Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. A petition is your formal request for an exception to a Faculty or University rule, regulation or deadline.
While the information below is considered informal and unofficial, you are encouraged to review it if you are unfamiliar with petitions. Official information can be found in the Academic Regulations chapter of the Academic Calendar. If you have any questions that are not addressed here, please contact the Office of the Registrar.
What is a Term-Work Petition?
A petition is your formal request for an exception to a Faculty or University rule, regulation or deadline. The University of Toronto acknowledges that students sometimes encounter unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances that can severely interfere with their ability to fulfill their academic obligations.
Through the petition process, you may seek a resolution for the academic consequences that may have resulted from extenuating circumstances. However, you are expected to make every effort to complete term work and examinations. Petitions that arise from a failure to prioritize academic responsibilities or carelessness will not be granted.
Some examples of reasons you may consider submitting a petition:
- Severe personal illness
- Illness or death of a close family member
- Personal or family crisis
- Other extenuating circumstances
If you are unavoidably absent and miss term work (e.g. test, quiz, assignment, lab), discuss the matter with your instructor immediately. If necessary, submit a term work petition.
Effective Summer 2015, all term work petitions must be submitted through the online petition system, which is accessible through the Engineering Portal.
Term work petitions must be submitted within seven days of the term work in question and include valid documentation.
For additional information, please view the Term Work Petition System Guide for Students.
The deadline to submit a term work petition and the accompanying supporting documentation is seven days after the missed or affected term work.
Academic and Personal Advising
If you are having difficulty with a course, you are encouraged to speak with your professor or instructor. However, if your difficulties continue, or if they are out of the scope of what your professor can assist with, please consult your Academic Advisor.
You should not hesitate to speak with an Advisor to obtain clarification on any rules or regulations in the Academic Calendar. An Advisor can refer you to special services that may assist you with academic, personal or financial difficulties. Students in their first year of studies should contact their First-year Advisor; all other students should contact the Academic Advisor in their respective departments. Consultations with advisors are confidential. You are encouraged to contact your Advisor at the first sign of a problem that could potentially affect your studies.
Petition and Appeal Documentation
Official Supporting Documentation Requirements
If you are submitting a petition or an appeal, you must submit official supporting documentation to support your case. Official documentation is both a formal Faculty requirement and a necessary tool that assists the Faculty in making a decision. Your official supporting documentation must outline your situation and the dates you were affected. Strong documentation typically equals a stronger petition or appeal case.
Types of Documentation
The supporting documentation you need to attach to your petition or appeal must be relevant to your situation. For example, if you were in a traffic accident, you should submit the police accident report; if someone in your family passed away, you must submit a copy of the death certificate or funeral notice.
The most common piece of supporting documentation that the Faculty receives is the U of T Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form (formerly the U of T Medical Certificate).
A doctor’s note, which simply states that the “student cannot write” is insufficient. The Verification of Student Illness or Injury form asks specific questions the Faculty needs answered to gain a better understanding of the severity of your illness. If possible, please have your doctor complete the form at the time of your visit. A verification that indicates the doctor was told of your illness after the fact is typically insufficient.
Please note the successful submission of a completed U of T Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form does not necessarily mean your Instructor will provide an accommodation. The Faculty takes the severity, duration and date of the illness into consideration when making a decision regarding a petition.
Potential Petition Outcomes
Accommodations for term work petitions vary. Decisions and accommodation plans are communicated to students through the Engineering Portal.
While Instructors are mindful of your requests for specific accommodations, the requests are granted or denied on appropriateness of standard practice.