Satisfactory Academic Progress


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a standard used to measure a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a degree. CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health (CUNY SPH) Policy is required via Financial Aid federal regulation to establish a satisfactory academic progress policy to determine whether an eligible student is making SAP in his or her educational program. Students who are found to be in violation of the parameters set forth by the SAP policy are ineligible to receive most forms of federal financial aid.

All students (whether aid recipients or not) will be measured against the Title IV Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards at the end of each academic year (spring semester), in order to determine eligibility for the upcoming year.

Those who fail to meet the academic standards will have their federal aid automatically suspended until they meet the minimum standards that are listed below.

NOTE: Private scholarships, tuition waivers, and departmental scholarships are not subject to SAP standards. Merit scholarships have their own set of academic standards.


Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard

Your total academic record will be measured against each of the three progress components at the end of every spring term to determine whether or not you meet the standard of progress. All courses that appear on your permanent academic record count towards the pace of progression and maximum time-frame requirement even if you received no federal financial aid for those courses.

You must successfully meet the minimum cumulative GPA as shown below:

A) Minimum GPA – Student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 or better

Minimum Cumulative GPA
Graduate 3.0
DPH 3.0


B) Maximum time-frame – All students are expected to complete their respective educational programs within a specified timeframe. Once this timeframe has elapsed, students are no longer eligible to receive most forms of financial aid.

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


C) Pace of Progression – Student must meet Pace and progress toward graduation by successfully completing 2/3 of the cumulative units attempted.

Pace = Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have successfully completed
Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have attempted

Credit-hours that are transferred into CUNY SPH and successfully articulated towards the completion of their degree will be counted as both earned and attempted hours for the purpose of this standard. Courses that are listed as Incomplete (I) or Withdrawal (W) will be counted as attempted but not earned. Repeated courses will always be treated as attempted hours.


Academic Programs Total Credits Required to Graduate

MS– Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences 46
MPH in Community Health Education 45
MPH in Environmental & Occupational Health Science 46
MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics


MPH in Health Policy & Management


MPH in Public Health Nutrition


MPH in Public Health Geographic Information Science


DPH in Community, Society, and Health


DPH in Environmental and Occupational Health


DPH in Epidemiology 48
DPH in Health Policy and Management




Readmitted Students

Upon readmission after any period of non-enrollment, your satisfactory progress standing remains as it was at the end of your last semester of attendance. If you were making satisfactory academic progress in your last semester of attendance, your eligibility to receive federal financial aid will not be affected when you return. If you return after an academic probation or dismissal, your financial aid will be in suspended status and you will have to file an appeal to have your eligibility for federal aid restored. Any action you took during your period of absence that would have brought you back into compliance with the progress standard (such as successfully completing transferable courses at another institution) is factored into the evaluation.


Frequency of SAP Evaluation

CUNY SPH will evaluate SAP on an annual basis following the completion of the spring semester. In general, students who are in violation of the parameters set forth by the SAP policy upon an evaluation are not eligible to receive most forms of financial aid during subsequent payment periods. Students who are deemed ineligible upon an evaluation are designated with a status of “Not Meet” and are notified immediately by email upon the status being assigned.


SAP Appeal

If you have been placed on financial aid suspension, you may appeal to the Committee on Academic Standing to be allowed to receive federal student aid once again (you may find the form on the Financial Aid Forms and Links page).

Your appeal must be based on excusable circumstances resulting from events in your life such as personal illness or injury, illness or death of a family member, loss of employment, or changes in your academic program. Your appeal must include an explanation of how these circumstances caused you to fail to make satisfactory progress and what changes have you made that would allow you to meet the appropriate progress standard in a future evaluation.

If your appeal is denied, the SAP Appeal Committee may permit you to re-submit the appeal with additional documentation. You may continue to submit appeals each time you are found not to be making satisfactory progress, but approval of your appeal is at the discretion of the SAP Appeal Committee.