Confidential | Informal | Independent | Neutral

Graduate students may request a hearing to resolve a dispute with an instructor, to grieve a grade given in a course, or to grieve other violations of student rights as outlined in the Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities (GSRR), Medical Student Rights and Responsibilities (MSRR), or Law Student Rights and Responsibilities (LSRR) documents. Students must first attempt to resolve the issue informally through a conversation with the instructor and the relevant administrator (department chair, director, program coordinator, or the associate dean of the college). Students who wish to request an academic grievance hearing are encouraged to reach out to the Office of the University Ombudsperson.

Each college and program within the university will maintain its own hearing procedures in line with the appropriate Rights and Responsibilities document. Links to general procedures can be found below, however a copy of procedures specific to your program may be obtained through your department.

When a graduate student remains dissatisfied with the outcome of his or her discussions with the instructor and unit head, he or she may send a written request for a hearing to the appropriate unit head (i.e., department chairperson, school director, program director, or associate dean). There are links below to hearing process flowcharts for each specific type of grievance. Hearings for graduate student grievances should be held at the lowest possible administrative level. Most often this means the department, school, or graduate program. Some of these units have developed their own hearing procedures. For programs without their own hearing procedures, the following hearing procedures will be used.

Department/School/Program Level Hearing Procedures

College Level Hearing Procedures

For Graduate students the hearing request letter must include the following information:

  • The student's name and PID
  • The student's local address, phone number and e-mail address
  • A detailed explanation of the alleged violation of student rights to justify a hearing, with reference to the specific article in the SRR, GSRR, LSRR, MSRR or Code of Teaching Responsibility
  • The name of the individual the student believes violated his or her rights
  • The date of the alleged violation
  • The name of the MSU instructor, student or staff member, if any, who will assist the student throughout the hearing process
  • The names of witnesses, if any, who will speak on the student's behalf at the hearing, if the hearing board grants the request for a hearing
  • The redress sought to rectify the situation.

Deadline: The student should sign and date the letter and submit it before the middle of the semester following the initial dispute.

Graduate hearings initiated at the department, school or program level may be appealed to the college hearing board. Graduate hearings initiated at the college level may be appealed to the University Graduate Judiciary.

Based on the specific type of grievance, the hearing process for graduate students will follow one of the patterns listed below:

Academic Grievance Hearing alleging violations of student rights (including grade disputes) established in the SRR, GSRR, LSRR, or MSRR.