Academic Progression at Duke University

Nothing good ever comes easy. That's certainly true of a degree at Duke University. A BA from Duke is an entree into professional success no matter what you decide to study. They don't just hand those pieces of paper out, though.

Every academic program at Duke is rigorous. The faculty will challenge you. Your coursework will push you to your limits. That can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It can teach you the value of discipline and hard work. It can prepare you to face the real world after college.

No one's perfect, though, not even a Duke student. What do you do when the tough times come, when you've got too much on your plate, and you find yourself struggling academically? Make no mistake, if you should fall too far behind, you can face academic probation and even dismissal.

At the Law Offices of Joseph D. Lento, we specialize in helping students hang on to their academic and professional dreams. We can make sure you know all the options available to you; we can help defend you if you're being treated unfairly; we can help you fight dismissal. Don't let a bad break disrupt your education.

Duke University's Academic Progression Requirements

At Duke, good academic standing allows for “Continuation.” That is, as long as you meet the school's rigorous standards, you can “continue” with your education.

What does that mean in concrete terms? At the end of each term, Duke evaluates every student in two categories.

  • Course Credits: First, you must complete at least two credits your first semester and three credits each semester after that. Keep in mind that Withdrawals do not count as a completed course. In other words, signing up for and then dropping classes can count against you. In addition, failed courses do not count as completed credits, and Incompletes are treated as failures, at least until you have received a reversion grade.
  • Course Achievement: It isn't enough to take Duke courses, though. You also have to succeed in them. A single F in any given term results in an academic warning. Two Ds and anything worse results in academic probation. Any time you are on probation, you must take four courses and earn at least a 2.0 in those courses. Otherwise, you are dismissed from Duke for two semesters.

If you are dismissed, you can re-apply to the school after two semesters through the school's Time Away Office. You cannot apply for credit from courses taken at another institution during your suspension. If you have educational loans, you will likely have to begin paying them back while you are on suspension.

Decision Processes

There is no appeals process for contesting academic progress decisions at Duke University. Rather, if you fail to meet standards, you'll be sanctioned as outlined.

This does not mean, however, that there aren't remedies for handling such situations. For instance, you might ask individual instructors to raise a D or F to a better grade. If you can offer compelling evidence that you deserve higher scores than you received on your work, you may be able to convince an instructor to revise those scores.

In other cases, an instructor may have treated you unfairly. In such a situation, you might take your complaints to the head of the department that hosts the course or, failing this, to the academic dean you've been assigned to. This, too, could result in a higher grade which could reverse a probation or dismissal decision.

It isn't always easy to negotiate with a professor or administrator, however. An attorney-advisor like Joseph D. Lento, someone with experience handling student cases, can help prepare you to meet with instructors, offer advice on gathering evidence to back your claim, and sometimes even accompany you to your meetings.

SAP Standards

If you receive financial aid at Duke University, you are subject to an additional set of standards known as SAP or Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. SAP standards are instituted at the federal government's request to ensure that students can't take advantage of the financial aid system by pursuing their education longer than necessary.

Duke sets three separate SAP standards. You must meet all of them to receive financial aid.

  • GPA: First, you must have a cumulative GPA of at least 1.6588 at the end of your second academic year at the university and maintain this minimum GPA until you graduate.
  • In addition, you must complete your degree within 150 percent of the credits needed to graduate. All undergraduate degrees at Duke require 34 credits. In simple terms, you may not attempt more than 51 credits before you lose your financial aid. Withdrawals count against this total.
  • Finally, you must receive a passing grade—D or above—in at least 67 percent of all your courses.

The Duke University financial aid office reviews your progress towards your degree after each year. Should you fail to meet standards, your financial aid is immediately suspended until you meet them again.

You may appeal a financial aid suspension if you have compelling reasons for failing to meet standards. The appeals process involves submitting a letter of appeal outlining the reasons for your appeal. This should be accompanied by documentary evidence. If your appeal is successful, you gain a one-term probationary period. Failure to meet standards after this point means losing aid.

Premier Education Attorney-Advisor: Joseph D. Lento

Academics at Duke University are serious business. You're one of the thousands of other students, and faculty and administrators don't often stop to consider your particular situation. You could lose financial aid or find yourself dismissed from the university and never even have the chance to explain yourself.

Don't let that happen. A real human voice can often outweigh the numbers. Joseph D. Lento has represented hundreds of students just like you in academic progress cases. He knows the procedures and can offer suggestions for how to use them to your advantage. If you or your child is facing dismissal, or even if you have already been dismissed, you owe it to yourself to learn what options might be available. To find out more, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.