissertation Editor-approved thesis or dissertation with all corrections completed and final paperwork turned in to the Graduate School by the last day of exams in the semester he/she wishes to graduate for his/her clearance to be processed in time.
Class Attendance and Absences
Regular and punctual class attendance is expected of all graduate students. It is the student’s responsibility to know the instructor’s policies regarding examinations, penalties for absences, and late or missed work.
V.A. students will be provided a grade report at the end of each semester period. A copy of the report will be placed in the student’s permanent file maintained by the Veteran Affairs Office. Because of the far-reaching effects of these revisions in the V.A. educational benefits program, it is suggested that you exercise care and judgment in your program planning and in the selection of your courses.
Standards of study and conduct in the Graduate School are set and maintained, not by fiat of the Graduate School, but rather by the faculty who determine the standards. The Graduate School through its Council sets no course requirements for a degree. It does set certain general residence, grade and examination standards. Fundamentally the Graduate School devolves responsibility upon the student and the appointed committee. Within this broad responsibility the recommendation for the degree rests with the committee.
All graduate students at the University of Miami are subject to the general standards and requirements of the University and its various departments in regard to attendance, examinations, payment of fees, and conduct, as well as to the specific requirements of the Graduate School. The graduate student is expected to assume the initiative in completing all requirements at the time specified.
To preserve its ideals of scholarship, conduct, and character, the Graduate School reserves the right and the student by his/her registration concedes the right to require the withdrawal of any student for any reason deemed sufficient by the Graduate School at any time.
It is the responsibility of the student to be informed concerning all regulations and procedures required. In no case will a regulation be waived or an exception granted because a student pleads ignorance of the regulation or asserts that he/she was not informed of it by an advisor or other authority. The student should become familiar with the Bulletin, including
- The section presenting the requirements for the degree to be undertaken;
- The offerings and requirements of the major department;
- The Graduate Student Honor Code.
After the applicant has been admitted to the Graduate School but before the first registration, the student should consult the School or College and program in which the major work will be done concerning course requirements, deficiencies, if any, the planning of a program or special regulations. Programs may have additional degree requirements that are not listed in this Bulletin. All registrations require the signature of the Dean of the School or College (or his/her representative) in which the degree is to be awarded.
Only a Graduate Program may waive requirements stated in this Bulletin.
Graduate Student Code of Ethics
Graduate students agree to abide by the Graduate Student Honor Code.
The University of Miami expects all graduate students to adhere to the highest standards of ethics and academic integrity. All forms of academic fraud are strictly prohibited. These include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, collusion, falsification, violation of professional ethics or misrepresentation of research data. Students certify that all work (whether an examination, dissertation, thesis, research paper, research project, form of creative expression, experimental data, or any other academic undertaking) submitted for evaluation, presentation, or publication meets these standards. Additionally, graduate students are expected to respect and appreciate the diversity of the community and to respect the rights of others, be they property, privacy, opinion, or expression. Any student found to be in violation of these standards is subject to disciplinary actions by the student's program and/or the Graduate School through the process described in the Graduate Student Honor Code. All graduate students are bound by the rules and regulations of the University of Miami that apply to them.
Graduate School Grievance Guidelines
These University of Miami Graduate Grievance Procedures provide an opportunity for the resolution of disputes involving graduate students in a fair and collegial manner. These Graduate Student Grievance Procedures supersede all prior such procedures in effect or formerly utilized at the graduate level. They do not supplant UM Students Rights & Responsibilities or any other published policy or procedure relating to graduate students.
Purview of the Guidelines
The formal grievance process described herein is intended for cases not involving grades or matters covered by the Honor Code, which have not been resolved at the department or program level, and it is available only after a final determination within the relevant School or College has been reached. Students are encouraged to seek assistance from the University Ombudsperson for possible resolution before initiating the formal graduate grievance process. The procedures set forth here are applicable to any of the following types of grievances by graduate students who are enrolled in any graduate program at the University of Miami, except exclusively in the M.D. and J.D. programs:
- grievances alleging improper dismissal or suspension from a graduate program;
- grievances alleging the improper withholding or termination of financial support of any kind;
- grievances alleging any other improper treatment, either substantive or procedural, of a graduate student by a faculty member, department or program, or university agency or administrator except:
- allegations of improper evaluation of the quality and/or quantity of academic work (see UM Student Rights & Responsibilities);
- allegations of unfair recommendation for employment or further graduate study;
- allegations of discriminatory treatment arising from the student complainant’s age, race, gender, sexual preference, handicap, national origin, or religion. (Such allegations ordinarily are handled by the Administration).
- grade appeals (certain appeals are reviewed by the Faculty Senate Student Affairs Committee,-FSSAC; see UM FSSAC Standard Grade Appeals Process- Graduate Students).
Constitution of the Committee and Grievance Panel
The Graduate Council Grievance Committee (GCGC) is a standing committee comprised of the Schools’ and Colleges’ alternate representatives to the Graduate Council. Grievances as understood herein shall be heard by ad hoc appeals panels, constituted from time to time by the Dean of the Graduate School to review individual graduate grievances. The grievance review panel (GRP) shall consist of five disinterested members: four faculty members of the GCGC and one graduate student appointed by the executive board of the Graduate Student Association. Notice of the constitution of the GRP shall be given by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School in writing to all parties to the grievance within ten (10) days after the grievance review request is properly filed.
Any party to the grievance may challenge the disinterestedness of a GRP member in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School within five (5) days after notification of the appointment. The challenge must specify reasons that would prevent the committee member or graduate student from making an unbiased recommendation with respect to the grievance. If such a challenge is determined to be valid by the Graduate Dean, a substitute appointment shall be made and the process will resume accordingly.
Procedure and Time Limits for Filing a Grievance
After a final determination has been made in the relevant School or College (or by the head of the relevant administrative office in the event of a grievance against a university agency), a student who believes he or she has grounds for appeal within the purview of these guidelines may file a written grievance review request with the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School. The request shall describe the student’s allegations in a clear and concise fashion and shall clearly identify the individual(s), program(s), department, School or College, and/or University agency or administrator against whom the grievance is brought. The student’s written grievance review request shall be filed within thirty (30) days of the final determination. No grievance review request nor any other appeal of any kind will be granted after this time limit has expired unless a written extension of time is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School based on a written request from the grievant stating good cause.
Definitions and Assumptions
Burden of Persuasion
The burden of persuasion is on the grievant.
This grievance process is available only after a final determination within the relevant School or College has been reached. This provision is intended to require the grievant to exhaust the remedies available within the relevant School or College before appealing to the Graduate Dean. In the case of a student in an interdisciplinary program who does not yet have a chair and/or committee assembled, the Dean of the Graduate School shall make a final determination in the student’s case subject thereafter to the appeal contemplated by this policy. An appeal of the decision of the Dean of the Graduate School allows this same procedure, except that the GRP shall be constituted by the Office of the Provost from the pool of GSGS members. Written notice of the constitution of the GRP in the case of a student in an interdisciplinary program without a chair or committee, shall be given by the Office of the Provost to all parties to the grievance within ten (10) days after the grievance review request is properly filed. All other deadlines, requirements, procedures, and the hearing format remain the same.
Wherever possible, the party in possession of an original document in support of or rebuttal to or at issue in the grievance shall provide it to the GRP within the time frames set out in the Hearing Materials and Preparation Deadlines. If a party has only a copy of a document not received by him, her, or it, the copy shall serve as an original. Digital documents or email messages in contention shall be printed and may then serve as originals.
A party is the student grievant or the individual, program, department, School or College, or University agency or administrator against whom the student brings his or her grievance.
All time limits shall be calculated based on working days of the Fall and Spring Semesters, excluding reading and exam periods and University holidays. Grievances originally filed after the end of the Spring Semester will be heard at the beginning of the following Fall Semester. Any stated time limit herein may be extended with the written consent of the grievant and the Dean of the Graduate School.
Any document to which these guidelines refer as written signifies electronic or paper (hard) copy. Email messages and digital or other electronic versions meet the requirement that a form or notice be provided in writing.
Deadlines for Hearing Materials, Preparation, and Witness Identification
All materials to be considered for review by the members of the GRP must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School at least fourteen (14) days before the scheduled date of the hearing, at which time such materials will be distributed to all parties to the grievance and to the members of the GRP. Thereafter, to the extent that any of the parties wishes to have additional materials considered by the GRP, such materials must be received by the Executive Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School no later than seven (7) days before the scheduled date of the hearing, at which time all such additional written materials will be distributed to the parties as well as to the members of the GRP. Any party submitting written materials for consideration shall submit the original(s) and five (5) copies thereof to the Dean of the Graduate School at his, her, or its own expense.
The name of any witness to be called by any party at the hearing shall be provided in writing to the Office of the Graduate Dean no less than five (5) days before the scheduled date of the hearing, at which time the names will be distributed to the parties and members of the GRP.
The grievance review hearing is chaired by a designated member of the GRP. The hearing is staffed by the non-voting Associate Dean of the Graduate School and the non-voting Executive Assistant of the Dean of the Graduate School, who will audio-record the hearing to assist the panel and Dean in rendering their decision. The audio-recording will be kept at the Graduate School for one year following the conclusion of the grievance. The hearing will proceed as follows:
- GRP chair's introduction, summary of issues, and process overview.
- Student’s presentation of issues (15 minutes maximum).
- University representative's presentation of issues (15 minutes maximum).
- Optional: Presentation(s) by witnesses (limited to 3 per side and a maximum of 15 minutes total per side).
- Questions by members of the GRP.
- All presenters and witnesses are excused.
- Deliberation by GRP.
Presentation of the issues should be concise and relevant. Undoubtedly the dispute is somewhat complex or it would not have reached this stage. Points of dispute or ambiguity may be summarized or illustrated by anecdote at the hearing. Experience suggests, however, that the best approach is to minimize formal presentations and allow the GRP members maximum time for questions.
GRP Decision and Authority
No additional substantive information may be submitted by any party following the hearing, unless requested by the GRP. The GRP may but need not seek additional information from other sources during its deliberations, which will be conducted in closed session. Following its deliberations, and within ten (10) days of the date of the grievance review hearing, the GRP will make its confidential advisory recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School [Office of the Provost in the event of a student in an interdisciplinary program who does not yet have a chair or committee]. The subsequent decision by the Dean of the Graduate School [Office of the Provost], which shall be rendered within ten (10) days of the GRP’s recommendation, is final.
Note: The above guidelines pertain only to matters which do not involve representation by an attorney. If an attorney is involved in the grievance, the Office of Legal Counsel at the University should be contacted.
These procedures may be modified or withdrawn with or without notice.