Skip to main content


Academic Grievance Policy


Students may feel that they have legitimate complaints regarding academic matters. It is important that students and faculty have a common understanding of how such complaints may be expressed and resolved. Grievances covered by this policy include problems related to academic issues, such as deviations from stated grading and examination policies as they appear on syllabi, on assignments, or in departmental guidelines for graduate study; failure to disclose in writing reasons behind termination or dismissal, either from the program or from employment or other support; unfair treatment on issues related to graduate student appointments; and unfairness in the application of graduate requirements or regulations.  In those instances where a graduate student has a complaint against researchers or staff in a campus research institute, a national laboratory, or in a setting governed by a federal grant whether on or off campus, the student’s home academic department (the unit awarding the degree) is responsible for helping to achieve a remedy. This policy applies only to students enrolled in a graduate program in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering at the University of Rochester. 


Grievances not covered under this policy include:

  1. Students who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran as this would fall under HR Policy 106 or Title IX.
  2. Student disciplinary proceedings for misconduct, including plagiarism and cheating, fall under the provisions of the Standards of Student Conduct and Academic Honesty.
  3. Decisions rendered by a program insofar as they are purely academic in nature, and cannot be properly judged by outside groups who lack content-area expertise. Such decisions may include: dismissal from a graduate program based on failure to maintain required grade levels,   dismissal from a graduate program based on two failed attempts at comprehensive examinations; denial of admission to candidacy based on the department’s/program’s/unit’s rules for qualification; allegations of research misconduct, including unfair treatment in assigning joint authorship.


Students with complaints should initially seek resolution from their faculty or staff member who is directly involved. If this proves unsatisfactory, then the student should approach their faculty advisor, their Director of Graduate Studies, and finally their Department Chair. Throughout this process, the original complaint, communications and processes as well as the final decision should be in writing to provide documentation for all involved.


Students may seek counsel from an AS&E Ombudsperson while seeking remedy within their department.


Complaints which remain unresolved may be addressed to the Dean of Graduate Studies in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. The Dean will prepare a report and render a decision. The final appeal for all graduate students in Arts, Sciences & Engineering is the University Dean of Graduate Studies.