2017-2018 Bulletin 
    Jun 16, 2024  
2017-2018 Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Progress to Degree

In additon to the University requirements described below, students should refer to specific sections for Master’s and doctoral degrees as well as to their individual program requirements.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a University policy applicable to all CGU students. 

Policy/General Requirements

All students are expected to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.000 at Claremont Graduate University with no more than two incomplete or grade pending courses at any time. In addition, doctoral students must show satisfactory progress in research and examinations as judged by the faculty in their academic program, and must make timely progress toward the degree as defined in the university’s “time requirements/time limit” policy as described in the Bulletin.

Students who do not maintain the minimum grade point average or who exceed two outstanding incomplete or grade pending courses results in the student being placed on academic probation by the registrar. Academic probation prevents a student from registering for the next semester until the student has been advised by the department.  A student on probation must present to the advisor or department a plan for working out of the academic probation status.

Students who remain on academic probation for two consecutive semesters are subject to dismissal from the university by the faculty in their academic program. Continued enrollment must be requested through an academic petition and students may be assigned additional degree requirements to ensure competency for the degree in the student’s field.

Students may not graduate from Claremont Graduate University on academic probation status.  The 3.0 grade point average is a standard of Claremont Graduate University.  Individual academic programs may require a higher grade point average and/or additional standards of progress.

Implications and Procedures

Students who do not progress in their academic programs or who are unable to satisfactorily complete program milestones are subject to dismissal or other academic action.  Generally, and subject to the discretion of the program faculty, students who fail at their first attempt at completing a milestone are provided one more attempt.  No additional opportunities are permitted after two failed attempts.

Financial Aid Ineligibility: Failure to meet SAP standards results in the student’s ineligibility to receive financial aid.

Federal Regulations require CGU to establish an annual SAP Policy that applies reasonable standards for measuring whether a student, who is otherwise eligible for financial aid, is maintaining SAP toward the completion of the educational objective. These standards must equal or exceed the academic standards for students not receiving federal financial aid. Programs governed by the SAP policy include Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Work Study, and any other financial aid program requiring academic progress standards. Per the policy, reviews are conducted from two perspectives:

Qualitative Standard - must maintain good academic standing by meeting the minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA requirement. In addition, for master’s and doctoral students alike, a maximum of two Incomplete or Grade Pending grades are permitted at any one time.; Incompletes in Master’s Critique, Master’s Thesis, or Dissertation Research are not factored into the number of Incomplete or Grade Pending grades for financial aid purposes.

Quantitative Standard - time limits to complete a degree on a cumulative basis, comparing the number of units attempted versus the number of units earned on an annual basis. Time limits to degree are established in the University’s SAP policy. Leave of absence semesters and semesters during which the student withdraws prior to receiving financial aid are not counted toward the student’s time limit. Research leaves, which are intended to facilitate the student’s progress to degree are counted against the student’s time limit.

Appeals: Students who wish to appeal ineligibility for financial aid due to unsatisfactory progress must do so in writing, providing reasons why the minimum academic requirements were not met. Supporting documentation must be provided as evidence of extenuating circumstances. If time limits to complete a degree have expired, an Academic Plan may be required to document outstanding degree requirements and to track the additional time that may be needed.

Guidelines for developing an appeal are available from the Financial Aid Office. The student’s academic record and documentation provided in the student’s appeal package are taken into consideration. At the conclusion of the review process, students are notified of the disposition and advised whether an exception to policy can be approved.

Time to Degree

In compliance with federal regulations for financial aid, the University defines a period of time in which a student is expected to complete a graduate program.  This expiration date appears as the student’s anticipated graduation date on enrollment verifications.  When that period of time expires, a student is prevented from registering for additional semesters until a request is made to and approved by the student’s advisor and program.

The established time limit for completion of a master’s degree is five years from the date of initial enrollment. Six years are permitted for the MBA and the EMBA. For doctoral programs, the anticipated time commitment is seven years. These limits may vary based upon the program, approved leaves of absence, and any transfer credit that may be accepted. Transfer credit affects the time limit for doctoral students only (see the section on doctoral degrees  ).

Students who find it necessary to exceed these time limits must request an extension of time to continue in their degree programs.  Students must complete the Extension of Time to Degree Request form (available from the registrar’s form index webpage) and attach a timeline or plan for completing the degree.  Approval of the faculty advisor and department are required.   Approved extensions must be submitted by the department to the registrar.

The first extension is granted for a period of up to one year for students enrolled in a master’s program and up to two years for students enrolled in a doctoral program (except for psychology students). Subsequent extensions are granted for a period of one year.

Students who have requested three or more extensions are subject to an intensive reevaluation of their transcript and progress to degree.  At the discretion of the program, additional coursework and/or degree requirements, may be assigned to ensure the relevancy of the degree when it is earned.  The approval of the dean is required after the third extension.  Students who incur an excessive number of extensions and who do not make progress toward their degrees are subject to dismissal or other academic action.

Extensions of time to degree have implications for financial aid and may be restricted for international students due to federal immigration requirements.  As applicable, students requiring additional time to degree should consult a financial aid representative or the international student coordinator. 


Individual degree requirements that are not courses are called milestones.  Milestones may include qualifying exams, research tools, defenses of dissertation proposals and dissertations, and the completion of theses or dissertations.  Milestones are recorded on the student’s transcript under a section entitled “Non-Course Milestones.”

While individual programs may have specific policies regarding the completion of milestones, the University sets the following campus-wide guidelines for successful completion of milestones and their relationship to satisfactory academic progress.

  • Completion of all milestones must be accomplished within the University’s policies for time to degree.
  • Students who fail to pass a milestone may, if permitted by department policy, undertake a second attempt.  Second attempts must be completed within one year of the first attempt.
  • The University and departments are not required to provide additional opportunities for students who fail their second attempt at passing a milestone.
  • Students who are unable to complete a milestone within two attempts may be dismissed from the University and the program.

Completion of Degree Requirements

Completion of coursework and other degree requirements does not automatically mean the student graduates or receives a degree.  Neither is completion of degree requirements a guarantee of institutional recommendation for teaching or administrative credentials. Specific degree requirements are detailed in the individual academic program sections.

In addition to individual program requirements, University policy has established the following requirements that apply to all programs and students wishing to graduate and receive degrees from CGU.

Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Students who do not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress  standards may not graduate from CGU.

Registration.  Students must be registered during the semester in which they intend to receive a degree or certificate, with the exception of students who have completed all coursework for a degree and intend to graduate during the summer term. Students graduating during the summer term who are not enrolled in coursework must have been enrolled or on a university-approved leave of absence during the previous spring term in order to be eligible. Students with loans or other financial aid should understand that loan deferment periods are generally based upon a student’s last semester of enrollment, not the date of graduation.

Degree Requirements Complete status.  If all academic and institutional degree requirements, including the removal of outstanding Incomplete grades and receipt by the Registrar’s Office of all forms including all required signatures, are accomplished prior to the first day of classes for that next semester, the student may not be required to register in the semester of degree conferral. In these cases, the academic department should confirm that all approvals have been recorded prior to the first day of the term and should then inform the Registrar’s Office that the student is in Degree Requirements Complete status. This status will be recorded on a student’s transcript, and they will remain in active status until the first available date of degree conferral and will not have to register for Continuous Registration or Doctoral Study. This status is only applicable for students who were enrolled at CGU during the term immediately preceding the term of graduation (for fall graduates in degree requirements complete status, enrollment in the preceding spring or summer term is required). Students on a university-approved leave of absence in the previous term or who are reinstating to the university in the semester of graduation are not eligible. Students are also not eligible for this status if they are working on additional degrees at CGU that are incomplete.

Declaration of Intent to Receive a Degree.  Students must submit the Intent to Receive a Degree/Certificate form and the Degree Completion Survey (both available from the registrar’s Degree Completion Checklist) to the registrar’s office by the deadline announced in the Academic Calendar.  The Intent form is valid only for the semester in which it was originally filed.  In the event that a student does not meet all of the degree deadlines within the intended semester, a new Intent form must be submitted for the next semester in which the student expects to graduate. In addition, enrollment for another semester of Continuous Registration/Doctoral Study may be required.

Completion by Semester Deadline.  All degree requirements must be completed by the deadline announced in the Academic Calendar.  Completion includes, but is not limited to, receipt by the registrar’s office of all final approval forms including all required signatures and, for doctoral students, receipt of the final, revised dissertation.


Exceptions to any degree and graduation requirements must be requested by Academic Petition and may require the approval of the student’s dean/chair and the Provost. For additional information, refer to the registrar’s Appeals/Petitions webpage.