2011-2013 Catalog (without addenda) 
    Jun 22, 2024  
2011-2013 Catalog (without addenda) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Academic Requirements and Policies

This section details the general Institute-wide degree requirements that apply to all Polytechnic graduate degrees. Academic departments may place additional requirements on individual degrees. Such additional requirements are explained in the programs section of this catalog. In no case may a department specify requirements less stringent than those indicated here. Master’s degrees and certificate programs are the purview of the Associate Provost for Graduate Academics and PhD programs are the purview of the Associate Provost for Research and PhD Programs.

Outcomes Assessment

Polytechnic conducts outcomes assessment activities to monitor student academic achievement, effective teaching methods and continuous improvement of the Institute, as well as to comply with accreditation standards. To obtain periodic measurements of student perceptions and intellectual growth, graduate students are strongly encouraged to participate in surveys, focus groups, interviews or related activities. While individual input is collected, data resulting from these assessments is published only in aggregate form.

Definition of Credits

Graduate studies are expressed in terms of credits. One 50-minute period of graduate class work for a 15-week, single semester carries 1 graduate credit. A standard graduate course meeting for two-and-a-half hours per week in a single semester of 15 weeks is equivalent to 3 credits. This format is the most common for graduate courses. Graduate laboratories meet three times per graduate credit (i.e., two-and-a-half-hours per week in a single semester of 15 weeks is equivalent to 1 credit). Courses meeting more or less than two-and-a-half hours each week are assigned credits in the correct proportion. The final examination period is an integral part of the 15-week semester.

Graduate Degrees and Advanced Certificates

Master of Science


Admission to Master of Science programs requires a bachelor’s degree and at least four years of college-level courses in a preparatory discipline from an institution acceptable to Polytechnic. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better is needed for admission. GRE scores are recommended for all applicants. The scores are needed from those seeking merit-based scholarships. Effective Spring 2013, GRE scores are mandatory for students seeking full-time study, including all international students and those wishing to enroll for 9 or more credits per term. Applicants seeking admission to technology management related degrees may submit the GMAT score instead of GRE. Letters of Recommendation, a Statement of Purpose, and a professional resume are also needed for admission.

Graduation Requirements

Candidates for the degree Master of Science must complete no fewer than 30 credits of advanced study and/or research beyond the bachelor’s degree in the program selected. Academic departments may require additional credits for individual degrees. Specific course requirements for each MS program are detailed in the programs section of this catalog. To obtain the MS degree, students must maintain a Cumulative GPA of 3.0 (equivalent to a B letter grade) or better in all graduate work undertaken at Polytechnic, including those not used to fulfill specific program requirements. The average of B or better includes all guided studies, readings, projects, theses and dissertations. Students may offer no more than a combined total of 9 credits of project, guided studies and/or thesis toward fulfillment of the MS degree requirements. Students taking project or thesis must register for at least 3 credits of project and/or thesis every semester until the work is completed and a grade recorded (also refer to the section Maintenance of Study).

Residency Requirements and Transfer Credits

A maximum of 9 credits may be accepted as transfer credits, if approved by the student’s department/program. Thus, graduate students in the MS programs must take a minimum of 21 credits of graduate work at Polytechnic for a 30 credit MS degree. Credits transferred must be from graduate courses taken elsewhere (see sections Transfer Credits and Multiple MS Degrees for exceptions), as long as those courses were taken after the undergraduate degree, not used to satisfy the graduation requirements for any undergraduate degree, and had a grade of B or better (also refer to the section Transfer Credits). Theses, projects and guided studies or readings courses cannot be transferred. Students must complete all requirements for the MS degree within a period of no more than five years after beginning their graduate studies at Polytechnic. This period includes any approved Leave of Absence. Extensions of this period are rarely granted and require prior approval from the respective Associate Provost. Students must request an extension at least 60 days before the 5 year period is reached. Individual programs may specify required courses, minimum GPAs in specific courses or course groups, and/or require a comprehensive examination, presentation of a seminar or completion of a project or thesis.

One exception to the paragraph above regarding transfer credit and graduate validation credit: Mathematics graduate students (MS and PhD) will be permitted, with adviser approval, to exceed the 9-credit limit on transfer credit and validation units by taking specified adviser-approved courses at Courant Institute of NYU. In the case of MS students such approval may not raise the number of such courses above 4.

Master of Engineering

The admissions, graduation, residency requirements and other regulations are the same as those for the Master of Science. The Master of Engineering is for students seeking in-depth knowledge in fields requiring courses from multiple disciplines, especially those taught by several different academic departments. Students create their study program, including at least one graduate certificate, with the approval of a graduate adviser. A capstone experience is required for graduation. Candidates for the degree Master of Engineering must complete no fewer than 30 credits of graduate courses and/or research beyond the bachelor’s degree in the program.

Doctor of Philosophy

Requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy are qualitative and quantitative. Students will find that the formal requirements of residence, course credits and dissertation provide a framework within which they are free to construct individual programs for creative learning at an advanced level.

Graduate students wishing to enter into a systematic program leading to a PhD should confer with an adviser in the department of major interest regarding (1) selection of courses, (2) major and minor fields of study, (3) formulation of a guidance committee, (4) qualifying and language examinations and (5) degree candidacy. Students must satisfy the detailed requirements of the selected degree program.


Students may apply to the doctoral program either directly after a bachelor’s degree or after completing a master’s degree. In either case GPAs greater than 3.0 are needed in all previous degree programs and GPA greater than 3.5 is typically expected. Admissions requirements for the doctoral program are at least as stringent as those of the MS, and the admissions process follows the same path as that of the Master of Science and Master of Engineering applications. Because doctoral research is a one-to-one match between an applicant’s research interests and those of a faculty member, applicants need to discuss their interests with the faculty in their program of interest. Highly qualified candidates whose interests are incompatible with the faculty’s research interests may not be admitted. Additionally, most departments admit only the number of students that they can financially support and qualified candidates may not be admitted because limited funds can support only a given number of students.

Graduation Requirements

All doctoral students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better at all times and a B or better for the dissertation. Some departments have specific course or grade requirements that must be fulfilled. They must pass the qualifying examination(s) administered by their department or program and complete and defend a doctoral dissertation. Students may not register for dissertation research until they have passed the doctoral qualifying examination given by their major department. These examinations are generally scheduled once or twice yearly, and students should consult the academic department for information. Once students start their dissertation, they must register for at least 3 credits every semester until the dissertation is completed and accepted (also refer to the section on Maintenance of Study).

Residency Requirements and Transfer Credits

All doctorate candidates must complete a minimum of 75 credits of graduate work beyond the bachelor’s degree, including a minimum of 21 credits of dissertation research (or more, depending on major). They must take a minimum of 27 credits, including all dissertation credits, at Polytechnic. Transfer credits can include a 30-credit blanket transfer for a prior MS degree and additional courses not included in the prior MS that are individually transferred. For the blanket 30-credit transfer, the prior MS need not be a 30-credit MS. Additional courses individually transferred cannot include project, thesis, dissertation, guided studies or readings, or special topics credits. Full-time students must complete all PhD work within six calendar years counted from the time of admission to graduate work at Polytechnic. Part-Time students must complete within 12 years. This period includes any approved leave of absence. Any extension of these periods requires prior approval of the respective Associate Provost. Students must request an extension at least 60 days before the time period is up.


Students in the PhD program must take and pass doctoral qualifying examination(s) administered by their programs. Students are highly encouraged to take the examination( s) in their first year of the program. If students have not passed the examination( s) by the end of their second year, they may be disqualified permanently from the PhD program. Students cannot register for dissertation credits unless they have passed the qualifying examination(s). Within six months of passing the examination(s), the student and the dissertation adviser must form a dissertation-guidance committee. This committee oversees course selection for the student, provides research guidance and ensures that satisfactory progress is being made toward completion of the dissertation in a timely manner. Course selection must ensure that requirements of major and minors set forth by the respective programs are met. The committee, at its discretion or bound by departmental regulations, may request the student to present a dissertation research proposal. The committee is expected to meet at least once per semester to assess the student’s progress. The doctoral student defends the dissertation in front of this committee. The student must obtain a checklist of the milestones and requirements from the respective Associate Provost.

Graduate Advanced Certificate Programs

Polytechnic offers several graduate advanced certificate programs in specialized subject areas for students who do not wish to enroll in a full-degree program. Students must apply for a certificate, be admitted, and enroll officially in a certificate program when they begin Polytechnic graduate study. Detailed descriptions of the certificate programs are available from the responsible departments.

Depending on the program, 12 to 15 credits must be taken at Polytechnic to earn a certificate. Courses taken for a certificate may be applied toward the future pursuit of a MS, ME or PhD graduate degree, but not to another certificate program. No transfer credits are allowed. (See section Transfer Credits for exceptions.) Applicants must be admitted formally to a certificate program before beginning course work. Admission requirements are the same as those for related MS programs. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all graduate courses taken at Polytechnic to receive a certificate. Requirements for certificates must be completed within three years, including any approved Leave of Absence.

Students in such a program who subsequently decide to pursue a graduate degree must file a separate application for admission to the respective graduate program. The following graduate advanced certificate programs are currently available:

Graduate Credits and Requirements


To satisfy residency requirements for a graduate degree at Polytechnic Institute, students must complete the following minimum number of credits at the Institute:

  • Master of Science: all but 9 credits needed for graduation (at least 21 credits of residency)
  • Master of Engineering: all but 9 credits needed for graduation (at least 21 credits of residency)
  • Doctor of Philosophy: 27 credits (including all dissertation credits)
  • Graduate Certificate: all credits (see section Transfer Credits for exceptions)

Continuity of Registration

All graduate students must be registered for at least 1.5 credits each fall and spring semester until they graduate. If the student is unable to attend the Institute for a semester, the student must obtain a leave of absence for the semester. Failure to do so requires the student to reapply to the graduate program to resume studies, and no guarantee of readmission is implicit or explicit. Once students have started their dissertation thesis and/or project, they must register for at least 3 credits every semester until it has been completed and accepted. (Also refer to the section on Maintenance of Study.)

Modifications to Curricula

Curricula and courses change from time to time in order to keep students abreast of the latest knowledge and methods within subject areas. Students are required to satisfy the curriculum and degree requirements in effect at the time of their matriculation and must obtain current degree requirements from their program adviser.

In order to accommodate curriculum and course revisions, it is sometimes necessary to substitute a course for one specified in the curriculum. Students may also request course substitutions to tailor their studies to their interests. All course substitutions must be approved by both the program adviser and the Office of the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer a limited number of credits to meet the requirements for a master’s or doctoral degree at Polytechnic if the graduate courses are (1) consistent with Polytechnic’s residency requirements, (2) completed with grades B or better, (3) from accredited institutions, (4) consistent with the curriculum in which the student is registered, (5) taken after receipt of a bachelor’s degree (with the exception of Polytechnic’s undergraduate students; see below). The student’s major academic department evaluates graduate transfer credits. Credits submitted for transfer are subject to the rules and regulations regarding period of validity, discussed in a subsequent section.

No transfer credit is permitted for graduate certificates. The exception is for NYU-Poly MS alumni who may be allowed to count some graduate course credit from their degrees earned here towards a Graduate Certificate, should they wish to re-enroll in NYU-Poly after graduation. Such credit would be subject to approval by the Certificate Program’s academic adviser. A minimum of 9 new credits must be taken to earn a Certificate under these circumstances.

Grades for transferred credits or courses are not recorded and do not affect the GPA for the graduate program at Polytechnic.

MS or ME students may transfer up to 9 credits. No project, thesis, dissertation or guided studies/readings courses can be transferred.

PhD students may transfer up to 48 credits of course work. Transfer credits for the PhD can include a 30-credit blanket transfer for a prior MS degree and additional courses not included in the prior MS that may be transferred individually. For the blanket 30-credit transfer, the prior MS need not be a 30-credit MS, so long as a MS degree (or equivalent) was granted and a copy of the degree and detailed transcripts are presented. Additional courses individually transferred cannot include project, thesis, dissertation, guided studies or readings, or special topics credits.

Graduate courses taken at Polytechnic while students pursued an undergraduate degree at Polytechnic may be applied subsequently to a graduate degree, provided that they earned a B grade or better and that the individual courses were not used to fulfill requirements for an undergraduate degree at Polytechnic. Such courses are also subject to the 9-credit maximum transfer limitation for the MS degree and the grades are not figured into the cumulative GPA for the graduate program. The policy includes exceptions for students enrolled in a joint BS/MS program with a study plan pre-approved by an academic adviser.

One exception to the paragraph above regarding transfer credit and graduate validation credit: Mathematics graduate students (MS and PhD) will be permitted, with adviser approval, to exceed the 9-credit limit on transfer credit and validation units by taking specified adviser-approved courses at Courant Institute of NYU. In the case of MS students such approval may not raise the number of such courses above 4.

Period of Validity

More than undergraduate, graduate courses reflect the current state of the art in their respective fields. Thus, all courses taken more than 10 years before a request date for transfer of credits are ineligible to be transferred individually to Polytechnic by the routine transfer process. The exceptions are approved articulations and administrative actions. The blanket 30-credit transfer into the PhD program for a MS degree taken at Polytechnic or elsewhere is exempt from this period of validity and does not expire.

Graduate Validation Credits

When it is unclear whether a course taken outside Polytechnic is suitable for transfer credit, students may qualify for transfer credit for that course by passing a validation examination. Permission to take the examination must be recorded in advance on the student’s transfer-evaluation form. The examination format is at the discretion of the department giving the course. Scheduling of the examination is by mutual agreement, but in no event can it be scheduled more than one calendar year after the student begins study at Polytechnic. A grade of B or better is required for graduate students. An examination may not be taken more than once. A student who registers for or attends the course at Polytechnic forfeits the right to take a validation examination.

The sum of validation credits and transfer credits is limited to 9 credits for the MS and ME degrees.

Multiple MS Degrees from Polytechnic

Effective Fall 2009, students pursuing a second or third MS degree from Polytechnic can use up to a maximum of 9 credits from previous MS degree programs attended at Polytechnic for satisfying degree requirements for their current MS program. Courses that are used for this internal transfer within Polytechnic must have a grade of B or better and will count in the total permissible transfer limit of 9 credits for the MS degree. Adviser approval is needed and the student can request this action only after completing 9 credits of course work in the current degree program with a B average.

Graduate Registration Status

Graduate students pay tuition at the per-credit rate. Full-time status is defined by the following:

  • Full-time MS students are registered for 9 credits or more each semester. Students who are normally full-time may register for fewer credits during their last semester by registering for only the number of credits needed for graduation. During this last semester they are part time, but can be treated as full-time-equivalent for immigration and other legitimate reasons by requesting full-time-equivalency status.
  • Full-time MS students in the lock-step, cohort-based, executive-format MS programs are registered for all courses specified by the program published in the catalog each semester. These programs have distinct courses and/or projects, each bearing credits approved for the program, but in no case fewer than 7.5 credits a semester.
  • Full-time PhD students may register for a minimum of 3 credits per semester upon passing the PhD qualifying examination. Students must register for 9 credits or more until they pass the PhD qualifying exam. Other students who are not officially enrolled in a PhD program, regardless of whether or not they have passed the qualifying exam, must continue to take a minimum of 9 credits until they change their academic status to PhD.

A status of non-matriculated or visiting student allows students to take up to three graduate courses at Polytechnic without formally applying for admission. If these students desire to continue at Polytechnic as a matriculated student in a graduate degree or certificate program, they must follow the formal application process.

Maintenance of Studies

PhD Students: PhD students who have taken all required courses with minimum dissertation credits and have completed their doctoral research may register for up to two semesters of “maintenance of studies” with no tuition charge (Institute fees apply). This category of registration officially maintains the student’s degree candidacy and extends the time to complete the writing and defending of the dissertation. Students who have not completed their doctoral research must continue to register for dissertation credits.

MS Students: Under exceptional and well-documented circumstances, graduate students seeking a MS degree in a program that requires a MS thesis or MS project may, with the permission of the thesis or project adviser, request one semester of maintenance of study to complete the project or thesis. For permission to be granted, students must provide adequate written justification.

Maximum Time for Completion

Programs for graduate certificates must be completed within three years. The MS or ME degree programs must be completed within five years of starting the program at Polytechnic. The PhD program must be completed in six years for full-time students and 12 years for part-time students from the time of admission to graduate work at Polytechnic. All time limits listed include any approved leave of absence.

Students exceeding these time limits require prior approval to continue from the Associate Provost for Graduate Academics. If granted, not all courses taken previously may count towards the degree. The Associate Provost, consulting with the department, will prepare a plan for the student to follow to obtain the degree.

Graduate International Students

Full-time Status, Program and Degree Changes

To maintain non-immigrant student status, international students must maintain full-time status every fall and spring semester for the entire semester (i.e., withdrawing from a course during the semester may jeopardize full-time status). Students are not required to enroll during the summer semester and may enroll for credits at their discretion. Moreover, they may register only for one online course per semester. Students wishing to take more than one online course a semester must obtain prior approval from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). Students may take less than a full course of study if fewer credits are needed during the last semester to graduate, but they must notify Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) at the beginning of the semester and obtain full-time equivalency status. Students may also take a reduced course load for valid academic and medical reasons. All reasons for such exceptions must be approved in writing by the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) before the last day of late registration each semester so that courses can be added to the student’s schedule if necessary. If the reduction in load is permitted, students are granted full-time-equivalency status for the respective semester.

Students in F-1 and J-1 status must obtain written permission from OISS for any Leave of Absence request, or to withdraw from classes if the withdrawal results in less than a full course load. They also must obtain written permission and the pertinent I-20/DS-2019 form before enrolling in a new degree program. The process of withdrawing from a course, changing degree level or taking a leave of absence through the Office of the Registrar keeps a non-immigrant student in good standing only with the Institute, but not with the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), unless proper approval is obtained from OISS. Students who receive Incomplete (I) grade(s) must develop a credible academic plan for completing the requirements of respective course(s) within the following semester. MS students who receive one or more Incomplete (I) grade(s) in the final semester will be allowed to register for maintenance of studies for only one academic semester after the final semester to complete the requirements of the respective course(s). In addition, students planning on employment as part of their course work, or as part of the graduate co-op program internship placement, must obtain prior approval from OISS for any such employment.

Failure to comply with the immigration requirements for full-time status, course withdrawals, degree changes or leave of absence violates the non-immigrant student status and makes a student ineligible for any benefit of that status. According to USCIS, lack of compliance may also result in deportation.

Policies on Grading and Grades

Computing the Grade-Point Average for Graduate Students

For the purposes of computing GPAs for graduate students and graduate courses, the following schedule is used.

 Grade Point Value Description  

  A 4.0 Excellent  
  A- 3.7 Excellent  
  B+ 3.3 Good  
  B 3.0 Good  
  B- 2.7 Good  
  C+ 2.3 Deficient, but Passing  
  C 2.0 Deficient, but Passing  
  F 0.0 Failing  
  P   Pass (no GPA value)  
  S   Satisfactory  
  U   Unsatisfactory  
  W   Withdrawal  
  I   Incomplete, converts to F after 180 days  
  AUD   Audit  

Grades S and U reflect progress on research efforts. Once the thesis or dissertation is completed, the letter grade is entered on the transcript. Noncredit seminar courses are also graded S or U. Other than research credits, no credit-bearing courses can be assigned S or U grades, except for approved specific internship courses. The S / U grading scheme of such courses is explicitly stated in the respective course descriptions in the catalog. A student cannot graduate if a grade of U is on the transcript for any such credit bearing course or for research efforts at the time of graduation. A grade of I cannot be assigned to a course that is graded S or U. Grades S, U, I, W and AUD are not included in computing the GPA, which is computed as indicated for undergraduate students.

Graduate Bridge and Preparatory Courses

Many programs offer graduate bridge or preparatory courses to accommodate the needs of students who lack certain undergraduate preparation. Generally, bridge or preparatory courses cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements, particularly for degrees within the department that offers the course. However, these courses are included in the calculation of a student’s graduate GPA. Some graduate students may be required to take certain undergraduate courses as preparation for advanced graduate study. Undergraduate courses are not included in the student’s GPA calculation.

Repeating Courses

The first time a graduate student repeats a course, the lower grade is not counted towards the GPA. All subsequent grades in a course repeated more than once are included in the GPA, although degree credit is earned only once.

Course Withdrawal: The W Grade

Students may withdraw from a course or courses without academic penalty until the published withdrawal deadline of the normal fall or spring semester. Students should process their own withdrawals online via Student Self-Service. No approvals are required, but students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisers as withdrawing from certain courses may delay their planned graduation date. When the course duration varies from the norm, such as in six-, nine- or 12-week courses, withdrawal must be completed before two-thirds of the sessions are completed. Withdrawals must be processed online by 11:59 p.m. on the withdrawal deadline indicated on the published Academic Calendar. Withdrawn courses remain on the student’s transcript with a grade of W and are not calculated into the GPA. Once entered on the student’s record, a W cannot be changed to any other grade. An F grade is recorded for any student who ceases to attend a course without formally withdrawing in the required fashion by the required deadline.

Auditing Courses

Graduate students may audit courses instead of receiving credits and grades for them. Regular tuition is charged and courses are treated as part of a full-time load. An AUD notation is made on the student’s permanent record.

Interested graduate students should see their advisers and must notify the Office of the Registrar within the first two weeks of the semester if they select courses for audit status. Under no circumstances may an audit status be changed to credit status once elected. Audited courses do not count toward satisfying graduation requirements.

Incomplete Grades

If a student cannot complete the course work at the usual time because of valid reasons, such as illness or other critical emergency, the instructor may give a grade of Incomplete/I. In such cases, the instructor and the student must develop a detailed plan for completion which includes a specific completion date. Ordinarily, this date should not extend beyond the intersession, in fairness to students who finish course requirements on time and to ensure that students complete prerequisites for advanced courses. An I grade lapses into an F if the student fails to complete the work within the specified completion timeline, or at most by 180 days after the semester’s end in which the student was enrolled in the course for which the I was given. All I grades must be converted before graduation.

The grade of Incomplete/I is used sparingly and only in cases with valid reasons, not merely because students have planned poorly or overloaded themselves. An I grade should not be issued if a student is unable to complete the course requirements without attending or participating in the course a second time. If the student reregisters for a course in which an I grade was given, the I grade lapses to an F. If successful resolution of an I grade would require the repetition of any course or portion of a course, the student should consider formally withdrawing from the course.

Change of Grade

Instructors may change grades for academic reasons after assigning an initial grade. The time period for change of grade is one year after the course was completed. The Registrar will not process change of grade requests by the instructors after this one-year period. Changes requested later than this one-year period are accepted only in case of errors or other administrative action and must be approved by the respective Associate Provost.

GPA Restart

If a student has completed a master’s degree at the Institute and then pursues another master’s degree at the Institute, the student’s GPA is re-started. In this way, the academic performance for each degree is accurately represented.

GPA’s may also be restarted for graduate students pursuing a master’s degree under the following conditions: (1) the student changes major to a significantly different field of study and the change is approved by both the new department and the Associate Provost for Graduate Academics, and (2) the student requests that the GPA be restarted and the request is approved by the Associate Provost for Graduate Academics. The request to restart the GPA must be made during or before the first semester in the new major. Courses taken before the GPA restart cannot be counted towards satisfying the degree requirements of the new major. A GPA restart is only for the master’s degree; a GPA cannot be restarted at the beginning of the PhD degree program. A GPA cannot be restarted during PhD degree program. Any GPA restart is noted on the student’s transcript.

Continuation of Studies Beyond the Inital Master of Science

Students planning to pursue additional studies immediately following the award of an advanced degree by Polytechnic should complete a Request for Continuation of Studies form in lieu of a new application for admission and submit it to the Graduate Admissions Office for review and approval to the department in which the new degree will be pursued. This form is available from the Office of the Registrar. Examples are (1) progressing from a MS program to a PhD program or (2) seeking a second MS degree from Polytechnic. In the latter case, students should be aware that Institute regulations govern graduate credits applied toward the first degree to be applied toward a second MS degree, see section Transfer Credits for rules on Certificates and section Multiple MS Degrees from Polytechnic.

Academic Standing and Probation

Graduate students are expected to progress in their studies and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA at all times.  Failure to do so results in the student being placed on academic probation.  Graduate students cannot be on academic probation for more than two semesters.  These semesters need not be sequential.

A student who is on a second semester of probation must have a GPA of 3.0 or above at the end of that semester.  If the student does not, then the student will be diqualified from the Institute and, with rare exception, will not be readmitted

A student’s GPA and probationary status are evaluated at the end of the spring and fall semesters, irrespective of any grades of I or S.  If a student is disqualified, no further grade changes are permitted (except in cases of clerical errors).  If a student is disqualified, any grade of I or S at the time of disqualification will remain as such on the student’s transcript.

If a student’s GPA is below 3.0, he or she will be placed on probation and notified by the Office of Graduate Academics. If the student is on their second probation, the notification from the Office of Graduate Academics will indicate that the student is on final probation. Students on probation have until the next GPA evaluation (end of spring or fall semester, whichever comes first) to improve their GPA.

Students on probation must submit a signed GPA Deficiency Form to the Office of Graduate Academics before the start of the next semester. If they do not, they will be de-registered from their courses. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to do so until the form is received by the Office of Graduate Academics. Further, students on probation must obtain permission from the Office of Graduate Academics if they wish to change their registration. The registration hold and the GPA Deficiency Form serve to remind the students on probation that they are not performing at the required academic standard.

No indication of academic probation appears on a student’s transcript, but a record is kept on file. Academic disqualification is noted on the student’s transcript.

In addition to the academic probation process described above, a major department may request that a graduate student be placed on academic probation at any time. The request and its justification are signed by the department head and sent to the Office of Graduate Academics for approval.

Withdrawal from the University

Voluntary Withdrawal

Graduate students must notify the Office of Graduate Academics if they withdraw completely before the deadline published in the academic calendar and during a semester in which they are registered. No complete withdrawal is official unless a written form is approved and submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Mere absence from courses does not constitute official withdrawal, but leads to F grades recorded for courses not completed. To receive W grades for the semester, the withdrawal must be completed by the withdrawal deadline indicated in the academic calendar.

Involuntary Withdrawal

Polytechnic is concerned about the health, safety and well-being of its students. Students judged to be a threat to themselves or to others may be withdrawn involuntarily from Polytechnic. The Institute seeks, whenever possible, for such students to be allowed to continue as active students if they agree to undergo professional care. Full details concerning this policy are available from the Office of Student Development.

Leaves of Absence and Readmission

Leave of Absence

A student who must temporarily withdraw from graduate studies for serious illness, national service, or compelling personal reasons may request a leave of absence. If a leave of absence is approved by the Associate Provost for Graduate Academics, the student’s matriculated status is maintained, and the student may resume his or her studies after the leave of absence. The registrar will record a leave of absence on the student’s transcript.

Leaves of absence, if approved, are granted for a maximum of one year except in extreme cases, such as compulsory national service (if such service is for more than one year). Foreign students must also contact OISS. An approved leave of absence is an academic decision; it does not override OISS concerns. The leave of absence does not extend the time limits for earning a degree (see section on time limits). The approval of a leave of absence does not preclude subsequent academic disqualification.

Students who do not maintain continuous registration and do not have an approved leave of absence must apply to NYU-Poly for readmission if they wish to continue their graduate studies. Re-admitted students must pay accrued fees for the lapsed semester(s). If readmitted, their subsequent program attendance will be guided by the terms and conditions of the readmission and by the catalog and rules in effect at the time of readmission (see section on readmission). Lapsed semesters do not extend the time to degree. If students who re-apply cannot complete their studies within the allotted time for degree, they can be re-admitted as a new student, but prior courses will be treated as part of the total transfer credits permitted (see section on Transfer Credits).

Once PhD students begin their dissertation project, they must register continually for dissertation credits or maintain their studies through an approved leave of absence or, if they have completed their research, by registering for maintenance of studies (also refer to the section on Maintenance of Studies).

Leave of Absence and Readmission for Veterans

Veteran students in graduate programs taking a leave of absence to perform military services are readmitted with the same academic status and into the same degree program that they had when last in attendance at the institution. The length of absence from the institution cannot exceed five academic years. If the period of absence exceeds the period of five academic years, veterans must obtain permission from the respective Associate Provost. Such requests when approved by Office constitute assurance of readmission to the degree program from which the leave was taken. If the period of absence exceeds the approved leave from the respective Associate Provost students must apply for readmission.

The policy excludes veterans receiving dishonorable or bad conduct discharges, or who are sentenced in a court-martial.

Automatic Withdrawal

Graduate students who do not formally file a leave of absence, or those who do not register for the semester beyond any authorized leave, are automatically deactivated. Students in this category must apply for readmission and no guarantee of readmission is made either implicitly or explicitly. If readmission is granted, students will be governed by the catalog and rules effective at the time of readmission and the terms and conditions of the readmission.

Application Process for the Award of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees

Graduate students must file a formal application for the award of any Polytechnic degree or certificate. Filing dates for each semester are published by the Office of the Registrar. Students who do not file by the published deadline dates become candidates for the next graduating class.

Applications for the MS degree and graduate certificate are available online on the Graduate Admissions website. Applications for the PhD degree are also available in the Office of the Associate Provost for Research and PhD Programs. Degrees are certified and diplomas issued twice a year, at the end of the fall and spring semesters. Degrees are conferred at the annual spring commencement held in late May or early June. All work for the degree must be completed and submitted before the date of graduation.

Filing fees for diplomas are payable at the time of filing in the Office of Student Accounts. If the award of a degree is delayed, diploma fees are not charged again. By faculty vote, degrees are not awarded to members of the Institute teaching staff who hold the rank of assistant professor or higher.

Please note that a degree is not awarded unless the student applies for the award, even if all requirements are completed. The date of the degree follows the application date for its award, not when all requirements are completed. If the application is filed more than two years of completion of degree requirements, the approval process once an application is made is not automatic and additional administrative actions may be required on a case-by-case basis.


Diplomas are mailed to the student about eight weeks after the degree conferral date. Diplomas are issued only once, subject to rare exceptions made on a case-by-case basis. All replacement diplomas are printed with the Institution name at the time of the student’s graduation and are subject to a replacement diploma fee. Further information can be found on the Registrar’s website.

Projects, Theses and Dissertations

Graduate Research

Investigations undertaken for graduate research help develop students’ independent and creative thinking. Through this type of study, students are trained to analyze, research, synthesize and to contribute to the advancement of science and engineering.

Research for an advanced degree embodies knowledge of the field of mathematics, science or engineering chosen by the candidate, encompassing an understanding of basic principles, together with commensurate acquaintance with current practices, the literature and the work of leaders in the field of study.

MS students may elect to complete a MS project or MS thesis and may be required to do so in certain programs. Consult the programs section in this catalog for details. A thesis is generally a more extended piece of work, usually entailing 6 to 9 credits, while the project usually entails 3 to 6 credits. At this level, research should exhibit a thorough understanding of advanced scientific thought or an ability to apply advanced principles constructively to engineering planning and design.

Each PhD student must complete a PhD dissertation. Research at this level must demonstrate critical and constructive thought as well as the ability to use the techniques necessary to explore and develop new knowledge in mathematics, science or engineering. A successful dissertation must demonstrably advance the subject area of research. Institute requirements for dissertations set a minimum of 21 credits of registration. All research should be characterized by accuracy of observation and measurement and by clarity and completeness in presentation. The conclusions presented must be supported by adequate studies and investigations and supplemented by a complete bibliography.

Registration for Projects, Theses and Dissertations

After a project, thesis or dissertation adviser and/or guidance committee is appointed, candidates should register each semester for the number of credits that realistically reflects the amount of time and effort they expect to devote to research. They must continually register each fall and spring until they complete their research and pass the required final examination such as project, thesis or dissertation defense. (Also refer to the section on Maintenance of Study). Registration (or maintenance of studies) cannot be interrupted until a grade is entered on the permanent record except with the permission of the respective Associate Provost. If, at the end of any semester, the adviser deems unsatisfactory any work covered by the credit of registrations, students may be required to re-register for the same unit and be obligated to pay full tuition and laboratory fees.

PhD students must continue to register for at least 3 credits of dissertation until they complete all research and the dissertation. Students may register for two semesters of “Maintenance of Study” if they have completed all research and have to finish only writing, defending or revising their dissertation in that semester. Similarly, MS candidates registered for thesis or project may, under well-documented circumstances, apply for one semester of “Maintenance of Study” as described above.

Manuscript Presentation

Degree candidates must present their research to the appointed guidance committee in final manuscript form for official acceptance no later than two weeks before the end of the semester. The accepted format for the bound research document is detailed in the “Regulations on Format, Duplication and Publication of Project Reports, Theses and Dissertations.” Detailed information is available on the NYU-Poly website.

Graduate students registered for MS Project, MS Thesis, or PhD Dissertation credits must submit four final bound copies to their department for necessary signatures and then present them to the Office of the Graduate Center one week before the end of the semester.


Doctoral dissertations are published by UMI Dissertation Publishing (ProQuest). The cost of this service is charged to the student. By publishing with UMI, it ensures the dissertation thesis gains the widest possible audience. Any interested person can purchase copies of a dissertation through the company’s website.

The faculty regards publication of the major content of a doctoral dissertation in a recognized scientific journal as a necessary final step if the work performed is to achieve maximum usefulness. The publication must indicate, by footnote or otherwise, its basis as a Polytechnic Institute of New York University dissertation.