Graduate Student Academic Appeal Procedures

All requests for exceptions to university policy must begin within the student’s department/academic program. Requests must receive approval at the department/academic program level as well as the college level according to the college/school’s published appeals process before they are sent to the Registrar’s Office for processing.

In some cases, requests may require additional approval by the Associate Provost for Graduate Education before being forwarded to the Registrar’s Office. These requests include, but are not limited to:

  • Change of Grade when requests are for changes of grade that were posted more than one year prior to the request.
  • Continuous Enrollment Waiver Request when a student hasn’t enrolled for a semester or more after advancement.
  • Extension of Incomplete when requests for extension are beyond the last day of classes of the semester following that in which the course was taught (summers excepted).
  • Program Resignation and Transfer when requests for transfer from PhD to Master’s or PhD to Certificate are submitted 6 years after admission into the PhD program.
  • Retroactive Graduation when a change is made after the graduation deadline for the graduation term being requested.
  • Retroactive Enrollment Adjustment when requests are for adjustments to courses taken over one year prior to the request being submitted.
  • Termination Appeal when a college/school approves a student’s termination appeal.
  • Time Limit Extension when requests are made for an extension of more than one year, or for a second extension request.
  • Transfer of Credit when requests are for graduate credit earned more than six years prior to first enrollment.
  • Voluntary Resignation when requests for resignation are for a term of more than one year prior to request.
  • Waiver of Residency when requests are for Certificate students to take fewer than 6 credits in residency, or for Master’s/PhD students to take fewer than 15 credits in residency.

Additional Levels of Appeal (Graduate Appeals Process, Step-by-Step)

If the request is denied, either at the unit level or by the Associate Provost, students are afforded one additional level of appeal.

1. For requests that require approval by the Associate Provost for Graduate Education (see above):

a) If the student’s request is supported by the college/school and subsequently denied by the Associate Provost for Graduate Education, AND the student believes due process was not afforded by the Associate Provost for Graduate Education, the student may appeal to the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee (see Graduate Academic Appeals Committee section below).

b) The burden of proof rests with the student who must provide clear and convincing documentation to support the contention that the decision was unfair (see Student Appeals section below).

c) Submission of appeal must be made to the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee within ten business days of notification of denial by the Associate Provost’s Office. If no appeal is made, the Associate Provost’s decision is final.

2. For requests denied by the college/school:

a) If the college/school does not support the student’s request, the student may appeal to the Associate Provost for Graduate Education for consideration.

i) The burden of proof rests with the student who must provide clear and convincing documentation to support the contention that the decision was unfair (see Student Appeals section below).

ii) Submission of appeal must be made within ten business days of notification of denial by the college/school. If no appeal is made, the college/school’s decision is final.

Student Appeals

  1. Students who appeal directly to the Associate Provost or the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee should submit documentation supporting their case. The documentation should include a letter explaining the circumstances of the student’s case along with an explanation of how the appeals process was conducted unfairly by the college/school or Associate Provost’s Office. It should also include all supporting documentation that substantiates claims asserted in the letter.
  2. All information necessary to understand the case and make a decision must be included in the appeal packet. The case will be considered on the basis of the information provided to the reviewing entity: subsequent information will not be considered.
  3. Appeal packets directed either to the Associate Provost for Graduate Education or to the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee should be submitted as email attachments to Akitta Robertson, Graduate Program Coordinator, arober17@gmu.edu.

Graduate Academic Appeals Committee

  1. The Graduate Academic Appeals Committee is a subcommittee of Graduate Council and consists of five members of the graduate faculty. The committee will hear only those cases it judges demonstrate procedural irregularities or questionable application of university policy.
  2. The Graduate Academic Appeals Committee is not charged to hear grade appeals or appeals of Honor Committee decisions.
  3. Decisions of the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee are final.