Academic Catalog 2020-2021

Academic Grievance and Appeal Procedures

Fair Process for Academic Problems

Appeals with regards to academic matters fall into three main categories: appeals related to a specific course, appeals related to applications of written policy, and appeals related to charges of academic dishonesty. Students should consult the appropriate section related to the type of appeal they are making.

Grounds for Academic Appeals

Students must be clear about the reasons why they believe an academic-related decision is incorrect before lodging an appeal. An appeal can only be considered on one or more of the following grounds:

  • Circumstances existed affecting the student’s performance of which the body in question was not aware when its decision was made, and which could not reasonably have been presented at the time;
  • A procedural error/irregularity or other inadequacy on the part of the University of such a nature as to cause doubt as to whether the result would have been different had there not been such an irregularity; or
  • Evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of the instructor or body making the decision.

Detailed information related to these specific grounds for appeal can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook. An appeal cannot be made against the academic judgment of instructors with regards to a grade for a specific assignment or activity within a course. If a student is dissatisfied with a particular assignment/activity grade awarded to them, they are advised that the correct route is to follow up within their School/Department/Program and inquire whether any feedback/further clarification can be provided on the basis for the specific grade on that assignment/activity. Since this is a matter of academic judgment, however, please note that a student should not have any expectation that a specific assignment/activity grade will be changed.

Specific Course Appeals

A student who experiences a problem concerning a final grade or any other aspect of a specific course should first discuss the matter with the instructor. If the problem is not resolved, they should go next to the Dean of the School or the Chair of the Department. Decisions from all individuals consulted in the appeals process should be documented on the Specific Graduate Course Appeal Form. If not satisfactorily resolved, the matter should be taken to Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, who will convene the Appeals Committee of the Graduate Council to hear only those parties involved and decide on the case. This process must begin on or before 30 days after the final grade is officially posted by the University. The full grade appeals process must be completed on or before the last day of exams of the following semester as indicated by the University Academic Calendar.

Applications of Written Policy Appeals

Students also have the right to appeal academic matters with regard to applications of written academic policy. In order to appeal this type of academic matter, the student should complete the Application of Written Graduate Academic Policy Appeals Form and submit it to the coordinator/director of their program of study. After consideration, the coordinator/director will send the signed form along with their recommendation for approval or denial to the Dean of the School or Chair of the Department. If not satisfactorily resolved, the matter should be taken to Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, who will convene the Appeals Committee of the Graduate Council to consider the matter and decide on the case. The deadline for these types of academic appeals is twelve months after the date of the decision being appealed.

Academic Dishonesty Appeals

Students also have the right to appeal academic matters with regard to academic dishonesty decisions. The full process for this type of appeal and all procedures are described in the section on Academic Honesty. The deadline for an academic dishonesty appeal is seven days after the date of the decision being appealed.

For non-academic appeals see the Graduate Student Handbook.