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Academic Policies
2009-2011 Student Handbook

Grading System Good Standing Academic Probation Student Conduct & Discipline
Grade Grievance Procedure Academic Dismissal and Appeal Reapplication Following Dismissal Grade Reports
Change of Name, Address and Marital Status Transfer Credit Reentry After Non-Attendance Withdrawal from the University
Clearance for Withdrawal, Graduation, or Dismissal Explanation of Course Numbers Registering/Adding a Course Dropping or Withdrawing from a Course
Auditing a Course Petitioning for Course Equivalency Absences General Degree Requirements
In Residence Requirement

In order for students to maintain good standing and receive appropriate grades and credits for their work, they must adhere to academic policies, procedures and standards. Each SHIS student is under the jurisdiction of the Dean. Students taking courses in the School are subject to the regulations of the School.

The School of Health Information Sciences requires a high level of academic achievement from its students. In line with this requirement, the School has defined criteria for a student in good standing, a student worthy of academic recognition, and a student in academic jeopardy. A letter grading system is used to assess the student’s level of achievement.

Grading System

“A” indicates excellent; “B” indicates good; “C” indicates unsatisfactory; “NC” indicates "no credit" and does not affect the GPA calculation or status of the visiting graduate student and “F” indicates failing; “P” indicates passing; “WP” or “WF” indicates that the student has withdrawn passing or failing, respectively; “I” indicates an incomplete grade, meaning that course requirements have not been satisfied. All letter grades are reported without modification of plus (+) or minus (-). Grades recorded for courses dropped after the deadline for WP or WF will be recorded as “F.”

Grade point averages (GPA) are computed at the end of each semester using the following academic standard:

  • A = 4 points
  • B = 3 points
  • C = 2 points
  • NC = not counted
  • P = not counted
  • F = 0 points
  • WF = 0 points
  • WP = 0 points

Graduate level courses in which a grade of “B” or better has been earned may not be repeated for credit. Graduate level courses in which a grade of “NC” is given do not count toward degree plan requirements. Courses taken at the School in which a grade of “F”, or “WF” has been earned may be repeated for credit within the School with the permission of the Dean and as course sequencing allows. Courses taken at the UTHSC-H School of Health Information Sciences in which an “F” has been earned may not be taken at another institution for credit or to raise the grade point average (GPA).

If a course is repeated where the initial grade of “F” was earned, the student must earn a grade of A or B in that course; a grade of “C” or “F” will result in automatic dismissal.

No graduate student may earn more than 2 grades of “C”, “WF”, or “F” including courses taken as concurrent enrollment even though the courses are remediated; the result will be automatic dismissal. All enrollments in courses, including repeated courses, will be reflected on the student’s transcript.

An incomplete “I” grade may be given when course requirements have not been satisfied. A student must remove a grade of “I” within one academic semester or summer session following receipt of such a grade, or the incomplete grade will be converted to the grade of “F”. Grades of “I” will not be used in calculating the grade point average. All “I” grades must be removed from a student’s record before the student is eligible for graduation.

A pass/fail grading system is used in some courses. The courses that are graded on a pass/fail basis are described in the course description section of the catalog. In these instances a symbol of “P” is used to designate “pass” and an “F” to designate “fail.” Hours for courses taken pass/fail that are passed are not entered in the grade point calculation; however, hours for courses taken pass/fail and failed are included in the grade point calculation.

Each program establishes the maximum number of semester credits allowed for a student may take on a Pass/Fail basis during his or her study in that program. Not all courses are available on a pass/ fail basis.

Grade point averages are calculated using grades and credit hours for courses that are taken in Schools except for those courses in which a grade of “I”, “WP” or “P” is recorded. Also, courses in which an “F” was made are not included in the grade point average if these courses have been repeated and passing grades obtained. The grade achieved in the repeated course is included in the calculation. Those courses taken through concurrent registration are not used in calculating the grade point average. They will be calculated as transferred courses. Courses obtained by Petition for Equivalency and by transfer from other institutions are not used in the calculation of the grade point average.

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Good Standing

To be considered in “good standing” and making “satisfactory academic progress”, a graduate student, admitted to a graduate degree program, must be following the degree plan; must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above following the degree plan and must not be on academic probation, or suspension as determined by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A SHIS graduate student is allowed one grade of “C” during their program.

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Academic Probation

Probation is an official warning status for a defined period of time, which informs the student of unsatisfactory academic, and/or professional performance, and provides the student an opportunity to improve. Any student who does not adhere to the scholastic and professional standards of the School is subject to probation, suspension, and/or dismissal by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Academic Probation will be noted on your official transcript. When you have achieved the required cumulative grade point average 3.0 minimum, following the degree plan, off academic probation will be noted on your official transcript.

Criteria upon which grades are based are given at the beginning of each course in the course syllabus. Professional standards include appropriate dress, attendance, conduct code of ethics, and any particular standards required by the program. If the student has questions regarding academic and professional requirements or if assistance is needed in meeting the standards, he or she should consult with the course instructor, his or her advising committee. Program standards are to be in conformance with the policies of the School and UTHSC-H.

Following the completion of the semester in which any of the following occur, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will place a graduate student on academic probation. He or she receives 1) a second grade of less than “B” in a graduate course while at SHIS, 2) the calculated grade point average (GPA) is less than 3.0, 3) a grade of less than “B” (“C”, “WF,” or “F”) is earned in a required course, or 4 ) the student fails to make satisfactory progress toward the degree. The graduate student is removed from academic probation at the end of the following registration period when no grade below “B” is assigned in a graduate course and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is achieved and any other cause for probation is removed or remedied.

A SHIS graduate student will be dismissed if a third grade of “C,” “WF,” or “F” is earned in any graduate level courses. If a grade of “C” is earned while the student is enrolled in a concurrent or Interinstitutional course, the student will be placed on probation. If it is the third grade of “C,” the student will be dismissed.

A graduate-level course is a course, which has HI as prefix letters and an initial number not less than 5 in the catalog number or is any graduate level at another institution.

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Student Conduct & Discipline

All students are expected and required to obey federal, state, and local laws, to comply with the Regents’ Rules and Regulations, the rules and regulations of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) and The University of Texas System (“UT System”), and directives issued by administrative officials of the university or UT System in the course of their authorized duties, and to obey standards of conduct appropriate for an academic institution.

Any student who engages in conduct that violates the Regents’ Rules and Regulations, university or UT System rules, or federal, state, or local laws is subject to discipline whether the conduct takes place on or off campus and whether civil or criminal penalties may be imposed for such conduct. A student is also subject to discipline for prohibited conduct that occurs while participating in off campus activities sponsored by the university or UT System, including field trips, rotations or clinical assignments.

A student who receives a period of suspension as a disciplinary penalty is subject to further disciplinary action for prohibited conduct that occurs during the period of suspension. A former student expelled or suspended for disciplinary reasons is prohibited from being on any UT campus during the period of expulsion or suspension without prior written approval of the chief student affairs officer of the institution at which the suspended student wishes to be present.

A former student expelled or suspended for disciplinary reasons is prohibited from being on any UT campus during the period of expulsion or suspension without written approval of the chief student affairs officer of the institution at which the suspended or expelled students wishes to be present.

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Grade Grievance Procedure

In attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades or evaluations, it is the obligation of the student first to make a serious effort to resolve the matter with the faculty member with whom the grievance originated. Individual faculty members retain primary responsibility for assigning grades and evaluations. The faculty member’s judgment is final unless compelling evidence suggests discrimination, differential treatment or mistake. If the evidence warrants appeal, the student must submit a request in writing within 12 months of the date of the evaluation in question and, in the case of a grade for a course, within 12 months of the date the Registrar recorded the grade of the course in question. The request for the appeal with supporting evidence is to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Dean’s Office. Upon receipt of the request, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will review the case and with advice from the SHIS Student Affairs Committee of the Faculty Governance Organization will submit a written recommendation to the Dean within ten working days. The determination of the Dean is final, and there is no further appeal.

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Academic Dismissal and Appeal

If a student who is on academic probation for one semester does not achieve the GPA and the individual course grades necessary to be removed from probation or remove the cause of probationary status, that student will be dismissed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and will not be allowed to continue in a program.

If the student wishes to request a reconsideration of the dismissal, a written request must be submitted within five working days of receipt of the dismissal letter to the Dean with a copy sent to the Chair of the Admissions, Progression and Graduation Committee of the Faculty Governance Organization stating evidence in support of the request. The Admissions, Progression and Graduation Committee will review the request and render its recommendation in writing to the Dean. The student will be notified in writing of the Dean’s decision within five working days of the Committee’s recommendation. The determination of the Dean is final, and there is no further appeal.

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Reapplication Following Dismissal

If a student should reapply and be readmitted to the program from which he or she was dismissed, he or she will be considered to be on scholastic probation for one semester. If the student fails to raise his or her cumulative GPA within that semester to 3.0 for the graduate program, or if the student makes a course grade below that required to be removed from probation, or fails to meet standards to be off probation, he or she will be dismissed from the School and may not be readmitted.

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Grade Reports

Students may access their term grade reports by web at

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Change of Name, Address, or Marital Status

The student’s full legal name is the name recorded on the application at the time of admission. The student must report any changes in name, address or marital status to the Office of the Registrar, and to the program office. Official documents verifying a name change are required.

The student’s full legal name is used on the permanent academic record, certificates, and diplomas.

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A student may, by written request or via UTLINK, secure a transcript of his or her official record from the UTHSC-H Registrar’s Office at a cost of $5 per transcript. The official transcript is a comprehensive record of the student’s total academic progress at UTHSC-H. No transcripts will be issued showing only a portion of the student’s academic record. A student who owes debts to the University will have his or her official transcript withheld until the debts are paid.

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Transfer Credit

Transfer credit for equivalent courses taken elsewhere may be awarded and used to meet degree requirements if their equivalency to a SHIS degree program course is approved through a Petition for Equivalency (see Page X). The maximum number of transferable semester credit hours is 3 for the certificate program, 12 for the masters program, and 36 for the doctoral program.. Some School degree programs require a certain number of credits for support courses, which are courses, possibly taken elsewhere, that enhance a student’s degree plan as determined by agreement with their advising committee. Credit for support courses taken elsewhere is approved by the students’ advising committee - a Petition for Equivalency is not required. Contact the Director of Admissions for information.

Applicants who are presenting course work from universities or colleges outside the United States to meet admission or graduation requirements are referred to the section on International Applicants in this catalog for a listing of additional requirements.

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Reentry After Non-Attendance

A Program Student who misses enrollment in two registration periods must have written approval from the student’s Advising Committee or Director of Certificate programs, (see program section for details,) and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in advance of registration for any subsequent semester. A Program Student who does not have written approval and has not enrolled for two registration periods shall no longer be considered a Program Student and must reapply for admission to the Program and the School.

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Withdrawal from the University

A student who wishes to withdraw from the School at the end of, or prior to, completing a scheduled semester, should advise his or her Advising Committee and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in writing. The letter should include the date of intended withdrawal and the specific reason(s) for withdrawal. The student should state if it is his or her intention to seek readmission to the course of study at a later date and, if so, the specific date he or she would wish to be readmitted. The letter should include a permanent mailing address to which any communications may be sent. In addition to the letter, the student must complete forms that are available in the office of Student Affairs. The grade for all courses in which the student was enrolled is submitted at the time of withdrawal.

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Clearance for Withdrawal, Graduation, or Dismissal

Any student who departs from the School of Health Information Sciences, whether withdrawing, completing a program, or upon being dismissed, must complete the official student clearance process. Such clearance is necessary to insure that the student has met all obligations to specified offices in the School, UTHSC-H, and the Texas Medical Center. A student clearance form and instructions for completing the clearance process may be obtained from the Director of Admissions. If necessary, transcript and or academic credit will be withheld until the clearance process is completed.

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Explanation of Course Numbers

Courses are numbered by a letter prefix, which designates the program and or division in which the course is taught, followed by a four-digit number. In all program courses, the first digit indicates the year beyond high school; the second digit is the number of semester credits given for the course, except for courses with variable credit or when credit is “10” or more, the second digit is a zero; and the last digits indicate the number the program uses to identify the course. An example of a course number is HI 5301. In this case the “HI” stands for Health Informatics; the “5” stands for fifth year; the “3” stands for three semester credits given for the course; and the “01” is the program identification number for the course. The Pre-foundations courses do not conform to this standard.

The program/division prefixes used are:

HI Health Informatics

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Adding a Course

To register for a course, the student must first obtain approval from the students’ advising committee and the course instructor. The student must then contact either the Director of Certificate programs or the Director of Admissions to get the call number and an approval number. Following this the student must use UTLINK at to add the course to their schedule. Refer to the Schedule of Classes for the deadline for adding a course for any semester or session. A student will be unable to add a course after the official reporting date.

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Dropping or Withdrawing from a Course

To drop a course before the official reporting date the student must use the web at http://UTLINK. The student must have the call number to drop the class.

After the official reporting date and before the last date to withdraw listed in the Schedule of Classes for that semester or session, the student must obtain a withdrawal slip from the Office of the Registrar or the Office of Student Affairs. Signatures of the course instructor, and the Director of Admissions must be obtained by the student prior to dropping a course. The student must return the completed form to the Office of the Registrar before the deadline for dropping a course, which is stated in the Registrar’s Schedule of Classes for that semester or session. The entry on the transcript will be a “WP” (withdrawal passing) or “WF” (withdrawal failing). The instructor must assign a grade of “WP” or “WF”. A “WP” is indicated on the transcript if a student has no grades recorded or has a passing grade in the course at the time the course is dropped. The “WP” will not be calculated as part of the GPA. A “WF” is recorded if the student has a failing grade at the time the course is dropped. A record of “WF” on the transcript will be calculated as an “F” in determining the GPA.

If a student does not officially withdraw from the course, a grade of “F” will be assigned. A grade of “F” is recorded if course is dropped after the deadline stated in the Registrar’s Schedule of Classes for that semester or session.

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Auditing a Course

An individual may audit a course with the written permission of the instructor. Auditing is defined as attending a course without receiving academic credit. Practicum/doctoral courses may not be audited. The instructor will not accept papers, tests, or examinations from an auditor. In no case may the auditor request credit for the course on the basis of having audited it. SHIS does not allow auditing.

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Petitioning for Course Equivalency

A student who wishes to receive credit for a course which he or she has taken at another institution and which is similar in content to any course offered at the School is to submit required documentation for a Petition for Equivalency to the Director of Admissions. Courses for which grades of less than “B” were achieved will not be accepted for equivalency. For specific details see the student handbook on the school web site /students/currentstudents.

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Absences include short-term military obligations, and students who withdraw from school for longer military obligations. These provisions apply only to a student who withdraws from the School to perform active military service as a member of the US armed forces or Texas National Guard, but does not apply to a student who withdraws from the School solely to perform one or more training exercises as a member of the National Guard.

For any academic term that begins after the date a student is released from active military service but not later than the first anniversary of that date, the School shall readmit the student, without requiring reapplication or charging a fee for readmission, if the student is otherwise eligible to register for classes. On readmission of the student under this subsection, the School shall 1) provide to the student any financial assistance previously provided by the institution to the student before the student’s withdrawal if the student meets current eligibility requirements for the assistance, other than any requirement directly affected by the student’s service, such as continuous enrollment or another similar timing requirement; and 2) allow the student the same academic status that the student had before the student’s withdrawal, including any course credit awarded to the student by the institution. The School may require reasonable proof from a student of the fact and duration of the student’s active military service.

Similarly, if a student enrolled in the School fails to attend classes or engage in other required activities because the student is called to active military service that is of a reasonably brief duration, as determined by the Higher Education Coordinating Board and the student chooses not to withdraw from School, the School shall excuse a student attending classes or engaging in other required activities, including examinations, in order for the student to participate in active military service to which the student called, including travel associated with the service. A student whose absence is excused under this provision may not be penalized for that absence and shall be allowed to complete an assignment or take an examination from which the student is excused within a reasonable time after the absence.

Holiday Policy: Federal, Religious

Policy Overview in the Handbook of Operating Procedures 2.37A

Student are excused from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day (as defined by state law), including travel for that purpose. A student absent under these circumstances may not be penalized for that absence and shall be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment from which that student is excused within a reasonable time after the absence. An absence for religious holy days which may interfere with patient care is excluded from this policy, and shall not be excused.

The full policy can be found online at

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General Degree Requirements

In order to receive a degree or a certificate from the School of Health Information Sciences the student is required to fulfill certain academic, in residence, and degree candidacy requirements. A student must be a Program Student and have completed all the curricular requirements of that program before being eligible for a degree or certificate.

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In Residence Requirement

The term “in residence” refers to the minimum number of semester credit hours that must be taken at UTHSC-H. A student must fulfill his or her in residence requirement in order to receive any academic degree or a certificate from the School. Refer to each degree section for specific semester credit hour minimum requirements.

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