Academic Grievance

Undergraduate Students

Academic Grievances

Students who wish to make a complaint or grievance regarding any College academic policy should file a petition with the Academic Petitions Committee through the Office of Academic Affairs.

Grievances regarding a grade or other matters in a course should be discussed first with the course instructor. If the student remains dissatisfied, he/she should advance the grievance to the departmental Chair. If the Chair is unable to mediate a resolution, the student should advance the grievance to the Dean of the appropriate school. If the grievance is not resolved after mediation at this level, the student should file a petition with the Academic Petitions Committee in the Office of Academic Affairs.

Graduate Students

If a student wishes a review of a decision for a grade or dismissal from the College, he or she should refer to the processes below.

Grade Disputes and Academic Grievances

Students who believe that they have received an incorrect grade, or have another academic dispute, should first initiate the following informal grievance process within one month of receiving the grade or the dispute event. Students should meet with the Dean of Graduate Studies to discuss the dispute within one month of the incident(s). If the grade or academic issue is not resolved, the formal grievance process will be invoked.

Informal Process

  1. The student should schedule an appointment with the faculty member concerned and discuss the problem.
  2. If this does not resolve the situation, the graduate program director should be consulted.
  3. If this does not result in a satisfactory resolution, the student may appeal to the department chair in which the issue occurred.
  4. If a satisfactory resolution is not achieved, the student may confer with the Dean of the School of Communication or the Dean of the School of the Arts. The School Dean determines if there has been an error in the grading process or if some other valid dispute exists. If other issues are involved, the concern may be brought to the Graduate Grievance Committee.

Formal Process

Students who feel their grievance has not been resolved through the informal process may request a formal hearing by the Graduate Grievance Committee through the formal process. This must be done within 10 days after the informal process has concluded:

  1. The student must file a written statement explaining the alleged grievance with the committee chair. Copies of this statement will be distributed to all involved in the hearing. The student must submit all documentation he or she has regarding the claim within seven days of filing a grievance.
  2. The Graduate Grievance Committee will meet in a timely fashion and examine all relevant material. The committee reserves the right to contact or solicit information from any person whom it feels would be helpful to understanding or resolving the grievance. The committee’s findings will be submitted to the student, faculty members, and other involved parties.

Graduate Grievance Committee

Grievance procedures are intended to support a fair hearing of any student with an unresolved academic grievance issue. When convened to hear a student academic grievance, the Graduate Grievance Committee will consist of four members: the Dean of Graduate Studies, who chairs the committee; a department chair from a non-involved academic department, who is appointed by the Chief Academic Officer of the College; a faculty member, who is also appointed by the Chief Academic Officer; and the Registrar. Students who believe they have been unfairly and/or improperly treated or have any other complaints regarding academic matters should report their issues to the Office of Graduate Studies, which will attempt to resolve the issue or begin the formal grievance process. Students must first follow the informal process for academic grievance.

Complaint Policy for Online and Low-Residency Students

Students who wish to have a review of a decision for a grade or dismissal from the College should refer to the academic grievance processes above. Emerson College will attempt to resolve student complaints within its academic and administrative departments.

After all administrative remedies have been exhausted with the College, the student may submit a SARA Complaint. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education will send a copy of the complaint to the Emerson College. Within 30 days of the date that the Department sends a copy of the complaint to Emerson College, the College must provide a written response to the student and the Department.

Massachusetts residents may submit a complaint via the general student complaint form. Students residing in other SARA member states may use the SARA Complaint form. For residents not located in a SARA member state with complaints not resolved at the institutional level, you may contact the appropriate authority in your state of residence.

Additionally, Emerson College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Information about the NECHE complaint process can be found on its website,