Guidelines for Determination of Unsatisfactory Progress in Research

The Physics Graduate Committee will evaluate and make a decision about whether a student is not performing their research in a satisfactory manner. Cases can be brought to the attention of the Graduate Committee by the student’s research advisor or by the Research Advisory Committee (RAC)1. The Graduate Committee will consult with the student’s research adviser and may ask that the student’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) meet to discuss the matter. The RAC may choose to consult the student in question. The RAC will prepare a report, which includes a recommendation, for the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will discuss the report and conduct at least one meeting where the student is invited to present his or her case to the Graduate Committee. At this meeting, the student may ask that his or her adviser not be present. If the student prefers, (s)he may choose instead to talk privately with the Department Chairperson or Graduate Committee chair and have the result of that meeting communicated to the Graduate Committee. If the Committee decides that a student’s progress in research is unsatisfactory, and if this is the first time that the student’s progress is considered unsatisfactory by the Committee, then they will warn the student that their status is in jeopardy and that they must improve within a specified time frame, not to exceed six months, to avoid being dismissed from the graduate program. At the end of the specified time frame, the committee will review the student’s progress and will make a decision about the student’s progress. If the Committee decides that a student’s progress in research is unsatisfactory for a second time, then they must communicate this to the Dean of the Graduate School and recommend that the Dean dismiss the student.
Examples of behavior that may be considered as unsatisfactory progress in research include:

1The Physics Department requires that each graduate student who has passed the Preliminary Examination annually meet, in August or September, with a committee of three faculty members (including the advisor) to assess student progress and make recommendations about additional course work. This committee, appointed for each student by the faculty, is called the Research Advisory Committee. Problems can be addressed by this committee, where a written statement of student progress is given to each student at the end of the annual review.
2Tardiness does not necessarily mean not showing up on time for normal working hours. Some researchers work most of their time in the off hours due to equipment availability within a research group, personal preference, etc. Tardiness means not regularly showing up at the expected time for the student’s usual daily working period.