Expectations for Graduate Student Progress and Performance

Graduate students are also expected to meet the academic standards of the University, including:

  • Maintaining graduate degree status (full-time enrollment is required for employment, fellowships, and financial aid)
  • Achieving satisfactory performance as evaluated by faculty
  • Making timely progress through required program milestones

Procedures for Graduate Student Disputes

University policy strongly encourages students to use all appropriate avenues for informal resolution before initiating a formal grievance. If a grievance occurs, first talk to the individual concerned. If it is not possible to meet with that person, or you feel uncomfortable:

  1. Start within your department with faculty, the Department Faculty Graduate Advisor, or the Chair
  2. If department resources have been exhausted, contact staff members at the Graduate Divisionsuch as the Academic Counselor, or the Assistant Dean, or the Office of the Ombuds

Informal Grievance Procedures

Students often feel uncomfortable raising these issues and wait until it is too late. It is best to raise your concerns as soon as you have them so that they can be addressed early.

We suggest following the below steps to address your grievance informally:

Your grievance should be about a specific action or actions or a specific decision or decisions. If possible, collect written evidence to support your case.

Despite potential discomfort discussing issues of conflict or concern, it is best to address any concerns early. Many grievances that started out small tend to grow out of proportion and become far more complicated because they were not quickly addressed. An early discussion can help you understand expectations and clarify any miscommunication.

Many staff and faculty within the University are available to provide information and advice that can help clarify which procedure to use for any particular issue. It is a good idea to talk to someone before going ahead with a grievance, even informally. Knowing the right process will help to resolve it quickly. Talking to someone who is not involved in the issue can also help you to clarify what the grievance is and how you would like it resolved. An uninvolved person may also help you to gather any relevant information, and in some cases will be able to go with you to any meetings you have to discuss your concern with the people involved.

Your desired resolution should be reasonable and appropriate. Knowing what you need for the issue to be resolved will help you frame the conversation.

Many of the University's procedures include the right to have a support person with you at meetings and hearings, and it is generally accepted as good practice. You should clarify before any meetings just what role a support person is able to play. You are usually expected to present your own case, but the support person can be helpful in clarifying issues and in summarizing what has been agreed.

Though most student grievances can be resolved informally, it is a good idea to put agreements and/or resolutions in writing at the end of the informal process. If the issue has been resolved, for example, exchange emails with the person concerned to confirm that you are in agreement.

Attempts to resolve the dispute should be completed within 60 days. If the student decides to pursue a formal grievance, this must generally be done within 60 days regardless of the progress of informal processes.

Formal Stages of Appeals

When it is not possible to solve a problem through informal means, a formal grievance process is available to guide an orderly resolution. Refer to the relevant section below for information about initiating formal complaints. It is important to note that these procedures may have different time frames within which the complaint must be filed.

Student Appeals Procedures

Refer to the Academic Senate Bylaws for the following:

Other Grievances

For grievances involving professional misconduct on the part of Academic Senate faculty (tenured professors, associate professors and assistant professors), complaints may be filed under the University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline (Academic Personnel Manual APM-016). Copies of this policy are available in the Academic Senate Office, Girvetz Hall 1230.

You may consult with the Analyst for Faculty Matters in the Academic Senate Office, (805) 893-5233.

Issues of intellectual property, problems specific to research, conflict of interest, conflict of commitment, any other research integrity matter.

After consulting with your mentor, Graduate Advisor, or Department Chair, you may consult with Assistant Dean Robert Hamm in the Graduate Division, (805) 893-2013.

After consulting with your mentor, Graduate Advisor, or Department Chair, you may consult with Assistant Dean Robert Hamm in the Graduate Division, (805) 893-2013.

After consulting with your mentor, Graduate Advisor, or Department Chair, you may consult with Assistant Dean Robert Hamm in the Graduate Division, (805) 893-2013.

The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities.

UC Santa Barbara does not tolerate sexual harassment, which is prohibited by University policy and state and federal law. To report an incident of sexual harassment, sexual violence, or sex-based discrimination/harassment (including pregnancy), submit an online report to the Title IX Office by clicking on "File a Report with Title IX" on the Title IX Office's reporting page.

To report an incident of other types of discrimination (race, color, national origin, religion, age, or other protected category), staff and faculty should contact the Equal Opportunity & Discrimination Prevention Office, and students should contact the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Additional Resources