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Here’s How to Get a Professor to Change Your Grade

I never had any issues with Grades given by the professor during my Graduate School. But, I knew some students who were not happy with the Grade. I’m sure there will be several students in Under Grad and Graduate school who are not happy with the grades.

  • Example 1: You could be expecting a B Grade, but ended up getting C Grade.
  • Example 2: Professor could’ve failed you intentionally.
  • Example 3: You were expecting “A+” Grade but received B+
  • Example 4: You don’t agree with your Grade due to Grading system (curving) used by the professor.

There’s plenty of ways, reasons and scenarios where you could not agree to the grades for a course. So, what can you do?

I’m sure all the Colleges and Universities have a course grade appeal process defined for students to submit an appeal or review. to review the grades.

Here’s how the process Grade Appeal Process would look like:

course grade appeal process

Above flow chart for a student to request grade review is from the College of Environment at the University of Washington.

I looked around for course  grade appeal process with other schools and universities. They pretty look same or similar with slight changes to how they are reported and corrected.

Each and every college and university has set of defined Rules and Regulations they follow.  You should be able to search your university’s website to get access to those rule.

You should find something similar to this one on Grading policy.

university grading policy

Within that policy, they have defined the Grade Appeal Process. Here’s an Overview of Grade Appeal Process

  1. The Grade Appeal process begins with a student when he or she doesn’t agree to the Grade assigned by the instructor or professor.
  2. The student should then discuss the Grade with the Professor to understand the grading system and how specific grade was given to the student.  This is should happen within few days of the Grade made available.
  3. If the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response could submit a written appeal to Chair of the Department. Use an official appeal from if exists.
  4. Chair of the Department should then meet with the Professor to discuss the Grade. After the meeting, Chair can agree with the Professor or Disagree.
  5. In the event, if Chair agrees with the Professor, student should be notified about the decision.
  6. If the Chair believes that new grade have to be assigned, then Chair will request the Professor to change the Grade.
  7. Fun Begins – Professor can choose to agree or disagree. If agrees, then the student should get a revised Grade.  That’s the end of the story. If the professor doesn’t agree, then Chair could possibly ask other faculty members to review the student’s performance and assign a grade.

Look at the following language from the University’s Appeal Process:

[x_blockquote type=”left”]The Chair will inform the Dean and Provost of this action. The Dean will refer the matter to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Diversity, who will review the Chair/Director’s decision to ensure the appeal process was followed correctly. If the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Diversity believes that the Chair/Director did not follow the required steps in the appeal process, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Diversity will advise the Chair/Director to do so and will notify the student that the appeal process will be carried out by the department. The department’s decision will be final.[/x_blockquote]

This appeal process goes all way to the Provost. A typical college or university’s organization hierarchy will look like the following.

university organization chart


Grade Appeal process starts with student approaching the Faculty and going all the way to Provost if required. In some college’s Vice President and Provost would be the same.

As you read the statement about the Appeal process, you can see few more layers of people can be added to the Organization Chart (Dean and Associate Dean before the Provost).

Lessons Learned from this Grade Appeal Flow Chart

If you are not happy with the grade for a course, then there’s an option for you to file an appeal to review your grade.

U.S. Education is an open system.

There’s always a way to get things done by going a step higher in the organization chart.

You just have to make use of the system if you think someone was unfair to you. If can be your grade or it can be a process that you don’t agree on how things are done.

If you are an international student, you have to learn the system first. Then, don’t be afraid to make use of the system.

Coming from India, where it’s not practical to go against the system or a professor who has the key to your college degree.

I have seen a professor challenge student  by using words like “Let me see how you can pass and get your Engineering Degree without my approval.”

If you have any such issues, then get help. Ask your seniors if they know anyone with similar experience. If you can’t find one, then go and talk to Administrative staff to learn about options.

I can list several other situations where you can go above the advisors and faculty to get things done. To name a few:

  • You have to drop course after census date and get tuition fees refund
  • Getting approval for internship and CPT after deadline
  • Letting university allow you to work on CPT beyond Summer Months
  • Filing a complaint against unfair practice you noticed
  • Seeking legal help via university’s attorney.

Make sure you find ways to get things done if you are blocked by making use of the College Policy and Regulations. This applies not only for Grade Appeal Process.

Next –  Get Better Grades And Girls By Managing Two Things : Time And Energy


  1. Piyush Garg on September 2, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    So this thing happened to my roommate in last semester ( Spring 2015) who happens to be my classmate too. There is this course called IQ Theory where you have to produce a research paper/ project report as your final term and it carries a huge weightage. The interesting part about the coursework was that it gave us a freedom of topic selection and we could work on virtually anything. My roomie tried to take an easy way out and asked some of his friends from other universities for their work. He submitted someone else’s work. Result, he got an F. The professor was good enough so she gave him some grace period to submit another one within a week or so only after lot of request from my friend. Otherwise he would have had to repeat the coursework. To my understanding some professors have zero tolerance on plagiarism. But my friend got lucky!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on September 2, 2015 at 3:38 PM

      I’m going to write another article on the exact same topic :). Lucky for him. Any grade review is not gonna help him with plagiarism.

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