Academic Standards and Degree Requirements

Academic Requirements

In order to earn a degree in the graduate program in which a student is enrolled, he or she must complete all program and departmental requirements in a satisfactory manner.

A student must attain a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.000 or higher with no more than 8 semester hours below the grade of B– in all courses applied toward that degree and exclusive of any prerequisite courses required of students admitted provisionally to their program. A student must also earn a grade of C or higher in all required core courses. Please note that individual programs may have additional requirements. 

Prerequisite Courses/Undergraduate Courses

Students are not awarded credit toward graduate degree requirements for prerequisite courses unless expressly stated by the student’s academic department. Students may occasionally be permitted by their advisor to take undergraduate courses. However, undergraduate courses do not count toward a graduate degree and may affect a student’s eligibility to receive federal financial aid. Undergraduate courses do not count toward the graduate-level course load requirement for full-time students. 

Pass/Fail Grading Policy

The Graduate School of Engineering does not allow College of Engineering (COE) graduate students to elect a pass/fail grading scheme for courses normally letter graded.

Degree Conferral

A degree is awarded at the end of the term (fall, spring, or summer) in which the final requirement for the degree is satisfied. 

Academic Probation (Full-Time Students)

Student’s Academic Standing

Academic standing at Northeastern University is determined by a student’s cumulative GPA. All graduate students are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.000 or higher each term to remain in good academic standing and to progress toward graduation. Students falling below a cumulative GPA of 3.000 are placed on academic probation for each academic term in which the cumulative GPA is below 3.000. This will be noted on the student’s unofficial transcript.

Academic Probation Policy

Academic probation is a period of time when a student must address and remediate academic deficiencies.

A student placed on academic probation will receive a written notification by the Graduate School of Engineering (hereafter referred to as the graduate school). The student’s academic advisor will also receive notification of the student’s probationary status. An academic probation action plan to clear the deficiency must be developed by the student and the student’s academic advisor. It is the student’s responsibility to complete an action plan (with input from the advisor) that documents how the deficiency will be remediated. This action plan must be signed by the academic advisor and the student, and a copy must be submitted to the graduate school as soon as possible and no later than seven business days from the start of the next academic term. If the action plan is not received by this deadline, the graduate school will cancel the student’s course registration(s). Failure to file a complete and meaningful action plan may be cause for dismissal from the program. The graduate school reserves the right to reject or change the action plan.

Dismissal from Program

A student (part-time or full-time) placed on academic probation for a cumulative GPA of less than 3.000 will have one academic term to raise the cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.000. Students whose cumulative GPA is below 3.000 for two consecutive terms in which they took courses for credit (excluding Career Management for Engineers (ENCP 6000) or Introduction to Cooperative Education (ENCP 6100), if taken) will automatically be dismissed from their degree program at the end of the second term. Students in this situation may submit an academic dismissal appeal plan to the graduate school to request a final one-term extension. In this case, the student may submit an appeal to the associate dean of the graduate school as per the university appeals process.

Students being dismissed from their program will receive a written notification from the Graduate School of Engineering.

Appeals Process

A student may appeal a dismissal from his or her program of study due to failure to achieve academic standards set forth in this academic probation policy. To initiate an appeal, the student must send a written request to the associate dean of the graduate school detailing the reasons the student is appealing the dismissal. The written request must be signed by the student, and the appeal must be received by the Graduate School of Engineering within 30 business days from the day the student received written notification of dismissal. The graduate school will respond to the appeal within 10 business days of the date of receipt.

Academic Probation (Part-Time Students)

Students in official part-time status with the University are considered on academic probation if the cumulative GPA is below 3.000 after completion of 8 semester hours. Part-time students must raise the cumulative GPA to 3.000 or higher after completion of 8 additional semester hours to regain good academic standing status.

If the student’s cumulative GPA remains below 3.000 after completion of 16 semester hours, the student will be dismissed from the degree program. The student may appeal to attempt an additional final 8 semester hours to raise the cumulative GPA to 3.000 or higher. The appeal is reviewed by the academic probation appeals committee for the student’s degree program. If denied, the academic dismissal stands.

Course Repeat/Course Substitution Policy for Students on Academic Probation

The Graduate School of Engineering allows students to repeat (or substitute) a total of up to 8 semester hours of course work beyond stated minimum degree requirements in order to attain the required cumulative 3.000 GPA for good academic standing.

Course Repeat

When the appropriate course is available, courses may be repeated once in order to earn a better grade. In all cases, the most recent grade earned in a course is the one used in calculating the overall GPA; however, previous grades remain on the transcript with a note that the grade is “excluded.” This means that the course is excluded from the GPA and earned credit calculation. Students must obtain approval from their academic advisor and the Graduate School of Engineering prior to repeating a course. Students are required to pay normal tuition charges for all repeated course work.

Within the above limitations for extra or repeated courses, a student must repeat any required core course in which he or she earns a grade below C. Individual programs may have additional requirements.

Course Substitution

In cases where repeating a course is not possible, a student may petition to substitute one course for another they have already taken, as long as the course content is significantly similar and is not a core required course.

The student’s academic advisor, graduate school, and in some cases the graduate director of the student’s department must approve of the substitution. If approved, the grade in the new course taken will be included in the GPA calculation, and the first course taken will remain on the transcript with a note that the grade is “excluded” from the GPA and earned credit calculation. Students are required to pay normal tuition charges for all substituted course work.

Course Repeat Policy for Students in Good Academic Standing

Students who are in good academic standing may repeat up to 8 semester hours of course work in order to earn a better grade. A course may only be repeated once.

In all cases, the most recent grade earned in a course is the one used in calculating the overall GPA; however, previous grades remain on the transcript with a note that the grade is “excluded.” This means that the course is excluded from the GPA and earned credit calculation. Students must obtain approval from their academic advisor and the Graduate School of Engineering prior to repeating a course. Students are required to pay normal tuition charges for all repeated course work.

Course substitution is not an option for students in good academic standing.