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About the Academic Division

The Academic Division can help you with any academic dispute that you may have with the University. We have experience with all sorts of academic grievances at UC Berkeley, especially:


Grade Appeals


How it Works

The full process (on which this section is based) is listed here.

Step 1: Informal Attempts

If you have a grievance about a grade, you should first try to speak with your instructor and/or the student ombuds. You must attempt to negotiate your grade with your professor before beginning a formal appeal.

Step 2: Assess the Strength of Your Case

The following are grounds for appeal:

  1. the application of non-academic criteria, such as:
    1. the consideration of race, politics, religion, sex, or other criteria not directly reflective of performance related to course requirements;
  2. sexual harassment;
  3. 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 appeal.

You have one calendar year after the end of the semester that you took the course in to initiate the formal appeal process. Submit your case via email to the chair of the class’ department. Make sure your email explains your case fully, and that you include:

  1. The grounds on which you are disputing the case, as listed here:
    1. Discrimination
    2. Sexual harassment
    3. Improper academic procedures that unfairly affect your grade
  2. A “description of the basis for grievance”, and, if it exists, the original work in question.

From here, the entire departmental process will begin. The chair will create an ad hoc committee to hear and assess your appeal.

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 professor 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. You won’t have to face your professor during this process, as 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 should change your grade accordingly.

The full process (on which this section is based) is listed here:

(look especially at III.B for student instructions)


Dismissal and Academic Probation


  • 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.


  • To clear both types of probation, you will need to achieve both a semester GPA and an overall GPA of 2.0 during the probationary period (typically the semester after the student is placed on probation). You will also need to meet with an adviser, and attend two L&S workshops.


  • 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.


Dropping a class/changing a grading option after the Deadline


  • The deadline to drop an impacted course is the Friday of the second week of the semester, and the deadline to add or drop any other courses is the Friday of the fourth week. Check the academic calendar for specific dates and for specific early drop classes. 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. You can complete a late drop petition to add or drop a class, or to change your grading option after the deadline has already passed. To make a late change, fill out and submit the late change petition. You may pick one semester during your time at Berkeley to make late changes, and you may make up to two actions during that semester. Unused actions do not roll over.


  • If you are experiencing extenuating circumstances, campus bodies like Path to Care and Basic Needs Security may be able to perform late changes on your behalf. Reach out to them for more information.

If you have any of the above cases, or any case which deals with student academics broadly defined, please reach out to to get assigned to a confidential caseworker who can help assist you through the process.