Students must first attempt to settle a grade dispute informally through discussions with the instructor. Students may include the Assistant Director of Academic and Student Services, Assistant Dean of their Degree Program, the Campus Student Ombudsperson , or another mutually accepted third party who can attempt to mediate the dispute informally.

If you are unable to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution with the instructor informally, you may pursue a formal grievance process. This process is initiated when the student presents his/her case in writing to the Haas School’s grievance committee chair, who is the Haas School’s Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction. An ad hoc grievance committee composed of faculty members and students will be convened to review the case. See formal grade grievance checklist here (.pdf).

If the student or the instructor wishes to appeal the conclusions of the ad hoc committee, the case can be sent for review to the Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI), a standing committee of the Berkeley Academic Senate. COCI has the final authority to uphold or overturn the grade.

Both the Haas School and COCI consider grades to be a matter of academic judgment and subject to grievance only on the basis of the following grounds:

  • Application of non-academic criteria, such as: considerations of race, politics, religion, sex, or other criteria not directly reflective of performance related to course requirements;
  • Sexual harassment;
  • Improper academic procedures that unfairly affect a student’s grade. COCI interprets the meaning of “improper” academic procedures to be those which are not consistent with “proper” academic procedures. “Proper” academic procedures for evaluation require that the grading is based solely on the instructor’s evaluation of how well a student’s performance (project, paper, exam question, or student participation) addresses a specific requirement. This evaluation can involve elements of recall of factual information, integration of material and concepts covered (in class, readings, or assignments), and application of material and concepts to new situations. As long as the evaluation is based on the relevance of the answer (project, paper, exam question, or student participation) to the question asked (assignment given), there is no basis for considering any such evaluations improper. Inherent in this interpretation is that equivalent answers or work get equivalent grades.

Time Limit

You must initiate the formal grievance process within one calendar year of the last day of the semester in which the course in question was taken.

For additional information on COCI’s formal grade grievance procedures, please visit: