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The Undergraduate Calendar

Faculty of Environment

About the Faculty of Environment

Examinations, Petitions and Grievances, and Academic Standing
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The following regulations govern the practice of the Faculty of Environment concerning academic standing, and final and make-up examinations. 

Final Examinations

A student who misses a final examination, except for a properly certified reason, shall have no make-up examination privileges.

A student may be eligible for make-up examinations or other accommodations, as decided between the student and the instructor, when an exam is missed due to documented extenuating circumstances. If a student fails to write a final examination for medical reasons, a completed University of Waterloo Verification of Illness form or a Medical Doctor's certificate covering the same information requested on the illness form, including the precise period of illness, must be provided to the instructor within 48 hours of the examination date. In addition, the student must have satisfied all course work requirements prior to the exam.

Further Academic Regulations Related to Assignments, Tests, and Final Exams are maintained by the University.

Petitions and Grievances

For more information see Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances.  

A petition involves instances where a student seeks relief from normal Faculty or University rules and regulations. Normally, the approval of a petition requires that the student can show that "extenuating circumstances" were experienced. Extenuating circumstances are issues beyond the student's control that had significant negative impacts on the student's ability to be successful within a defined period of time. Appropriate supporting documentation, such as notes from medical doctors or counselors, should be obtained as near as possible to the time when the student is experiencing the extenuating circumstances. Documentation obtained when the student's circumstances can no longer reasonably be validated will carry significantly less weight in the evaluation of the petition. All supporting documentation should be submitted along with the petition forms.

A student who believes that the grade received in an examination, essay, or other piece of academic work is unreasonable can initiate a request for reassessment. The first step in this process is for the student to approach the course instructor and attempt to resolve the matter informally. This step must take place within one month of the notification of the grade. If the problem cannot be resolved, the student may submit a Notice of Reassessment Challenge to the Faculty's Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies. Submission of the notice is due within ten working days of receiving the decision from the instructor or within ten working days of when the response was due.

A student who believes that an error in academic judgment or procedure has occurred may initiate a grievance by communicating directly with the individual whose action or decision is being questioned within one month. If a student is not satisfied with the result of a request, they are encouraged to seek advice from the appropriate academic advisor or department chair, the Conflict Management and Human Rights Office, or the Faculty undergraduate office before proceeding with a challenge. A student who wishes to proceed to the challenge stage must deliver a Notice of Challenge to the Faculty’s Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies within ten working days of receiving the response to the request or, if there was no timely response, within ten working days of when the response was due (20 working days from the request).

At the informal and formal level, students are encouraged to seek advice and assistance from the Secretariat, Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies, and/or the Assistant Registrar, Records Operations.

Changes to Official Grades on a Student's Record

Official grades are released to students each term in accordance with the Calendar of Events and Academic Guidelines. A change to an official grade can result from one of the following circumstances:

  1. Instructors may change a grade in response to a student’s completion of coursework as defined in an INC agreement or request for reassessment of submitted coursework. Grade changes of this nature must be submitted by instructors within one year of the date that the term’s official grades are released on Quest, in accordance with the Document Retention Schedule for Examination Papers and Course Assignments.
  2. After the one-year period, official grades may only be changed as the result of policy-related processes, such as student petitions or challenges (Policy 70), student discipline decisions (Policy 71), and/or student appeals (Policy 72).

Any grade change will result in the re-calculation of all averages and reassessment of academic standings and/or graduation eligibility. Until a grade change is granted, the student record will remain unchanged and academic advice provided will be based on the existing record. Students should be aware that a pending grade change may impact their tuition fees, financial aid eligibility, and subsequent studies.

Once the degree, diploma, or certificate has been conferred, a student is ratifying the undergraduate academic record upon which it was based. Therefore, student initiated changes to that record will not be made. 

Submission of Course Material

In situations when a student wishes to submit a body of material to satisfy the requirements of concurrent courses, the student must receive permission of the instructors to do so.

When one of the courses has been taken in a previous term, the current course instructor must be informed by the student of their intention of submitting the same course material. The current course instructor has the final decision on the extent to which the material is allowed.

Failure to comply with the above regulation constitutes an academic offense.

Academic Standing

  1. Academic standing is based on a student's cumulative overall and major averages and, where applicable, co-op requirements. All courses taken are included in the cumulative overall average. Cumulative major averages are calculated using grades of select courses in accordance with the individual plans. See your plan section in this Calendar for details. Cumulative averages, both major and overall, are calculated using grades from both passed and failed courses.

    Students in a co-op plan are responsible for successfully completing four Work Terms, four Work-Term Reports, and four Professional Development courses. See the Overview of Co-op Plans for details.
  2. When a course is repeated, both grades will appear on the student's record and will be included in the calculation of the cumulative overall average. If the course is part of the major requirement, both grades will be included in the major cumulative average.

    Students must petition to repeat a course they have already passed and for which they have achieved credit.
  3. A student who does not maintain the prescribed overall or cumulative major average will be given a Conditional standing. Students on conditional standing are required to speak with their Academic Advisor, Academic Officer, or the Faculty Undergraduate Coordinator for advice to increase the likelihood of success in the conditional term.
  4. Normally, a student receiving a Conditional standing will be given the option to continue to the next term with the intent to raise their cumulative and/or major averages to meet plan requirements.

    Should the student fail to meet the academic requirements for their plan at the end of the conditional term, they will receive a Failed standing. Normally, an upper-year student (2A and above) who receives a Failed standing is eligible to apply for readmission after an absence of two consecutive academic terms. A co-op work term immediately following a Failed standing is not counted towards the two-term absence.

    In rare cases, a student may experience personal, medical, or other challenges that create conditions that limit the likelihood of academic success or, more generally, the benefit of continued studies. In these exceptional cases, the School or Departmental Promotions Committee in consultation with the student and other appropriate resources may give this student Failed standing regardless of their cumulative average.
  5. A student who is given a Failed standing at the end of their second term (1B) of study normally will be required to successfully complete the Foundation Term. A student maintains the option to withdraw for two academic terms.
  6. A student who continues in their studies after either a successful Foundation Term or an absence of two consecutive academic terms will have their record cleared; that is, grades achieved in all previous terms will not be included in the calculation of cumulative averages. Calculation of cumulative averages will begin with the Foundation Term or upon readmission after their two consecutive term absence.

    Courses taken prior to the Foundation Term or readmission will remain on the student’s official academic record. Cleared courses with grades 50% and above will contribute to the total credits required up to 10.0 units for Honours and 7.5 units for General Geography and Environmental Management students (50% of degree requirements).

    Students are allowed to have only one Foundation Term or Failed standing on their transcript while in their Faculty of Environment (ENV) program. Students not achieving their program averages for a second time will be unable to continue in their ENV program.
  7. Generally, students wishing to graduate with a University of Waterloo Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) or a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (BKI) undergraduate degree must have been enrolled as a Faculty of Environment student for a minimum of half of their degree requirements.

Term Dean's Honours List

The Faculty awards the distinction Dean's Honours List (DHL) to officially recognize students who have attained a high degree of academic excellence during a term. This distinction is awarded to selected students at the completion of each academic term and appears on Quest and on the official transcript as part of the academic decision.

To be eligible for this distinction in a given term, a student must:

  1. have completed a full course load, normally 2.5 units (2.0 units for Geography and Aviation), which contribute to the overall average for that term;
  2. have a term overall average of 83% or higher; and
  3. have no Incomplete (INC), Did Not Write (DNW), No Mark Recorded (NMR), or failing grades.

Graduating Dean's Honours List

A student graduating with a cumulative overall average of 83% or higher will have the designation, Dean's Honours List, appear on their graduation diploma.


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