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Student Retention Polices and Procedures

The following retention policies and procedures apply to all students who have been formally admitted to the Department of Special Education.

Retention Policies

Policy 1: Required GPA for Retention

1.1 Students admitted to the undergraduate or graduate program must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in the course work approved and counted toward the undergraduate major or the graduate degree to be retained in the program.

Policy 2: Requirement to Repeat Courses and Practica

2.1 A student receiving a grade of 1) C- or lower, or 2) no credit in any pre-major, teacher education core, and specialization or practica (e.g., field studies, student teaching) course for his/her program must repeat the course. If the course is a prerequisite to another course or course(s) within the teacher education or graduate sequence, it must be repeated prior to continuing the program sequence. In addition, a student must file a Petition to Recalculate GPA with the Registrar's Office in order to count the higher grade.

2.2 A student receiving a grade of 1) C- or lower, or 2) no credit in any pre-major, teacher education core, and specialization or practica (e.g., field studies, student teaching) course taken for a second time will be terminated from the program as per established Departmental procedure. A student not admitted to the major in the Department of Special Education receiving a grade of 1) C- or lower or 2) no credit in any pre-major and teacher education core courses taken for a second time will not be admitted to the program as per established Departmental procedure

Policy 3: Standards for Professional Behavior

3.1 All students admitted to the Department of Special Education are expected to become familiar with and abide by:

3.2 An admitted student in the program who, in the judgment of a course instructor or practicum supervisor, is having problems in one or more of the interpersonal areas listed below will be counseled by the course instructor or practicum supervisor:

  1. interpersonal relationships with university course instructors or practicum supervisors,
  2. interpersonal relationships with university student peers in courses, seminars, or practica (e.g., student teaching);
  3. interpersonal relationships with school district/agency colleagues or students in practicum or student teaching placements.

The specific problem area(s) are to be documented in writing and placed in the student's file. This documentation must include an opportunity for the student to respond to the identified problem(s). A copy of the written documentation is to be provided to the student, the student's advisor, the appropriate program coordinator, and the department's Director of Student Advising Services.

3.3 A student may be terminated from the program if he/she does not comply with established standards for professional behavior and/or exhibits pervasive interpersonal difficulties as described in Policy 3.2. Termination from the program will be initiated as per established departmental and college procedure.

Policy 4: Additional Policies for Graduate Students 

4.1 Graduate Student Leave and Accommodation Policies

The Department of Special Education is a family-friendly unit and is fully compliant with Title IX regulations designed to ensure gender equity; moreover, the Department recognizes that various life circumstances, family and otherwise, may inhibit timely progression through the graduate program.  (University Non-discrimination Policy 1-012; also, pregnancy and pregnancy-related information can be found here)

Full-time graduate students who are in good academic standing and are making satisfactory progress toward degree may request a leave of absence from the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies (subject to the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School) to discontinue their studies for one or more regular semesters for a maximum of one year. Leaves of absence will generally be granted for reasons relating to pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, or other family care needs; illness; unexpected impairment; military service; or residence outside the state of Utah. Leaves for other reasons may be granted when the Director of Graduate Studies believes the leave is in the best interest of both the student and the University. 

Students who wish to discontinue their studies for one or more semesters (other than summer term) must complete a Request for Leave of Absence Form. The form must be approved and signed by the supervisory committee chair and department chair and then forwarded to the Registrar’s Office for processing.

In the event that a leave of absence is not possible or desirable, the Department also observes an accommodation policy that, to the extent possible, works with graduate students to navigate reasonable alternative methods of meeting programmatic and teaching obligations. For instance, an accommodation may be requested if the student’s situation is very temporary or not sufficiently taxing of time to warrant a leave of absence but nonetheless impinges on a student’s ability to participate as fully as is optimal for a short period of time. The purpose of the accommodation policy is to provide, where and when possible, an alternative to a leave of absence request so as not to slow the student’s progress through the program and also ensure that, if applicable, student stipend, tuition, and health benefits are not interrupted. Whether a circumstance is eligible for accommodation and what appropriate accommodations might entail must be determined in consultation with and ultimately approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Chair. Students who experience a medical condition associated with their pregnancy and need accommodations recommended by their medical provider should contact the University's Title IX Coordinator (Sherrie Hayashi, 801-581-8365 or sherrie.hayashi@utah.edu) who will work with the student, cognizant faculty, and administration to determine what accommodations are reasonable and effective.

4.2 Doctoral students may be dismissed from the program for failure to achieve any of the following additional requirements:

1.  Continuously maintain an official advisor from the time of official registration through completion of the program

2.  Officially register documentation of a supervisory committee and doctoral advisor by the end of their 5th semester as a doctoral student.  

3.  Continuously maintain a supervisory committee from formation through completion of the program. 

4.  Pass qualifying exam by the end of their 6th year in the doctoral program.

5.  Make acceptable progress toward the degree as determined by the supervisory committee. 

4.3 Master’s students may be dismissed from the program for failure to achieve any of the following additional requirements:

1.  Continuously maintain an official advisor from the time of official registration through completion of the program. 

2.  Officially register documentation of a supervisory committee and supervisory committee chair by the end of their 3rd semester as a master’s student.

3.  Make acceptable progress toward the degree as determined by the supervisory committee.  

Termination Procedures

Responsibilities of Course Instructors, Practicum Supervisors, and the Department's Student Advisor

  1. It is the responsibility of the course instructor or practicum supervisor to provide the Department's Academic Advisor with the names of students who have received a grade of C- or lower or no credit in a Department course, or have earned a no credit. This information should be provided to the Department's Academic Advisor at the time grades are turned in for the course.
  2. It is the responsibility of the Department's Academic Advisor to notify the student's advisor, Director of Graduate Studies and the Program Coordinator when a grade of C- or lower, or a no credit has been posted for a student. This information should be provided to the advisor and Program Coordinator prior to the beginning of the next semester.
  3. It is the responsibility of a course instructor or practicum supervisor to document in writing identified problems in the area of professional behavior, and to inform all involved individuals as described in Policy 3.2.

Responsibility of Program Coordinators, Directors of Graduate Studies and the Department Chair

  1. It is the responsibility of the Teacher Education Program Coordinator in conjunction with the Department Chair to initiate the termination of a student who is not in compliance with the Retention Policies of the Department of Special Education.

Procedures for Termination of Students from Teacher Education and Degree Programs for failure to meet Academic Performance Standards

  1. The student is to be informed in writing by the appropriate Coordinator or Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Chair (letter is to be co-signed) that termination from the program is being initiated. The letter of intent must indicate:
    1. effective date of termination for failure to meet academic standards (or referral to the COE Appeals Committee with a recommendation for termination based on academic dishonesty or professional misconduct).
    2. justification for Department action (which policies for retention have been violated)
    3. student appeal process

Student Appeal Process

Any student who has received written notification of termination from the program has the right to appeal as per the "UNIVERSITY OF UTAH - CODE OF STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES, SECTION IV: STUDENT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE."

Last Updated: 9/26/20