Student Rights and Policies

University: Student Rights And Regulations

University Policies and Regulations
The Student Manual is the official statement of University policies and regulations, and expected standards of student conduct that are applicable to all students.  The Graham School provides additional guidance in this manual on policies that are applicable or not applicable to specific programs and student classifications.

Free Expression and The Kalven Report
In 2014 a committee of faculty members from across the University was convened by President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Eric D. Isaacs, chaired by Geoffrey Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law. They were charged with crafting a statement “articulating the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.” This report reflects the University of Chicago’s commitment to and tolerance of multiple forms of free expression, an important value of the University and its community.

Unlawful Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
The University of Chicago is a community of scholars dedicated to research, academic excellence, and the pursuit and cultivation of learning. Members of the University community cannot thrive unless each is accepted as an autonomous individual and is treated without regard to characteristics irrelevant to participation in the life of the University. Freedom of expression is vital to our shared goal of the pursuit of knowledge and should not be restricted by a multitude of rules. At the same time, unlawful discrimination, including harassment, compromises the integrity of the University. The University is committed to taking necessary action to prevent, correct, and, where indicated, discipline unlawful discrimination.

Sexual misconduct may violate the law, does violate the standards of our community, and is unacceptable at the University of Chicago.  Sexual misconduct can be devastating to the person who experiences it directly and can adversely impact family, friends, and the larger community. People who believe they have experienced any sexual misconduct are encouraged to report the incident and to seek medical care and support as soon as possible.

You may find complete information on the University’s policy and procedures related to discrimination and sexual misconduct on the University of Chicago’s website.

Graham School: Student Rights and Responsibilities

Academic Dishonesty

It is contrary to justice, academic integrity, and to the spirit of intellectual inquiry to submit another’s statements or ideas of work as one's own. To do so is plagiarism or cheating, offenses punishable under the University's disciplinary system. Because these offenses undercut the distinctive moral and intellectual character of the University, we take them very seriously.

Proper acknowledgment of another's ideas, whether by direct quotation or paraphrase, is expected. In particular, if any written or electronic source is consulted and material is used from that source, directly or indirectly, the source should be identified by author, title, and page number, or by website and date accessed. Any doubts about what constitutes "use" should be addressed to the instructor. For additional help with managing resources and citations, you talk to a research librarian:

Charges of academic fraud against students are subject to the University's policy on academic fraud when the regulations of the external sponsors (e.g. the federal government) are involved as determined by the Office of the Provost. In all other cases, charges of academic fraud against students are subject to this academic fraud policy only to the extent that they involve dissertations, capstone projects, or master’s thesis from students who have received their degrees, or work published or submitted for publication; other cases of academic fraud by students are subject to the University's area disciplinary system.

Academic Progress for Non-Degree Seeking Students

Program staff regularly evaluate student academic progress. Staff use the criteria outlined below, along with their judgment, to determine how well a student is doing. In doing so, staff balance a program’s academic or professional expectations with providing appropriate support to students, when needed, so that they can reach their goals. Adult lives can become complicated and students are encouraged to talk to their program staff directly should they experience (or anticipate) situations that may impede their progress.

All students in non-degree programs make satisfactory academic progress if they:

  • Receive passing grades.
  • Have no incomplete courses.
  • Make measurable progress through coursework.
Accomodations For Persons With Disabilities

The University strives to be supportive of the academic, personal and work-related needs of each individual and is committed to facilitating the full participation of students with a disability in the life of the University.

The office of Student Disability Services works to provide resources, support and accommodations for all students with disabilities and works to remove physical and attitudinal barriers, which may prevent their full participation in the University community.

Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

If you are interested in requesting disability accommodations, we suggest that you begin by reading through the information published on the Student Disability Services website. Also, please do communicate your requests as soon as possible to, or by phone at 773.702.7776.

Appropriate, professional documentation verifying the disability and specifying recommended accommodation(s) must be provided to support the request. Assuming the documentation is current and complete, the review and decision process may take up to ten weeks.

Accurately Representing the Program of Study

Students belonging to the non-degree programs are members of the University of Chicago academic community, and must always present themselves as belonging to the appropriate Graham School program – and not misrepresent themselves (in business cards, electronic signatures, websites, social media, blogs, and other forms of communication) as being part of any Masters or PhD program at the University of Chicago.

Attendance And Participation

Students are expected to attend and participate in each class. Absences and tardiness not only can result in a lowered grade but also jeopardize a student’s standing in a program. Students should carefully review each course syllabus for specific guidance on attendance and participation. Students have the responsibility to communicate in a timely manner with course instructors regarding absences.

Changes Of Information

The Graham School reserves the right to change without notice any statement, including but not limited to, course offerings, dates, costs, and instructors.

Disciplinary Procedures

Graham School Area Disciplinary Committee

The Graham School Area Disciplinary Committee is comprised of three faculty members, one current Graham student, a non-voting representative from Campus and Student Life, and the Dean of Students or their designee who are also non-voting members of the committee. The Dean of the Graham School or their designee chooses and officially appoints the committee members. The Dean of Students or their designee calls the group together for a hearing when all the proceeding elements have concluded in the academic disciplinary review process.

The Dean of Students or their designee will prepare documents for examination by the committee. The Dean of Students or their designee will also ask for the participation of individuals in the hearing process. These individuals will include individual who has brought charges forwarded and the student who is accused of possible academic or behavioral misconduct. The following are general guidelines which will govern the review process:

  1. The committee will appoint one person to serve as the chair of the committee. The chair will lead the hearing process.
  2. The committee will listen to presentations by all person called to participate in the hearing.
  3. The committee may directly ask questions of all hearing participants.
  4. Hearing participants must ask the committee for permission to directly question another participant in the hearing process.
  5. After the conclusion of the hearing, the committee will deliberate in a closed session to determinate possible violations and sanctions.

Students may review full disciplinary hearing details that includes students’ rights and responsibilities in the process in the University student manual.

Disciplinary Appeals Process

A student may file an appeal of the Graham School Area Disciplinary Committee’s decision with the Dean of Students for the University. In order to file an appeal, at least one of the following criteria must be met:

  1. Proper procedures were not followed (as described in the Graham School or University Student Handbook).
  2. Additional information has become available since the decision was rendered by the committee.
  3. There was bias demonstrated during the investigatory and/or hearing processes.

The student must file a written request for appeal with the Dean of Students for the University in which he/she must describe the appeal criteria (listed above) for the request. It is the decision of the Dean of Students for the University to grant or deny the appeal review request. The decision of the Dean of Students for the University is a final decision.


Common Grade Policy for Non-Degree Programs

Graham School non-credit programs follow the University’s “COMMON” grade policy. The University uses a 4 point scale for grades; these “quality” grades are as follows 4.0 = A, 3.7 = A-, 3.3=B+, 3.0 = B, 2.7 = B-, 2.3 = C+, 2.0 = C, 1.7 = C-, 1.3 = D+, 1.0 = D, F = 0. (Note that there is no A+ or D- in the common grade scale.)

Incomplete Grades
Grades of “I” indicate “Incomplete” work. Once the work for an “I”-graded course has been completed, the program will record the new grade. Students who need to take an incomplete for a course must communicate immediately with the course instructor and program staff. It is expected that requests will be made before the course ends.

Grade of Pass/Fail
Grades of “P” indicate “Pass” and grades of “F” indicate “Failure.”

Grade of R or Audit
Grades of “R” indicate a “Registered” or “Audit” status. Grades of “R” are either assigned by the instructor or arranged in advance by the student via the registration process.

Grade of “W”- Withdrawn
Grades of “W” indicate “Withdrawn” (albeit not “dropped”). Grades of “W” either are assigned by the instructor or administratively by the program staff. Please see the cancellation policy for more information.

Grade Appeal

Instructor Conference

The student shall first request, in writing, a conference with the instructor to explain the reason for the appeal and seek a resolution. The appeal must be submitted no later than 7 calendar days after the start of the next quarter after which the class was taken. Please note that, in matters relating to grades, the instructor’s judgment is deemed final and conclusive.

Criteria for a grade appeal:

Students may appeal the professional judgment exercised by an instructor in assigning a grade only under the following circumstances:

  1. Grades resulting from deviations in the instructor’s established and announced grading procedures
  2. Errors in application of grading procedures
  3. Modification of grades for non-academic reasons
  4. Gross error in judgment by the instructor

Program Director Conference
If the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s resolution to the grade appeal the student shall request to meet with the instructor’s program director. This request to meet with the instructor’s program director must be made in writing within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the meeting with the instructor. The written request should specify the student’s reason for appeal and provide supporting evidence where appropriate.

Dean of Students Conference
If the student desires to appeal the findings and decision of the program director, a written request for a conference with the dean of students must be filed by the student within seven (7) calendar days of the issuance of the official University correspondence of the decision of the program director. The dean of students will provide a copy of the appeal to the instructor and the program director and will facilitate a review of the criteria of the appeal. The dean of students will prepare a concise, written review of his/her findings and deliver the findings through official University correspondence to the student as a final response to the grade appeal.

Grievance Procedure

For matters dealing with class procedures, grades, or other academic affairs, the student first should approach the course instructor and/or the program director involved and attempt to resolve the issue with him or her. If the student's concerns are not satisfactorily resolved, the student should present the matter to the Graham School's dean of students in writing. The dean of students will investigate the matter and work with all parties involved. If the matter remains unresolved or dissatisfactory, after the intervention of the dean of students, the student may contact the University's student ombudsman, who works as an outside observer and mediator.

For matters dealing with general policies of the School, petitions should be made directly to the dean of students.

For discrimination and/or harassment (including sexual harassment) concerns, see University’s Student Manual policy on Unlawful Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct.

Late Papers, Projects, and Assignments

Students are responsible for contacting the course instructor to obtain his or her policy regarding late papers, projects, and assignments. Whenever possible, it is expected that the student will consult with the instructor prior to missing a deadline.

Submitting assignments late may result in a lower grade on the assignment and/or result in a lower grade for the course.


To preserve the academic environment, students may not bring minors or guests into the classroom, or leave minors unattended in University Buildings. Outside the classroom, the Graham School occasionally holds event offerings which may be appropriate for minors and where guests may be welcome. If you have questions about whether or not you may bring a minor or guest to an event, please contact your program staff.

Record Maintenance and Review

Record Maintenance
A student's education records are defined under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as including, subject to the limitations described in the Act, "records, files, documents, and other materials which (1) contain information directly related to a student; and (2) are maintained by an institution or by a party acting for such institution." At the University, a student's education records are often maintained in a number of offices: the Office of the Dean of Students in the student's academic unit, the student's department (if he or she is a graduate divisional student), and in some cases by the Office of Campus and Student Life. In addition, a student's official academic record is maintained indefinitely in the Office of the University Registrar.

Graham School Student Record Maintenance
The Dean of Students staff, Registrar’s Office, and program administrators have access to and maintain student records. Disciplinary incidents are maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students separately from a student's academic files.

Revoking acceptance

The Graham School expects students who have been admitted to a program to make the same commitment to University policies and regulations governing student conduct as students enrolled in classes. The Graham School may defer or revoke an offer of acceptance for fraud, misrepresentation, material omission of fact, dishonesty, violation of University standards in the application for admission, violation of University academic standards, or other pre-matriculation misconduct.

Time to Completion

After starting their coursework, students in certificate programs are expected to complete the program within five years. If students need more time, they can contact program staff.


A non-degree transcript is a record of a student’s progress and performance while enrolled. Courses completed appear on the student transcript with the grade received.

The Dean of Students staff, registration staff, and program administrators have access to and maintain student records and transcripts. For non-credit programs, program administrators maintain a student’s official academic record indefinitely. To request a transcript, please contact the program administrators directly.

Withdrawal From A Program

A student may choose to withdraw or a student may be withdrawn from a program for a number of reasons. A withdrawal is fundamentally different from a LOA in that the student is not expected to return to his or her studies. Withdrawals fall into one of two categories:

  1. involuntary withdrawal; and
  2. voluntary withdrawal.

Involuntary Withdrawal

There are four general reasons why a student may be withdrawn from a program involuntarily. These are detailed below.

  • Students who fail to meet the conditions of an academic progress plan.
  • Students who have not taken a course in 5 years.
  • Students who have financial or administrative restrictions. Restrictions may result from a student’s failure to fulfill financial obligations to the University or to comply with University rules and regulations. Whenever possible, students are warned of an impending restriction and are notified when one has been imposed.
  • As a result of a disciplinary decision.

Voluntary Withdrawal

Students who choose not to continue with their certificate program must inform program staff and taking the following steps:

  • Discuss the implications of interrupting your study with program staff.
  • Send an email stating why you need to be withdrawn from the program to your program staff.
  • If students choose to continue with their certificate program at a later date, he/she must reapply.