Graduate students have the right to appeal course grade decisions. This policy is intended to help students in Dedman College, Lyle School, Meadows School and Simmons School graduate programs address specific concerns that their grade has been assigned inaccurately or not based on their academic performance.
If the student feels that they have been the victim of harassment or of discrimination prohibited by law or by university policy, and that this constitutes a substantive basis for the appeal, the appeal shall first be pursued and investigated through the Office of Institutional Access and Equity (IAE). If the student feels that research misconduct has occurred, the appeal shall first be pursued through the Office of Research. If the student feels that the instructor was unprofessional in determining the grade, that concern should be brought to the attention of the department chair before filing an appeal. In such cases, the timelines listed below are paused. Following a resolution of the harassment/discrimination issues, any remaining academic issues will be addressed, at the request of the student, according to the academic appeals procedures described herein.
The student must initiate the appeal process within 20 class days after the start of the term (Fall, Spring, or Summer) that immediately follows the term in which the disputed grade was assigned. If the instructor, Chair, and Dean of the School or College or their designee (individual or committee) fail to respond to the student’s appeal within the time limits, the Graduate Appeals Committee shall act on the student’s appeal. The procedure is terminated if the student and the instructor come to a mutual agreement. If the student does not appeal a decision within the appropriate time limit, the disposition of the appeal made in the previous step shall be final.
A written record of all decisions shall be kept with the file at all steps in the process. Copies of all correspondence and records shall be retained in the office in which the appeal is finally resolved. The original documents shall be forwarded to the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies for filing.
All parties must carefully adhere to the following procedure, observing the deadlines.
Step 1: Informal Consultation
A student who believes that an assigned grade is other than the grade earned must discuss the matter first with the course instructor within 10 class days after the start of the following term (Fall, Spring, or Summer), to determine if the discrepancy is caused by error or misunderstanding.
Step 2: Appeal to Department Chair
If the student feels the matter has not been satisfactorily addressed by the instructor, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the Chair of the department in which the course is offered (or, in cases pertaining to non-departmental courses, to a faculty agent designated by the Dean of the School or College). This written appeal must be made within 20 class days after the start of the following term. After discussing the matter with the student, the Chair (or faculty agent) will consult with the course instructor, then will report a decision to the student in writing within 20 class days of submission of the written appeal.
Step 3: Appeal to Dean of the School or College or Dean’s Designee
A student who does not agree with the departmental decision may appeal the decision to the Dean of the School or College within 5 class days of receipt of the Chair’s decision. The Dean or Dean’s designee will proceed as deemed appropriate. The Dean or Dean’s designee should resolve the grade appeal within 20 class days, providing a written explanation for any decision made.
Step 4: Appeal to the Graduate Appeals Committee
A student who does not agree with the decision of the Dean of the School or College may appeal that decision within 10 class days of decision notification by filing a written appeal to the Dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. The Dean of the Moody School will either render an opinion on the appeal or form a committee to review the appeal. If no appeal or request for extension has been made within the 10-class-day period, then the decision of the Dean of the School or College becomes final and is not subject to appeal. This appeal must be accompanied by copies of all correspondence, including the Dean of the School or College’s written decision. A request for appeal must include: 1) the graduate student’s name, address, email address, and phone number; 2) all correspondence from the steps of the process outlined above; and 3) the ground(s) upon which the request for appeal is based.
If warranted, the Dean of the Moody School will assemble a committee. The Graduate Appeals Committee should resolve the appeal within 20 class days. The Committee’s charge is to determine whether the grade has been assigned inaccurately or not based on the student’s academic performance. If a majority of the Committee believes that the grade should be changed because it was based on arbitrary or other reasons not related to academic performance, the Committee shall notify the Dean of the Moody School and make a written recommendation regarding the grade. If the committee recommends that a grade was calculated incorrectly, the grade will be corrected. In their actions, all parties involved must respect the principle that the determination of a grade rests with the course instructor.
The appeals procedure is not complete until all appropriate records are forwarded to the Dean of the Moody School. At this time, the Dean of the Moody School shall notify the Office of the Registrar of any grade change. A copy of the Graduate Appeals Form shall become a part of the student’s file. A permanent record of all grade appeals reviewed by the Appeals Committee shall be maintained in the Moody School.
Composition of the Graduate Appeals Committee:
The Dean of the Moody School will convene a meeting of an ad hoc academic Graduate Appeals Committee, composed of:
- Three members of the full-time graduate faculty chosen by the Dean of the Moody School.
- Two of the three faculty members on the appeals committee shall be from the student’s school or college, and
- One shall be from outside the student’s school or college.
- One non-voting graduate student selected from a pool of students identified by the Graduate Student Advisory board. The pool may include members of the Graduate Student Advisory board.
- The Dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, who does not vote, will chair the committee.
At the student’s request or by request of the committee, this appeals committee will also meet with the student. The committee may also meet with other individuals involved.