(Also check out the UBC Calendar and follow the links to Academic Regulations and Grading Practices).
- Go over the criteria for marking with your instructor. Sometimes you can also have a copy of solutions to an exam. To learn how to review a marked final examination, visit the UBC Calendar and follow the links to Academic Regulations, Academic Assessment, and Viewing Marked Examinations.
- If you have reason to believe you were not graded fairly, you may attach your reasons to an application for Review of Assigned Standing and submit it to the Registrar’s Office. The department that offers the course is responsible to ensure the mark is reviewed objectively. For procedural information, visit the UBC Calendar and follow the links to Academic Regulations, and Review of Assigned Standing.
- If you have reasons to believe there was a procedural error in assigning your grade or a procedural error in reviewing your grade (e.g. it was reviewed in a biased manner), you should contact the dean’s office of the faculty in which the course was offered. The Ombuds Office can assist you with approaching the dean’s office
- If the procedural issues are not resolved at the dean’s level, you may file an appeal with the senate’s Committee on Academic Standing. The AMS Advocacy Office can help you prepare for a senate appeal and may represent you in the process. To learn more about the procedures, please visit the UBC Calendar and follow the links to Academic Regulations and Senate Appeals on Academic Standing. Senate is the highest academic authority at UBC and their decision is final.
The productivity of the working relationship between graduate student and supervisory committee is a reflection of how well they communicate. The Ombuds Office can assist you in building a communication framework with your supervisory committee to resolve differences, and make the working relationship more productive. You may approach the Ombuds Office anytime while you working out the issues with your supervisor and we will point you in the right direction.
For midterms, papers, labs, assignments, and other interim course commitments, you should contact your instructor first and then the department head to explore other possibilities for assessment. You should initiate the communication as soon as you know you may have to miss any of the above. If you contact your instructor too late, even if you had a good reason for missing the course commitment, you may not be eligible for academic concession. Feel free to contact the Ombuds Office for consultation if you are having difficulty in communicating with the department. For final examinations, the process is more formal. To learn more, please visit the UBC Calendar and follow the links to Academic Regulations and Academic Assessment.
The phrase ‘drop a course’ refers to de-registering from a course and receiving a full refund on tuition paid for that course – there will be no record on your transcript. In order to be eligible, certain deadlines have to be met depending on whether the course is a term one or term two course and whether it is being offered in the winter session or summer session.
The phrase ‘withdraw from a course’ refers to receiving a letter standing of ‘W’ on your transcript and no numerical grade. This has to be done within a certain deadline, which depends on the length of the course and the session in which it is offered. To receive a ‘W’ standing on a course means that you have decided to discontinue making commitments to it.
For more information on deadlines, please visit the UBC Calendar and follow the links to Academic Regulations and Withdrawals. For more information on the tuition refund schedule, please visit the UBC Calendar and follow the links to Fees and Refund of Fees.
If you are concerned about the quality of instruction in a course, you should contact the head of the department in which the course is offered. The Ombuds Office can assist you in approaching the department head. Before taking any steps, you may find coming to a resolution more efficient if you try the following alternative:
- Consider the question: ‘what do I need to do to learn something on the topic from this instructor?’ Go to the instructor’s office and ask for clarification on topics you haven’t learned. You may also ask for more resources that will help you understand the course material or its pre-requisites.
- Talk to your TAs and other classmates and try learning from them.
- Talk to the instructor about any specific behaviour that has affected your learning experience. Examples include: timeliness, pace or clarity of presentation, online material, answering questions, etc.
The objective criteria used in determining your placement in a major/minor is usually only your grades. However, some faculties may consider other criteria such as extra curricular work in certain areas. Approach your faculty and ask if they will take criteria other than grades into consideration. If you have to write an appeal letter, the Ombuds Office can assist you with drafting one.
Your advancement in a faculty is conditional upon meeting certain conditions on your performance. Look up Advancement in the UBC Calendar under your faculty name to learn what your faculty’s advancement requirements are. If you fail the year, you may appeal the requirement to withdraw. The Ombuds Office can help you put together an appeal package. Before approaching the Ombuds Office, you should speak with an academic advisor. When you meet with an academic advisor, explain the reasons why you did not do well, and ask them to help you determine your options to get the degree you registered for.
If you have a dispute with your supervisor at a co-op or practicum placement, you should contact your faculty advisor or coordinator to ask for assistance. You should make this contact as soon as problems emerge in order to avoid possible complications — the sooner the problem is addressed, the more likely it is to be settled.
You may perceive a conflict of interest for your faculty advisor or coordinator to be part of the problem-solving process since they appear to have an interest in maintaining a relationship with the employer. You may also feel powerless in this setting. The Ombuds Office can assist by attending meetings with you, and taking a facilitative role without a conflict of interest.