The SAO’s Academic Division handles scholastic issues including, but not limited to, grade changes, personal withdrawals, CalCentral issues, and disputes with faculty.
Below you’ll find a drop-down of frequently-asked-questions and helpful guides related to the above issues. Our Division contact information is available at the bottom of the page.
How it Works
The full process (on which this section is based) is listed here. Section III.B contains the full instructions for students.
Step 1: Informal Attempts
If you have a grievance about a grade, you should first try to speak with your instructor. You must attempt to negotiate your grade with your professor before beginning a formal appeal. The ombuds office can help facilitate this meeting.
Step 2: Assess the Strength of Your Case
The following are grounds for a formal grade appeal:
- the application of non-academic criteria, such as:
- the consideration of race, politics, religion, sex, or other criteria not directly reflective of performance related to course requirements;
- sexual harassment;
- or improper academic procedures that unfairly affect your grade.
Step 3: Initiate the Formal Process
This checklist will help you keep track of the documents and steps required to complete a formal grade appeal.
You have one calendar year after the end of the semester that you took the course in to initiate the formal appeal process. Make sure to check the academic calendar to find the exact date.
Submit your case via email to the chair of the class’ department. Make sure your email explains your case fully, and that you include:
- The grounds on which you are disputing the case, as listed here:
- Sexual harassment
- Improper academic procedures that unfairly affect your grade
- A “description of the basis for grievance”, and, if it exists, the original work in question.
From here, the entire departmental process will begin. Each department has a separate grievance chairperson who will form an ad hoc committee for your case. The committee consists of the grievance chairperson, three faculty members, and two students. Your instructor will not be part of this committee.
Step 4: Wait for, then respond to, the instructor’s rebuttal.
The instructor will submit a rebuttal of your case to the ad hoc committee. You will have the opportunity to respond to that rebuttal, and the instructor will have the opportunity to rebut your response.
Step 5: Option to submit additional written materials to the ad hoc committee
The ad hoc grievance committee will meet to discuss the rebuttals, and any other information you or the instructor choose to submit. You will be able to submit materials prior to the meeting or in person to the ad hoc grievance committee. The committee may ask you to appear in person, but you will not have to face your professor during this process. Neither party may be present while the other is appearing before the committee or while the committee is deliberating.
Step 6: Wait
The committee can choose to change your grade or your grading option, and if they do, the department chair will forward all relevant documents and notify COCI in writing of the recommendation within two weeks of receiving the report from the ad hoc grievance committee. Once COCI receives the recommendation, they will give that decision to the Office of the Registrar, who will change your grade accordingly.
CoE students should note that there is no probationary period, and that all students are immediately subject for dismissal if they fail to meet the GPA requirements.
The following information is based primarily on L&S, but can apply to other colleges.
- There are two types of academic probation: 1.5 term probation, and 2.0 academic probation. You will be placed on 1.5 term probation if your semester GPA falls below 1.5, and placed on 2.0 academic probation if your overall GPA falls below 2.0.
- In order to clear your probation, you should meet with an adviser as soon as possible to discuss the specific requirements. In all colleges, you will have to raise your GPA above the probationary designation.
- If you will not clear your probation by the end of the semester, you are subject to dismissal. Any students facing dismissal should speak to an adviser and begin to prepare a Continue on Probation (COP) letter. This letter serves as an appeal to the administration to allow you to extend your probationary term and remain enrolled.
There is no way to appeal a dismissal once it has been finalized. If you have been dismissed, you can apply for readmission to your college. Depending on your college, you may have to meet specific requirements before you can be readmitted. See an adviser or your college’s website for more details.
Refer to the enrollment calendar for specific dates and deadlines to add, drop, or change the grading options for your classes each semester.
Adding or Dropping Classes
The deadline to add or drop any courses is the Friday of the fourth week. The deadline to drop an impacted course is the Friday of the second week of the semester. Please refer to this list to see if a class is subject to the early drop deadline. After these deadlines you can no longer add or drop classes, nor change variable units in a class.
Changing the Grading Option
Generally, the deadline to change your grading option is the Friday of the tenth week of instruction. However, this policy varies by college. In the College of Engineering, for technical courses that cannot fulfill any requirements for your major, the grading option change deadline is the Friday of the fifth week of instruction; the deadline for H/SS or other non-technical courses is the Friday of the tenth week of instruction.
Late Changes to Class Schedule
Depending on your college, it may be possible to make a change to your schedule after the deadlines have passed. See your adviser before making any late changes.
- L&S: Fill out and submit the late change form. You may pick one semester during your time at Berkeley to make late changes, and you may take up to two actions during that semester. Unused actions do not roll over.
- CoE: Students are allowed two semesters during which they can make late changes to schedule after the deadline. The late schedule change request form is available on CalCentral until 11:59pm the Friday before RRR week.
- CoC: Fill out and submit the late change form. You may make one late change at any point during your academic career.
- CNR: Meet with an adviser to discuss making a late change. They will provide you with the appropriate forms. Please note that this petition is not granted automatically and will require you to submit proof of your extenuating circumstances.
- CED: Fill out and submit the late change form. Please note that this petition is not granted automatically and will require you to submit proof of your extenuating circumstances.
If you are experiencing extenuating circumstances, campus bodies like Path to Care, the Disabled Student’s Program, and the Tang Center may be able to perform late changes on your behalf, even after you have used a late change. Reach out to them for more information.
Courses for which academic dishonesty has been verified by the Center for Student Conduct cannot be dropped from the record, nor can the grading option be changed. This is irrespective of the above deadlines.
Academic misconduct is defined by the University as “any action or attempted action that may result in creating an unfair academic advantage for oneself or an unfair academic advantage or disadvantage for any other member or members of the academic community”. This includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and theft or damage of intellectual property.
It is important to note that a student facing an academic misconduct accusation is subject to both the Center for Student Conduct process and academic processes and procedures. Sanctions imposed by the Center for Student Conduct have no bearing on any academic consequences, and vice versa.
Students accused of academic misconduct often fall into two categories:
- Course staff and/or the professor notify the student of the alleged academic misconduct. Course staff and/or the professor provide an opportunity for an informal resolution. The case has not been sent to the CSC.
- Course staff, the professor, and/or the CSC notify the student of the alleged academic misconduct. The student receives an Alleged Violation Letter from the CSC.
For students in either category, an SAO caseworker can assist them with their case. Conduct caseworkers to handle cases where the student has an active case with the CSC. Academic caseworkers handle cases before and after the CSC process.
Faculty Disposition Forms (FDFs)
FDFs are forms that some professors use in order to notify students of alleged academic misconduct and propose potential outcomes.
For more information, please visit our Academic Misconduct page, the Center for Student Conduct’s Academic Misconduct Resource Sheet, or our FAQ section! If you’d like individualized assistance, please contact email@example.com.
- College of Letters & Sciences Advising
- College of Engineering Advising
- College of Chemistry Advising
- College of Natural Resources Advising
- College of Environmental Design Advising
General Policies and References
Offices and Organizations
The above information is meant to be a brief guide to some of UC Berkeley’s undergraduate academic processes. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more in-depth support or for cases that relate to academics beyond the processes listed here.