In This Section

Appealing Grades and Promotional Decisions


1. Appeal to the Course/Clerkship Director 

A student who believes that a course grade is unfair and unjustified must first appeal his/her grade to the course or clerkship director, in writing, within two weeks of having been notified of the grade. The course or clerkship director, in consultation with the course teaching faculty and the department chairperson in the case of clinical clerkships, will review the grade and notify the student of the decision, in writing within two weeks of the appeal.

2. Appeal to the Dean through the Student Learning Environment and Appeals Committee

If the student is dissatisfied with the decision reached by the course/clerkship director, s/he may appeal that decision, in writing, to the Dean through the Student Learning Environment and Appeals Committee. The written appeal must be made within seven days of receiving notice of the appeal decision from the course/clerkship director. The process and standards for the decision on any such appeal are described below.


All information pertaining to a student's academic performance and professional attributes, including that contained in department files, may be utilized in the appeals processes described below.

Appealing decisions based on academic performance or factors other than grades (e.g., professionalism, fitness statements)

a. Appeal to the Dean through the Student Learning Environment and Appeals Committee

The Student Learning Environment and Appeals Committee recognizes the promotional system as the basis of all promotional decisions based upon grades. Promotional decisions based on factors other than grades are made by the Senior Associate Dean for Education, based on recommendation of the Academic Standards and Promotions Committee. In cases of procedural irregularity or extenuating circumstances, a student may appeal the promotional decision.

  • Procedural Irregularity - documented error in, or divergence from, the prescribed or customary process of evaluating and grading students.
  • Extenuating Circumstances - severe and documented situations which were beyond the student's control and which prevented the student from performing in a manner truly reflective of his/her knowledge and skills.

Appeals will be acted upon favorably when real, clear and convincing evidence is presented to suggest that the application of the promotional system was inappropriate.

b. Process of Appeal

  • A student must notify the Student Learning Environment and Appeals Committee, in writing, of his/her intent to appeal.
  • This notification must be received by the Committee (c/o the Associate Dean for Student Affairs) within 7 days after the letter notifying a student of a promotional action. The notification of intent must state clearly the basis for the appeal.
  • The Committee shall hear the appeal in a timely fashion after receiving written notice of intent to appeal. The committee holds monthly scheduled meetings and will convene more often as necessary.
  • The student shall be given at least 48 hours’ notice of the time and place of the Committee’s hearing.
  • At the discretion of the student making the appeal, one individual may accompany him/her at the hearing in the capacity of an advisor. All other advocacy efforts must be in the form of written communications to the Committee, and must be received by the Committee no later than 24 hours preceding the time scheduled for the start of the appeals hearing. 
  • The recommendation of the Committee shall be communicated verbally and in writing to the Dean within 2 days of the hearing.

The Dean may resolve an appeal solely on the basis of the student’s letter of appeal and the Committee’s recommendation, or after meeting with the student. The decision of the Dean will be communicated to the student in writing within 7 days and may not be appealed further.

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