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.
The terms of probation are different in every college. Please refer to the following links for specific instructions for your college: L&S, CoE, CoC, CNR, CED. 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
The deadline to change your grading option 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: There is no formal procedure for making late changes in CoE at this time. However, it may be possible for an adviser to make one on your behalf if you are facing extenuating circumstances.
- 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.
More information coming soon! For now, please visit our Conduct page for information about the Center for Student Conduct and the Conduct process.
- College of Letters & Sciences Advising
- College of Engineering Advising
- College of Chemistry Advising
- College of Natural Resources Advising
- College of Environmental Design Advising
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.