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Petitions & Appeals

SAS advisors are available to advise you on the submission of petitions or appeals. You should review the online information about petitions or appeals before meeting with an advisor.

To schedule an advising appointment please contact the Science Academic Services (SAS) office.


Petitioning is a process by which a student, with compelling and well documented reasons, requests exemption from some academic rule or regulation of the Faculty.  Petitioning is an exceptional process rather than a normal one. Students are expected to abide by the rules and regulations of the Faculty and it is only under extremely compelling circumstances that a student should petition.

Petitions are considered by a panel that typically consists of two or three professors and often one student. They decide, based on the evidence presented, information from other involved parties, and the student’s academic record, whether to grant or deny the petition.

Petitions are required to be submitted in a timely fashion. Different types of petitions have different deadlines.  In general, if a student does not petition by the required deadline but still wishes to do so, the first step of the petition is to request, with strong and well documented reasons, that the deadline be waived.

A decision of the Petitions panel may be appealed to the Appeals Committee based on new evidence or procedural irregularity.

The following is a list of commonly petitioned rules and regulations:

Exam deferral:

Exams must be written when scheduled by the University.  Do not make plans for other activities during the examination periods. Severe illness or trauma affecting one's mental state, occurring shortly before or on the day of an exam, and which is documented by a timely visit to a physician, may qualify for exam deferral. Everyday illness that we all deal with such as coughs, colds, minor fever, etc. will generally not be sufficient grounds. Your first step is to approach your professor (preferably with documentation) immediately after the exam, who may agree to deferred standing. If your professor does not agree, you may file a petition. Note that there is no provision to re-write an exam.

Dropping a course past the drop date:

Students are expected to monitor their progress in a course and decide to drop it before the drop date to remove the course from the student record, or by the last day of classes to annotate the student record to a ‘W’ (withdrawn), if so warranted. Exceptional and unexpected events occurring after the drop date and withdrawn deadline that has an irreparable effect on the student’s ability to complete the course may be grounds for a successful petition.  Note that often such a traumatic event will affect all courses a student is taking.  Conditions that are well-known to the student, such as workload or family commitments, will generally not be acceptable grounds.

A student’s first year at the University is recognized as a time of transition when a student’s expectations may be unrealistic and misjudgments may occur. Grounds for petitioning are more flexible for this first year and may warrant a ‘W’ petition decision.

Adding a course past the last date to add:

Students are expected to enrol in courses according to deadline dates at the start of each term. In courses with enrolment pressures students often attend hoping others will drop, thereby opening a space for them to enrol.  Continuing to attend beyond the add deadline is not grounds for a petition. There are very few acceptable grounds for this type of petition.

That the grade from a fourth or subsequent attempt at a course be the grade of record:

When a student repeats a course it is the third grade that is used in calculating their GPA, i.e. the third grade is the grade of record. If a student takes the course a fourth time, it is still the third grade that is the grade of record.  There are very few acceptable grounds for this type of petition.

To take more courses beyond the allowed limit for a bachelors degree, in order to raise their GPA to 4.0:

As a student approaches completion of 90 credits with a GPA between 4 and 5 they are expected to have satisfied degree requirements for a Bachelors degree and to graduate when they reach 90 credits. If 90 credits are reached and the GPA is less than 4 the student may take a further 12 credits (i.e. up to 102 credits) to try to raise their GPA so they can graduate.  To take more than 102 credits requires a petition.  Generally, successful grounds rest on the feasibility of achieving the required GPA after taking a few additional credits.

To continue without interruption when a required to withdraw, or debarred, academic decision has been made:

The Faculty has a progressive system of warnings and sanctions when a student’s academic performance is poor. Therefore an impending decision of required withdrawal or debarment is never a surprise to the student; rather the expectation is that the student will have addressed the underlying issues during the lengthy period of warnings. Grounds for continuing without interruption following such a decision rests on how close the student is to the required GPA, their recent pattern of academic performance, and in their Petition Letter, a description of strategies that will be implemented to meet the conditions of debarment warning or probation.

Obtain the petition package from the Registrar’s Office web site and follow the instructions. The Registrar’s Office maintains an extensive web site informing students of procedures and process. Required documents generally include a letter explaining what you are petitioning for and why, documentation such as an Attending Physician Statement or anything else that supports the reasons you give in your letter, and for some petitions Course Performance Summary forms.  Documentation should ideally attest to the impact of the circumstances on you as it relates to the relief you are petitioning for. For example, simply stating that your grandmother died and providing a death certificate will likely not be considered compelling without also documenting that your grief was such as to severely impact your functioning.

The complete petition, i.e. all the documents, should be submitted in one package by email to the Registrar’s Office at

After submitting a petition package to the Registrar’s Office:

  1. The Registrar’s Office checks for completeness of the package; if it is incomplete it will be returned to you by mail.
  2. If the package is complete it is forwarded to the Faculty.
  3. If necessary any named parties will be contacted to provide responses to any comments you have made.
  4. Your petition will be included on the agenda for the next available meeting of a petitions panel.
  5. The panel considers the documentary evidence, and in particular the severity of its likely impact on your academic performance, or its relevance to the relief being requested, and renders a decision.

It will normally take between 6 to 8 weeks before a decision letter is emailed to you.

At certain times of the year, petitioning is a time-sensitive process and at such times the committee meets to expedite decisions. Petitions are a confidential process, but not an anonymous one unless you request it. Students may not appear before a Petitions Committee.

Science Academic Services (SAS) staff are available to provide advice concerning petitions or use Live chat button (below).


Decisions of the Petitions Committee, and of Departmental level decisions related to grade reappraisal, may be appealed to the Appeals Committee.  You may do so on grounds of new evidence that you could not reasonably be expected to have had at the time of the original petition, or on grounds of procedural irregularity.

The decision letter from the Petitions Committee will contain information about making an appeal. Generally, you must submit a personal letter describing the reasons for your appeal, and any supporting documentation, and you must do so within the specified deadline. Appeals packages are submitted to

You may request to appear before the Appeals Committee, in which case you will be notified of the time, date and place of the meeting. It will normally take between 6 to 8 weeks from the date of submitting your appeal package before a decision letter is mailed to you.

Science Academic Services (SAS) staff are available to provide advice concerning appeals or use Live chat button (below).