Dec 06, 2023  
2016-2017 Academic Catalog (Jan 2017) 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog (Jan 2017) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Progress, Promotion, and Graduation

Students must achieve satisfactory academic progress in order to receive federal financial aid. The Financial Aid Office’s satisfactory academic progress standards mirror the academic progress policies of each individual college. A student who is found to not be making academic progress by their college is not eligible for federal financial aid. This rule may also apply to state, institutional, and private funds. For more information refer to CenterScope, Satisfactory Academic Progress, located at (

The following guidelines pertain to full-time as well as part-time students. Promotion is the process by which a student progresses through an academic program and graduates. Promotion and graduation require positive action by the dean based upon recommendations of each program’s progress and promotion committee. While progress and promotion committees generally act at the end of a term, they can act any time a student is deemed to be making inadequate progress toward degree objectives and/or is demonstrating unacceptable performance in the key areas of personal and professional behavior. Committee recommendations regarding a particular student are based upon input by each faculty member or course director who has teaching responsibility for that student during a given instructional period.

Committee Guidelines. All committees follow specific guidelines related to required student performance and the kinds of recommended actions that may be made.

  1. Student Performance
    1. (1) For all undergraduate entry-level programs: Students must attain the minimum term grade point average designated by the specific degree program to progress to the subsequent term or to graduate. Any student who earns a grade of “D” (indicating marginal progress), “F” (failing), or “I” (incomplete) is reviewed in depth by the appropriate committee.

      (2) For graduate entry-level programs: Students must attain the minimum term grade point average designated by the specific degree program to progress to the subsequent term or to graduate. Students may be expected to complete all courses with a grade of “B” or higher and may be placed on probation or dismissed for earning a grade of “C” or lower in one or more courses as stipulated by the specific degree program. Students must demonstrate a minimal competency level, as determined by the faculty and made known to students in advance. Students not reaching minimal competency may be required by the faculty to complete additional exams and/or class assignments until they reach the required minimal competence, or final course grades are recorded. The decision to permit this option is handled on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate progress and promotion committee. An explanation of the calculation of the final grade will be made known to students in advance.
    2. Students enrolled in post-professional programs must complete all courses with grades of “B” or above in core and clinical concentration courses, and “C” or above in other courses. No more than two grades of “C” may be applied toward a post-professional graduate degree. Students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 (“B”). A student may be dismissed from the program upon earning more than two (2) grades of “C,” or a grade below “C.” Grades in courses earned at another university will not be computed in the cumulative GPA.
    3. A student must demonstrate satisfactory personal and professional behavior deemed by faculty as being necessary for academic success and competency in clinical practice. Such areas may include ability to establish rapport with clients, ability to work effectively with members of the health care team, dependability, judgment, integrity, initiative, and interest.
    4. Students must meet the College and program technical standards to continue in the various curricula and graduate. Copies of these standards are provided to students by their respective programs.
  2. Recommended actions:
    Progress and Promotion Committees may recommend any of the following actions to the Assistant/Associate Dean for Student or Academic Affairs
    1. Promotion
      Promotion of the student to the subsequent term or to graduation.
    2. Academic Probation
      1. Entry-level undergraduate students - Probation may result from a student earning a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.0 during the term, from earning a grade of “D” in any course, or from failure to meet stated objectives associated with professional behavior or technical standards. Committee recommendations must include delineation of specific conditions that must be met for removal of the student from academic probation, and the time by which such conditions must be met.
      2. Entry-level graduate students - Probation may result from a student earning a cumulative grade point average that falls below the minimum required by the specific degree program or by earning a grade of “C” or lower in one or more courses as stipulated by the specific degree program or by failing to meet expected levels of clinical competencies or professional behaviors.
      3. Post-professional students - Students enrolled in post-professional programs must earn a grade of “C” or higher in all course work and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Any student earning a grade of “D” or “F” in any course, or falling below a 3.0 cumulative grade point average will be dismissed from the program of study.
    3. Dismissal: Dismissal may result from any of the following.
      1. Entry-level students - A student earning a grade of “F” in any course, earning a grade of “D” in two or more courses;
      2. Post-professional students - A student earning a grade of “D” or “F” in any course;
      3. Failing to meet the minimum grade point average requirement as stipulated by the specific degree program.
      4. Failing to meet the requirements of a course(s) as stipulated in the course syllabus;
      5. Demonstrating serious deficiencies in personal or professional behavior;
      6. Failing to meet technical standards;
      7. Failing to meet stipulated conditions for removal of probation within the designated time period.
    4. Repeating Curriculum: Recommending that a student repeat all or part of the curriculum may be made only if all of the following conditions are present:
      1. The presence of specific nonacademic circumstance(s) judged by the committee as having an adverse effect on the student’s academic performance;
      2. Committee  judgment  that  the  identified  specific  circumstance(s)  show  probability  of resolution within a reasonable period of time; and,
      3. Committee judgment that resolution of the identified circumstance(s) will subsequently result in satisfactory performance by the student.

Notification of Student

Any student who is dismissed from a program or placed on probation is notified by secure email ( from the Assistant/Associate Dean for Student Affairs. A student placed on probation is given a written statement of conditions that must be met for removal of probation, and the time period allowed.

Appeal Process

Reconsideration of Progress and Promotions Committee Decisions
A student has the right to request reconsideration before an ad hoc appeals committee in the event of a negative recommendation. Such a request must be submitted in writing and received by the Dean within five (5) calendar days of receipt of notification of the intended action. The student will meet with the ad hoc committee and may bring any person(s), excluding legal counsel, whom the student believes can contribute to the presentation. After hearing all persons who appear on behalf of the student or in support of the action taken by the progress and promotion committee, the committee sends a recommendation for resolution of the appeal along with supporting documentation to the Dean. The Dean will notify the student in writing of the final decision made regarding the appeal. The communication from the Dean will also outline any actions necessary for the student to take (e.g. the terms of probation.).

The ad hoc appeals committee is chaired by the Assistant/Associate Dean for Student Affairs who also appoints the committee composed of faculty from the College. If the original negative recommendation made by the Progress and Promotions Committee is sustained by the Dean, the student has the right of appeal to the Chancellor. Such an appeal must be in writing and received by the Chancellor within five (5) calendar days of receipt of notification from the Dean. The decision by the Chancellor is final.

During the appeal process, a student may continue to participate in classroom activities but will be suspended from clinical activities.

Clinical Activities

All students in the College are required to engage in clinical activities as prescribed by their respective programs and are assigned to these activities during the course of their programs according to the needs of the educational programs, the students and clinical sites. Clinical experiences for health professions students are available both within the Health Science Center and through agreements with many community agencies, public and private. Programs in the College maintain a large number of affiliations with external clinical sites throughout the state and country in order to provide appropriate clinical experiences for their students. Listings of out-of-city sites may be obtained from the appropriate chairman or program director.

Occasionally, a scheduled clinical experience at an external site is unavailable due to circumstances beyond the control of the University; however, because the experience is required for graduation the college programs exercise a number of options and usually successfully substitute one site for another. On rare occasions, such a substitution is not possible and graduation may be temporarily delayed for a student until the required experience can be scheduled by the program and successfully completed by the student.

Readmission Policy

In the event a student is dismissed for academic reasons, eligibility to return without reapplication is determined on a case-by-case basis by each department’s student progress and promotions committee.  Factors the committee will consider include academic performance, the amount of time spent away from the program, and the availability of space within the program.

Graduation Requirements

In order to be recommended for a degree in any of the programs offered by the College, a candidate must comply with the following conditions:

  1. The candidate must present evidence of having satisfactorily completed all prerequisite coursework, if applicable;
  2. The candidate must complete all required  courses of the professional curriculum with a minimum grade point average stipulated by the specific degree program and, in the case of clinical education or field work, at a level of proficiency that is satisfactory to the departmental faculty;
  3. The candidate must demonstrate professionalism expected of a student in the particular discipline which is acceptable to the faculty;
  4. The candidate must discharge all financial obligations to the University and affiliated organizations;
  5. The candidate must meet college residency requirements;
  6. The candidate must meet the technical standards for the college and the respective program.
  7. For a baccalaureate degree candidate, the general education competencies  (i.e., communication, mathematics, sciences, critical thinking, information literacy, and technology) must be met prior to graduation. Additional information on each of these competencies is presented in the program-specific section of this catalog.

Attendance at graduation is mandatory for students completing degrees. Those students unable to attend graduation must file a written request with their respective dean to receive a degree in absentia. Permission for receiving a degree in absentia must be granted by the Dean.


Honors graduates of select undergraduate entry-level programs in the College are so designated in recognition of academic distinction achieved in their respective professional curricula. Honors designations receive special mention in the graduation program and on diplomas, and are based on the following cumulative grade point averages for specified undergraduate degree programs:

  • 3.50 - 3.69 Graduation With Honors
  • 3.70 - 3.89 Graduation With High Honors
  • 3.90 - 4.00 Graduation With Highest Honors

The criteria for honors designation in some graduate entry-level programs include the following:

Those students  whose  overall  grade  point  average  is  the  highest  10%  of  the  class are recommended for graduation with “highest honors”.
Those students whose overall grade point average is in the next 10% are recommended for graduation with “high honors”.

No honors designations are awarded for baccalaureate, post graduate or graduate entry-level programs in Audiology or Speech-Language Pathology.

The Master of Health Informatics and Information Management degree program awards honors based on an overall grade point average of 4.0 for “highest honors” and 3.8-3.99 for “high honors”. Honors designations are determined three weeks prior to commencement.

Honors designations are awarded 30 days prior to commencement for the degree programs in cytopathology practice, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science and the Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science degree programs award honors designations based on GPA calculations at the end of the term preceding the final term.


A license to practice in audiology, cytotechnology, medical laboratory science, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech-language pathology is required by Tennessee state law. Graduates of the  physical therapy program are eligible to sit for the appropriate national licensing examination. Medical laboratory science, cytotechnology, occupational therapy, and audiology and speech pathology graduates are eligible for Tennessee licensure upon acquiring national certification.