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Graduate Petitions

Graduate Student Handbook

Students wishing to petition, use the official university Graduate Petition form.

This PDF document allows the petitioner to check various types of requests, or check OTHER and then describe his or her request in 50 words or less.  The petitioner has approximately 200 words to describe the reason(s) why what he or she has requested should be granted.  Once again, the petitioner enters this text directly into the PDF form.  Alternatively, the petitioner may prepare the text in a word-processing document and then cut-and-paste the text from that document.  If the petitioner needs more than 200 words, he or she may note that fact on the form and then print out an additional page and attach it.

Whenever possible, however, the petitioner should make his or her very best effort to use the PDF and not attach additional pages.  This environmentally conscious approach not only reduces use of paper, it is also more efficient.

The petitioner may save the form to his or her computer and complete it in several sessions.  Once the petitioner has completed the form, he or she prints out a copy for distribution to obtain the necessary signatures and recommendations. 

The Graduate Petition form notes the exact nature of required documentation and the petitioner, as well as those faculty and administrators who subsequently consider the petition, should be certain to include that required documentation.  Otherwise, the petition will likely be tabled until such documentation is provided.  This will delay a petition by at least two weeks and can lead to a petition being denied for lack of documentation if that documentation is not provided in a timely fashion after the petition is tabled.

Faculty may attach additional printed pages to make clear why they support or oppose the petitioner’s request.  Each faculty or administrative signer must either recommend approve or deny.  Signers are, however, allowed in their comments to make clear any reservations they have in supporting the petitioner.

Petition-consideration Process

  1. A student obtains a petition form and (1) checks the appropriate boxes for what action he/she wants taken [“I respectfully request: …] and (2) enters text telling why that action is more appropriate than the action already taken [“Reasons: …”]. The student fills out the top of the petition, entering contact information, prints the form and then signs and dates it.
  2. The signed form then goes to the student’s academic adviser. That adviser reviews the petition, makes a recommendation [“Approve” or “Deny”], provides any justification for his/her recommendation and then signs and dates the form.
  3. The doubly signed form goes next to the graduate coordinator who reviews the petition and any attachments, makes a recommendation [“Approve” or “Deny”], provides any justification for his/her recommendation and then signs and dates the form.
  4. The triply signed form next goes to the department chair who reviews the petition and any attachments, makes a recommendation [“Approve” or “Deny”], provides any justification for his/her recommendation and then signs and dates the form.
  5. Now carrying four signatures, the petition form goes to the dean’s office where the associate dean reviews the petition and any attachments, makes a recommendation [“Approve,” “Deny” or “Defer to SOGS”], provides any justification for his/her recommendation and then signs and dates the form.  [Associate deans recommend “Defer to SOGS” when they feel there may be cross-college issues that should be discussed before making a recommendation.]
  6. The petition leaves the college at this point and goes down to the registrar’s office.  The registrar reviews the petition and any attachments, checks the student’s record for any additional relevant information, and determines if the petition is covered by a recent precedent by the Committee on the Standing of Graduate Students (SOGS).  If so, the registrar acts on the petition based on that precedent.  If not, the registrar distributes the petition electronically to all members of SOGS and schedules it for discussion at the next SOGS meeting.
  7. The SOGS committee meets every other week, including some meetings in the summer, and typically considers between four and 12 petitions at each meeting.  Each petition is discussed and carefully considered and the committee votes to approve, deny, or table the petition. 
  8. If a petition is tabled, the graduate associate dean from the petitioner’s college notifies the department/program of that fact and requests the missing documentation.  A petition may remain on the table for no more than two meetings; if the requested documentation has not been supplied by then, the petition is automatically denied.
  9. If the committee decides to approve or deny the petition, the registrar’s office notifies the petitioner of the decision of the committee.
  10. If a petitioner is not satisfied with this decision, he or she may appeal to the Graduate and Research Committee (GRC).  This appeal should be in the form of a letter to the GRC that the student delivers to the chair of the GRC. In this letter, the student should make clear (1) what action he or she wishes taken instead of the action taken by SOGS, (2) why the action taken by SOGS was inappropriate, and (3) why the requested action is the more appropriate action. 
  11. The GRC as a whole considers the student’s appeal and issues its decision.