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 for?

Your graduate handbook is a living document – its meaning and effectiveness may shift according to the people who put its language into practice. You may encounter a unique situation that is not covered in the handbook or your interpretation of handbook language at some point in your career might be ambiguous.

In this case, you might consider submitting a petition to the graduate committee.

Petitions are intended to 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.

What are some specific reasons why I might 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 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

How do I know if a petition is appropriate?

Before submitting a petition, you are encouraged, but not required, to consult with your P.I. or with any member of the graduate admin team for clarification of questions related to program requirements.

Please 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. A grievance indicates that you disagree with a policy or decision. Please review the handbook Grievance Policy to ensure that you understand the difference.

How do I submit a petition?

You can submit a petition to the graduate committee by using the Petition to the Graduate Committee online form. Be prepared to describe what you are requesting as well as the reason for the request. If you are asking for a deadline extension, you will be required to indicate the exact date of the new proposed deadline. 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.

If you have questions about the petition or grievance policy or would like to discuss a petition before submitting this form, please contact any member of the graduate team.

Do I need to add any supporting documents to a petition?

There is a space in the online petition form to include a file. PlEASE upload any documents here you wish the committee to review as a single PDF. You may include a doctor’s note, if you wish, but do not include detailed personal/medical information. Other forms of documentation may include:

  • A letter from your advisor in support of your 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

How long does it take to receive a 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. Please plan ahead. That said, do not hesitate to request the assistance and information you need to progress through the graduate program no matter the timeline.


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Next: Changing Research Groups