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Student Handbook - Problems with Academic Regulations

All students are subject to the academic regulations of the University, as listed in the General Announcements. Students are personally responsible for meeting all departmental and university requirements and academic deadlines.

As a student, you should be familiar with the academic regulations and conform to them. However, circumstances you cannot foresee may cause you to not be in compliance with some regulation in the future. Even though you intend to do everything properly, illness, family emergencies, or accidents may prevent you from meeting your obligations.



Undergraduate students who are not in compliance with some regulation can petition the Committee on Examinations and Standing (EX&S). You may petition for permission to add or drop a course after the deadline, for permission to return to the University after an academic suspension, for waivers of rules or requirements, and for other actions pertaining to your academic status. EX&S is charged with interpreting and enforcing the academic regulations of the University while approving exceptions to them as circumstances warrant. EX&S allows exceptions to the academic regulations only in extenuating circumstances.

Valid reasons for submitting a petition include illness and family emergencies. Participating in extracurricular activities and wanting an impressive transcript are not extenuating circumstances. Reasons for granting a petition must be fair to other students in a course. If you have a problem that a professor or a department has the authority to solve, it is best to approach the professor or department before petitioning the committee, because the committee will usually refer such matters to the professor or department for action.

How to Write a Petition
A petition should be written as a letter. It should begin with your request, followed by reasons for making the request, a description of the extenuating circumstances, and documentation from physicians, instructors, or others that proves your description is true and that your request is feasible. For example, if you claim that illness prevented you from submitting your drop/add form on time, you should attach a physician's statement that you were in the hospital or under care at that time. If you claim that you should be permitted to add a course late and that the instructor has agreed to your adding the course, you should attach a memo from the instructor. An unsupported or undocumented request is not likely to be approved.

Where to Submit your Petition
Email your petition, including any necessary supporting letters, to EXS@rice.edu. You may deliver your petition to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduates in 101 Lovett Hall. You may call the Office of the Dean of Undergraduates (x4997 or x4996) to determine the day of the meeting. The committee normally meets the same day each week, but that day can change from one semester to the next.

Questions about your Petition
The following people are happy to answer your questions about EX&S petitions or whether a particular situation warrants an EX&S petition:

  • Wendi Schoffstall-Nunez, Division Coordinator, Office of the Dean of Undergraduates, 713-348-4997, wendi@rice.edu
  • Elias Bongmba, Chair, Committee on Examinations and Standing, 713-348-2759, bongmba@rice.edu
  • Brian Gibson, Associate Dean of Undergraduates, 713-348-4060, hoot@rice.edu 

The Dean of Undergraduates webpage has information concerning the committee: http://students.rice.edu/students/Exams2.asp


Petitions and Appeals
Graduate students may petition for exceptions to academic requirements, regulations, and judgments. Petitions should be handled at the lowest appropriate level.  A petition regarding a departmental or school requirement, regulation, or judgment should be handled  by the department, departmental equivalent, or school.  A petition regarding a University requirement or regulation should be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies; that office will obtain the recommendation of the department and (when appropriate) the school and the Graduate Council with regard to such petitions.

A student is allowed only one level of appeal from a decision regarding a petition. In general, the appeal process should be resolved at the lowest level possible.

For general information on petitions and appeals, see the General Announcements. Detailed procedures for petitions and appeals are available from the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Grievances are different from petitions and appeals. Petitions and appeals involve exceptions to academic requirements, regulations, and judgments. A grievance is a complaint regarding inappropriate conduct by other students, faculty members, or staff. 

For general information about grievances, see the General Announcements. Detailed procedures for grievances are available at the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Procedures for Resolution of Problems

During the course of graduate studies, problems may arise in the relationship between a graduate student and his/her department or advisor that do not fall under the category of Grievances, described above. Students should attempt to resolve such problems by informing the appropriate faculty members and working together to resolve the problem.  When attempts to resolve the problem informally are unsuccessful, the procedures outlined in the General Announcements should be followed.

For general information about problem resolution, see the General Announcements. Detailed procedures for problem resolution for graduate students are available at the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.