OBJECTIVE To review academic dismissals, students' rights in dismissal cases, and several key cases involving academic and disciplinary dismissals. DATA SOURCES Recent academic literature and legal precedents. STUDY SELECTION Not applicable. DATA EXTRACTION Not applicable. DATA SYNTHESIS Students involved in dismissals are protected under the principles of constitutional law and/or contract law, depending on whether the institution is public or private. The basis for dismissal from educational programs is either academic or disciplinary in nature. In academic dismissals, a student has failed to meet either the cognitive or the noncognitive academic standards of the program. In disciplinary dismissals, a student has violated the institutional rules governing conduct. Policies that affect progress in the program and the dismissal process should be published and distributed to students, as well as reviewed for consistency with institutional policies. CONCLUSION The amount of documentation needed in the defense of a dismissal decision has not been specified, but, in general, more is better. Procedures are suggested as a guide to dismissals in clinical laboratory programs.