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Academic Policies

Academic Policies


Registration instructions are e-mailed to students accepted into or continuing in the graduate programs at CUNY SPH. All registration is subject to space availability. For courses that require permission, students must obtain approval prior to registration. Questions regarding course requirements and pre- or co-requisites should be directed to the academic advisor.

Maximum Enrollment

The maximum enrollment during the Fall and Spring semesters is 16 credits each, 4 credits during the Winter term, and 10 credits during the Summer term. Exceptions to the maximum term enrollment must be approved by the School. (See Credit Overload Request.)

Limit on Non Degree Student Credits

Non-Degree students may complete a maximum of 12 credits at the Master’s level only. Admission is not guaranteed and registration approval is based on space availability. Those interested in taking more than 12 credits must apply for matriculation. Non-degree students are responsible for informing their academic advisor that they wish to re-register for any subsequent semester.

Auditing Courses

Courses may be audited with instructor’s permission and based on availability. Students must formally register to audit courses in the same manner as for any other course after receiving permission. The grade notation ‘AUD,’ which carries no earned credit, cannot be changed to any other credit-bearing grade. Audited courses will be included in the calculation of total credits to determine full- or part-time status. Audited courses cannot be used towards financial aid eligibility and therefore will not count toward financial aid load. The costs associated with auditing a course are equivalent to the cost that a matriculated student would be charged.

Withdrawal from Courses

If for any reason a student can no longer attend the course, the student must officially withdraw from the course online before the term deadline date recorded in the Academic Calendar. After the program adjustment period, a grade of W is posted to the academic record for withdrawn courses. There is no refund of tuition. W grades are not calculated in a student’s GPA; however, W grades may adversely influence a student’s ability to receive financial aid or impede progress toward degree completion. Failure to follow this procedure will result in a grade of ‘WU’ which is equivalent to a failing grade of ‘F.’ All official withdrawals after the official withdrawal period (3rd – 10th week of classes) must have the approval of the School. Documentation supporting the reason for withdrawing after the official withdrawal date must be provided. Consult with an academic advisor about the necessary documentation.

Maintaining Matriculation

A matriculated graduate student who is not registered for any courses but is completing other degree requirements for graduation must be registered to maintain matriculation. The fee cannot be waived or refunded. Maintenance of matriculation is not proof of attendance. (See Maintenance of Matriculation Request.)

Definition of a Credit Hour

In compliance with policy set by the New York State Education Department, one semester hour per week during a 15-week semester (fall and spring) is equivalent to one credit. At least 15 hours of instruction (50 minutes = 1 hour) and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments are required for each credit earned. The semester hour may include traditional in-person contact time, as well as laboratory sessions, tutorials, supervised fieldwork, individual meetings, electronic communication and field trips. The 15 hours of instruction time can be replaced through other activities equivalent in length that meet the learning outcomes, such as is the case in hybrid and online courses. These activities often include reviewing instructional materials, completing worksheets, discussions and group work (with instructor feedback and participation). Summer and winter courses are subject to the same requirements as those offered during the fall and spring semesters, with respect to the total number of classroom hours and expected learning outcomes.

Definition of Full Time and Part Time Students

Masters level students are defined as full time if they are enrolled in 12 credits during a regular semester. Doctoral students are defined as full time if they are enrolled in 7 credits during a regular semester. All students are defined as part time if they are registered for 6 credits during a regular semester.

Levels for Doctoral Students

PhD Levels

Please note that the term “doctoral level” is interchangeable with the term “professional level.” PhD students begin the program as Level I. Students will advance to Level II once they have successfully completed 15 credits of their degree. Students will advance to Level III once they have successfully completed all coursework and exams except PUBH 900: Dissertation Supervision.

DPH Levels

Please note that the term “doctoral level” is interchangeable with the term “professional level.” DPH students begin the program as Level I. Students will advance to Level II once they have successfully defended their second exam. They will remain in Level II generally for one semester, during which they will register for PUBH 816 Advanced Research Seminar II (3 credits). Students that need to maintain full time (7 credit) status for financial aid, student visa, or fellowship reasons are advised to register for a four credit independent study with their dissertation chair. Upon successful completion of Research Seminar II, students will be advanced to Level III.

Student Leave of Absence

A matriculated graduate student is eligible to apply for a leave of absence (LOA). (See Leave of Absence Request.)

Specific procedures and forms to follow for Leaves of Absence include:

  1. LOA may be approved for a maximum of 4 semesters (2 academic years).

  2. Student must have completed (or complete before commencing the leave) at least one semester in the CUNY SPH and must complete the semester immediately before requesting such leave.

  3. If the student wishes to begin the leave during the course of the semester, the student must drop all classes, in accordance with the Registrar’s schedule.

  4. Any changes to the length of the LOA should be submitted for review and approval.

The academic LOA is intended to accommodate students’ plans and needs to ensure easy return to school. Students are guaranteed a place in their current program, without reapplication, provided all deadlines and rules are observed.

If a student plans to take a course while on academic leave at an institution outside the CUNY system, the course must be evaluated for transferability prior to taking the leave.

Any international student with F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) status should consult the Office of Student Services before applying for a leave. Any student subject to induction or recall into military service should consult the veteran’s certifying officer before applying for an official leave.

Unapproved Leaves

Students failing to register for a regular semester will be dropped automatically from the active student file. If they wish to return, they must apply for readmission. In all cases of nonattendance, students must still observe the time limitations for degree completion. (See Re-Admission Request.)

Transfer of Credit and Course Residency

Transfer credits taken prior to admission to the CUNY graduate public health program may be applied toward the degree, provided the courses were completed with a grade of B or higher within five years preceding the time of application and are equivalent to comparable courses at the CUNY SPH. Students are required to take at least 70% of all credits required for the degree in residence at CUNY SPH, unless otherwise stipulated through an articulation agreement. Graduate courses completed as part of one graduate degree may not be used for credit toward another graduate degree. (See Transfer Credit Request and Course Waiver or Substitution Request.)

Students Matriculated at CUNY SPH Taking Courses at Other Institutions

CUNY SPH matriculated students in good standing (GPA 3.0) have the option of taking courses at other CUNY colleges on a ‘ePermit’ basis and receiving credit and the grade earned toward their CUNY SPH degree. (See ePermit Request.) Students who would like to enroll in courses at a non-CUNY college should inquire with their academic advisor. The student registers at a non-CUNY college as a nonmatriculated student and at the end of the semester requests that a transcript be sent to the School Registrar.

Students Matriculated Outside CUNY SPH Wanting to Register for CUNY SPH Courses

Students matriculated in a graduate program at any other CUNY branch who want to register for a course at CUNY SPH are required to use the ePermit system. Students must complete the ePermit process for approval in CUNYfirst. Information regarding their ePermit request will be e-mailed to their official university e-mail address. Tuition payment for courses is made at the student’s home school. (See ePermit Request.)

Awarding of Degrees

Degrees are awarded three times per academic year to candidates that are in good academic standing and that have satisfied all academic degree requirements. Students must maintain active status for the semester in which a student will apply to graduate. Students can do this by taking a course at CUNY SPH (or another CUNY college through e-permit) or paying the maintenance of matriculation fee. The academic transcript is permanent upon graduation.

Courses Considered for GPA at the Time of Graduation

GPA requirements for advanced certificate completion will be calculated only by required coursework. Additional courses taken outside the curriculum will not be included in GPA calculation.

Time Limits for Degree Completion

Master’s Degree: All requirements for the degree must be completed within 5 matriculated years.

Doctoral Degree: All requirements for the degree must be completed within 8 matriculated years.

(See Time Extension Request.)

Grading System


Quality Points




97.5% - 100%



92.5% - 97.4%



90.0% - 92.4%



87.5% - 89.9%



82.5% - 87.4%



80.0% - 82.4%



77.5% - 79.9%



70.0% - 77.4%















Credit Earned



Withdrew (student attended at least one class session)



Administrative Withdrawal non-punitive grade assigned to students who had registered for classes at the beginning of the term but did not provide proof of immunization by compliance date (student attended at least one class session)



Withdrew Drop (dropped after FA cert date during the program adjustment period. Student attended at least one class session)



Withdrew Failing (student attended at least one class session)



Never Attended



Withdrew Unofficially (student attended at least one class session)



No Credit Granted (restricted to regular and compensatory courses. This grade can also be used by colleges for other administrative actions such as disciplinary dismissals.)






F from Incomplete (to be used when the INC grade lapses to an F grade)



An intermediate grade assigned after the first of a multi-semester course to signify work in progress. The “Y” grade is not included in calculating the grade point average. Each “Y” grade is replaced by the earned letter grade when the sequence has been completed.



Grade Pending



No Record of Progress (exclusive to Dissertation Supervision)



Satisfactory Progress – restricted to thesis and research courses requiring more than one semester for completion.




All Spring 2020 grades were earned during a major disruption to instruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incomplete Grades

Instructors may assign the grade INC, meaning that course work (examinations, assignments, classwork, lab work) was not completed. For an INC grade to be changed to a letter grade, all required coursework must be completed no later than one calendar year after the INC grade has been assigned. If not changed to a letter grade, the INC grade will automatically become permanent (FIN) and be treated the same as an ‘F’ for GPA calculation. Penalties for late submission of coursework that were previously established for the course will remain in effect. Instructors must submit an Incomplete Agreement Proposal for students receiving this grade.

Repeat Courses

Graduate and doctoral students shall not be permitted to repeat courses in which they have previously received a grade of B or better. Courses in which a grade of B- or lower is earned may be repeated only with permission by the Registrar. The maximum number of courses that can be repeated is two. Credit will be granted once, but both course grades will be included in the GPA calculation.

Special COVID-19 Flexible Grading Policy for the Spring 2020 Semester

As part of The City University of New York’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the Spring 2020 semester, all students shall have the option to convert any or all of the (A-F) letter grades they earn in their classes, to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading.

Academic Standing

Students must remain in good academic standing to continue in the program. Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to remain in good academic standing.

Academic Probation and Dismissal

Students not in good academic standing will be placed on academic probation for at least one semester. Students are placed on probation at the end of each fall and spring semester. The student will be dismissed from further study and the program upon two consecutive matriculated academic (fall and spring) semesters on academic probation. Non-degree students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 will not be approved for further study.

Definitions of Instruction Mode

In-Person: In an In-Person class, all required class meetings occur on campus, during scheduled class meeting times. Contact includes instruction, learning activities, and interactions (both student-student and student-instructor). An In-Person class where material is provided online, via a learning management system or website, does not displace any of the required contact hours that would normally occur in a scheduled In-Person class. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus.

Hybrid: In a Hybrid class, online contact hours (synchronous or asynchronous*) displaces some portion of the required contact hours that would normally take place in a scheduled in-person (face-to-face) class. Contact includes instruction, learning activities, and interactions (both student-student and student-instructor). A hybrid class is designed to integrate face-to-face and online activities so that they reinforce, complement, and elaborate one another, instead of treating the online component as an add-on or duplicate of what is taught in the classroom. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus.

Online: In an Online class (synchronous or asynchronous*), all required contact hours are online. Contact includes instruction, learning activities, and interactions (both student-student and/or student-instructor).  All the class work, examinations, quizzes, writing assignments, lab work, etc. are fully online.

HyFlex: A HyFlex course provides multiple learning paths to give students choice in how to participate in class from session to session. The number of formats available to students will vary from course to course, though generally includes in-person, synchronous online and asynchronous online. Students will be advised in the class about the choices they can make. HyFlex can function differently depending on discipline, class size and course learning goals. The purpose of HyFlex course design is to expand accessibility and be responsive to student needs by maximizing use of learning technologies. Additional information on the HyFlex setup for each course will be provided in the "notes" section on CUNYFirst at the time of registration.

*Synchronous: Synchronous classes meetings resemble traditional on-campus In-Person classes in that students must be (virtually) present at the same time. Though they are conducted virtually, synchronous classes meet in real-time.  Students must commit to scheduled class times and sign onto their virtual learning platform on schedule. During these classes, students will engage with the instruction during online lessons and presentations and even have virtual class discussions. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus.

**Asynchronous: Asynchronous class meetings do not require you to log in to your virtual classroom at a specified time. Students do not have to follow a strict schedule to engage in live classes or discussions, and the only requirement regarding when they turn in their work is the assignment deadline, not an arbitrary timeline. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus.

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty is prohibited. The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity defines academic dishonesty to include cheating, plagiarism, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsifying records and documents. Penalties for academic dishonesty include academic sanctions, such as failing or otherwise reduced grades, and/or disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion. The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity requires that all faculty members report incidents of academic dishonesty. The school follows the procedures outlined in the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy. The Academic Integrity Officer for the school shall be defined as the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). See the Office of Academic Affairs for more information.

Academic Appeals

Academic appeals of course grades, academic probation, and program dismissal, shall be reviewed by the Academic Appeals Committee/Academic Integrity Subcommittee. This committee is composed of five faculty members: one faculty member from each department and one faculty member elected by the Governance Council. Some cases, such as those related to academic integrity, may be referred to the Faculty-Student Disciplinary Committee.

In matters of grade appeals, students must first communicate with the instructor of record to attempt to resolve the matter. Appeals of final grades must be filed within five weeks of the grade posting. All decisions made by the committee are final.

Students should contact with any questions about the process, or to file a formal written appeal.

Email Communication

Students should note that the School sends official email only to students’ official university email addresses.