< back to Policies & Guidelines
Successful completion of students' graduate programs is a goal shared by the graduate units, the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), and graduate students themselves. Occasionally, a graduate student may fail to meet the required academic standards of the graduate program in which the student is registered. In those cases, a Graduate Unit Chair or Director will submit a recommendation for termination of the student's registration to the SGS Vice-Dean, Students.
Regulatory Environment is a Shared Responsibility Between SGS & the Graduate Unit
SGS provides the regulatory framework for graduate studies across the University through the General and Degree Regulations in the SGS academic Calendar, including regulations on Good Academic Standing and maintaining satisfactory academic progress (see For Reference, below).
Within the context of the SGS regulations, graduate units set specific requirements and standards, including requirements for maintaining Good Academic Standing and satisfactory progress, for each of their graduate programs through the graduate unit website, handbook, etc. (see For Reference, below). Graduate units provide resources and services appropriate to the program (e.g., laboratory space, administrative services).
Knowing the Regulations & Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress are the Responsibilities of the Student
Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations as set out in the SGS academic Calendar, as well as with the regulations of the graduate unit and graduate program in which they are registered. The SGS academic Calendar identifies some University-wide regulations and policies that apply particularly to graduate students. The full set of University policies is available on the Governing Council website (see For Reference, below).
Students are responsible for maintaining satisfactory academic progress and Good Academic Standing in their graduate programs.
Some students have accessibility issues and they may have formal academic accommodations developed in consultation with U of T's Accessibility Services Office and their graduate unit. There are many other resources in the University available to students facing difficulties and they are urged to make use of these as soon as issues arise. The University takes its duty to accommodate very seriously. Nevertheless, all students, including those with accessibility issues and accommodations (if any), are subject to the same academic standards.
Overall Procedures & Steps
Note: Students have the option to appeal a termination of registration decision. At any stage of the termination of registration process up to a hearing at the Graduate Academic Appeals Board (GAAB), a student may consult with the SGS Vice-Dean, Students, for advice and the student may request informal mediation. If the Vice-Dean, Students, agrees that mediation may be appropriate, he or she may serve as an informal mediator, attempting to resolve the dispute or clarify issues. However, both parties must agree to mediation for a mediation process to occur. If the student chooses to submit a notice of appeal of the termination to the GAAB, the termination continues in effect unless it is overturned through the decision of GAAB or a higher academic appeal body (see For Reference, below).
The graduate unit decides that a student's academic progress is unsatisfactory or has failed to meet the required academic standards.
Many graduate units use a committee on academic standing or other graduate committee to review cases where a student is failing to maintain good academic standing or has failed to meet the required academic standards before termination is recommended. This is recommended as good practice.
The Graduate Chair/Director or designate meets with the student or otherwise offers the student an opportunity for discussion or for sharing of information.
Prior to submitting a recommendation for termination of registration to SGS, the Chair/Director invites the graduate student to meet with the relevant faculty member(s) (including the Chair/Director or designate) to discuss the student's academic progress, or make alternate arrangements if meeting is not feasible.
The Chair/Director decides to recommend termination of the student's registration or decides to recommend alternate action.
The Chair/Director informs the student of the decision, explains the process, and directs the student to the web page for Termination of Registration—Information for Graduate Students (see For Reference, below).
If the Chair/Director decides not to proceed with a recommendation for termination of registration, the Chair/Director will advise the student accordingly and explain what alternate actions may occur. The Chair/Director's decision to take alternate action normally would arise only in the event that new information is presented to the Chair/Director at the meeting with the student (see Step 2) or shortly thereafter. In such cases, the Chair/Director normally will consult with the SGS Vice-Dean, Students, and/or others.
The student may consider voluntary withdrawal.
Students may withdraw voluntarily from their programs at any point before their registration is terminated. A student may decide to withdraw from the program before the Chair/Director submits the recommendation to SGS for termination of registration or before the SGS Vice-Dean, Students, approves the Chair/Director's recommendation. In such cases, SGS will record the withdrawal on the student academic record and transcript, and SGS will not act on the recommendation of termination of registration. Withdrawal is a voluntary action taken by a student; therefore, it cannot be appealed. A student may not withdraw from the program after the termination of registration has been approved by the SGS Vice-Dean.
Chair/Director submits a recommendation for termination of student's registration to SGS Vice-Dean, Students.
The Chair/Director writes to the SGS Vice-Dean, Students, normally within two weeks of the date of the meeting with the student, with a recommendation to terminate the student's registration, providing reasons and a recommended effective date. The student is informed of this action by the Chair/Director either by copy or through separate written communication.
SGS requests a response from the student.
The SGS Vice-Dean, Students, writes to the student requesting a response to the recommendation for termination (normally to be received within one week of the request). The student's response may be shared with the graduate unit as part of the determinations of the Vice-Dean, Students. Upon receipt of the student's response (or after the time period for the student's response has expired) the Vice-Dean, Students, will proceed to Step 6.
The SGS Vice-Dean, Students, makes a decision on the request for termination of registration.
The SGS Vice-Dean, Students, considers the information provided by the Chair/Director and, if available, the student. The SGS Vice-Dean, Students, may choose to refer the recommendation back to the Chair/Director requesting further information or other actions. The student will be informed by SGS of this action.
The SGS Vice-Dean Students may approve the Chair/Director's recommendation for termination of registration. The student will receive a letter from Student Academic Services informing him/her of the termination and advising of the student's option to appeal (copies are sent to the Chair/Director). The termination action is recorded on the student's academic record and transcript.
SGS Calendar: Good Academic Standing
SGS Calendar: Graduate Units
SGS Calendar: Withdrawal From a Graduate Program
Graduate Academic Appeals
Graduate Unit Websites
Termination of Registration Information for Graduate Students
Graduate Chair/Director Recommendation for Termination: termination template letter
For Information on Termination of Registration or Withdrawal:
Director, SGS Student Academic Services
For Consultation on a Recommendation for Termination of Registration, or Informal Mediation:
Professor Charmaine Williams
Acting SGS Vice-Dean, Students
For Information on Graduate Academic Appeal Procedures, Deadlines, etc.:
Executive Assistant to the Vice-Deans