Academic Disputes

Academic Disputes

How to appeal a grade

This is probably a good time to check out the UBC Academic Regulations and Grading Practices

  1. Talk to your instructor.
  2. Review the criteria for grading with your instructor. Sometimes they’ll give you the answer sheet, or their rubric, or whatever. Again, visit the UBC Calendar for information about viewing marked examinations.
  3. If you have reason to believe that you weren’t graded fairly, you can fill out a Review of Assigned Standing and submit it to the Registrar’s Office. The Advocacy Office can help you complete the paperwork on that.
  4. If filing with the dean’s office doesn’t get you anywhere, you can file an appeal with the Senate’s Committee on Academic Standing. Here’s the link to the relevant procedural info.

Disputes between a graduate student and supervisor

Communication is probably the most important aspect of the student/supervisor relationship. The Ombuds Office is the expert on building communication frameworks and resolving differences, so they can help you make your relationship more productive. For further assistance, the GSS Advocacy office can offer service that is better tailored to the needs of graduate students.

Missed an examination

For everything except finals, you can contact your instructor first, then the head of your department to problem-solve a missed assessment. This includes papers, midterms, quizzes, and any other interim assessment. For finals, however, the process is more formal. Visit the UBC Calendar page for more info on missed finals.


“Dropping a course” means de-registering from a course and getting a full refund on tuition and the whole thing gets wiped from your record and it’s like nothing ever happened.

“Withdrawing form a course” means receiving a “W” standing on the course and no letter grade. There’s a deadline for withdrawing, which depends on the length of the course and the session it’s offered in.

For more info on deadlines, check out the UBC Calendar page on Academic Regulations and Withdrawals.

Quality of Instruction

If you’re not satisfied with the quality of instruction in a course, you should contact the head of the department the course is offered in. The Ombuds Office can help you with that.

Major/Minor Applications

Obviously the primary criteria programs used in figuring out where to put you is your grades. Sometimes, however, your faculty will consider other qualifications. If you’ve worked in a field, or have some other experience, for example. Approach your faculty and ask if they will consider other qualifications. If you have to write an appeals letter, the Ombuds Office a can help you with that.

Failed a Year

Every faculty has their own conditions for advancement from year to year. Look them up in the UBC Calendar.

If you fail a year, you may appeal the requirement to withdraw. The Ombuds Office can help you put together an appeal. Before you do that, though, talk to your academic advisor, and they’ll help you determine your options.

Practicum and Co-op disputes

If you have a dispute with your supervisor at a co-op or practicum placement, you should work with your faculty advisor or coordinator first. You should make this contact as soon as problems emerge in order to avoid complications ­– the sooner you address the problem, the better chance you have of solving it.

The Ombuds Office can be really helpful in this situation because your faculty advisor or coordinator is split in their responsibilities. They have to look after you, and they have to maintain their relationship with the employer. The Ombuds Office can help because they have no vested interest, and therefore no possibility of a conflict.

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