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Academic Standards

Appealing to an Academic Committee

If you believe your final grade in a class is inaccurate you must follow these steps (click here for a full list of grades):
  1. Immediately make an appointment to discuss the matter with the instructor. You may request the instructor review all exams and papers for an understanding of why the grade was received.
  2. If this does not resolve the issue, talk to the chair of the department in which the course is given.  If necessary, you can appeal the grade to the dean of the division. 
  3. If these steps fail to resolve the issue, the final step would be to prepare a written appeal to the appropriate Committee on Course and Standing (see explanation of appeals processes below).
The following steps are a general guideline to follow when writing a letter of appeal to an Academic Committee:
  • Carefully complete the Appeal Cover Sheet: Make sure that you state the exact course and section numbers of the course(s) in question, as well as the semester(s) in which you took them, and the name(s) of the instructor(s). Do not write your actual appeal on the form.
  • State your case in simple, precise language.  What is it that you want the committee to do — approve a grade change, authorize a course withdrawal, etc.—and why do you feel this should be considered. Briefly describe your current academic situation and status, including any steps you have made to improve your academic standing. Make every effort to make your description clear and concise; do not ramble.
  • Demonstrate that you are familiar with the academic policies of the college: you want to show your claim is grounded in knowledge of the policies of City College, e.g., policies on grading, absence and lateness, academic dishonesty.  Refer to the Undergraduate Bulletin and the Student Handbook for reference.
  • Provide medical or other supporting documentation with your appeal if appropriate. For example, if you had to withdraw unofficially from a course due to a medical emergency, attach documentation such as a doctor's note.  If you had a death in the family, or had to go on jury duty, attach documentation. This will help the Committee establish the veracity of your claim.
  •  Carefully review your letter for spelling or grammatical errors.  Errors may create the impression that you are careless and are not taking the appeal seriously, or does have significant academic weaknesses.
  • Avoid displaying emotions such as anger.  Use this letter to convince the Academic committee of the merits of your request/case.
  • Always make copies of the appeal cover sheet, your letter of appeal, the date of your submission, and any documentation you choose to submit: you may also submit copies to your academic advisor to be placed in your student file.
You must hand in or mail your appeal to the appropriate office (see list below).  Do not email or fax your paperwork.

It is important to remember that students do not meet face to face with the CCS.  Your written statement will be the only appeal presented to the Committee, therefore it is crucial to make your case clearly and to demonstrate that you have made significant efforts to change any unsatisfactory behavior.

In most cases a written response with the Committee's decision will be sent within 15 business days.

Where do you send your appeal?


In addition to College of Liberal Arts and Science, The City College of New York includes four professional schools – in architecture, education, engineering, and biomedical education – and each one has its own Committee on Course and Standing.  (See below.)  If you are appealing a professional course, your appeal goes to the Committee at that School: if you are appealing a grade in an engineering course, for example, your appeal goes to the Grove School.  Regardless of what your major is, however, all appeals concerning undergraduate courses in the liberal arts and sciences must be referred to the CLAS CCS.
  • Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture – SSA 132
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences –Administration Building Room 206/216
  • Grove School of Engineering – Steinman 209
  • School of Education – NAC 3/223A
  • Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education – Harris 113