Mentoring and Academic Progress

Ayala School of Biological Sciences Standards in Graduate Student Mentoring and Degree Progress


  1. Graduate Program Requirements and Satisfactory Progress. The school policies described below are briefly stated based on the UCI Graduate Policies and Procedures (link) and policies of the UCI Graduate Council.  Graduate Program requirements are described in the UCI Catalogue.
  2. Satisfactory Progress. Satisfactory academic progress requires that students complete all program requirements within the normative time including completion of required coursework, rotations, laboratory work, and required exams.  For graduate students, a grade of B or better is passing for all required courses, and students must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to be in satisfactory standing.  A grade of B- in a required course is usually recognized by an academic warning.  A grade of C+ or lower, or a second B-, typically results in student being placed on conditional academic status or a request to the Graduate Dean to dismiss the student from the doctoral program.
  3. Committee Meetings. Students are required to present their research to a committee of at least three faculty during each year of graduate study.  The committee meeting must be documented with a form that includes the faculty recommendations and is signed by the faculty and the student.
  4. Doctoral students in the School of Biological Sciences are required to serve as a teaching assistant for two or three academic quarters, depending on the department.  TA training is required of all graduate students prior to employment as a teaching assistant.
  5. Academic Coursework. Each department has specific course requirements, and students are required to enroll in and complete those academic requirements.
  6. Advancement to Candidacy. The normative time to advance to candidacy is by the end of the ninth quarter of enrollment, which is typically in the spring of the third year.  Failure to advance by the end of the tenth quarter will result in a student being placed on conditional academic status, and may result in a request for dismissal from the graduate program.
  7. Degree Completion. The normative time for completion of the doctoral degree is by the end of the fifth year (15 quarters) of graduate study.  Students that enter the seventh year of graduate study are required to prepare a detailed timeline for degree completion with their thesis advisor.  The student will have quarterly thesis committee meetings which will include an assessment of whether the student is making satisfactory progress.  The maximum time to degree is seven years (21 academic quarters), and students will not allowed to enter the eighth year of graduate study.
  8. Financial Incentives Associated with Time to Advancement to Candidacy (AtC) and Degree Completion
  9. AtC Incentive (benefits students) Students that AtC before the end of the spring quarter of the 3rd yr. (9th qtr.) will receive an additional fellowship payment of $1000, above the normal stipend paid to student.
  10. Degree Completion Incentive/Dissertation Qtr. (benefits faculty). Students that complete the doctoral degree by the summer of the 5th yr. will receive $5K in stipend support. Any applicable fees must be paid by the department or PI. Student must complete pre-defense meeting and receive approval to schedule the dissertation before funding will be approved.