Department of History

Queen's University
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Academic Regulations

Withdrawal on Academic Grounds

There are two situations which require withdrawal from the graduate programme in History:

  • failure on a primary course;
  • failure of the thesis (this is covered by the published regulations of the Graduate School).

Any student who receives a grade of less than 65% in a primary course has failed that course. A student who fails a primary course will be required to withdraw from a graduate degree programme in history. (A primary course is any course prescribed for a student's approved programme of study. Only courses additional to the student's approved programme -- e.g. language courses or remedial writing courses -- are designated as secondary. For these courses a mark of less than second class may be accepted.)

When a failing mark is reported to the graduate office, the graduate chair will confirm the mark with the instructor(s), ensure that the student is aware of the procedures for appealing the grade and any academic decision that may result from it as outlined in these regulations and in those of the School of Graduate Studies, and inform the student's supervisor(s) of the situation.

Problems, Grievance Procedures and Appeals of Academic Decisions

1. Complaints and Problems

If individual students have a complaint or problem they normally discuss it in the first instance with the faculty member concerned. If they remain dissatisfied they then normally take the problem to the Graduate Chair. If they are still dissatisfied the normal procedure is then to go to the Chair of the Department.

Students with complaints or problems should always feel free to seek the advice and assistance of the student members of the Graduate Committee. It should be noted that any student is free, at any time, to take a problem or a complaint directly or to either the Graduate Chair or to the Chair of the Department.

2. Grievance Procedures

If a student feels that he/she has a grievance and wishes to pursue formal grievance procedures he/she should in the first instance consult the Graduate Chair and the Chair of the Department. The full "Senate Statement on Grievance, Discipline and Related Matters" is available in the Graduate Chair's office for consultation by students and faculty members. A grievance should concern procedural (non-academic) matters only, and should not be confused with an appeal of an academic decision.

Graduate School rules concerning grievance and appeal of academic decisions are described in Sections 8.8 and 8.9 of the current graduate calendar. Appeals beyond the department are limited to procedural matters; the ruling of the department with respect to academic decisions is final.

3. Appeals of Academic Course Decisions

Procedures for appealing non-course related academic decisions are outlined in the relevant sections of these regulations and by the School of Graduate Studies. Regarding final marks in a graduate course in the department:

1. Any student wishing clarification about, or who is dissatisfied with, an assigned grade in a graduate course should first discuss the matter with the course instructor(s) to ensure everyone is aware of all the relevant facts. The instructor(s) will review the work in question in a timely fashion. This discussion should take place within 14 days of the grades being available. If the instructor(s) agree to change a grade, a change of grade form shall be processed in the usual way. Either the instructor(s) or student may request that the graduate chair play an informal mediation role.

2. If the instructor confirms the original grade, and if the student is still dissatisfied, then the student should appeal to the department chair for a formal review, stating clearly the grounds on which the grade should be raised. The appeal should be made through the graduate chair. If the department chair believes the grounds to be reasonable, then he/she shall initiate a review of the grade. The department chair, in consultation with the graduate chair, will undertake the review which may include asking an appropriate member of the department's graduate faculty to grade a clean and blinded copy of any written work which forms part of the appeal. He/she may also seek the advice of the faculty members of the department's graduate committee. The final decision will be made by the department chair.

3. If the department chair does not agree to a review of the grade, then the student has the right to formally request a review of the grade through the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The Dean will forward the request to the department chair, who will conduct a review of the grade.

4. The grade determined by means of the review shall be recorded as the final official grade, irrespective of whether it is identical to, or higher or lower than, the original grade. The department chair or graduate chair will inform all parties, including the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, of the result of the review.

5. Further appeal of an assigned grade can be made only on the basis of a specific procedural error or errors made in the departmental grade review procedures. This would be done through convening the Academic Appeal Board of the School of Graduate Studies (see Step 4 through Step 5, Appeals Against Academic Decisions).

Note: These procedures for review of an assigned grade do not apply when a failing grade (FA) has been received on courses numbered 899 (Master's Thesis) or 999 (Doctoral Thesis). Appeal of a grade of Fail on a graduate thesis is appealed through the Appeal of Thesis Examination Committee Decision, under Appeals Against Academic Decisions.