< back to Policies & Guidelines
Occasionally, a graduate student may fail to meet the required academic standards of the graduate program and may be advised by their Graduate Unit Chair or Director that a recommendation for termination is being considered. The information on this page assists graduate students in understanding the process, options and resources available to them when facing a termination of registration. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section is also provided.
Students should familiarize themselves with the Termination of Registration Guidelines. Students are responsible for knowing the relevant University, School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and graduate unit regulations.
What is Termination?
When a graduate student fails to meet the required academic standards or otherwise fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress in the graduate program, SGS may determine that the student is no longer eligible to proceed in the program. Termination of registration is the permanent de-registering of a student from the graduate program prior to the completion of all program requirements. Once finalized, a note indicating 'Registration terminated effective [insert date]' is permanently recorded on the student academic record and transcript.
What is the Termination Process?
See the Termination of Registration Guidelines for further details on the process.
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.
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 the student, if available. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I withdraw voluntarily before my registration is terminated?
Yes. Students may withdraw voluntarily from their programs at any point. 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's academic record and transcript, and SGS will not act on the recommendation for termination of registration.
2. Can I appeal my withdrawal?
No. Withdrawal is a voluntary action that the student takes on his/her own initiative. It is a final decision and cannot be appealed. Therefore, it is a decision that should be taken with careful consideration.
3. Can I appeal the termination decision?
Yes. An appeal is a student initiated process for formally requesting a reconsideration or change to an official academic decision made by the University. A student may appeal the decision of the SGS Vice-Dean, Students, to terminate his or her registration. Appeals of termination decisions go directly to the Graduate Academic Appeals Board (GAAB) of SGS. If the student chooses to submit a notice of appeal of the termination to GAAB, the termination continues in effect unless overturned through the decision of GAAB or a higher academic appeal body.
To initiate an appeal to GAAB, a student must file a written Notice of Appeal with the Secretary of the Board within eight weeks of the date of the termination letter from Student Academic Services. For further information on the appeals process, please contact the GAAB Secretary or visit the SGS web pages on academic appeals.
4. Can I request informal mediation?
Yes. The term 'informal mediation' broadly refers to a conflict resolution process in which a third party helps others reach voluntary agreement. At any stage of the termination of registration process up to the commencement of 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. Not all cases are suitable for mediation.
5. The Vice-Dean, Students, approved my Graduate Unit's recommendation for termination. Can the same person perform informal mediation?
Yes. Normally a recommendation for termination would be reconsidered only in cases where new information is brought forward. The Vice-Dean, Students, may be in a good position to handle the mediation request since he/she would be familiar with the case. However, in cases where a conflict of interest is apparent or perceived, the Vice-Dean, Students, may recuse him or herself and an alternate person will be appointed.
6. Can I disclose additional information pertinent to my academic program if I have not disclosed it previously?
Yes. Provide the information immediately to your graduate unit or the person currently handling the recommendation of termination. If the issues concern personal health or accessibility issues, you may seek advice from Student Academic Services, or the Accessibility Services Office, as appropriate.
7. My registration in my program has been terminated. Can I reapply to the same program?
No. Termination from a program results in a permanent de-registration and ineligibility for that graduate program, as well as a permanent notation on the student's academic transcript. You may apply to another graduate program at the University, in competition with all other applicants.
For Information on Termination of Registration or Withdrawal, Personal Health or Accessibility Issues:
Director, SGS Student Academic Services
For Information on 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