Procedure for Submitting Academic Appeals (Non-Medical)

This guide is intended to help students in preparing and submitting an appeal that is directed to a specific course (e.g., with respect to a mark, grade, appropriateness of assignments or examinations, or grading practices), and the grounds of your appeal are not based on medical or personal reasons. 

Appeals on other matters, not a specific course (e.g., waiver of a Senate regulation or requirement, appropriateness of general grading practices of a department), should be initiated in the office having immediate jurisdiction for the particular requirement or regulation in question. Students in doubt as to the appropriate level at which to initiate such requests should consult Academic Counselling (scibmsac@uwo.ca) or the Associate Dean of Science (aadasci@uwo.ca).

Prior to preparing an academic appeal, students should begin by consulting Western University's official policy and procedures

Deadlines

An appeal against a mark or grade must be initiated with the instructor as soon as possible after the mark is issued. In the event that the instructor is not available to the student, or fails to act, or if the matter is not resolved satisfactorily with the instructor, an appeal must be submitted to the Associate/Undergraduate Chair of the department within three weeks from the date that the mark was issued. In the case of a final grade in a course, the written appeal must be submitted to the Associate/Undergraduate Chair of the department by the following dates:

  • January Marks: January 31st
  • April/May Marks: June 30th
  • Intersession: July 31st
  • Summer Evening: August 31st
  • Summer Day: September 15th
  • Spring/Summer Distance Studies Courses: October 15th

Appeals Process Stage

Appeals for undergraduate students related to a course normally proceed in the following order:

  1. Instructor of the course in the Faculty of Science that the appeal is directed to (in-person consultation or written request)
  2. Undergraduate Chair of the department offering the course (submission of written request)
  3. Associate/Assistant Dean of Science or Basic Medical Sciences (submission of written request)
  4. Senate Review Board Academic (SRBA)

Procedure

1. Layout the Reasons for your Appeal

Prior to contacting the instructor for an appeal, you are strongly encouraged to layout your arguments or grounds in writing, and, if applicable, have all of the supporting documentation available.  

Grounds for appeals on a specific course may include things such as bias, inaccuracy or unfairness.  In your arguments, clearly indicate the detailed reasons in a concise manner; for example:

  • in a multiple-choice exam, provide the justifications of why your incorrect choice of a question should be also accepted as the correct answer;
  • if you find an exam question ambiguous, clearly state your interpretation and how it led to your answer deemed incorrect;
  • if you find the grading practice to be unfair or bias, explain how it affects your grade and the grades of other students in the same class.

Ignorance of Senate regulations and policies and particular program requirements and policies as set out in the University Calendar does not constitute grounds for an appeal.

The personal need of the appellant alone (to keep a scholarship, or to qualify an entrance requirement) does not constitute grounds for an appeal.

If you are unsure whether the grounds of your appeal are valid, you are advised to contact the Office of the Ombudsperson for advice. 

2. Consultation with Instructor

The appellant’s discussion with an instructor could take place either in-person or in writing. In either format, appellant should present his/her reasons for the request for relief, and allow the instructor to respond.

If the appellant and the instructor could not come to an agreement, the appellant should briefly record the points raised by both sides in writing, and send the summary to the instructor for verification.

If the instructor agrees to grant the request, he/she will make the necessary changes on the appellant’s record.  No further action is required.

3. Written Appeal to Undergraduate Chair

If the appellant is dissatisfied with the decision of the instructor, a written request for relief may be submitted to the Undergraduate Chair. The summary resulted from the consultation with the instructor should be used as the basis for the appeal. The appeal to the Undergraduate Chair should directly address why the instructor’s decision should be overturned. It should not contain any reasons that have not been presented to the instructor. The Undergraduate Chair will formally respond to the student in writing informing his/her decision.

If the Undergraduate Chair agrees to grant you the appeal, he/she will make the necessary changes on your record. No further reporting is required.

The contact information of Undergraduate/Department Chairs in Science and Basic Medical Sciences can be found here.

4. Written Appeal to Associate/Assistant Dean

An appeal against a decision of the Undergraduate Chair must be made to the Associate/Assistant Dean in writing not later than three weeks after the Undergraduate Chair's decision is issued. All correspondence between the student, instructor and Undergraduate Chair, and any relevant information and documentation must be provided to the Associate/Assistant Dean.

The appeal to the Associate/Assistant Dean should directly address why the appellant believes the Undergraduate Chair’s decision should be overturned. It should not contain any new reasons that have not been presented to the instructor and Undergraduate Chair. The Associate/Assistant Dean will formally respond to the appellant in writing informing his/her decision.

Please send the appeal to the Associate/Assistant Dean according to the course that the appeal is directed to:

  • For 1000-level courses in Science (ACTURSCI, APPLMATH, ASTRONOM, BIOLOGY, CALCULUS, CHEM, COMPSCI, EARTHSCI, ENVIRSCI, INTEGSCI, MATH, PHYSICS, STATS)
    Contact: Dr Denis Maxwell, Assistant Dean, First Year Studies
    Email: dmaxwell@uwo.ca 

  • For 2000-, 3000- and 4000-level courses in Science (ACTURSCI, APPLMATH, ASTRONOM, BIOLOGY, CALCULUS, CHEM, COMPSCI, EARTHSCI, ENVIRSCI, FINMOD, INTEGSCI, MATH, PHYSICS, STATS)
    Contact: Dr Ken Yeung, Acting Associate Dean, Academic
    Email: aadasci@uwo.ca 

  • For all courses in Basic Medical Sciences (ANATCELL, BIOCHEM, BIOSTATS, CHEMBIO, EPID, EPIDEMIO, MEDBIO, MEDSCIEN, NEURO, MICROIMM, MEDHINFO, PATHOL, PHARM, PHYSIOL, PHYSPHRM)
    Contact: Dr Candace Gibson, Assistant Dean, Basic Medical Sciences Undergraduate Education
    Email: candaceg@uwo.ca 

5. Appeals to Senate Review Board Academic (SRBA)

A student may appeal the decision of a Dean to the Senate Review Board Academic only if the decision falls within the jurisdiction of SRBA as set out below under APPEALS TO SRBA. A Dean's decision which is appealed to SRBA remains in full force and effect unless overturned or modified by SRBA. Please consult the university's official policy for more details.