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Academic Success

Grade Appeals in the MD/PhD and PhD Programs

It is the right and responsibility of the faculty to determine student grades at the Zucker School of Medicine. The course director or dissertation committee's right to determine a final grade shall be abrogated only if it is demonstrated, through the process below, that the final grade was not based on the student's academic and professional performance.

In most cases, a grade appeal must be submitted, in writing, to the MD/PhD and PhD Program Director ("Program Director"), within ten (10) business days of receipt of the grade. If the Program Director is the student's research mentor or has another conflict of interest, the grade appeal must be submitted, in writing, to the MD/PhD and PhD Program Advisory Committee ("Advisory Committee") within ten (10) business days of receipt of the grade.

The Program Director/Advisory Committee shall have the authority to investigate the matter fully and to request material from and/or speak to the course director/dissertation committee members and/or the student. If the Program Director/Advisory Committee requests to meet with the student, the student may have an advisor of his or her choice present but that advisor may not address the Program Director/Advisory Committee directly.

The Program Director/Advisory Committee may elect to:

  1. Take no action, allowing the course director/dissertation committee's grade to stand;
  2. Modify the grade given by the course director/dissertation committee; or
  3. Empanel an Ad Hoc Appeals Committee to investigate the appeal and make a recommendation.

Procedure for Ad Hoc Appeals Committee

If the Program Director/Advisory Committee elects to empanel an Ad Hoc Appeals Committee, it shall be composed of up to five (5) faculty members who have no role in the determination of the student's grade in question. The Ad Hoc Appeals Committee shall have the authority to investigate the matter fully and to request material from the student and dissertation committee members. The charge of the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee is to determine if due diligence was followed and a reasonable course of action was taken by the dissertation committee, and not to re-grade the student. The Ad Hoc Appeals Committee shall proceed from the assumption that the final grade was justified and the burden of proof (that due diligence was not followed and/or a reasonable course of action was not taken) shall lie with the student. The student will be given an opportunity to present his/her argument and answer questions of the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee in person. The student may have an advisor of his or her choice present at the meeting with the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee, but that advisor must remain silent while in the presence of the Committee. The Ad Hoc Appeals Committee will submit a recommendation, in writing, to the Program Director. In all cases, the Program Director/Advisory Committee's decision must be conveyed, in writing, to the student, mentor, and course director. The Program Director/Advisory Committee's decision in all such matters is final.

References to Regulations and/or Other Related Policies:
LCME Element 11.6: Student Access to Educational Records
Policies on Grading

Last Updated: March 2019


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