Suspension and Termination Appeals

(an excerpt from the Graduate Catalog)

Academic Suspension

All graduate students (degree seeking and post baccalaureate) are subject to academic suspension. An accumulation of three marginal C grades in any graduate course work will result in suspension of the student's enrollment. If a student makes a grade of U or N in any graduate course, enrollment will be suspended. A graduate student whose enrollment has been suspended because of grades is ineligible to register in any semester or summer session unless properly reinstated. Note: Some Departments and/or programs have stricter regulations on suspension than those of the Graduate School. See the academic regulations presented in the program specific sections of the Graduate Catalog.


Appeal Procedure

Graduate students may appeal a suspension or termination using the procedures described in the following paragraphs. Other grievances relating to academic status are to be addressed to the Graduate School.


Appeal of Academic Suspension for the Purpose of Reinstatement

A student who has been suspended from the Graduate School and/or a program of study may appeal his/her suspension and must be reinstated in order to continue his/her studies. After notification of suspension is received, the student initiates the appeal procedure by submitting a“Suspension Appeal Form” to the graduate coordinator/director of his/her academic program explaining any extenuating circumstances. The "Suspension Appeal Form" is available on the "Forms" page of the Graduate School website. The graduate coordinator/director will forward this form to the Graduate School with a recommendation regarding reinstatement. Non-degree seeking students submit the “Suspension Appeal Form” directly to the Graduate School or, in the case of licensure students in the College of Education, to the Associate Dean of the College of Education. The Dean of the Graduate School makes the decision on the suspension appeal and notifies the student of the decision in writing.

A student readmitted to a graduate program through reinstatement will be expected to complete the degree program with satisfactory or commendable performance (“A” or “B” grades). Should a student receive a grade of C, U or N in a graduate course after being reinstated to the program, enrollment in the graduate program will be terminated.


Termination Appeal Procedures for Degree Seeking Students

The procedure for appealing a termination is different than that for a suspension.  If a student is terminated, he or she has the option of filing an appeal.  Please see the catalog for the description of the termination process identified in the section entitled “Appeal of Academic Termination for the Purpose of Reinstatement.


Graduate students may have grounds to appeal their termination from the Graduate School. There are several different types of termination appeals available to a student:

Academic Termination of Non-degree Seeking (Post Baccalaureate) Students

Academic termination of a post baccalaureate student's program of studies may occur in two ways.

  1. A student's graduate status will be terminated if, after receiving an initial suspension and subsequent reinstatement the student receives a grade of C, U or N in a graduate level course; or
  2. A student is denied readmission through the suspension appeal process.

Academic Termination of Degree Seeking Students

Academic termination of a graduate student's program of studies may occur in four ways.

  1. Students may be required to terminate their graduate studies if they fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress. One example of failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress is non-adherence to the schedule of “Time Limits for Degrees.” See the Graduate Catalog for details.
  2. A student's graduate studies may be terminated if he/she fails to maintain the specific standards of the student’s academic program as described in the program specific sections of the Graduate Catalog. For example, a doctoral program may indicate that the accumulation of two C grades or one U grade is grounds for termination from the program.
  3. A student's graduate studies will be terminated if, after receiving an initial suspension and subsequent reinstatement the student receives a grade of C, U or N in a graduate level course.
  4. Students who are suspended from a graduate program and are denied re-admittance through the suspension appeal process are considered terminated from their graduate program. In all cases of termination from a graduate program, the student’s transcript will bear the notation “Candidacy Terminated.”

Appeal of Academic Termination for the Purpose of Reinstatement (Degree Seeking Students)

While an action of termination is considered final, a student who is terminated from a graduate program may appeal that termination to the Graduate School if there are unusual or extenuating circumstances. The type of academic termination will determine the permissible grounds for the petition and the specific procedure utilized to initiate the appeal. Please note, the Appeals Committee is not obligated to hear appeals for reinstatement to the current semester.

Category 1: Academic Termination Based on Failure to Maintain Commendable or Satisfactory Performance in Course Work

Category 1 appeals are available to students who have been terminated for receiving a U, N or C grade after an initial suspension and students who fail to maintain the specific grading standards of an academic program. In these cases, an Appeal of Academic Termination submitted to the Graduate School must be supported by the student’s graduate program. Without support from the student’s graduate program, academic termination of this type is always considered a final action.

To initiate a Category 1 Appeal of Academic Termination, the student must send a written letter to the Graduate School requesting consideration of his/her case by the UNC Charlotte Graduate School Appeals Committee. In the written request, the student must make his/her case for reinstatement. Included with the student’s letter must be at least two letters of support from the academic department.

  1. For master's degree students, the termination appeal should include a letter from the program coordinator/director and a letter from the department chair, major advisor and/or the thesis/project advisor.
  2. For a doctoral student, a termination appeal should include a letter from the program coordinator/director and the advisory committee or dissertation committee chair.

All documents must be received by the Graduate School within 30 days of the date on the letter of termination. Once the Graduate School receives a Category 1 Appeal of Termination, it will be forwarded to the Chair of the Graduate School Appeals Committee. This Committee will review all relevant materials and make a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School makes the decision on the Appeal of Termination case and his/her decision is final. This process may take several weeks, depending on when materials are submitted..

Category 2: Academic Termination Based on Programmatic Action

Category 2 appeals are for students who have been terminated for failure to maintain satisfactory progress in an academic program and for students who have been denied re-admittance through the suspension appeal process. Academic decisions based on the disciplinary expertise and judgment of graduate faculty members and program coordinators/directors in a particular field are not subject to appeal. The fact that a programmatic decision goes against a student’s desire for continuation in an academic degree program is not grounds for a termination appeal. However, a Category 2 appeal may be brought on the grounds that there was “procedural error”or “discrimination” in the termination decision. To initiate a Category 2 Appeal of Academic Termination, the student must send a written letter to the Graduate School requesting consideration of his/her case by the UNC Charlotte Graduate School Appeals Committee. In the written request, the student must make his/her case for reinstatement. If the student is alleging “procedural error,” the student must specify what procedures were utilized and how the program deviated from the specified procedures. If the basis of the appeal is “discrimination,” the student must show how his/her case was handled substantially different from those of other students in similar circumstances. A termination appeal request and the supporting documentation must be received by the Graduate School within 30 days of the date on the letter of termination. Once the Graduate School receives a Category 2 Appeal of Termination, it will be forwarded to the Chair of the Graduate School Appeals Committee. The Chair of the Appeals Committee will contact the program in question and request a response to allegations of “procedural error” and/or “discrimination.” The program will have two weeks to respond to the request of the Appeals Committee Chair. Once all relevant information had been received, the Committee will review the materials and make a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School makes the decision on the Appeal of Termination case and his/her decision is final. The process will take a minimum of two weeks and up to 30 days.


Readmission of a Terminated Graduate Student

Students who have been academically terminated from the Graduate School and/or a UNC Charlotte graduate program are not eligible for readmission as either a degree seeking or non-degree seeking graduate student. However, if after two years the student can demonstrate the potential for academic success and/or personal and professional development since leaving the University, the student may initiate a request for readmission to the Graduate School. (See the Graduate Catalog for instructions.)