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Graduate Studies General Regulations Withdrawal on Academic Grounds


Withdrawal on Academic Grounds

Recommending Withdrawal on Academic Grounds

Any academic decision can be appealed by the student under the SGS General Regulation Appeals Against Academic Decisions. This regulation (Withdrawal on Academic Grounds) does not apply to the appeal of an academic decision but rather outlines the procedures whereby a graduate department or program recommends that a student be required to withdraw on academic grounds, and the procedures and responsibilities for deciding on the outcome of this recommendation. Note that a recommendation under a., b., or c. below, may be appealed by the student under the SGS General Regulation Appeals Against Academic Decisions.

Some Graduate Department/Programs have separate procedures to be followed that would be enacted prior to making a recommendation under the procedures below.

Prior to making a recommendation under the procedures below, the faculty member(s), and/or Graduate Coordinator and/or Graduate Department/Program Head, and/or in the case of non-departmentalized faculties or schools, the Associate Dean responsible for the graduate program, shall meet with the student to discuss their academic situation, the possible recommendation of withdrawal, and the grounds for the recommendation. The student may invite a representative to the meeting. If the student intends to be accompanied by legal counsel, he or she must provide at least 48 hours notice to the department/program/faculty attendees who reserves the right to reschedule the meeting if notice is not given. If the student does not wish to attend the meeting, the student can submit a written statement. If the student does not respond to an invitation to attend the meeting, or does not make a written statement, the process will continue without the student’s input.

The student shall be informed in writing when the Graduate Department/Program shall be making a recommendation of withdrawal to the Faculty Graduate Council, or, in the case of non-departmentalized faculties or schools, to the School of Graduate Studies, and shall be informed of the grounds for the recommendation.

Unsatisfactory academic performance by the student may lead to a recommendation that the student be required to withdraw. There are several circumstances that may lead to this recommendation and, as these differ in certain important respects, the procedures of appeal and review differ. The situations are dealt with separately in the following sections.

a. Withdrawal due to Failure of a Primary Course: In cases when a student does not achieve B- (B minus) in a primary course, for graduate programs in the departmentalized faculties, the Head or Graduate Coordinator of the Graduate Department/Program may recommend to the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council that the student:

   i. repeat the examination (or equivalent) within one year after the  original examination (or equivalent), or

   ii. repeat the course, or

   iii. take a substitute course.

These regulations are also outlined in the SGS General Regulation, Course Work Requirements, b. 

The student and Graduate Department/Program shall be informed of the decision of the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council in writing by the School of Graduate Studies.

If recommendation i., ii. or iii. is not made or, if made, is not approved by the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council, any student who fails to obtain the required standing in any primary course shall be required to withdraw. For graduate programs in the departmentalized faculties, the Head or Graduate Coordinator of the Graduate Department/Program shall recommend to the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council that the student be required to withdraw due to failure of a primary course or courses.

The Faculty Graduate Council, or its duly empowered Chair or Associate Chair, shall examine the case to see that proper procedures were followed, and if this is ascertained, the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council shall notify the School of Graduate Studies, who shall inform the student in writing of the Graduate Department/Program's recommendation and the confirmation of the recommendation by the Faculty Graduate Council. This letter will also inform the student of the relevant appeal procedure under SGS General Regulation Appeals Against Academic Decisions and will inform the student of the academic services provided by the Coordinator of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students’ Student Advisors.

Review of the Graduate Department/Program recommendation by the Faculty Graduate Council or its duly empowered Chair or Associate Chair, is limited to procedural matters and any extenuating circumstances only and does not entail assessing the academic decision itself.

If the case is evidently straightforward, it may be approved by the Chair/Associate Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council and then must be submitted for approval and action to School of Graduate Studies, and also reported back to Faculty Graduate Council.  Otherwise, the Graduate Department/Program recommendation will be placed on the agenda for decision by Faculty Graduate Council at its next meeting.

If the Graduate Department/Program recommendation is taken to a meeting of the Faculty Graduate Council, the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council shall inform the student that he or she may attend the meeting, with or without a representative or advisor, and that he or she is entitled to present the case. If the student intends to be accompanied by legal counsel, he or she must provide at least 48 hours notice to the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council who reserves the right to reschedule the discussion of the matter to another meeting of the Faculty Graduate Council, if notice is not given. If the student does not wish to attend the meeting of the Faculty Graduate Council, the student can submit a written response to the recommendation, for circulation to the Council and for discussion by the Council at the meeting. If the student does not respond to an invitation to attend the meeting, or does not make a written submission, the process will continue without the student’s input.

All such Faculty Graduate Council decisions are subject to appeal, under the SGS General Regulation Appeals Against Academic Decisions. It is the responsibility of the Chair or Associate Chair of Faculty Graduate Council to represent Council and explain the decision to the SGS Academic Appeal Board, if/as required.

In the case of non-departmentalized faculties or schools, if recommendation i., ii., or iii. is not made to the School of Graduate Studies, the Associate Dean responsible for the graduate program shall recommend to the Graduate Committee that the student be required to withdraw from the program, and the Committee shall decide whether to accept this recommendation or not. The student shall be given fair notice in writing of the recommendation and the grounds upon which it is made. The student may attend the meeting at which the Graduate Committee considers the recommendation, alone or with a representative or advisor if he or she wishes, and has a right to present the case. If the student intends to be accompanied by legal counsel, he or she must provide at least 48 hours notice to the Associate Dean responsible for the graduate program, who reserves the right to reschedule the discussion of the matter to another meeting of the Graduate Committee if notice is not given. If the student does not wish to attend the meeting, the student can submit a written response to the recommendation, for circulation to the Committee and for discussion by the Committee at the meeting. If the student does not respond to an invitation to attend the meeting, or does not make a written submission, the process will continue without the student’s input.

Review of the recommendation by the Graduate Committee is limited to procedural matters and any extenuating circumstances and does not entail an assessment of the academic decision itself.

If the Graduate Committee approves the recommendation of the Associate Dean, it shall report the case to the SGS, which shall inform the student of the Graduate Committee’s decision.

All such Graduate Committee decisions are subject to appeal, under the SGS General Regulation Appeals Against Academic Decisions. It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Graduate Committee to represent the Committee and explain the decision to the SGS Academic Appeal Board, if/as required.

b. Withdrawal due to Failure of the Thesis by an Examining Committee: The properly constituted Examining Committee of a thesis establishes the academic decision concerning the thesis and its defence. It, therefore, holds the same position with respect to the thesis as the instructor holds in relation to the marking of an examination or other test in a primary course. The academic decision of the Committee cannot be overturned. If the Examining Committee has decided to refer the decision pending major revision, it may:

   i. recommend revision of the thesis, or

   ii. recommend additional research and revision of the thesis.

If the Examination Committee makes one of the above decisions, the Committee is not discharged and must examine the thesis as next submitted. The holding of a second oral defence is at the discretion of the Committee.

The second submission of a thesis that was referred pending major revision requires a final decision of pass or fail by the Examining Committee. If the Examining Committee considers the student to have failed based on the written and oral defence, the Examining Committee will recommend withdrawal from the program.

Appeal of a decision of Fail on a graduate thesis is through the SGS General Regulation

Appeals Against Academic Decisions, Appeal of Thesis Examination Committee Decision.

NOTE: "Thesis” refers to the substantive, terminal research document of any research Master’s degree, currently represented by the course number 899, or to the Doctoral Dissertation, the substantive, terminal research document of all Doctoral degrees, currently represented by the course number 999. The appeal of the grade of any Master’s Essay, Report, or Project currently represented by the course number 898, falls under the SGS General Regulation Appeal of an Assigned Grade in a Graduate Course.

c. Withdrawal on General Academic Grounds: In addition to circumstances outlined in sections a. and b., there are other academic circumstances that could lead to a recommendation that the student be required to withdraw. To cite several examples: in the judgment of the supervisor or a supervisory committee the student may be making unsatisfactory progress in research; the student may have failed the comprehensive examination; there may have been marginal performance in seminars; preliminary drafts of chapters of the thesis may reveal an unsatisfactory standard of scholarship; or in the judgment of the supervisor or a supervisory committee or other Graduate Department/Program academic committee, the student's overall academic performance in coursework is not acceptable. For such cases and for graduate programs in the departmentalized faculties, the Graduate Department/Program shall recommend withdrawal to the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council and shall inform the student in writing that such a recommendation is being made and the grounds for this recommendation.

The Graduate Department/Program recommendation shall be taken to a meeting of the Faculty Graduate Council. The Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council shall inform the student that he or she may attend the meeting, with or without a representative, and that he or she is entitled to present the case. If the student intends to be accompanied by legal counsel, he or she must provide at least 48 hours notice to the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council, who reserves the right to reschedule the discussion of the matter to another meeting of the Faculty Graduate Council, if notice is not given. If the student does not wish to attend the meeting of the Faculty Graduate Council, the student can submit a written response to the recommendation, for circulation to the Council/ Committee and for discussion by the Council at the meeting. If the student does not respond to an invitation to attend the meeting, or does not make a written submission, the process will continue without the student’s input.

Review of the Graduate Department/Program recommendation by the Faculty Graduate Council is limited to procedural matters and any extenuating circumstances and does not entail an assessment of the academic decision itself.

If the Faculty Graduate Council approves the recommendation of the Graduate Department/Program, the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council shall report the case to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies who shall notify the student in writing of the recommendation by the Faculty Graduate Council. This letter will also inform the student of the relevant appeal procedure under SGS General Regulation Appeals Against Academic Decisions and will inform the student of the academic services provided by the Coordinator of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students’ Student Advisors.

All such Faculty Graduate Council decisions are subject to appeal, under the SGS General Regulation Appeals Against Academic Decisions. It is the responsibility of the Chair or Associate Chair of Faculty Graduate Council to represent Council and explain the decision to the SGS Academic Appeal Board, if/as required.

In the case of non-departmentalized faculties or schools, in the case of withdrawal on general academic grounds, the Associate Dean responsible for the graduate program  shall recommend to the Graduate Committee that  the student be required to withdraw from the program, and the Committee shall decide whether to accept this recommendation or not. The student shall be given fair notice in writing of the recommendation and the grounds upon which it is made. The student may attend the meeting at which the Graduate Committee considers the recommendation, alone or with a representative or advisor if he or she wishes and has the right to present the case. If the student intends to be accompanied by legal counsel, he or she must provide at least 48 hours notice to the Associate Dean responsible for the graduate program, who reserves the right to reschedule the discussion of the matter to another meeting of the Graduate Committee if notice is not given. If the student does not wish to attend the meeting, the student can submit a written response to the recommendation, for circulation to the Committee and for discussion by the Committee at the meeting. If the student does not respond to an invitation to attend the meeting, or does not make a written submission, the process will continue without the student’s input.

Review of the recommendation by the Graduate Committee is limited to procedural matters and any extenuating circumstances and does not entail an assessment of the academic decision itself.

If the Graduate Committee approves the recommendation of the Associate Dean, it shall report the case to the SGS, which shall inform the student of the Graduate Committee’s decision.

All such Graduate Committee decisions are subject to appeal, under the SGS General Regulation Appeals Against Academic Decisions. It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Graduate Committee to represent the Committee and explain the decision to the SGS Academic Appeal Board, if/as required.

Graduate Studies General Regulations Withdrawal on Academic Grounds
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