Petition Policy

section VI, article 3

A petition is an opportunity to request an adjustment to your “Path to the PhD.” Using our formal (and simple!) process rather than an email helps us to track your request and respond appropriately.

What are petitions?

The graduate handbook is a living document – its meaning and effectiveness may shift according to the people who put its language into practice. Scholars may encounter unique situations that are not covered in the handbook or are ambiguous. In this case, scholars have the option consider submitting a petition to the graduate committee.

Petitions are written requests that allow graduate scholars to seek adjustments and/or clarifications of handbook policy to customize their path through the chemistry graduate program. Common examples include petitions to waive specific program requirements or adjust program deadlines.

Reasons to submit a petition

  • Petition to extend a milestone deadline
  • Petition to deviate from the format or content required for a milestone
  • Petition to change rotation groups
  • Petition to change research groups
  • Petition to change committee membership
  • Petition to receive an M.S. degree on the way to the Ph.D.
  • Petition to change your program status and leave with a terminal M.S.
  • Petition to waive a program requirement
  • Any request for a change or clarification of program policy that is not a grievance

Before submitting a petition, scholars are encouraged, but not required, to consult with their primary research mentor or with any member of the graduate admin team for clarification of questions related to program requirements.

Note: There is a difference between a petition that requests a change or clarification to a program requirement and an academic grievance, such as a grade dispute. Scholars should review the handbook Grievance Policy to ensure that they understand the difference.

Submitting a petition

Scholars can submit a petition to the graduate committee by using the Petition to the Graduate Committee online form. Scholars should be prepared to describe what they are requesting as well as the reason for the request. If the request is for a deadline extension, scholars must indicate the exact date of the new proposed deadline in the petition submission. A petition is not anonymous and may be discussed within the graduate committee or with any member of the graduate faculty whose expertise is required to conduct a thorough review. You are encouraged, but not required, to notify affected faculty, including your P.I., of a petition prior to submission.

Supporting documents for a petition

There is a space in the online petition form to include a file. Scholars should upload any documents that they wish for the committee to review alongside their petition as a single PDF. Please do not include detailed personal/medical information in your petition. Other forms of documentation may include:

  • A letter from the primary research mentor in support of the petition
  • A syllabus, transcript, and/or other documents to demonstrate proficiency when asking to waive program requirements
  • In the case of a change of group request, a research summary of work completed in the current group
  • In the case of a milestone extension request, a timeline to completion or other outline of your plan to achieve the milestone

Response to a Petition

Petitions will receive a response within two weeks (ten business days.) The graduate program will address petitions as quickly as possible, but expects that scholars will consider their path through the program in advance of major milestones to anticipate petitions.

Emergency petitions may be submitted via the same form as regular petitions. In this case, you must indicate the reason for the late petition and the date by which a response is requested. Emergency petitions will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances, such as professional or personal challenges of an unforeseen nature. Scholars are expected to plan ahead. That said, scholars should not hesitate to request the assistance and information they need to progress through the graduate program no matter the timeline.

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Next: Appendices