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E1.9 Graduate Student Appeal Procedure

Updated: February 19th, 2013

The Graduate Student Appeal procedure is to be used by graduate students, other than Juris Doctor candidates, with complaints about dismissal from graduate standing, placement on probationary status, denial of readmission, and other administrative or academic decisions that terminate or otherwise impede progress toward academic or professional degree goals. For graduate students, this procedure may also be used to resolve disputes over joint authorship of research in accordance with joint authorship policies of campus departments or units.

Through the Graduate Appeal Procedure, graduate students have the right to appeal academic or administrative decisions that have resulted in termination or have interfered with their progress toward a degree if the decision is alleged to have been based on the following criteria:

  1. Procedural error or violation of official policy by academic or administrative personnel.
  2. Judgments improperly based upon nonacademic criteria including, but not limited to, discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual harassment), gender identity, pregnancy/childbirth and medical conditions related thereto, disability, age, medical condition (cancer related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran.
  3. Special mitigating circumstances beyond the student’s control not properly taken into account in a decision affecting the student’s academic progress.

Please note that the Graduate Appeal Procedure is distinct from the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure. The Grievance Procedure also addresses discrimination complaints but not in relation to alleged interference with a student’s academic progress. For information concerning the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure, please see Division of Student Affairs webpage:

To pursue an appeal, students must follow the Graduate Appeal Procedure, which is available from the Graduate Services: Degrees Office (318 Sproul Hall), Graduate Deans’ office (424 Sproul Hall), and the Graduate Division website (

Overview of the appeal process. Students must initiate an appeal at the unit level (e.g., school, department, graduate group) at which the disputed action took place within 30 days from the time at which the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action being appealed. The Graduate Council requires each academic unit to maintain copies of its current internal appeal procedure for information and use by its graduate students. After the student has submitted a unit-level appeal, the unit must make all reasonable efforts at informal and formal resolution, as stated in the Graduate Appeal Procedure, before the student may take the matter to the next level, which is the Graduate Division. Students seeking unit-level resolution are also strongly encouraged to seek the advice of the Ombuds for Students (642-5754) and may also consult with the Graduate Dean’s Office (642-5472). Please see Chapter A, section 1.5 for more information on the Ombuds Office.

How students request the intervention of the Graduate Division. If the student’s unit-level appeal has been denied, within 15 days of receiving that notification, the student must submit a Graduate Appeal Form accompanied by all supporting documentation the student wishes to be considered in substantiation of his or her appeal to the Graduate Division Dean’s Office (424 Sproul Hall #5900). The Graduate Division is not obliged to accept any documentation submitted after the 15-day deadline. The Graduate Appeal Form is available from the Graduate Services: Degrees Office  (318 Sproul Hall), the Graduate Deans’ Office (424 Sproul Hall) and on the Graduate Division website (

The cognizant Associate Dean will review the appeal and inform the student if the appeal is eligible for review.  If the student’s appeal is acceptable and timely, the student will be informed of the procedures that will be subsequently followed to process the appeal. The student should become thoroughly familiar with the procedures and deadlines explained in the Graduate Appeal Procedure document.  Graduate Division’s Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs  (643-7412)  is available to answer any questions concerning the procedure.

See All Topics in the Category: E. Course Work, Grading, Probation, and Dismissal, Guide to Graduate Policy