Standing Appeals

Standing appeals can be filed when you have a change in academic standing. Similar to grade appeals, standing appeals must be filed on relevant grounds. If you are an undergraduate student, start by reviewing why your standing has changed, and read Policy 46 on Grading, Promotion and Academic Standing. Remember that you have the right to appeal.

A standing appeal challenges your current standing. However, because academic standing depends on overall GPA, it is usually affected by one or more poor grades. Therefore, standing appeals are usually accompanied by a grade appeal, to challenge the grade that caused the change in standing. Read more about submitting Multiple Appeals.

Standing appeals are submitted to your home program department.

Download the Grade and Standings Appeal Information Package below for a comprehensive guide to filing your standing appeal.

  1. Types of Standings
  2. Is a Standing Appeal Right for You?
  3. First Steps: Informal Resolution & Policy Understanding
  4. Appeals Process/Levels
  5. Appropriate Resolutions
  6. Fresh Start
  7. Hints and Tips
  8. Forms/Links

Contact: Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator | | 416-979-5255 ext. 2322

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1. Types Of Standing

Probationary Standing (PS)
Students are placed on Probationary Standing if they have “a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 1.00 to 1.67. Students with Probationary standing may not continue their program studies until a Probationary Contract outlining a specific plan for studies and academic supports has been authorized by their program School or Department, and signed by the student. Students who fail to have such a Probationary Contract by the last date to add courses for the semester will have their course registrations and course intention requests cancelled for the term in question and will be Required to Withdraw (RTW) from their program unless their program School or Department determines otherwise” (Senate Policy 46, 2.4.2).

Required to Withdraw (RTW)
Students who are RTW from their program will not be eligible for reinstatement in their program for 12 months. No student in their first semester at Ryerson will be RTW in December” (Senate Policy 46, 2.4.3).

Permanent Program Withdrawal (PPW)
“Students who are Permanently Withdrawn from a program may not apply for reinstatement into that program. Students who are Permanently Withdrawn from a program may apply to a different program for the Fall semester of the following calendar year” (Senate Policy 46, 2.4.4.).

2. Is A Standing Appeal Right For You?

All students encounter issues during their time at University that impact their academic performance, and although these issues may be significant to you, they may not apply in the context of Ryerson Policy. Therefore, before you decide to submit an appeal, you must assess if you will qualify under Ryerson University grounds for appeal.

There are four grounds that you can submit a grade appeal on:

  1. Medical: Must be submitted with a completed Ryerson Medical Certificate. Make sure that your medical situation was relative to period of study and academic standing. (ie. you were sick)
  2. Compassionate: Generally, means that there should have been unforeseen circumstances that have interfered with your ability to well in your studies. Generally, employment commitments are not included under this ground. It is recommended that documentation or letters of support are accompanied with compassionate grounds. (ie. a family member died)
  3. Prejudice: You experienced discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, and other grounds covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code. If you are filing on the grounds of prejudice, your case will be postponed until a report is filed by the Discrimination and Harassment prevention Services.
  4. Procedural Error: Procedures were not followed and this has effected your standing or appeal (ie. a remarked assessment was never updated)

With the exception of procedural error, no grounds can be added to any subsequent level of the appeals process (ie. you cannot add medical as grounds for appeal at the Senate Level if it was not listed as the grounds for appeal at the Department Level). However, you can list multiple grounds in one appeal.

3. First Steps

Meet with your Chair/Director

Before considering submitting an appeal, you generally must meet with the Chair or Director of your Department or School. This is a good opportunity to establish your case to the Department/School level. If you are unable to meet with the Chair or Director prior to submitting an appeal, ensure that you have documented email correspondence that indicates you have attempted to discuss the issue with the Department or School.

Policy Understanding:

Become aware with the relevant policies. Particularly:

Policy 46: Grading, Promotion and Academic Standing

Policy 134: Undergraduate Academic Consideration and Appeals

Policy 152: Graduate Student Academic Appeals Policy

Knowing policies and procedures that may have been violated can be essential to determining if you have grounds for appeals. The RSU Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator can help guide you through the Ryerson Policy. Also, check out the Policy Guidance tab to help guide you through the various policies.

4. Appeals Process/Levels

There are three levels of appeals that you can go through.

  1. Department level
  2. Faculty level
  3. Senate level

1.    Departmental Level: Your appeal goes to the Department/School that you are enrolled in. The chair or director of the program reviews the appeal and investigates the issue before they make a decision. Your appeal includes:

2.    Faculty Level: Your appeal goes to the faculty that the department is housed in. The appeal includes:

  • Faculty Appeal Form Undergraduate & Graduate
  • Appeal Letter
  • New Supporting Documentation (if applicable)
  • Decision Letter from Department Level
  • Entire Department Level Appeal Package

3.    Senate Level: Your appeal goes to the Secretary of Senate to be reviewed by a panel of two faculty members and one student. Upon submitting your Senate level appeal, the faculty will be given an opportunity to develop a response to your appeal. A hearing will be scheduled with at least ten (10) days notice, where you will be able to pick up the complete appeals package (with the Faculty response included), normally five (5) days prior to hearing. The hearing will usually be schedule for two (2) hours to allow for opening and closing statements and a series of questions. Students will be able to ask questions and be asked questions. You will be allowed to have a Student Advocate or Legal Council at a hearing if desired. Your appeal includes:

  • Senate Appeal Form Undergraduate & Graduate
  • Senate Appeal Checklist
  • Appeal Letter
  • New Supporting Documentation (if applicable)
  • Decision Letter from Faculty Level
  • Entire Faculty Level Appeal Package
  • Decision Letter from Department Level
  • Entire Department Level Appeal Package

Please note that appeals are most successful at the lowest level of appeal. Students should make appeals as strong as possible in each level of appeal. The Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator is here to help you with your appeals and your understanding of Ryerson policies and procedures.

You can also choose to resolve the issue through informal resolution (prior to the appeal) and contact the Ryerson Ombudsperson if you feel that policy and procedures have not been followed and/or you feel that you have been treated unfairly.

Check out the Downloads & Resources tab for useful templates.

Ryerson policies that dictate process:

For more information on the appeals process, read the Appeals Guide.

5. Appropriate Resolutions

Your grade appeal should indicate what resolution you are ultimately seeking. In other words, if your appeal is successful, what do you hope to achieve. For most standing appeals, the resolution will be to return to probationary status. However, your resolution may be different based on different circumstances. Here are some hints in considering resolutions:

1.    A standing appeal is focused on your academic standing, not any particular grades. Remember that your resolution is reflective of your entire University experience; the resolution should not emulate resolutions at a grade appeal level. In other words, the appeal should not be asking for a regrading, retroactive course drop, etc. Consider submitting complimentary grade appeals if relevant.

2.    A standing appeal should focus on why the resolution is appropriate. Do not forget to justify why the resolution you are offering is fair. Often, this means justifying why returning to probationary status is the right option for you. Make sure to indicate steps that you have taken to ensure academic success and past circumstances have been addressed.

3.    All resolutions must follow Ryerson policy. You cannot request a resolution that violates Ryerson’s, faculty or department policy.

Additionally, the RSU Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator is here to help guide you through the appeals process to determine the most appropriate resolutions.

6. Fresh Start

The policy on Undergraduate Grading, Promotion and Academic Standing (the “GPA” policy) underwent changes in Winter 2011 to help students who did not meet the terms of their probationary contract.

Changes to the policy were voted on during the March 2nd, 2011 Senate meeting. Students who did not meet the conditions in their probationary contract (to achieve a minimum 2.0 term Grade Point Average) are required to withdraw for a full 12-month period before being allowed to apply for reinstatement.

The policy change allows eligible students to participate in a Student Success Program (Fresh Start) on Extended Academic Probation.  Students are able to take up to two courses in the 2nd semester of being required to withdraw, and up to 4 courses in the 3rd semester, providing that all department requirements are met. All courses taken will count toward the student’s Cumulative Grade Point Average and for credits toward graduation. Students who choose not to take advantage of Fresh Start must wait the full 3 semesters before reinstating. Reinstatement is only guaranteed with the Fresh Start program.

Please contact your Program Advisors for more information on department specific requirements regarding these recent changes. You will be able to register in Fresh Start until early August, but check with your department for specific dates and requirements.

7. Hints & Tips

Be Proactive: Remember that if an issue arises, it is best to deal with it as soon as possible. Talk to your department chair sooner so that they can best accommodate you. When you reach the stage of filing an appeal, do it as soon as possible while being mindful of deadlines. This will demonstrate that you are proactive and have taken every measure to fix your situation.

Take Responsibility: As a student, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the guidelines for academic conduct set out by your professors in your course syllabi and the senate policies set out by Ryerson University. These policies can be found at

Attend a Workshop: The RSU and CESAR offer a range of workshops that will help you prepare your appeal and understand the process. Attend one of the Letter Writing workshops to prepare your appeals letter, or attend a U201 session to better understand the appeals process, the University and students’ union services and the resources you have available. Check the workshops & seminars section for more information.

Leave a Paper Trail: It is always important to have clear communication with your instructor, and other members of university. You might often trust the people you deal with on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes our memories can get the best of us! Speaking to your instructor and receiving verbal affirmations are good (whether it is to confirm a date to do a make-up exam, or to let them know you will be absent and need accommodations, etc.), and shows that you are a proactive student. However, it is also useful in the long run to have follow-up correspondences over e-mail. The reason for this is that if later something comes up, whether your instructor is being unfair or simply forgot that you have spoken to them, there is the proper documentation to demonstrate what actually took place.

Explain: Be sure to include the following (if it applies to your situation):

  1. Why you didn’t drop course(s) before the deadline
  2. Why you did not seek help from your instructor(s)
  3. Why appropriate documentation is not available

8. Forms/Links


Click Download to access the Winter 2021 Grade and Standing Appeal Information Package.

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Relevant forms can be found on the Senate Forms page. Remember that each level of appeal has a different appeals form and checklist.


Contact: Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator | 416-979-5255 ext. 2322