About the Academic Division
The Academic Division can help you with any academic dispute that you may have with the University. Our services include confidential advice regarding sensitive matters,
assistance with writing letters of appeal, and representation at meetings with instructors or administrators -- depending upon your needs.
Please see below for information on how to handle academic conflicts. Do
not hesitate to contact us if you need further assistance.
According to the Berkeley division of the Academic Senate Regulation A207, you always have the right to dispute
a grade if you:
Are graded using non-academic criteria, such as: considerations of race, politics, religion, sex, or other criteria not
directly reflective of performance related to course requirements;
Are sexually harassed;
Suffered due to improper academic procedures that unfairly affected your grade.
There exists both a formal and an informal process to dispute a grade on these grounds. A formal appeal can only be pursued if all informal
means have been exhausted.
Informal Grade Appeals
Most successful grade appeals are informal. This involves discussing your concerns with the instructor. If successful,
the instructor will send a grade change request to the Academic Senate Committee on Courses of Instruction. To pursue an informal grade appeal:
(1) Gather all information related to your grade. Take a look at the grading scale and all grades received
(including final exam and participation, if applicable).
(2) Determine your grounds for a dispute. This may include use of non-academic criteria, or discrimination. Document your position as best as possible. Documentation may include email exchanges with your instructor, a graded assignment, or course materials.
(3) Calculation or clerical errors constitute a different form of grade grievance, and can usually be resolved informally with the Instructor once documentation of the mistake is presented. If an error is acknowledged, the Instructor will submit a request to the Registrar to update the grade.
(4) For non-clerical appeals, start with your GSI. Go to his/her office hours of schedule an appointment, or initiate the conversation through an email. To be as clear and effective as possible, make sure you prepare your argument in advance, and document your grievances.
(5) If this first meeting is unsuccessful, the next step is to speak with the Instructor. Again, be sure to prepare your argument in advance.
(6) If speaking with the Instructor is unsuccessful, the next step is to appeal to the department chair. You can also contact the Berkeley Ombuds office for impartial mediation. The Ombuds website is: http://sa.berkeley.edu/ombuds. Note that, unlike the Student Advocate's Office, the Ombuds will not take sides in a dispute, and instead acts as a disinterested third-party through which you can seek advice, resources, or mediation.
Formal Grade Appeals
If the informal procedure is unsuccessful, you have the right to appeal a grade formally, which involves requesting that the Department Chair form an ad-hoc Grievance Committee. This committee will review the appeal and make a recommendation to the Academic Senate Committee on Courses of Instruction. This process requires submitting various documents, including but not limited to: an explanatory cover letter, proof of non-academic grading criteria, course documents, and graded coursework. You have up until one calendar year after receiving the grade to file a formal appeal.
Again, the informal process is typically much more effective, and is the required place to start in any grade grievance.
Enrollment/Dismissal Cases Dismissal and Academic Probation
If a student earns less than a 2.0 grade point average in any one semester, the University will notify the student of their changed status from Good Standing to Academic Probation. Terms of Academic Probation vary slightly between the Colleges. However, most commonly a student must earn higher than a 2.0 and earn zero F grades in the following semester to be removed from Academic Probation. If these terms are not met and the student earns less than a 2.0 and/or any F grades in the next semester, it is likely that they will be dismissed from the University.
In order to appeal the dismissal, students must either successfully appeal individual grades that significantly affect their final standing, or negotiate their standing with the Academic Advisor or Student Affairs Officer.
Dropping a class/changing a grading option after the Deadline
The drop deadline for most colleges is the Friday of the second week of the semester for impacted courses, and the Friday of the fifth week for all other courses. After this deadline you can no longer add or drop
classes, nor change variable units in a class. The deadline to change your grading option is the Friday of the tenth week.
It is possible to petition the University to retroactively change your status in a class after either deadline. However, these petitions are usually unsuccessful in cases that do not involve serious unexpected
circumstances - such as a significant health problem. In addition, the petition process varies between the Colleges. If you would like to petition the University for a retroactive drop or change to your grading option,
please stop by 204 Eshleman for further assistance.
Withdrawal Cases Cancellation Before Instruction Begins
To cancel registration before the start of classes, simply log on to Telebears and use the Withdrawal link. No formal petition process is necessary.
Temporary Withdrawal With Advanced Notice
To withdraw from the University with advanced notice, submit the Petition to Withdraw to your major advisor. You may submit a Readmission Application Form along with the petition to withdraw, to expedite the readmissions process and to make sure that you donít miss any deadlines.
Temporary Withdrawal Mid-semester
If, due to extenuating circumstances, you decide to withdraw from the University mid-semester, submit a Notice of Withdrawal to your major advisor. This petition requires authorization from a variety of parties,
including the Dean of the College.
In the Colleges of Engineering, Environmental Design, and Letters and Sciences, readmission is limited by the semester-out rule. The semester-out rule stipulates that if you withdraw for any reason during the course of
a semester, you must remain withdrawn from the University for the following full semester as well. In certain circumstances, you may appeal to have this rule waived.
Though Telebears may be considered a foolproof system to manage your class schedule, every so often a systemic glitch will lead to changes that you may not be aware of until it is too late.
Check Telebears often and print a hard copy of your final schedule to prevent later problems. If you find that your schedule has been changed without your knowledge or approval, visit the Registrar'ís office