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Grade Appeals

Final Grades

A grade appeal is a request for a final grade to be reviewed or changed based on the presence of grounds for appeal and evidence supplied by the student to support their case. 

What to consider before appealing a final grade 

  • In a grade appeal, the burden of proof is on students to show that, on a balance of probabilities, it is more likely than not that the decision relating to final grade is incorrect. More specifically, the final grade incorrectly reflects their demonstrated knowledge of the course material.
  • It is a student’s responsibility to try to resolve all course related issues with the instructor as soon as they occur and then, if needed, with the Chair/Director of the teaching department/school. 
  • Before submitting a grade appeal, students are strongly encouraged to communicate with their instructor or the teaching or program department as soon as circumstances arise within a semester that are likely to affect academic performance.  Failure to do so may jeopardize the appeal.

Students may begin the appeal process when all options for an informal resolution have been exhausted.  

Grounds for a final grade appeal

Students may only appeal a final grade if one or more grounds for appeal exist (see Policy 168: Grade and Standing Appeals, section 6 for details).  The four (4) grounds for appeal are: 

Course Management

Appeals may be filed on the ground of Course Management when students believe that a final grade has been adversely affected because an instructor or supervisor has deviated significantly from course management policies (see Policy 166: Course Management (opens in new window) ), from the course outline, or the instructor has demonstrated personal bias or unfair treatment.

Note:  Personal bias or unfair treatment are not considered to be the same as  Prejudice as defined under the Ontario Human Rights code. 

For graduate students, the grounds of Course Management includes the management of non-course program requirements by the supervisor and/or Graduate Program Director.

Extenuating Circumstances 

Appeals may be filed on the ground of Extenuating Circumstances when students believe that there has been occurrences of reasonable significance that: 

 (a) are outside a student’s immediate control

 (b) could not have been reasonably foreseen or avoided; and

 (c) significantly impact the student’s ability to fulfill their academic requirements

Procedural Error

Appeals may be filed on the ground of Procedural Error when it is believed that there has been an error in the procedure followed in the application of either this policy (Policy 168) or any applicable policy of the University that has impacted a student’s grade or standing. Appeals granted on this ground will resolve the procedural error. 


Appeals may be filed on the ground of Prejudice when it is believed that the student’s final grade or standing has been impacted by prejudice based on a ground protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code (external link, opens in new window) .  Students who believe their grade has been adversely affected by another form of personal bias or unfair treatment, unrelated to a protected human rights ground, may appeal under the ground of Course Management.

NOTE: if prejudice is selected as a ground, a copy of the appeal submission will automatically be forwarded to Human Rights Services (HRS). After Human Rights Services has received a copy of the student’s appeal and confirmed receipt via email with them, the student must then contact the Human Rights Services Office within ten (10) business days to consult with them regarding their appeal on the ground of prejudice (see Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy).  If Human Rights Services determines that it will proceed with a complaint resolution process, then the student’s appeal will be put on hold until this process is completed.

Levels of appeal

There are three (3) levels to which an undergraduate and graduate student can progressively appeal a final grade. A student may only appeal to the next level if they disagree with the decision of the previous level and if grounds for appeal exist or if they do not accept the remedy proposed by the previous level decision maker.

1 st Level - Department/School/Program.

All appeals start at the Department/School/Program Level.

2 nd Level - Faculty.  

Students who wish to appeal the decision of the Department/ School/Program must do so to the Dean of the Faculty.

3 rd Level - Senate. 

Students who wish to appeal the decision of the Faculty must do so to the Senate Appeals Committee. Decisions of the Senate Appeals Committee are final.

Note: For the Lincoln Alexander School of Law, there are two (2) levels to which a student can progressively appeal a final grade or their academic standing: Faculty and Senate.

Appeal Submission Process

An appeal submission should be directed to the appropriate decision making level (e.g. Department, Faculty, Senate) 

Grade appeals for all levels of appeal must be submitted via the on (opens in new window) line Appeal Submission Portal (opens in new window) .*

It is a student's responsibility to submit a complete appeal within policy timelines that includes all relevant documentation (evidence) to support their claims. 

*Note: Grade appeals involving Non-course program requirement progress (e.g. GD1000) for graduate students may not be submitted through the online submission portal and must be submitted to the department/school/program using this form

Appeal Submission

Students should create their appeal submission including detailed and well reasoned answers to:

  • Outline the actions that were taken to deal with situations that arose during the semester that had a serious impact on the ability to meet academic obligations.  Provide specific dates and details of when such actions were taken (e.g., contacted the instructor, submitted a health certificate, requested or received some form of consideration, etc.) 
  • Detail the outcome (or “remedy”) that is being requested through this appeal, keeping in mind that all remedies must follow TMU, Faculty and/or Department policies. For grade appeals, typically requested remedies may include the opportunity to write a makeup exam or submit an assignment, and re-weighting course components, although other remedy suggestions may be possible. For standing appeals, the typical requested remedy is a change in standing from RTW or PPW to Probationary or from Withdrawn to Provisional.

A student may only appeal to the next level if they disagree with the decision of the previous level and if grounds for appeal exist or if they do not accept the remedy proposed by the previous level decision maker.  

Students must indicate in their submission where they disagree with the decision at the previous level (if applicable).

Evidence/Supporting Documentation

All claims made in support of a grade appeal should be documented, and copies of all documents should be uploaded to the appeal submission. Examples can include: health certificates, course outlines, rubrics, graded coursework,  final grades showing  satisfactory course progress, evidence of correspondence, etc.

Important: Failure to provide supporting evidence/documentation may jeopardize the success of an appeal. 

Timelines for submitting an appeal and receiving a decision 

It is in the best interest of the student and the University for the timely resolution of any appeals under this Policy. Both the University and the student must work together to ensure the timely resolution of any appeals.

Students have ten (10) business days from the date of receiving their official final grade to submit the 1st Level appeal. All other levels of appeal must be submitted within ten (10) business days of receiving the decision letter. 

The decision maker at the department or Faculty level of appeal (or their designate) will respond to the student in writing within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the appeal with a decision. If the decision maker is unable to respond to the student within this time, the student must be notified of when they can expect a decision.

For Senate level appeals, The Secretary of Senate or designate will respond to the student in writing within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the appeal submission to advise if the appeal meets the grounds as outlined in Policy, Section 6 to proceed to an appeal or if a dismissal is being recommended.

Important: Late or incomplete appeals may not be accepted.

Relevant University Policies 

Policy 166: Course Management (opens in new window) 

Policy 168: Grade and Standing Appeals (opens in new window) 

Policy 170(a) Undergraduate Course Grading, Academic Program Standing and Eligibility to Graduate (opens in new window) 

Policy 170(b) Graduate Status, Enrolment and Evaluation (opens in new window) 

Policy 170(c) Lincoln Alexander School of Law: Grading, Promotion and Academic Standing (opens in new window)