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Academics At SIS


Graduate education requires continuous student evaluation. This includes not only periodic objective evaluation, such as the cumulative grade point average, but also judgment by the faculty of the student's progress and potential.

The academic records of all graduate students are reviewed at the end of each semester, including the summer term. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in all graduate courses taken for a letter grade of A - F. Grades of S (Satisfactory), NC (No Credit), P (Pass), or NP (No Pass), and I (Incomplete), which have no numerical equivalent, are excluded from this computation. A course for which a graduate student receives a grade below C cannot be used towards the student's degree.

Duties and Responsibilities of SIS Faculty

In addition to teaching courses, conducting research to further the profession and the discipline, and participating in school events, SIS faculty advises students on their curriculum plans and their careers. Many research opportunities exist for students, and faculty often include students in their research projects.

Duties and Responsibilities of SIS Students

The SIS graduate program is a rigorous program that requires full commitment from its students. Every graduate student is expected to:

  1. Meet all the requirements set forth in the current UT Graduate Catalog and the SIS Graduate Student Handbook.
  2. Possess the basic technology skill set found at These competencies are required and assumed on the first day of class.
  3. Subscribe to the School’s discussion list for the duration of their enrollment of the program. This list communicates official School announcements and university business, as well as providing a forum for library and information sciences topics.
  4. Contact his/her advisor before each course registration period or when help is needed to ask questions and discuss with the academic advisor in selecting courses and preparing for placement.
  5. Check his/her academic status in MyUTK and Online@UT (Canvas) during and after each term to verify that academic standards are being met.
  6. Alert the advisor and/or instructor when encountering challenges likely affecting academic success.
  7. (As future information professionals) take initiative in finding answers to questions.

Academic Probation

A graduate student is placed on academic probation when his or her cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 on completion of nine hours of graduate coursework. The director of the School will inform the student in writing of probation. In the subsequent semester(s), these provisions apply:

  1. If the GPA in the probationary semester is below 3.0, the student will be dismissed from the program;
  2. If the GPA in the probationary semester is 3.0 or above, but the cumulative GPA is still below 3.0, the student will be granted a second probationary semester;
  3. If the GPA in the second probationary semester is below 3.0, or if the cumulative GPA is still below 3.0, the student will be dismissed from the program;
  4. If the cumulative GPA after the first or second probationary semester is 3.0 or above, the student returns to regular, non-probationary status;
  5. No student is granted more than two probationary semesters. A student who has been cleared of probation after one probationary semester and falls below 3.0 in later semesters will be considered in his or her second probationary semester. A student who has been cleared of probation after two semesters and falls below 3.0 in any later semester will be dismissed from the program.

If a student receives a grade of D or F in one of the three required classes, he or she will be dismissed from the program.


If a student is on academic probation, degree status will be terminated by the UT Graduate School if the student's semester GPA falls below a 3.0 in a subsequent semester. When the particular circumstances may be deemed to justify continuation, and or recommendation of the SIS director and approval of the UT Graduate School, a student on probation may be allowed to continue on a semester-by-semester basis. Dismissal of a graduate student is accomplished by written notice to the student and to the UT Graduate School. Registration for SIS courses will not be permitted except by written authorization from the SIS director.

Readmission after Period of Nonattendance

A student who has not registered for a consecutive term must apply for readmission to the Graduate School. To continue in the program, the student must submit a readmission application and pay a $30 readmission fee. A readmission application should be submitted to the office of Graduate Admissions at least two weeks prior to the desired re-entry date. If the student does not register for course work the semester subsequent to receipt of the letter, the file will be withdrawn and it will be necessary to seek readmission to both the UT Graduate School and SIS.

Appeals Procedure

The student handbook, Hilltopics, published and distributed annually by the Office of the Dean of Students, contains the University of Tennessee standards of conduct and disciplinary regulations and procedures. Hilltopics is available online at
Academic grievances are handled within the School through the student's advisor, the faculty member involved, and then the director. Further appeal may be made as outlined in the Appeals Procedure from the UT Graduate School office.

Academic Advising

SIS has a formal Academic Advising Policy. Please familiarize yourself with the protocol related to advising at SIS. 

Course Load

The maximum course load for a graduate student is 15 hours in the fall and spring semesters and 12 hours in the summer. A full load in all semesters, including summer, is 9 hours. Courses audited do not count toward minimum graduate hours required for SIS graduate assistantships or other financial assistance. Audited courses do not appear on transcripts.


An incomplete (I) is a temporary grade indicating that a student has performed satisfactorily in the course but, due to unforeseen circumstances of a serious nature, has been unable to finish all requirements. An I is not given to enable a student to do additional work to raise a deficient grade. An incomplete must be removed within one year. If the incomplete is not removed, the I changes to an F. The course will not be counted in the cumulative grade point average until a final grade is assigned.

A student must request an incomplete in writing from the instructor using a standard form available online at The request form must contain a persuasive rationale, and may require supporting evidence, and the projected date for completion of the work. The form must be approved and signed by the instructor. The instructor's decision to accept or reject the petition is final.

Continuous Enrollment and Leave of Absence (LOA)

All degree-seeking graduate students are expected to make a full commitment to their graduate and professional study in order to ensure that they can complete all degree requirements without unnecessary delay. Graduate students are therefore required to maintain an active status through continuous enrollment from the time of first enrollment until graduation.

If extenuating circumstances arise that make it necessary for students to interrupt their studies temporarily, a Request for a Leave of Absence (LOA) for a maximum of 2 years may be granted by the Graduate School upon approval by the School of Information Sciences.

More information regarding enrollment policies and leave of absence can be found here.

Requirements for Admission to Candidacy and Graduation

Application for admission to candidacy for the M.S. degree should be completed when the student registers for the final semester. The Admission to Candidacy Master's Degree form must be submitted with appropriate signatures to the UT Graduate School.

A graduation packet can be obtained from the coordinator of student services. The student is responsible for completing the Admission to Candidacy Master's Degree form and submitting the form to the SIS coordinator of student services who gathers the appropriate signatures and forwards it to the Graduate School. The Graduation application for diploma must also be completed and submitted online through MyUTK.