Graduate Student Academic Appeals
General Process for Submitting a Petition
If you wish to appeal, you must:
- Complete, print and sign the appeals form;
- Obtain all required signatures (with comments noted by program representatives) and supporting documentation; and
- Submit the entire petition to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Decisions of the Graduate Student Appeals Committee (GSAC) will be sent to your Laurier student email address.
Deadlines for Submissions
Petitions must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies with all signatures and supporting documentation at least 10 days prior to the GSAC meeting. GSAC meetings occur on the third Thursday of each month.
GSAC Meeting Date
Petition Submissions Due Date
Jan 23, 2017
Jan 18, 2017
Feb 27, 2017
Feb 23, 2017
Mar 20, 2017
|Mar 15, 2017|
Apr 17, 2017
Apr 12, 2017
Deadlines for Types of Appeals
Students wishing to appeal an academic decision (including extensions of degree time limits) must do so within six weeks of the date of receiving the decision. Changes to registration status (full/part-time, requests for leaves of absence) must be submitted six weeks prior to the start of the applicable term.
Appeals submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will be heard within six weeks of the filing of the appeal.
Each student appeal must contain the completed and signed appeals form, his/her Laurier email address (to which the decision will be communicated), and any supporting documentation as outlined in the appeals form.
Doctoral students must submit a copy of their most recent annual progress report; appeals concerning progress and degree time limits will not be considered without the progress report being available.
In the context of some petitions, it was decided that when the appellant’s petition is based on his/her medical situation, medical documentation would normally be required. Should the basis of the petition be on a medical/health condition of a family member (that is, not the appellant), a diagnosis or specific medical information will not be required in the case for a third party. However, the student will be required to provide supporting verification regarding the third party medical/health condition in the form of a document from counseling services, a doctor or the Accessible Learning Centre.
Presentation of Cases
All materials pertaining to a student’s appeal that is taken to GSAC will have third-party identifiers removed where consent has not been given.
The graduate records and data management co-ordinator will prepare a brief summary of the status of the student, including program, term of registration, relevant details (including update on previous appeals for the same issue, confirmation that a satisfactory progress report is on file, etc.). This summary will be attached to the documents submitted by the student, a copy of which is available for each GSAC member’s review
Types of Appeals
Appeals are considered minor when the petition is granted on the basis of a precedent. The dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (or chair of GSAC if not same) will consider minor cases without calling a full committee meeting.
Any student appeal (including one that, based on established precedent, may be considered minor) that is not supported by the student’s advisor/instructor and graduate officer will automatically be brought to the committee for a full discussion.
Notwithstanding any of the above, the dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (or chair of GSAC if not same) may bring any case to GSAC for discussion (even where established precedents exist).
Progress Issues (Including Completion of Key Program Elements)
Extension to Complete Coursework
For example: seminar courses that have defined end dates.
Under calendar provisions, for courses with a defined beginning and end date, a course instructor may grant a student an extension to complete coursework to a maximum of one term for a registered student. The instructor is responsible for reporting a grade of "INC" when final grades are due (the last date of each academic term), and for submitting a copy of the form confirming approval of the request to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. A final grade must be submitted by the last date of the subsequent term of registration. If a final grade cannot be submitted by that deadline because the coursework remains incomplete, the student may submit an appeal to GSAC for a further extension.
Where the extension granted is for the final course (as defined above) required for the degree, no re-registration in that course is required for the duration of the instructor-approved extension (i.e. one term). Should the student not complete the work within that approved extension period, any subsequent approval by GSAC may include the requirement to re-register.
Change in Registration Status
Registration status is based upon the student’s stated intention during the application to the program, and when the student accepts an offer of either full- or part-time studies, s/he normally proceeds to the conclusion of the degree program under the terms of the admission. Notwithstanding this expectation, there are circumstances that unexpectedly arise that require a change in registration status.
Requests for changes to registration status in any given term must be submitted to GSAC six weeks in advance of the start of the applicable term. Requests to transfer to part-time status for financial reasons will not be considered (see Leaves of Absence below with regard to financial difficulties). The number of courses in which a student is registered in any given term does not always impact registration status. Students who are undertaking their academic work off campus are ineligible to petition for inactive status as a result of being off campus (extended absences while registered full-time are permitted with approval and documentation). Students who are admitted as full-time students and who engage in full-time work are required to submit documentation in support of their petition to move to part-time registration (i.e. a signed letter from the employer indicating the beginning and end date, if available, of the full-time position is required).
MBA, MSW and WLS students who wish to transfer from full- to part-time (or part- to full-time) may do so using the Graduate Program Change Request form.
For example: comprehensive requirement.
The comprehensive examination is one of the most important milestones in a doctoral student’s program. A student becomes a candidate for the doctoral degree only after the requirements of the comprehensive have been successfully completed. Inasmuch as doctoral programs have different requirements for the satisfaction of the comprehensive experience, GSAC recognizes that timely completion of this experience is a key factor in the overall progress of the doctoral candidate. The maximum time available to complete the comprehensive experience from first term of registration is seven terms of full-time study. A request for additional time to complete the comprehensive requirement will be determined by GSAC. A completed progress report for the current academic year must be on file in order for consideration to be given.
Consideration normally will be given for a maximum one-term extension if extenuating circumstances warrant, and upon the conclusion of that one-term extension, the progress report must be updated and submitted with the appeal. Failure to complete the comprehensive requirement by the end of the 8th term of registration will result in the classification of “unsatisfactory” on the student’s annual progress report (whereupon the requirements for remedy under that process would apply).
Degree Time Limits
The calendar policy on degree time limits apply. The following precedents are established by GSAC and may be considered minor (as defined above):
- Master’s students in a full-time program with normal duration of four or fewer terms will be required to complete the program requirements, including thesis defence (if applicable), in no more than 6 terms. Requests (i.e. for a seventh term of registration or beyond) may be considered by GSAC and may be granted in one-term (or full-time equivalent) increments only.
- Master’s students in a full-time program with normal duration of 5 or more terms will be required to complete the program requirements in no more than 9 terms. Requests (i.e. for a tenth term of registration or beyond) may be considered by GSAC and may be granted in one-term (or full-time equivalent) increments only.
- Regardless of degree option, master’s students normally will not be permitted to extend their candidacy beyond five years of registration from the date of acceptance into the master’s program.
- Doctoral students may request extensions beyond 15 terms (or full-time equivalent) in total registration in the degree program. Requests beyond 15 terms (or equivalent) may be considered by GSAC and may be granted in no more than three-term (or full-time equivalent) increments. A current progress report must be on file in order for consideration to be given. Failure to complete the degree requirements by the end of the 18th term of registration would result in the classification of “with some concerns” on the student’s annual progress report (whereupon the requirements for remedy under that process would apply).
- Masters and doctoral students must be registered in the term in which their MRP/thesis/dissertation defence is held. Students who require registration in a semester beyond their approved time limit and whose defence has been set for that semester, are not required to petition for an extension of degree time limits. Verification of the defence date from the program is required in order for FGPS to approve a time ticket and waive the petition requirement.
Failed Courses/Unsatisfactory Progress/Requirement to Withdraw
Calendar regulations outline the minimum grade requirements by level of study, and by program, as well as consequences (e.g. academic probation, repeating/replacing failed courses).
Where a student has received an unsatisfactory progress report and the remedial period has expired, the program will advise the dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies that the student is required to withdraw.
A statement outlining the recommendation and the chronology of events leading to the recommendation (including evaluation reports) is submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The dean will communicate the decision to the student in writing. The student will be given an opportunity to voluntarily withdraw from the program, and the Withdrawal Form must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies within 10 calendar days from the date of the letter to the student from the dean. A student who is required to withdraw may request reconsideration of that decision to GSAC if there is new information to present.
Inactive Status is intended as a temporary suspension of a degree program, for a defined period of time (normally a maximum of one or two terms, with the exception of parental leaves, which may be for a maximum of three terms; students taking a parental leave are required to complete the Notice of Parental Leave. Students who require an absence that extends beyond the allowable maximum, or who are uncertain of their return date (as distinct from the leave of absence which has a defined start and end date) are encouraged to temporarily withdraw (under the calendar provisions). Students on Inactive Status, or who have withdrawn from the university, will not have access to university resources, including those accessible via the OneCard.
Students who accept an offer of admission are expected to maintain continuous registration until the degree requirements are met. A request for inactive status is consequently considered in situations where the requested absence is unexpected and unplanned. Open-ended requests or repeat requests for multiple semester leaves when the student is vague regarding plans for degree completion are normally denied, and the student will be advised to withdraw from the program until a definite timeline is in place. It is understood that students with Inactive Status will not be functioning in any way as graduate students (this includes all research/writing activity and completion of any incomplete courses from previous semesters).
- Requests for inactive status in a given term will not be considered if said term has commenced (see Deadlines for Submission above); in these situations, the student must temporarily withdraw and will be subject to at least partial registration fees.
- Requests for inactive status due to a lack of course availability will not be granted; programs are expected to provide adequate opportunities for students to make regular progress toward degree completion and students are expected to follow course timelines and milestones so as to ensure continuous registration. Alternatives to regular course offerings would include directed studies courses, courses selected from among the offerings of other degree programs, or under the Ontario Visiting Graduate Student program.
- Requests for inactive status due to financial constraints will be considered only when the student has provided evidence that all opportunities available at the university to ameliorate the temporary and unanticipated financial situation have been exhausted. Opportunities available to graduate students who find themselves in financial difficulty include bursary funding through the Student Awards office (applications available annually each fall term for full-time graduate students for up to three terms of bursary support), departmental support through temporary employment, advisor support through temporary employment funded by a research grant or contract, or a studentship, the Graduate Students' Association, and the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
- Requests for inactive status resulting from the sabbatical of a research advisor will not be considered; it is the responsibility of the program and the individual research advisor to ensure that each admitted student has adequate academic support during absences by the advisor.
Changing Historical Academic Records
Occasionally GSAC is asked to remove the record of course failures from a student’s transcript; requests of this nature are usually denied. In some instances a student’s entire semester record may be deleted for documented medical and compassionate reasons; however, not only would the failed course(s) be removed, but also the course(s) with satisfactory grades. A student may wish to present a case for deleting some, but not all, of the term record (i.e. explaining why part of the semester was successful while part was not). Such request will be considered on an individual basis by GSAC.
Requests to add courses, whether for credit or audit, to student records at grade reporting time or after the term has ended will normally be denied. Similarly, requests to delete credit courses or change them to "AUDIT" at grade reporting time or after the term has ended will normally not be considered.
Students and faculty are responsible for ensuring that course registration is correct no later than the published deadline for course additions/deletions.
Course Grade Appeals
The graduate academic calendar should be referred to for the process for grade appeals. Should the student have exhausted all possibilities under that section, an appeal may be submitted to GSAC.
Under the calendar provisions, each department, faculty or school may have individualized processes for formal grade reassessment, but typically this will involve having at least one other instructor who has taught the course in question or who is familiar with the content of the course reassess an unmarked copy of the assignment(s), examination(s), or other course requirement(s) in question. In order to ensure fairness, each program is required to establish program guidelines for grade re-assessment. These guidelines must indicate the steps for reassessment undertaken at the program level that are undertaken in any case of requests from graduate students. While individual instructors in programs reserve the ability to determine which opportunities within the program-wide grade reassessment process will be applied (e.g. opportunity or not to rewrite a paper and/or a final exam), it is understood that the student may submit to GSAC a petition contesting this reassessment process. GSAC will hear the case only where the departmental level reassessment process has already been undertaken and concluded.