Academic Policies

Credit Hour Requirements

iMEP students are required to enroll each fall and spring term from matriculation until graduation as a full-time student for a period of four semesters. During each of these four semesters, students must maintain a course load of at least 12 credits, for a total of 48 credits. Taking more than 15 credits per semester is considered a credit overload, and requires the approval of the iMEP Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). Students who have overloaded on credits during one semester may receive approval from the DGS to underload on credits during a subsequent semester. In making such a determination, the DGS will take into consideration a student’s overall performance in the program, GPA, and course workload. Under normal conditions (e.g., those in which a student has not previously overloaded on course credits), students are strictly prohibited from underloading course credits, except under extenuating circumstances and only with the express approval of the DGS. Violation of this prohibition may result in the student being placed on academic probation.

Course Withdrawal

If a course must be dropped after the official Drop/Add period ends for a given semester, the student must formally withdraw from the course by contacting the iMEP DGS and the DKU Registrar’s Office ( All withdrawals will be noted on the student’s record with a grade of W (withdrew from course).

Study Away Semester at Duke

iMEP students will have the option to study away at Duke the spring semester of their second year. While at Duke the students will enroll in the first semester of their MP course and three electives chosen from the Sanford School of Public Policy or the Nicholas School of the Environment. Students are limited to only three elective courses unless they receive approval from the director of the program. Students will register for courses at Duke during the graduate student registration window during the previous fall semester. iMEP students may also register for courses outside of the Sanford and Nicholas schools by following the same registration policies laid out by the MPP Program. iMEP students will receive registration service and support through the iMEP Program coordinator at Duke.


Grades in the iMEP Program are as follows: A, B, C, F, I, X, Z, and W.

I (incomplete) indicates that some portion of the student’s work is lacking, for an acceptable reason, at the time the grades are reported. The student and instructor should coordinate a timeline for submission of the missing work to resolve an incomplete (I), not to exceed one year from the completion of the term for which the incomplete (I) was awarded. If the student does not satisfy the requirements within the agreed-upon timeline, the incomplete (I) will become part of the student’s permanent academic record. Program or continuation fees may be assessed for students who must register for an additional semester to resolve an incomplete.

The grade of X indicates that a student has missed the final examination for a course and must make it up by the end of the fifth week of the following semester to receive a grade for the course.

The grade of Z indicates satisfactory progress at the end of the first semester of a two-semester course. For graduate students enrolled in the summer session, a temporary I for a course may be assigned after the student has submitted a written request. If the request is approved by the instructor of the course, then the student must satisfactorily complete the work prior to the last day of classes of the subsequent summer term.

A grade of W indicates that the student officially withdrew from the course.

A grade of F in a core course normally occasions withdrawal from a degree program not later than the end of the ensuing semester or term; a grade of F in any other course occasions at least academic probation.

A grade of C or lower in a core course may result in the student being required to re-take the course in a subsequent academic term. The DGS will review the student’s overall academic performance and progress toward meeting iMEP degree requirements and will confer with the course instructor to determine whether such a re-take is warranted.To be certified as making satisfactory progress toward the degree, graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average. Students falling below this average jeopardize not only their financial support, but their continuation in the program.

For students in mainland China that have the capability of attending iMEP classes in person, all classes will be evaluated on a letter grade (A-F) basis. For students who are unable to enter mainland China and attend iMEP classes in person, but who have opted to participate in classes via online platforms, class evaluations may be on a pass/no-pass basis. To avail this option, students must submit a written request to the course instructor no later than the halfway point for the semester in which the student is enrolled.

Academic Standing

To remain in good academic standing, and to graduate from the iMEP Program, students must maintain at least a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average. Students must also demonstrate satisfactory progress in research and related activities beyond coursework. Students falling below the 3.0 average jeopardize their financial support and are subject to dismissal. A failure to maintain good academic standing, for whatever reason, will result in the student being placed on probation for one semester. If the student has not regained good academic standing by the end of that semester, the student may be dismissed from the program without receiving a degree.