Academic Actions-Academic Advisory Center (AAC) - Carnegie Mellon University


In Dietrich College, good academic standing is based on three important performance criteria: 1.) attaining a minimum quality point average for each semester, 2.) attaining a minimum quality point average cumulatively, and 3.) maintaining  adequate progress toward completing graduation requirements. Minimum quality point averages for good academic standing are 1.75 in the freshman year, and 2.00 thereafter. For adequate progress towards graduation and the  360 units required, students should carry approximately 45-48 units per semester.

When a student fails to meet minimum performance criteria, it normally results in an "academic action." Depending on the circumstances, one of these actions may taken: academic probation, continue probation, suspension, or drop. These academic actions are recommended by the College's departments in consultation with the Assistant Dean, and based on the guidelines below. However,  the sequence of the academic actions is not automatic. In exceptional cases certain actions may be skipped. Decisions  may be based on individual student performance and extreme circumstances, and are not determined purely by quality point averages.


A student is placed on academic probation when performance, either for the semester or cumulatively, fails to meet the minimum standard. The term of academic probation is one semester, and signifies the College's expectation that the students  performance return to at least the minimum acceptable level. 

Continued Probation

A student who has had one semester on probation,  is not yet meeting minimum requirements but is making signicant  progress may be continued on probation.

Remove from Probation

A student is removed from academic probation and returned to good academic standing when both the semester and cumulative quality point averages meet at least the established minimums. 


Academic suspension is the usual action taken when a student fails to meet the minimum semester or cumulative requirements for two consecutive semesters. In general, a freshman will be suspended if the semester and overall QPA are below 1.75; for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, if semester and overall QPA are below 2.00. Failure to maintain adequate progress toward graduation may also be a contributing factor in such decisions.The minimum period of academic suspension is two semesters. At the end of that period, a student may seek readmission.

While on academic suspension, students are considered to be on a mandatory  "leave of absence" and are governed by College and University policies concerning leaves of absence and withdrawals. 

Return From Leave of Absence

Four to five months before the new semester begins, students who are eligible to return from suspension will receive a letter from the Assistant Dean. For approval to return, the student must: 1.) submit a Petition to Return From Leave of Absence, along with 2.)  a letter describing in detail what they have been doing during their time away and their plan for succeeding when they return; 3.) provide transcripts from other colleges  if they have taken courses and would like credit; 4.) provide evidence of satisfactory work experience; and 5.) furnish the names, addresses and email address of three individuals (not  friends or relatives) with whom the student has worked or studied .   These individuals will be contacted and asked to forward  a letter of reference on the student's behalf attesting to their readiness to resume their studies. The students packet is reviewed by their department advisor and conditions of return may be imposed. Once approved  to return by the department and the College, the Petition will be signed and the student will be notified. If the packet is not complete by the deadline, the students petition to return will be denied. Students returning from academic suspension do so on final academic probation.


The most severe academic action occurs when a student is dropped from the College, and is not permitted to enroll again as an H&SS/Carnegie Mellon student. This normally results when a student, already on final academic probation, continues to perform at levels below the minimum set by the College, and shows no indication of being able to reach an acceptable level of performance, or to maintain steady progress toward completing graduation requirements.