In This Section:
Students are responsible for observing sessional dates, course prerequisites, 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 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 U of T email address to which a petition decision may be sent. Only U of T email will be used to reply to petitions. Non-receipt of a decision due to incorrect email address is not grounds for reconsideration.
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 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. 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.
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.
A student may petition the Faculty for a late withdrawal without academic penalty when they feel that they were unable to complete a course due to circumstances outside their control. Typically a late withdrawal petition is pursued when no other kind of petition request or special option (like term work extension, or a deferred final exam) will remedy the situation.
It is important to note that students who intend to finish a course, and who therefore do not drop the course themselves (whether by the last day to cancel on ACORN, or perhaps through their College Registrar’s office for an “LWD”), do take on a risk. The Faculty assumes that students who persist in a course right to the end have assessed their progress and marks and decided to take the course to completion, regardless of any circumstances. Therefore, a late withdrawal without academic penalty petition has a much lower chance of success when a student has taken the course to completion – which means they have written the final exam or final piece of term work (in courses without a final exam).
If a late withdrawal without academic penalty petition is granted, the course is not removed from the transcript, but the notation “WDR” is placed on the transcript in the place of a final mark. Once WDR has been placed on the student’s academic record, no credit is received for the course and there is no impact on any GPA.
Please note that a granted WDR does not have any impact on fees. Because a WDR is likely granted beyond any fee refund deadlines, students are still responsible for any tuition or other fees incurred.
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 pay the fee by the deadline given, so that the deferred examination can be scheduled appropriately.
Students who have paid the deferred examination fee(s) will receive their personal deferred examination schedule.
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.
If a student becomes ill at an examination, they must notify the Chief Presiding Officer (CPO) immediately, sign the appropriate form and promptly leave the examination to seek medical attention. This request cannot be made at the end of the examination or just before the examination ends. The CPO will ask the student to sign a form and submit all examination materials. After having sought medical attention, the student may petition for another opportunity to write the examination along with submitting relevant supporting documentation. Having once abandoned an examination, a student should be aware that consideration may not be given again for the same circumstances.
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.
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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/processes/academic-appeals.