Appealing Graduate Program Decisions
To establish a policy whereby a graduate student may appeal a suspension or dismissal decision by a graduate program. This is distinct from the appeal of a course grade (2.0340P Appealing Academic Grades Policy). This policy also does not apply to the appeal of penalties assessed for a violation of the Academic Misconduct Policy (2.0640P) or Student Conduct Regulation (5.0010R). If the suspension or dismissal is the result of an unsatisfactory course grade or a penalty for academic or student misconduct, those appeals must be resolved as per their policies prior to appealing a graduate program decision. Similarly, any related withdrawal for medical reasons (5.0050P Medical Withdrawal Policy) must be resolved before appealing a program decision.
The primary responsibility for monitoring a graduate student’s progress rests with the degree program, although the Graduate School may also monitor a student’s progress and take appropriate actions if performance standards as specified by the program and university are not maintained. Determining student progress requires an ongoing evaluation of a student’s performance in a program as indicated by satisfactory grades within courses, successful performance on competency exams, progress in thesis or dissertation research and writing, maintenance of the standards of academic and professional integrity expected in a particular discipline or program, and/or any other measures of progress as used in the program. Probation, suspension, or dismissal of a student may occur when the individual is not maintaining good academic standing in the degree program (see also 2.0400P Graduate Academic Standing Policy).
Even if a student is maintaining good academic standing, a degree program may recommend probation, suspension, or dismissal if a student fails to maintain standards of academic and professional integrity as well as competence necessary for the welfare of patients, clients, or others encountered in internships, externships, or other courses required by a degree program.
Additional details on suspension are provided in the Graduate Academic Standing Policy (2.0400P), while details on dismissal are provided in the Dismissing a Student from a Graduate Program Policy (2.0410P). Prior to suspension or dismissal, a student must be afforded an opportunity to discuss the decision with the program director and/or the program’s graduate committee, should the program have one. If the program chooses to suspend or dismiss the student, this decision must be communicated to the student and to the Graduate School in writing.
Once suspended or dismissed, a student may appeal the program decision within 30 calendar days from receiving written notification of the program decision. If the suspension or dismissal is the result of an unsatisfactory course grade, a penalty for academic or student misconduct, and/or an issue warranting a medical withdrawal, those appeals must be resolved first, after which the student has 30 calendar days to file a program decision appeal following the procedure detailed below.. During the appeal, the suspension or dismissal remains in effect, and the student is not allowed to enroll in courses or participate in program activities until and unless the program decision is reversed.
The graduate student should first discuss the matter within the academic unit of the grievance and attempt to resolve the grievance informally. If the informal grievance fails, the formal appeal procedure is as follows:
(a) The graduate student requesting the appeal must state the nature of the grievance in writing to the graduate program director. The statement should include a brief narrative of the grievance, the parties involved, and a statement of the remedy being requested.
(b) Within 10 business days of receipt of the student’s written appeal, the graduate program director will make a recommendation to the responsible department chair about the appeal. The chair will then make a department-level decision about the appeal and inform the student of the decision within 10 business days after receiving the recommendation from the graduate program director or graduate program committee.
(c) Should the graduate student disagree with the decision of the department chair, the student has 10 business days to file a written appeal of the decision with the responsible college dean. It is incumbent on the student to explain in the appeal why the department-level decision is in error and should be reexamined. The college dean will then make the final decision about the grievance at the academic college level, and inform the student of the decision within 10 business days after receiving the written appeal from the student.
(d) Should the graduate student disagree with the decision of the academic college dean, the student has 10 business days following receipt of the college decision to file a written appeal of the decision at the university-level with the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. It is incumbent on the student to explain in the appeal why the academic college decision is in error and should be reexamined. The Provost will within 10 business days following receipt of the appeal make a decision about the grievance. There is no appeal beyond the level of Provost, as this position is vested with the final authority by the President of the University.
View the University's official policy on Appealing a Graduate Program Decision