Petitions and Appeals

In This Section:

Students are responsible for observing sessional dates, course prerequisites, and exclusions, satisfying the degree requirements and following the rules and regulations in the Calendar and the Registration Instructions.  Failure to follow regulations, requirements and deadlines may result in academic and/or financial consequences or penalties, and failure to inform oneself about these will not be accepted as sufficient excuse to avoid these consequences. Students should always consult their College Registrar immediately for guidance if anything happens that interferes with continuing or completing their courses, or that appears to be contrary to rules, regulations and deadlines.

Special Consideration Requests to Academic Department(s)

Special consideration requests to academic department(s)/unit(s) (sometimes called Academic Appeals) concern issues arising within a course that relate to the pedagogical relationship of the instructor and the student, such as the organization of a course, grading practices, or conduct of instructors.  These fall within the authority of the academic unit sponsoring the course and are not the subject of Faculty petitions. Students are encouraged to discuss any issues regarding the academic aspects of a course first with the instructor. It is recommended that such discussions should be documented in writing where appropriate. The successive stages of special consideration request after the course instructor must be documented in writing.  These successive stages are: the Undergraduate Coordinator or Associate Chair; the Chair or Program Director of the Academic Unit; then the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science. A special consideration request must have been reviewed at the academic unit level before being referred to the Dean’s Office; requests to the Dean’s Office must be in writing.

Petitions to the Faculty

Petitions to the Faculty concern issues relating to degree requirements, academic regulations, deadlines, examinations, and administrative rules.  These may be petitioned to the Faculty, provided the petition is submitted prior to the specified deadlines. The Faculty recognizes that an exception may be required in the face of unpredictable, exceptional circumstances.   In submitting a petition to have regulations waived or varied, students must present compelling reasons and relevant documentation, and must demonstrate that they have acted responsibly and with good judgment in attempting to observe Faculty regulations. Students are requested to present their entire case from the outset so their circumstances may be reviewed adequately for an equitable decision. There is no guarantee that a petition will see a successful outcome. If they are considering submitting a petition to the Faculty, students are encouraged to seek academic advising from their College Registrar's Office.

Petitions must 1) state the student’s request; 2) provide the reasons why an exception should be made in a clear and concise manner; and 3) be accompanied by relevant supporting documentation.  A petition is considered in confidence by the Faculty petitions office on behalf of the Committee on Standing, which is charged with interpreting and administering the regulations of the Faculty. 

It is the responsibility of the student to provide a valid UofT email address to which a petition decision may be sent. Only UofT email will be used to reply to petitions.   Non-receipt of a decision due to incorrect email address is not grounds for reconsideration.

Deadlines to Submit Petitions

The deadlines for petitions are strictly enforced. If there are compelling reasons why a petition is being submitted after the deadline, the student should explain the reasons for the lateness in their personal statement. The issue of lateness must be satisfactorily resolved before the substance of the petition may be considered. Late petitions without sufficient reason for lateness will not be considered, no matter how compelling. 

Petitions for Term Work Extension(s)

The deadline to submit a petition for a term work extension is five working days after the last day of the examination period for the term in question (for term work during the Fall term, the deadline is five working days after the University reopens in January).

Petitions for Deferred Examinations

The deadline to submit a deferred exam petition is five working days after the last day of the examination period for the term in question (for December examinations, the deadline is five working days after the University reopens in January). The deadline to submit a deferred exam petition for a UTM/UTSC course is within 72 hours of a missed examination. Students must submit a petition with their Faculty of Arts & Science College Registrar's Office, with the required supporting documentation

Petitions/Requests for Outside Centre Examinations

Students must make such requests/petitions at least three weeks prior to the start of the final examination period (see Petitions/Requests for Outside Centre Examinations below).

Petitions for Late Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty 

Fall-Winter Session courses:  The deadline is the following 15 November

Summer Session courses:   The deadline is the following 28/29 February

All documentation supporting petitions must be submitted as soon as possible, and no later than three weeks after the date the student initiates the petition. Students should be aware of the expectations around submission of late petitions or documentation (see Deadlines to Submit Petitions above), and that there is no guarantee of a successful outcome.

Supporting Documentation for Petitions

The Faculty seeks documentation that provides pertinent evidence for decisions determining whether or not an exception should be made to regulations that are designed to ensure equitable treatment for all students.  If the reasons cited in a petition are of a medical nature, the preferred medical documentation at the University of Toronto is the University's Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form.  Students must submit the original Verification of Student Illness or Injury form when submitting a petition to their College Registrar’s office; no faxed or scanned copies will be accepted. This form may only be completed by Dentists, Nurse/Nurse Practitioners, Physicians/Surgeons, Psychologists, Psychotherapists or Social Workers registered and licensed in Ontario and can be found at www.illnessverification.utoronto.ca.

If illness is being presented as the reason for the petition request, the claim of illness itself may not necessarily be sufficient grounds to guarantee approval of the request. All cases are examined in their entirety before a decision is made:  an illness or injury’s duration and resulting incapacitation are taken into account along with other relevant factors in the context of the course at issue.   Note that the physician’s report must establish that the patient was examined and diagnosed at the time of illness, not after the fact. If the physician’s report does not explicitly establish this, then the Faculty reserves the right to use its discretion in accepting the report as supporting documentation for a petition. 

If the reasons cited for a petition request are of a non-medical nature, then the supporting documentation may come in various forms. Consult with your College Registrar’s office and/or the online Petitions Guide for more information on possible types of documentation in other circumstances.

Types of Petitions

Petitions for Term Work Extension(s) (see also Term Work, Tests and Final Exams)

Matters concerning term work normally fall within the authority of the instructor. Students unable to comply with given deadlines must contact their instructor prior to the deadline if an extension to the deadline is being requested.  Students should expect no consideration if an issue is raised after the assignment deadline.  

Normally, all term work must be submitted by the last day of classes, unless an earlier date has been specified by the instructor. Instructors may grant extensions beyond their own deadlines or beyond the last day of classes up until five working days after the end of the examination period, provided that a student presents legitimate reasons with appropriate documentation as determined by the instructor.

Extensions beyond five business days after the end of the examination period can be approved only through a petition. Such petitions for an extension of time for term work must also be initiated within five business days after the end of the relevant examination period. Late requests will not be considered. Students must file the petition after consultation with the instructor regarding a suitable extension date. The Faculty petitions unit under the authority of the Committee on Standing consults the academic unit concerned for information about the status of the course work, and the steps, if any, that must be taken to complete the course. Students seeking an extension of time for term work are expected to have been in contact with their instructor before the initial deadline and must continue working on the outstanding assignments while they await a decision.

Note that when a term work extension petition has been granted in a course, a notation of “SDF” (standing deferred) will be indicated in place of a course grade. Students who have the notation of SDF on a course and who have earned a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of less than 1.50 are strongly encouraged by the Faculty to come up with an academic plan for the term/session in which they will be completing the outstanding work. The Faculty reserves the right to limit registration or course load in a subsequent session for students who have outstanding academic obligations from a previous term/session. Students who find themselves in this situation are strongly encouraged to seek academic advising from their College Registrar’s office.

Petitions for Deferred Examinations

Students are expected to write their examinations as scheduled. Only in cases of documented debilitating illness or legitimate conflict should a student request a deferral of a final examination. Students who are too ill and/or incapacitated at the time of the examinations should petition to defer the examination they are unable to attend due to their medical condition. Petitions based on travel, employment, or personal plans will not be considered as students are expected to make themselves available during the published Examination Period to write final examinations.

In response to a petition for a deferred examination, a student may be granted the opportunity to write a special examination at a subsequent examination period or the regular examination in the next offering of the course. Satisfactory documentation must be provided to corroborate illness (see above) to show that the student was examined at the time of the illness.

There is a fee of $70.00 per deferred examination (maximum $140.00 for multiple deferral requests in the same petition).

In the petition decision students are notified of the examination period in which the deferred examination will take place, and if the examination will be a regular or special examination. They must register to take the deferred examination and pay the fee by the deadline given, in order that arrangements can be made. The Faculty will notify those who do not register by the deadline that they have lost their privilege of a deferred examination and will revert the mark to one that includes a zero for the final examination. No further consideration will be given.

The Faculty posts, as soon as possible after the regular examinations have been scheduled, personal deferred examination schedules online for students who have paid the deferred examination fee. The table below should be used as a guideline; deferred exams may occur outside of this timeline.

Final Examination Deferred Examination
April June examination period, if course is offered in the first term of the Summer (May to June)
Usually August examination period for all others; could be December or April the following year
June August examination period, if course offered in the second term of the Summer (July to August)
December examination period, if course offered in Fall term
Usually August examination periods for all others; could be April the following year.
August Usually December examination period; could be February/April the following year.
December April examination period, if course offered in Winter term
Usually February Reading Week for all others; could be December the following year.

 

Students who must write a deferred examination in a course that serves as a prerequisite for subsequent courses may enrol in those courses provided they obtain the approval of the academic unit concerned and provided the term mark in the prerequisite (deferred) course is at least 60%. If approval from the academic unit is not obtained, there is a risk that students may be removed from the subsequent course during a pre-requisite check and reinstatement may not be possible if the course is full. 

Students who are not feeling well at the time of an examination must decide whether they are too ill to write.  If unsure, they should seek medical advice.  Students who become ill during an examination and cannot complete the examination must notify the Chief Presiding Officer at the examination about their situation before they leave the exam hall and should seek immediate medical attention.  Students who simply leave the examination hall will be assumed to have completed the examination.

If students decide to write an examination which does not go well, they may not petition for a rewrite or late withdrawal. Arguments after the fact claiming an inability to function at full potential or to exhibit full knowledge of the subject matter will not be accepted as grounds for consideration of a petition concerning poor performance on an examination.

Students who choose to write an examination against medical advice should do so knowing that they may not be given consideration after the examination has been written. Students must not only take responsibility for making appropriate judgments about their fitness to attend examinations, but also must accept the outcome of their choices.

Note that when a deferred examination has been granted in a course, a notation of “SDF” (standing deferred) will be indicated in place of a course grade. A further deferral of an examination is only granted in very exceptional circumstances. Students are charged a further fee of $70 for each subsequent deferred examination. If the student does not write the deferred examination, the "SDF" notation will be replaced by the original grade with a grade of "0" for the final examination in the calculation of the final grade.  

In the event that a further deferral is granted and will be written in a subsequent term/session, the student is strongly encouraged to reduce their course load in that term or session to allow room for preparation of that deferred examination.

Students who have the notation of SDF on a course and who have earned a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of less than 1.50 are strongly encouraged by the Faculty to come up with an academic plan for the term/session in which they will be completing the outstanding exam. The Faculty reserves the right to limit registration or course load in a subsequent session for students who have outstanding academic obligations from a previous term/session. Students who find themselves in this situation are strongly encouraged to seek academic advising from their College Registrar’s office.

Petitions/ Requests for Outside Centre Examinations

If students have legitimate reasons to be away from campus during a regularly scheduled final exam, they may seek permission to write an examination at an Outside Centre (i.e. an institution or facility other than U of T St. George).  If the request is for an online section of a course, then they must work with their College Registrar’s office to make the Outside Centre Exam request directly to the Faculty Exams office. If the Outside Centre Exam request is for any other type of course/section (i.e. typical ‘in person’ section), the student must submit a petition at least three weeks prior to the beginning of the examination period. Late requests cannot be accommodated. Please note that if a student requests/petitions for both an Outside Centre Exam and a deferred exam, they will be charged the deferred examination fee of $70.00 per examination up to a maximum of $140.00 for multiple deferral requests in the same petition.

If permission has been granted for the examination to be written at an Outside Centre, students are also responsible for all costs for invigilation, postage/courier, etc. charged by the Outside Centre involved. Students are advised to determine the total cost before petitioning. Such permission is granted only in the most extreme circumstances.

Appeals 

Any student looking to appeal a denied request is encouraged to seek academic advising from their College Registrar’s office. If a student’s initial petition is denied, they may appeal (through the following stepwise processes).

  1. Committee on Standing (COS): The Committee on Standing will review an appeal with new information not presented in the original petition request within 90 days of the original petition decision date. Appeals must be submitted to the student’s College Registrar’s office.
  2. Faculty Academic Appeals Board (AAB): In order to appeal a denied COS appeal, students must submit their request in writing to their College Registrar’s office within ninety days of the COS decision.
  3. Academic Appeals Committee of the Governing Council: In order to appeal a denied AAB appeal, students must submit a Notice of Appeal and other related documents to the Academic Appeals Committee of the Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances (ADFG) of Governing Council in Simcoe Hall within ninety days of the AAB decision. Students considering submitting an appeal to Governing Council should carefully review the instructions outlined here: www.adfg.utoronto.ca/processes/acappeals.htm