Apr 22, 2024  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Academic Policies and Procedures: College of Optometry

Colleges  > College of Optometry  > Academic Policies and Procedures: College of Optometry



Registration for classes in the professional degree program is facilitated by the college’s Office of Student Affairs and Admissions. Semester registration information is mailed to students.

Academic Counseling

Students may ask any faculty member for academic counseling or may ask the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions to provide academic counseling. Students should seek tutoring in areas of weakness before those weaknesses become matters of academic record. Life crises detrimental to learning should be reported to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions or the Associate Dean for Professional Studies.

Grading Policies

The final grade is determined by the instructor of record. All final grades are reported to the college’s Office of Student Affairs and Admissions for posting on a permanent record and for release to students.

The faculty of the college has the responsibility of determining a student’s qualifications to practice optometry. Personal integrity, initiative, motivation, and a professional attitude are essential attributes of optometrists. Therefore, while the grading of written, oral, and practical examinations represent the basic source of evaluating performance, these additional factors may be considered in determining the final grade in a given course.

Course Grades

The awarding of grades is the responsibility of each course instructor. Students who believe an error has been made in a final grade calculation must report this error to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions and then must present a grade change form to the instructor of record. If the grade remains in dispute, students should request a meeting with the instructor and the Department Chair. Finally, students may appeal to the Academic Committee.

Academic Honesty

Students who are found cheating during examinations will be expelled from the college. A statement of policies and procedures approved by the faculty and students concerning questions of academic honesty is available from the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions.

Academic Probation and Suspension

A full-time student in the professional program shall be placed on academic probation at the end of any semester in which the student’s cumulative or semester grade point average falls below a 2.00. A full-time student shall be suspended from the professional program for academic reasons under any or all of the following conditions:

  1. the student is placed on academic probation for two consecutive semesters or three nonconsecutive semesters, including any full-time summer session;
  2. the student earns a grade lower than a “C” (i.e., grades of C- or lower) in four or more separate courses in any semester;
  3. the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below a 2.00 in any semester after the first semester in the program; or
  4. the student earns a semester grade point average of 1.00 in any semester.

The placement of students on academic probation or suspension is carried out automatically and does not require initiating or confirming action of the dean, the Academic Committee, or any other administrative unit. While every effort will be made by the College of Optometry’s Office of  Student Affairs and Admissions to notify students of academic probation or suspension by writing to the students’ last known addresses, failure to notify students for whatever reason does not abrogate academic probation or suspension. Each student is responsible for knowing his or her academic status before attempting to matriculate for the subsequent semester.

Besides the conditions for automatic academic probation or suspension, the Academic Committee may recommend that the dean place or continue a student on academic probation when the student’s academic performance is unsatisfactory. The committee may also recommend that the dean suspend a student from the professional program when the student’s academic performance suggests that he or she will not be able to successfully complete the program. The associated clinical course master, like the Academic Committee, may recommend the dean either place a student on probation or suspend that student from the program on the basis of the criteria outlined in the clinic manual and summarized in the appended document, “Criteria for Clinic Probation and Suspension.” If a recommendation for probation or suspension which is not automatic is made by the committee and accepted by the dean, the student will be notified by the dean’s office within five (5) working days of the dean’s decision.

Exceptions from academic probation or suspension may be granted on appeal. Students must initiate any and all appeals procedures. Appeals of these actions within the college will be filed with the college dean who will, in turn, act upon the advice of the Academic Committee. A student contemplating an appeal must consult with the Assistant Dean of the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions and may select other advocates. Appeals must be stated in writing and delivered to the Chair of the Academic Committee within two weeks after the last final examination as posted by the University calendar.

Appeals of these academic actions will ordinarily be granted in the following circumstances:

  • A student who has been placed on academic probation and who fails to raise his or her cumulative grade point average above a 2.00 in the subsequent semester, but who nevertheless achieves a semester grade point average of 2.50 or better, and who has no individual course grade below a “C” may be retained on academic probation.
  • Students placed on suspension for academic reasons may continue in the professional program only with the recommendation of and under the conditions specified by the Academic Committee and approved by the dean. These conditions may exceed those demanded of students at the same level who are not on probation or suspension. Appeals will ordinarily be granted only in the presence of extenuating circumstances and when subsequent improvement seems likely. A student who has been suspended and is involved in the appeals procedure within the university is permitted to continue in school as long as the appeals procedure is in progress.

Students on suspension who fail to enroll for a particular semester, either because they did not file an appeal in a timely manner or because such an appeal was denied, must apply to the Admissions Committee for readmission to the college at a level deemed appropriate by the committee. The suspension must stand for a period of at least one year. A student may be denied readmission to the college but granted readmission to the university to pursue a different major, provided general university requirements have been met.

Criteria for Clinical Probation and Suspension

The University of Houston College of Optometry is committed to producing competent clinicians who can render appropriate vision care and therapeutic treatment to their patients. In order to achieve this goal, students must successfully complete and pass their clinical rotations.


For purposes of clarification, the conditions of CLINICAL PROBATION, FAILURE, and SUSPENSION will be defined:

Clinical Probation: Students demonstrating consistently marginal performance will be placed on clinical probation. Students placed on clinical probation must demonstrate “pass” performance in all rotations (perform at the level expected for a student at that particular point in the program) by the end of the next semester or he/she will receive a grade of unsatisfactory. A failure generated in such a manner, will result in a recommendation of suspension (see below).

Failure: Students who demonstrate serious deficiencies (perform well below expected level) in examination skills, assessment and/or treatment plan thus potentially jeopardizing the patients’ health, comfort and/or visual efficiency will receive an unsatisfactory grade. Other reasons for failure include, but are not limited to, failing to observe and/or record obvious ocular abnormalities, consistently maintaining inadequate records, unprofessional conduct, or entering false data. Students must repeat any clinical semester for which they receive a grade of unsatisfactory.

Suspension: Students placed on clinical probation must demonstrate “pass” performance in all rotations (perform at the level expected for a student at that particular point in the program) by the end of the next semester or he/she will receive a grade of unsatisfactory for both semesters and will be suspended. Any combination of two semester grades of clinical probation OR unsatisfactory will result in suspension from the College of Optometry. Clinical assignments, if any, for students on suspension awaiting appeal will be determined by the dean of the college in consultation with the clinic director and the appropriate course master. 

Clinical Probation, Failure, and Suspension

If a student is placed on probation at the midterm evaluation, the student has until the end of that same semester to successfully complete the semester’s clinical work. If the student is not at expected level by the end of the semester, a grade of “U” for that semester’s clinical work will be given.

Students placed on probation at the end of a semester will receive an “I” for that semester and must demonstrate pass performance (be at the level expected for a student in that semester) by the end of the next semester. If the student does not achieve pass performance by the end of the next semester, he/she will receive 2 semester grades of unsatisfactory (one for the semester in which he/she received an “I” and one for the current semester).

A student cannot advance to the next clinical year while on CLINICAL PROBATION. In the third or fourth year, probation or failure for ANY clinical rotation will result in a semester grade of probation or unsatisfactory for the entire semester’s clinical course. If a student is placed on CLINICAL PROBATION for two or more rotations in a semester, the student will automatically fail that semester’s clinical course.

A student must successfully complete all components of a clinical year prior to progressing to the next year’s clinics. Any combination of two semesters of clinical probations OR failures (unsatisfactory) will automatically result in suspension from the College of Optometry.

Optometry II

Optometry II clinical rotations include interpersonal skills workshops, primary care clinic, dispensary, and vision screenings (fall and spring semesters only). Students placed on clinical probation at the end of the spring Opt II term will repeat a semester of clinical work during the first seven weeks of the summer term following the spring Opt II term. If successfully completed, the student will then progress to Opt III clinics which he/she will complete during the second seven weeks of the summer term. Should that same student now fail or be placed on probation for an Opt III clinic session, the student will be suspended from the clinical program due to the accumulation of two probations and/or fails (unsatisfactory).

Optometry III

If a student is placed on probation for a summer session, he/she will enter the fall semester on probation. If a student receives an unsatisfactory grade for a summer session, he/she must repeat the summer semester’s work during the fall semester.

Any student placed on probation or failing the last semester of Opt III clinics must successfully complete another semester of all Opt III clinics prior to entering Opt IV. That student cannot register for Opt IV clinics prior to successfully completing the Opt III clinical year.

Optometry IV

Students who have previously received a grade of clinical probation or unsatisfactory in any prior semester will not be allowed to begin an externship during the first semester of Opt IV. The student may appeal this provision to a committee composed of the clinic course masters, Clinic Director, and Director of Externships. This appeal must be presented in writing to the Associate Dean for Professional Studies.


The status of clinical probation and failure will be monitored by the appropriate clinical course master. The course master will notify the student in writing concerning his/her clinical status. The course master will also inform the Academic Committee Chair and place a letter in the student’s academic file concerning the student’s status of probation, failure, or suspension. The Academic Committee Chair and the clinical course masters will meet at the end of each semester to monitor probationary students’ clinical status. The Academic Committee Chair will compile and distribute this information to all clinical faculty, clinic course masters, clinic director, Associate Dean for Professional Studies, and the dean each semester. Letters of suspension will be sent to the student through the Dean’s office. The student may appeal the suspension by notifying the Dean of the College within two weeks of notification of the suspension.