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Regulations of the Merced Division

PART I GENERAL REGULATIONS

SECTION 1: GRADES (Am 30 Jan 08)

  1. Grading System

UC Merced’s grading system is as follows.
A Excellent
B Good
C Fair
D Barely passing
F Not passing
P Passed (grade of C- or better by an undergraduate student)
S Satisfactory (passed at a minimum level of B or better by a graduate student)
NP Not passed (undergraduate only)
U Unsatisfactory (graduate only)
I Incomplete
IP In progress
W Withdrew
NR No report (when an instructor fails to report a grade for a student)

  1. Credit Toward Degree Requirements

Undergraduates: A course in which the grade A, B, C, D or P is received is counted toward degree requirements. A course in which the grade F or NP is received is not counted toward degree requirements. Grades of I or IP are not counted until such times as they are replaced by grades A, B, C, D or P.

Graduates: A course in which the grade A, B or S is received is counted toward degree requirements. A course in which the grade C, D, F, or U is received is not counted toward degree requirements. Grades I and IP are not counted until such time as they are replaced by grades A, B or S.

  1. Grade Points

Grades of A, B, C and D may be modified by a plus (+) or minus (-). Grade points are assigned as follows: A+ = 4.0; A = 4.0; A- = 3.7; B+ = 3.3; B = 3.0; B- = 2.7; C+ = 2.3; C = 2.0; C- = 1.7; D+ = 1.3; D = 1.0; D-= 0.7; F = 0.0; I= 0.0; P/NP = n/a. The grades P, S, NP, U, I, and IP carry no grade points and the units in courses so graded are excluded in determination of the grade-point average.

(Note: In these regulations ‘units’ refer to semester units unless explicitly stated otherwise.)

  1. Change of Grade

All grades except Incomplete and In-Progress are considered final when assigned by an instructor at the end of a term. An instructor may request a change of grade when a computational or procedural error occurred in the original assignment of a grade, but a grade may not be changed as a result of re-evaluation of a student’s work. No final grade may be revised as a result of reexamination or the submission of additional work after the close of term.

  1. Incomplete (I) (Am 01 May 14)​

​The grade of I may be assigned when the instructor determines that a student’s work is of passing quality and represents a significant portion of the requirements for a final grade, but is incomplete for a good cause. (Good cause may include current illness, serious personal problems, an accident, a recent death in the immediate family, a large and necessary increase in working hours or other situations of equal gravity.) It is the student’s responsibility to obtain written permission from the instructor to receive an I grade as opposed to a nonpassing grade. An Incomplete form is available from the Office of the Registrar’s website and must be filed prior to the end of the final examination period. If, however, extenuating circumstances exist where submission of the I grade form is not possible before the end of the final examination period, an instructor may submit an I grade, but the form, including student and instructor signatures, must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar before the first day of instruction of the next semester (which would include the summer sessions). If the form is not received by the Office of the Registrar before the first day of instruction of the next semester, then the I grade will revert to an F, NP, or U.

If an I grade is assigned, students may receive unit credit and grade points by satisfactorily completing the coursework as specified by the instructor. Students should not reenroll in the course; if they do, it is recorded twice on the transcript. Once an I grade is assigned, it remains on the transcript until replaced by another grade notation that students may later receive for that course.

I grades are not counted in computing the grade point average. An I grade received in the fall term must be replaced by the first day of instruction in the following fall term. An I grade received in the spring or summer terms must be replaced by the first day of instruction in the following spring term.

Except as noted below, any I grade that has not been replaced within the above deadlines will be converted to grade F (or NP/U if taken passed/not passed). After that time, but not retroactively, the grade is counted in computing a student’s grade-point average.

Exception: If a degree is conferred before the end of the above deadlines following the assignment of an I grade, the grade will not be converted to an F (or NP/U). However, the student still has the option of removing the I grade within the above deadlines.

Undergraduate students with 15 or more units of I on their record may not register without permission of the appropriate Dean.

For graduate students, the maximum amount of time that an instructor may allow for making up incomplete work is two semesters of enrollment, but stricter limits may be applied. The procedure is to process such requests with the approval of the Dean of the School in which the course was offered. If not made up within the time allowed, an I grade will be converted to an F or U.

For Graduate students, ordinarily I grades do not affect GPA. However, when computing GPA to determine whether the graduate student meets the minimum GPA requirements for graduation (3.0), I grades are counted as “F.” A graduate student with an I grade may proceed toward a degree only at the discretion of the Dean of the Graduate Division.

  1. In Progress (IP)

For a course extending over more than one term, where the evaluation of the student’s performance is deferred until the end of the final term, provisional grades of In Progress (IP) shall be assigned in the intervening terms. The provisional grades shall be replaced by the final grade, if the student completes the full sequence. The grade IP is not included in the grade-point average. If the full sequence of courses is not completed, the IP will be replaced by a grade of Incomplete. Further changes in the student’s record will be subject to the rules pertaining to I grades.

  1. Passed/Not Passed (P/NP)

Undergraduate students in good standing who are enrolled in at least 12 units may take certain courses on a Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) basis. Students may enroll in one course each term on a P/NP basis (two courses if they have not elected the P/NP in the preceding term).

Changes to and from the P/NP option must be made during the enrollment period. No changes can be made after the first two weeks of classes without the approval of the appropriate Dean.

The grade P is assigned for a letter grade of C- or better. If the student earns a grade of D+ or below, the grade will be recorded as NP. In both cases, the student’s grade will not be computed into the grade point average. A student may not repeat on a P/NP basis a course that was previously taken on a letter-graded basis.

Credit for courses taken on a P/NP bases is limited to one-third of the total units taken and passed on the UC Merced campus at the time the degree is awarded.

A course that is required, or a prerequisite, for a student’s major may be taken on a P/NP basis only upon approval of the Faculty. Academic Schools may designate some courses as Passed/Not Passed only. Students do not have the option of taking these courses for a letter grade.

For graduate students, the grade P is not considered as meeting the academic criteria for satisfactory progress, for university-administered fellowships, or for academic appointments/employment. A graduate student may elect P/NP grading for one course only (a maximum of 4 units) per semester. Under no circumstances will courses taken P/NP count toward unit and degree requirements for any graduate degree program.

  1. Grade Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U)

The grade of S is awarded to graduate students for work in graduate courses that otherwise would receive a grade of B or better.

Graduate students, under certain circumstances, may be assigned grades of S or U, but units earned in this way will not be counted in calculating the grade point average. A student cannot self-elect S/U grading. The S/U grading for a course is assigned by the instructor prior to when students register and must be assigned to all participants in a graduate course with the approval of the Graduate Council. Graduate students may petition to take no more than one course per semester on a S/U grading basis. A graduate course I which a C, D or F grade is received may not be repeated with the S/U option.

In specific approved courses, instructors will assign only Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory grades. Such courses count toward the maximum number of units graded S allowable toward the degree, as specified by each degree program.


SECTION 2: COURSES

  1. Adding a Course

During the first week of instruction students may add a course(s) provided that space is available. During the second and third weeks of instruction, a student may add courses only with the permission of the instructor. After the third week of instruction, students may add a class only with the permission of both the instructor and the appropriate Dean. A fee will be assessed for adding a course after the third week.

1st                                     week students may add if space available
2nd - 3rd                          week with instructor’s approval
after 3rd                           week fee assessed and only with instructor’s and appropriate Dean’s approval

  1. Dropping a Course (Am 01 May 14)

During the first three weeks of instruction, students may drop a course or courses without paying a fee and without further approval. After the third week of instruction and until the end of the tenth week of instruction, a student may drop for emergency reasons or for good cause with the signed approval of the instructor of record and confirmed by the Dean of the school with which the student is affiliated, provided: (1) the student is not on special probation (i.e. students who have successfully appealed disqualification), (2) dropping the course would be to the educational benefit of the student (in the judgment of the instructor and Dean), and (3) the student is not being investigated for academic dishonesty in that course. Dropping between the 4th and 10th weeks will be approved only provided the student submits a written description of the special circumstances warranting this action; therefore students should continue to attend the course until their drop request is approved. Any request to drop beginning in the eleventh week of instruction will only be considered under exceptional circumstances (illness or injury substantiated by a doctor's note; recent death in the immediate family or other circumstances of equal gravity), and will only be considered following both signed approval of the instructor of record and submission of a petition that is approved by the dean of the school with which the student is affiliated.

All drops must be received by the Office of the Registrar by the deadlines specified. For students dropping after the third week of instruction, a fee will be assessed and a "W" notation will be assigned by the Office of the Registrar and appear on the student’s permanent transcript. Courses in which a “W” has been entered on a student’s record carry no grade points, are not calculated in the grade point average, and will not be considered as courses attempted in assessing the student’s progress to degree. Nevertheless, it is a marker used to indicate that the student was enrolled in the class beyond the third week of instruction. It does not indicate whether the student was passing or failing. (Am 22 May 08)

  1. Repetition of Courses

    1. Undergraduate Students

A student may repeat only those courses in which a grade of D, F, or Not Passed was received. Courses in which a grade of D or F has been earned may not be repeated on a Passed/Not Passed basis.

Repetition of a course more than once requires approval by the appropriate Dean in all instances. Degree credit for a course will be given only once, but the grade assigned at each enrollment shall be permanently recorded.

In computing grade point average of an undergraduate who repeats courses in which the student received a D or F, only the most recently earned grade and grade points shall be used for the first 16 units repeated. In the case of further repetitions, the grade point average shall be based on all grades assigned and total units attempted.

  1. Graduate Students

A graduate student may repeat only those courses in which a grade below a B, (B- ,C, D, F or U) was received. Courses in which a grade C, D or F has been earned may not be repeated on an S/U basis.

Courses may not be repeated more than once.

In computing grade point average of a graduate student who repeats courses in which the student received a below a B, (B-, C, D or F) only the most recently earned grade(s) and grade points shall be used for the first 8 units repeated. In the case of further repetitions, both the earlier and later grades will be used.

Graduate students who have repeated 8 or fewer units of upper division or graduate coursework are responsible for verifying that calculation of their grade point average correctly uses the most recent grade earned in the repeated courses.


SECTION 3: WITHDRAWAL FROM THE UNIVERSITY (W)

Students who find that they will not attend the University for a semester in which they have enrolled may cancel their registration only if instruction for that semester has not yet begun. To do so, they must formally request a cancellation of their registration from the Registrar’s Office. If instruction has already begun and students find it necessary to stop attending all classes, they must formally request withdrawal from the University. When a completed withdrawal form is approved by the Dean of the School with which the student is affiliated, a W notation will be assigned for each course in which the student has been enrolled. Students also will not be eligible to re-enroll until they have been reinstated. Students who withdraw during a term must file a Notice of Cancellation/Withdrawal, available from the Office of the Registrar’s website at registrar.ucmerced.edu. Before considering a complete withdrawal, students are urged to consult with an academic advisor and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, if appropriate, to consider the full implications of this action.

Please see the refund policies for specific details on refund rules. Students who fail to submit an approved petition for cancellation/withdrawal will receive F, NP or U grades, as appropriate, for all courses in which they are enrolled for that term.


PART II. UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

SECTION 1. NORMAL PROGRESS TO DEGREE

UC Merced undergraduate degree programs are designed to be completed in 8 terms or 4 academic years. To meet the normal progress requirement, undergraduate students are expected to enroll in and pass an average of 15units per term, completing the 120 units necessary for graduation in 4 years. The Registrar’s Office and the appropriate Dean will ensure that students are making normal progress towards their degrees. Extensions of enrollment beyond 9 terms require the approval of the student’s School. In order to remain in good standing, students must meet the minimum progress requirements of the campus. (See Section 2. Academic Probation, Dismissal, and Minimum Progress.)

  1. Unit Conversion

Unit credit earned by students on any campus of the University of California, while that campus is on a quarter calendar, will be equivalent to credit earned on the Merced Campus as follows: Each quarter unit is equivalent to two-thirds of a semester unit.

  1. Multiple Major Policy

An undergraduate student in good academic standing who wishes to declare more than one major must petition the undergraduate School(s) responsible for the majors and receive School Dean’s (Deans’) approval. A School Dean may deny the petition for the additional major(s) if it is determined by the School(s) that there is too much overlap in the proposed coursework to justify allowing the student to receive the additional major(s).

No more than 12 upper‐division units (excluding units required for School and university‐level general education) may be used to satisfy requirements for all majors simultaneously, whether these units are explicitly required by the majors or count as electives toward the majors.

Students must satisfy all requirements for each major, including general education requirements across Schools, if applicable. Coursework for the majors must be completed in 165 semester units or 11 semesters, whichever is greater, from the onset of college work, including AP and transfer credit.

Majors earned will be noted on the student’s transcript and diploma. If the majors lead to different degrees (B.A. and B.S.), that fact will be noted on the transcript and the two-degree designations will appear on the diploma. A student who has declared multiple majors may choose to graduate with fewer majors, but if so may not continue at the University to complete any remaining major(s).


SECTION 2. GRADUATION

  1. Residency Requirement

A minimum of 24 of the last 36 units in academic residence is required prior to the award of the bachelor’s degree. Under certain circumstances, the appropriate dean or Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education may grant exceptions, such as when a student attends classes at another UC campus as an approved visitor or participates in one of the following: UC Education Abroad, UC Washington Center Program or UC Sacramento Center.

  1. Scholarship Requirement

To receive a bachelor’s degree, an undergraduate student must have a cumulative 2.0 grade point average.


SECTION 3. ACADEMIC PROBATION, DISMISSAL, AND MINIMUM PROGRESS (Am 04 Mar 09)

  1. Academic Probation

An undergraduate student is placed on academic probation if one of the following occurs:

(1) The student’s semester grade point average is less than 2.0,

or

(2) The student’s cumulative University of California grade point average is less than 2.0.

Probation Status: Academic review occurs at the end of each academic semester. When a student is placed on academic probation, the university notifies the student, and the student’s official transcript states “Academic Probation” for the affected semester. While on academic probation, the student is under the supervision of his/her School or advising unit.

Removal from Declared Major: A student on probation may be removed from a declared major or changed to Undeclared due to failure to meet the particular standards or fulfill specific requirements that the student’s School may impose. If the student is removed from a declared major or changed to Undeclared, the student may apply to be reinstated to a School as follows:

Lower Division Students (fewer than 60 units earned at the end of the semester in which the student applies) must meet these requirements:

  1. Cumulative University of California grade point average of at least 2.0

  2. Current semester grade point average of at least 2.0

  3. Major grade point average of 2.0-2.5 (minimum varies by School)

  4. Completion of all lower division major courses with grades of C- or higher

Upper Division Students (greater than 60 units earned at the end of the semester in which the student applies) must meet the requirements listed above for Lower Division students and must also complete 8-16 units (minimum varies by School) of upper division major requirements.

Return to Good Standing: Once a student has met grade point average standards listed above, the student’s academic status returns to regular academic standing.

  1. Academic Dismissal

An undergraduate student is subject to academic dismissal from the university if one of the following occurs:

(1) The student has been on academic probation for two or more semesters and the student’s cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0,

or

(2) The student’s semester grade point average is less than 1.5 and the student’s cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0.

Academic Dismissal Appeals: A student not previously on probation who earns a semester grade point average below 1.5 is offered the opportunity to appeal dismissal. The student who is subject to academic dismissal and does not complete the appeal process as prescribed is automatically dismissed. The student whose appeal is approved returns on probation and is under the supervision of the appropriate School or advising unit.

Dismissal Status: When a student is academically dismissed, the university notifies the student, and the student’s official transcript states “Academic Dismissal” for the affected semester.

Note: A student who is academically dismissed may return after fulfilling reinstatement requirements (see the Reinstatement policy on the Office of the Registrar website).

  1. Minimum Progress

An undergraduate student is subject to administrative probation if the student does not complete a minimum of 24 University of California units during an academic year, including summer.

Return to Good Standing: Once the student has completed 24 units during a subsequent academic year, the student’s minimum progress status returns to good standing.

Note: Minimum unit completion does not apply to part-time students or to students who have a Dean’s approval to carry fewer units than the minimum progress load (reasons may include medical disability, employment, a serious personal problem, a recent death in the immediate family, the primary responsibility for the care of a family, or a serious accident involving the student).


SECTION 4. HONORS

  1. Honors at Graduation (SR 640)

To be eligible for honors at graduation, an undergraduate student must have completed a minimum of 50 semester units at the University of California, of which a minimum of 43 units must have been taken for a letter grade and a minimum of 30 units must have been completed at UC Merced. The grade point average achieved must rank in the top 2 percent of the student’s School for highest honors, the next 4 percent for high honors, and the next 10 percent for honors at graduation. The number of recipients eligible under these percentages shall be rounded up to the next higher integer. (En 30 Jan 08)

  1. Dean’s Honor List

Students will be eligible for the Dean’s Honor List if they have earned in any one semester a minimum of 12 graded units with a 3.5 grade point average or better with no grade of I or NP. Dean’s Honors are listed on student transcripts. Any student who has been found to violate the academic integrity policies during an academic year will not be eligible for the Dean’s Honor List during that academic year. (En 11 Jun 08)

  1. Chancellor’s Honor List

Students who are placed on the Dean’s Honor List for both semesters in a single academic year (fall and spring) will be placed on the Chancellor’s Honor List for that academic year. (En 11 Jun 08)


PART III. GRADUATE STUDENTS

SECTION 1. SATISFACTORY PROGRESS, UNSATISFACTORY PROGRESS, AND ACADEMIC DISQUALIFICATION

  1. Satisfactory Progress

A graduate student is expected to maintain satisfactory progress toward an approved academic objective as defined by the faculty of the program, and in accordance with policies of the Graduate Council and the University. Satisfactory progress is determined on the basis of both the student's recent academic record and overall performance. Student records should be reviewed with special attention to the following criteria:

  1. GPA - the student must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.  

  2. Normal Time to Degree – the student must advance to candidacy and complete the degree within the limitations established by the Graduate Council.

  3. Grade Reports - all I, W, U, or NR grades should be reviewed and appropriate action taken as needed. Accumulation of no more than 8 units of combined Incomplete, Unsatisfactory, C or lower grades at any one time is allowed.

  4. P/NP - no courses graded "Pass" are to be included as part of the advanced degree program, nor are they to be considered as satisfying academic criteria for University-administered fellowships and academic appointments/employment.

  5. Enrollment Units - students must be enrolled for at least 8 graduate or upper-division units of credit each semester, including credit for supervised teaching and research, unless part-time status or a Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP) has been approved in advance by the Graduate Dean. In cases of approved part-time status, enrollment in seven (7) or fewer units of credit toward the degree is expected each semester.

  6. Distribution of units - the number of upper-division and graduate-level units of credit completed toward degree requirements each semester should be at least eight and no more than 16 units, unless an exception has been approved in advance.

  7. Residency - time in residence prior to advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. or professional doctorate degree should be within acceptable limits (ordinarily, no more than four years).

Notices of potential unsatisfactory progress should be sent in writing to the student; a copy should also be retained in the Graduate Group files and another copy sent to the Graduate Dean. The written communication should include specific details on areas that require improvement, provide an outline for future expectations of academic progress, and set meeting dates to maintain continuity in advisement. 

  1. Unsatisfactory Progress

A graduate student who has not demonstrated satisfactory academic progress is not eligible for any academic appointment/employment and may not receive fellowship support or other awards. Criteria for determining unsatisfactory progress towards degree are outlined below.

  1. An overall grade point average below 3.0; or

  2. A grade point average below 3.0 in two successive semesters; or

  3. Fewer than 8 units completed and applicable toward the advanced degree requirements in the last two semesters; or

  4. Failure to establish a GPA prior to the beginning of the third semester; or

  5. Failure to complete required courses or examinations satisfactorily within the period specified by the graduate program; or

  6. Failure to pass a required examination in two attempts; or

  7. Failure to progress academically within the Normal Time to Degree framework specified for the student’s graduate program; or

  8. The appropriate faculty committee's evaluation that there has not been satisfactory progress toward completion of the thesis or dissertation.

  1. Academic Disqualification

Graduate students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress must be officially disqualified from the university in writing by UCM’s Graduate Dean after consultation with the student's Graduate Group faculty. However, in those cases where the student and the Graduate Group mutually agree that the student will terminate his or her graduate student status (e.g., a decision to end graduate study with a Master’s Degree or a decision to withdraw from graduate study for other reasons), then the Graduate Group and/or student may independently notify the other of this mutual agreement. In all such cases, the Graduate Division should receive a copy of this documentation between the graduate group and graduate student.

Upon recommendation of academic disqualification, the student's academic record is reviewed carefully by the Graduate Dean in consultation with the student's faculty graduate advisor. Unless there are indications of procedural error or other substantive mitigating factors to explain the student's unsatisfactory record, the Graduate Dean will notify the student of the impending action in writing, and will provide a reasonable opportunity for the student to alert the Graduate Dean as to erroneous information or academic records, to submit other relevant information or comments in writing, or to request a second review of their academic performance.

Appeals: Students will be given 30 days (from the date of the Graduate Dean's letter notifying them of the impending disqualification action) to respond in writing to the recommendation for disqualification. Student appeals will be considered only if based upon appropriate cause, such as: (1) procedural error; (2) judgments based on non-academic criteria; (3) apparent personal bias; (4) specific mitigating circumstances affecting academic performance; or (5) discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or handicap not pertaining to required academic performance. Following this period of time (30 days), if the student does not respond, a formal/final notice of academic disqualification will be sent to the student by the Graduate Dean.

Following final notice of disqualification, the student may appeal to the Graduate Dean only on the basis of procedural error. A graduate student who has been disqualified will not be allowed to register again without approval of the Graduate Group and the Graduate Dean.


SECTION 2. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATE DEGREES

Most requirements for graduate degree programs are determined by the Graduate Group that offers the degree. However, the Graduate Council, on behalf of the Academic Senate, has approval authority over all graduate programs on the Merced campus. Graduate students must complete a minimum of 4 units of letter-graded coursework, either upper division or graduate-level, at some point prior to receiving a graduate degree at UC Merced.

  1. Second Advanced Degrees

If admitted for a second graduate degree, student will be held to all the usual degree requirements and University regulations pertaining to fees, examinations for advancement to candidacy, residency, etc. Courses already applied to any previously earned graduate degree cannot be applied toward the requirements of the second degree.

  1. Second Master’s Degree

In accordance with the policy approved by the Graduate Council, the Graduate Dean has delegated the authority to admit students for a second Master’s degree to the Graduate Groups. While official policy is to discourage duplication of degrees, graduate groups may allow more than one degree at the same level, including more than one academic or professional master’s.

  1. Second Ph.D.

Admissions for a second Ph.D. is rarely granted and must be handled as an exception to policy and approved by the Graduate Dean. All requests must be made in writing to the Dean and should include strong justification for admitting the applicant for a second Ph.D., as well as a statement assuring the Dean that the applicant’s first Ph.D. is an unrelated area and that there will be no duplication or waiving of coursework.

  1. Transfer of Credit

Transfer of credit toward master’s degree requirements are governed by the University regulation and policy summarized in the Graduate Policies and Procedures Handbook. Courses taken toward a graduate degree at another institution cannot be transferred for credit toward a Ph.D. at UCM. However a course requirement may be waived if a similar course was taken at another institution.


SECTION 3. EXAMINATIONS

  1. Scheduling of Examinations

Ordinarily, examinations that are required for an advanced degree, including language and comprehensive examinations and qualifying or final examinations for the Ph.D. may be given only during an academic session for which the student has registered. However, with the approval of the graduate committee of the Graduate Group, such examinations may be given between the end of any academic session for which the student was registered and the beginning of the next regular academic session. In such cases, written notification of intent must be submitted to the Graduate Dean at least two weeks in advance of the exam.

  1. Examination Results

Examinations can result in either a pass, fail, or partial pass by unanimous consensus of the Examination Committee.

  1. Repeat of Critical Examinations

In accordance with Academic Senate policy, a graduate student shall have the option of taking a second examination in the event of unsatisfactory performance on a critical examination. Included are the Comprehensive Examination, Comprehensive Examination for Master's Degrees, the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination, the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, and the Final Examination on the Ph.D. Dissertation. The second examination may have a format different from the first, but the substance should remain the same. A student whose performance on the second attempt is also unsatisfactory, or who does not undertake a second examination within a reasonable period of time, is subject to academic disqualification. A third examination may be given only with the approval of the Graduate Group committee and the Graduate Dean.


PART IV. MASTER’S DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

SECTION 1. RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT

A minimum of two semesters in academic residence is required prior to the award of most master's degrees. A minimum period of study of one semester in-residence must intervene between formal advancement to candidacy and the conferring of the Master's degree (AR 686).


SECTION 2. MASTER’S DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The master's degree is attained by: Plan I, the Thesis option, or Plan II, the Comprehensive Examination option. A program may offer the option of one or both plans with the approval of the Graduate Council. Each of these plans has minimal coursework requirements, but programs may impose additional requirements.

Plan I (Thesis)
In addition to the thesis, a minimum of 24 semester units in approved courses is also required, at least 20 of which must be earned in 200 series graduate-level courses exclusive of credit given for thesis research and preparation. A general examination is also required.
 
Plan II (Comprehensive Examination)
In addition to the comprehensive examination, a minimum of 30 semester units in approved courses, at least 24 of which must be from graduate-level courses in the 200 series.

SECTION 3. THESIS (PLAN I)

Under Plan I a thesis is required. A committee of three faculty members recommended by the Graduate Group Chair and appointed by the Graduate Dean shall approve the subject, pass on the content of the thesis, and administer the general examination. Usually one of the committee members directs the work.

  1. Membership

The thesis committee is comprised of a minimum of three voting members of the University of California Academic Senate -- not necessarily the Merced Division -- or the equivalent. A majority of the committee, but not necessarily all, shall be affiliated with the program.

Chair: The Chair of the committee shall always be a member of the Merced Division and of the Graduate Group supervising the master's program; no exceptions will be granted for this position.

General Members: Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) will be considered for general membership on the committee on an exception-only basis. The Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, retains sole authority to grant exceptions. All such requests must be submitted in writing by the Graduate Group Chair to the Graduate Dean two weeks prior to the examination to allow a reasonable time for review.

Oversight Member: If the Chair, Thesis Advisor or other member of the committee has a financial interest in an outside entity that carries the possibility of a conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to the graduate student, an Oversight Member must be appointed in addition to the two general members. It is understood that the Oversight Member shall not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role as Oversight Member. See exceptions below for procedures to appoint an Oversight Member.

Role of Oversight Member: The Oversight Member shall participate on all student research advisory and/or thesis committees. An additional role of the Oversight Member is to be fully cognizant of the issues related to the possible conflict of interest and its potential impact on the student, and to be fully cognizant of the UCM resources available should a conflict of interest problem arise. If there do not appear to be any harmful results from the conflict of interest, the Oversight Member shall sign a statement to that effect after each committee meeting and the statement shall be placed in the student's file and a copy forwarded to the Graduate Dean. If the Oversight Member perceives that there is a problem arising from conflict of interest issues, then he/she shall not sign off on the committee deliberation, but shall instead inform the Graduate Dean in writing.

  1. Appointment Procedures

The qualifications of all committee members must be evaluated and approved by the Graduate Group Chair or designee. When the membership of the proposed committee conforms to Senate policy as defined in this regulation, the Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, may delegate to the Graduate Group the authority to appoint, evaluate, and approve the committee. When the proposed membership deviates from this policy a request for an exception must be submitted in writing to the Graduate Dean.

  1. Exceptions on Appointment

Oversight Member: In cases where an Oversight Member is needed, the Graduate Dean shall select the Oversight Member from a list of three nominees agreed upon by the student, the faculty research advisor, and the Graduate Group Chair. The Graduate Group Chair shall submit a written request to appoint an Oversight Member to the Graduate Dean no less than two weeks prior to the date of the exam to allow a reasonable time for review. This request should include background information describing the circumstances of the possible conflict. The Graduate Dean will retain sole authority to appoint the Oversight Member. No exceptions to this requirement will be considered.

General Member: Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) and faculty members holding professorial titles from other universities will be considered for general membership on the committee on an exception-only basis with approval of the Graduate Dean.

  1. Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Group Chair, the Chair of the Candidacy Committee, and the Graduate Division to: (1) to inform the student regarding the policy on Thesis Committees – including full disclosure of issues pertaining to possible conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to graduate students; (2) to provide graduate students with a policy statement on such possible conflict of interest prior to the student designating a research topic, forming a graduate committee, or being employed as a research or teaching assistant, whichever comes first; and (3) to ensure that these Academic Senate policies are followed.

  1. Comprehensive Examination (Plan II)

A final comprehensive examination, the nature of which is to be determined by the Graduate Group and approved by the Graduate Council, is required of candidates following Plan II. The content of the exam represents a capstone requirement that integrates the intellectual substance of the program.

  1. Advancement to Candidacy

Graduate students must be advanced to candidacy for their degree prior to the beginning of the final semester of enrollment. An Application for Advancement to Candidacy initiated by the student and approved by the Graduate Group should be submitted to the Graduate Dean.


PART V. DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY REQUIREMENTS

SECTION 1. RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT

A minimum of four semesters in academic residence is required prior to awarding the Ph.D.


SECTION 2. ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY

Graduate students are nominated for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree in a particular field by the Graduate Group responsible for advanced degrees in that field. Students are admitted to candidacy if they pass by unanimous vote a candidacy examination administered by a Candidacy Committee and meet any other conditions (such as specific course requirements) set by the Graduate Group. The Graduate Dean may delegate to the Graduate Groups the role of appointing Candidacy Committees. When the membership of the proposed Candidacy Committee conforms to the guidelines set forth in this handbook, authority both to evaluate and to approve the committee may be delegated to the Graduate Group. However, the Graduate Dean retains sole authority to grant any exceptions to this policy, and to appoint a nominee as Oversight Member in those cases where the possibility of a conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to the graduate student exists. It is understood that the Oversight Member shall not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role. Requests for approval of exceptions must be submitted in writing by the Chair of the Graduate Group to the Graduate Dean at least two weeks prior to the scheduled exam to allow a reasonable time for review. The Graduate Group must also inform students regarding the policy on candidacy committees including policy related to possible conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to graduate students. It is the responsibility of the Chair of Graduate Group and the Chair of the Candidacy Committee to ensure that these Academic Senate policies are followed. Should these Senate policies not be followed, the student, at the discretion of the Graduate Dean, will be required to retake the Advancement Exam.


SECTION 3. CANDIDACY COMMITTEE

The Candidacy Committee is comprised of a minimum of three faculty who are voting members of the University of California Academic Senate. Non-faculty members (i.e., Professional Researchers) or faculty holding professorial titles at other Universities will be considered on an exception-only basis with approval of the Graduate Dean. Candidacy Committee members need not necessarily be from the Merced Division, but a majority must be members of the student’s Graduate Group.

  1. Membership

The Chair: The Chair of the Candidacy Committee must be a member of the student’s Graduate Group and must be a voting member of the UC Academic Senate. No exceptions to these requirements will be considered.

General Membership: At least one member in addition to the Chair must be a member of the student’s Graduate Group. No exceptions to the requirement that a majority of voting members hold appointments in the student’s Graduate Group will be considered. Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) or faculty holding professorial titles at other universities will be considered on an exception-only basis with approval of the Graduate Dean.

The Oversight Member: If the Chair, Research/Thesis advisor or other member of the committee has a financial interest in an outside entity that carries a possibility of a conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student, an oversight member must be appointed in addition to the three general members. It is understood that the Oversight Member shall not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role.

Role of the Oversight Member: The Oversight Member shall participate on all student research advisory and/or thesis committees. An additional role of the Oversight Member is to be fully cognizant of the issues related to the possible conflict of interest and its potential impact on the student, and to be fully cognizant of the UCM resources available should a conflict of interest problem arise. If there does not appear to be any harmful results from the conflict of interest, the Oversight Member shall sign a statement to that effect after each committee meeting and the statement shall be placed in the student's file as well as forwarded to the Graduate Dean. If the Oversight Member perceives that there is a problem arising from conflict of interest issues, then he/she shall not sign off on the committee deliberation, but shall instead inform the Graduate Dean in writing.

  1. Appointment Procedures

The qualifications of all committee members must be evaluated and approved by the Graduate Group Chair or designee. When the membership of the proposed committee conforms to Senate policy as defined in this regulation, the Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, may delegate to the Graduate Group Chair the authority to appoint, evaluate and approve the committee. When the proposed membership deviates from this policy, as in the case of non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researcher) or faculty members from other universities, or when appointment of an Oversight Member is perceived to be necessary, a request for an exception or nomination must be submitted in writing to the Graduate Dean (see below).

Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) or faculty holding professorial titles at other Universities will be considered on an exception-only basis. The Graduate Dean retains sole authority to grant these exceptions, which must be submitted in writing by the Chair of the Graduate Group at least two weeks prior to the scheduled exam, and must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae of the individual for whom the exception is being requested.

Oversight Member: In cases where an Oversight Member is needed, the Graduate Dean shall select the Oversight Member from a list of three nominees agreed upon by the student, the faculty research advisor, and the Graduate Group representative. If these individuals cannot agree on three nominees, the Graduate Group representative (either the graduate advisor or the Graduate Group chair if the advisor is conflicted) will select the nominees. The Graduate Group representative shall submit a written request to appoint an Oversight Member to the Graduate Dean no less than two weeks prior to the date of the exam to allow a reasonable time for review. This request should include background information describing the circumstances of the possible conflict. The Graduate Dean will retain sole authority to appoint the Oversight Member. No exceptions to this requirement will be considered.

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Group Chair, the Chair of the Candidacy Committee, and the Graduate Division to: (1) to inform the student regarding the policy on Dissertation Committees – including full disclosure of issues pertaining to possible conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to graduate students; (2) to provide graduate students with a policy statement on such possible conflict of interest prior to the student designating a research topic, forming a graduate committee, or being employed as a research or teaching assistant, whichever comes first; and (3) to ensure that these Academic Senate policies are followed. Should these Senate policies not be followed the student will be required to retake the Qualifying Exam.


SECTION 4. THE DOCTORAL COMMITTEE

  1. Dissertation

The Doctoral Committee shall supervise the preparation and completion of the dissertation and the final examination.

  1. Membership

The Doctoral Committee is nominated by the Candidacy Committee with the concurrence of the candidate, the doctoral committee Chair, and the Graduate Group Chair or designee, on the PhD Form. The Doctoral Committee is comprised of three voting members of the University of California Academic Senate -- not necessarily the Merced Division. A majority of the committee shall be affiliated with the program.

Chair: The Chair of the Committee shall always be a member of the Merced Division in the Graduate Group supervising the doctoral program; no exceptions will be granted for this position. The Chair of the Doctoral Committee is responsible for providing primary guidance of the student's dissertation.

Oversight Member: If the Chair, Research/Dissertation advisor, or other member of the committee, has a financial interest in an outside entity that carries a possibility of a conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student, an oversight member must be appointed in addition to the two general members. It is understood that the Oversight Member will not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role.

Role of the Oversight Member: The Oversight Member shall participate on all student research advisory and/or doctoral committees. An additional role of the Oversight Member is to be fully cognizant of the issues related to possible conflict of interest and its potential impact on the student, and to be fully cognizant of the UCM resources available should a conflict of interest problem arise. If there do not appear to be any harmful results from the conflict of interest, the Oversight Member shall sign a statement to that effect after each committee meeting and the statement shall be placed in the student's file as well as forwarded to the Graduate Dean. If the Oversight Member perceives that there is a problem arising from conflict of interest issues, then he/she should not sign off on the committee deliberation, but should instead inform the Graduate Dean in writing.

  1. Appointment Procedures

The qualifications of all committee members must be evaluated and approved by the Graduate Group Chair or designee. When the membership of the proposed committee conforms to Senate policy as defined in this regulation, the Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, may delegate to the Graduate Group the authority to appoint, evaluate and approve the remaining members of the Doctoral Committee.

  1. Exceptions

  1. Oversight Member

In those cases where a possible conflict of interest exists as described above, the Graduate Dean shall select the Oversight Member from a list of three nominees agreed upon by the student, the faculty research advisor and the Graduate Group representative. If these individuals cannot agree on three nominees, the Graduate Group representative (either the graduate advisor or the chair if the advisor is conflicted) shall select the nominees. The Graduate Group representative shall submit the request to appoint an Oversight Member in writing to the Graduate Dean no less than two weeks prior to the date of the exam to allow a reasonable time for review. This request should include background information describing the circumstances of the possible conflict. The Graduate Dean will retain sole authority to appoint the Oversight Member. No exceptions to this requirement will be considered.

  1. General Members

Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) and faculty holding professional titles at institutions other than the University of California will be considered for general membership on the committee on an exception-only basis. The Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, retains sole authority to grant exceptions. All such requests must be submitted in writing by the Chair of the Graduate Group to the Graduate Dean at least two weeks prior to the date of the exam to allow a reasonable time for review.

  1. Duties and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Group Chair and the Chair of the Doctoral Committee to: 1) inform the student regarding the policy on Doctoral Committees, including full disclosure of issues pertaining to the possibility of conflict of interest potentially harmful to the student; 2) provide graduate students with a policy statement on conflict of interest prior to the student designating a research topic, forming a graduate committee, or being employed as a research or teaching assistant, whichever comes first; and 3) ensure that the Academic Senate policies are adhered to.


SECTION 5. FINAL EXAMINATION

If a final examination is required by the graduate program, the Doctoral Committee supervises that examination, the focus of which is the content of the doctoral dissertation. Ordinarily, the final examination will be given just prior to the completion of the dissertation and while the student is in residence during a regular academic session. Administration of the final examination is subject to the policies of the Graduate Council governing critical examinations.

Upon completion of the final examination (if required) and approval of the dissertation, the Doctoral Committee recommends, by submission of the Ph.D. Exam Form, the conferral of the Ph.D. subject to final submission of the approved dissertation for deposit in the University Archives. The Committee recommendation must be unanimous.


SECTION 6. DISSERTATION

The submission of the dissertation is the last step in the program leading to the award of an advanced degree. All dissertations submitted in fulfillment of requirements for advanced degrees at UCM must conform to certain University regulations and specifications with regard to format and method of preparation. The UCM Thesis and Dissertation Manual for writing and submitting theses/dissertations is available at the Graduate Division. The Doctoral Committee certifies that the completed dissertation is satisfactory through the signatures of all Committee members on the signature page of the completed dissertation. The doctoral committee chair is responsible for the content and final presentation of the manuscript.