Academic Responsibilities, Policies & Procedures

Academic Responsibilities

There are many academic responsibilities that students need to be familiar with at Western. The policies that follow are just a sample of the more commonly applied Senate regulations. Students cannot use the excuse "that they didn't know about the rules". Western University expects students to take responsibility for their academic programs and choices.


The Senate Regulations are quite clear regarding failure to meet the prerequisites for a course as described in the current Western Academic Calendar. They state:

"Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean (or Department) to enroll in it, you will be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites."

Departmental Policies and Procedures

    1. The guidelines and the policies in the Faculty of Social Science and the Department of Economics are posted in the glass case near Social Science room 4071.

    1. Students must familiarize themselves with the "Rules of Conduct for Examinations".

    1. Cheating: Students are responsible for understanding what it means to commit an academic offense such as cheating. A claim that "you didn’t know it was wrong" will not be accepted as an excuse. The Department of Economics treats incidents of cheating very seriously and will investigate any suspect behaviour. Students found guilty of cheating will incur penalties that may include receiving a failing grade in a course, or preventing future registration in economics courses or programs. The University may also impose further penalties such as a notation on your official academic transcript, suspension, or expulsion.

    1. Plagiarism: Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge it by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a major academic offence (see Scholastic Offence Policy in the current Western Academic Calendar). Western University uses software for plagiarism checking. Students may be required to submit their written work in electronic form for plagiarism checking. Students found guilty of plagiarism will have penalties imposed as noted in point #3.

    1. It is Department policy that NO assignments can be dated, stamped or accepted by the Department or Undergraduate Office. Students are responsible for submitting assignments during class or to the instructor during office hours.

  1. When appealing a mark, students should refer to the Departmental procedures noted below as well as procedures in the current Western Academic Calendar. Please also note the deadlines when applying for academic relief. Systematic adjustments can occur in Economics courses. Such adjustments can go either up or down. The fact that grades have been adjusted is not a reason to appeal.

Policy Regarding Makeup Tests and Final Examinations

Academic Accommodation will not be granted automatically on request. You must demonstrate to your instructor that there are compelling medical or compassionate grounds that can be documented before academic accommodation will be considered.

Students who seek a make-up test or examination must provide medical or other relevant verification that their absence from a regularly scheduled test or examination is beyond their control. If you decide to write a test or an examination, you must be prepared to accept the mark you earn. Rewriting tests or examinations or having the value of the test or examination reweighted on a retroactive basis is not permitted. Airline flights should not be booked which conflict with your tests and final examinations.

If you request a makeup test, you should notify your instructor by email or phone within 48 hours of the date of the test or exam unless you are medically incapable of doing so. You should set up an appointment to meet with your instructor, in person, to discuss your situation as soon as physically possible. You should bring your documentation to this meeting. Notifying your instructor of a missed test or exam does not automatically entitle you to a makeup test – your documentation must support your reasons for the missed test. Failure to follow this procedure or to provide supporting documentation may result in denial of a request for academic accommodation and a grade of zero.

It is the policy of the Faculty of Social Science that oversleeping or misreading the exam schedule is not an excuse for a makeup exam. This rule applies with equal force to all midterm tests and final exams offered in the Department of Economics.

Midterm Tests

Documentation should be given to your instructor prior to the scheduled date of the test if at all possible. If the instructor is not available, you may leave a message with the Undergraduate Office (Social Science Room 4075). If your documentation is not acceptable, you will be given a zero for the missed test.

Final Examinations

Documentation should be given to the Academic Counselling Office of your home Faculty. Until you receive permission from your home Faculty Counsellor, your instructor, and the Economics Undergraduate Director you will not be allowed to write a makeup examination. You should contact your home Faculty Counsellor as quickly as possible (preferably within 48 hours) if you know you may not be able to write your final examination on the scheduled day and time. You should also notify your instructor. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an examination grade of zero.

If you get permission to write a makeup for a final examination, you must normally write it within one month of the end of the exam period.

Policy Regarding Class Attendance

If, in the opinion or your instructor, your class attendance is not satisfactory, you can be barred from writing the final examination. If your instructor intends to make use of this University policy, you will be warned in writing.

Policies Regarding Academic Accommodation

Information about the Faculty of Social Science policies regarding academic accommodation is found online (select Having Problems) or in SSC Room 2105. Your "Academic Rights and Responsibilities" are outlined in the current Western Calendar. Claiming that “you didn’t know what to do” is not normally an excuse. You may visit the Ombuds Office office in UCC Room 251.

Appeals Procedure

In addition to your own letter of appeal, An Academic Appeal form must be filled in, attached to your letter and delivered to the Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Economics, Room SSC 4075.

When writing your letter of appeal, you should try to answer the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of my appeal? Please specify the course, if relevant.
  • What are the grounds of my appeal?
  • What are the facts surrounding my appeal? Please be specific.
  • Is there any documentation that I should include to substantiate my claim?


  • If you decide to write a test or an examination you should be prepared to accept the mark you earn. Rewriting tests or examinations or having the value of the test or examination reweighted on a retroactive basis is not normally permitted.
  • Systematic adjustments can occur in Economics courses. Such adjustments can go either up or down. The fact that grades have been adjusted is not a reason to appeal.

Departmental Appeal Procedures

If you are dissatisfied with your mark either on a course or an examination, you must first approach the instructor who awarded the grade in an attempt to settle the matter. The Undergraduate Director will not consider an appeal unless such an attempt has been made and has failed. An appeal must be made no later than the Senate approved deadlines.

If discussion with the instructor does not dispel dissatisfaction with a grade, the student may proceed with a written appeal (no emailed letters will be accepted) of the grade to the Undergraduate Director, stating reasons for the appeal. An appeal must be made to the Undergraduate Director no later than the Senate approved deadlines.

When a student is seeking a grade change only for medical or compassionate reasons, or to meet program requirements the Undergraduate Director will not change the final grade. Also, if the marks were adjusted (either up or down) in a course, this is not a basis of appeal. Students must convince the Undergraduate Director there has been an error on the part of the original marker.

If the Undergraduate Director is not convinced that the student's reasons for dissatisfaction with a grade constitute grounds for an appeal, the Undergraduate Director will inform the student of this in writing. The student is then free to pursue the appeal with the Office of the Dean of the Faculty if he/she so desires.

If the Undergraduate Director is satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for an appeal, the following action is taken:

    • The Undergraduate Director will inform the student of this in writing, also warning the student that the outcome of the appeal may be either a lower grade or a higher grade than the one originally assigned. The Undergraduate Director will request that the student write to the Department, giving his/her consent for the continuation of the appeal process.

  • After receiving the student's consent, the Undergraduate Director will ask the instructor involved for his/her comments on the case. The Undergraduate Director will send all available and relevant papers and examinations for rereading to two assessors, normally selected from among the academic staff of the Department of Economics. The Undergraduate Director will request a specific mark as well as any comments the two assessors wish to make. As far as it is practical to do so, all grades and instructor's comments will be removed from the documents before rereading, and the assessors will not be informed of the original marks awarded or of the reasons for the appeal.

Normally, the Undergraduate Director will take the two marks awarded by the two assessors (who should not consult with one another about the case) and calculate the arithmetic average. The resulting mark will then replace the original grade awarded by the instructor and will be reported by the Department to the offices of the Dean and Registrar.

The following exceptions to the preceding appeals procedures might arise in special cases:

    • Where a large difference exists between the grade awarded by the two assessors, the Undergraduate Direrctor will ask them to attempt to reconcile their differences before awarding a new grade. If this fails, the Undergraduate Director will appoint a third assessor to advise as to the final grade to be awarded.

  • Where it seems appropriate, the Undergraduate Director may vary the mark arrived at as previously described to take into account the grading procedure of the original instructor. The Undergraduate Director will seek the advice of the instructor and the two assessors before making such an adjustment.

The Undergraduate Director will inform the student, in writing, of the outcome of his/her appeal, of the marks awarded by each assessor, and of any adjustments made in awarding the new final mark.

A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the appeal process implemented by the Department of Economics may pursue the matter by approaching the Office of the Dean of his/her Faculty.

You may also consult the Western policies with regard to your Academic Rights and Responsibilities or the Ombuds Office.

Questions about Departmental procedures should be directed to:

Gary Kim
Undergraduate Coordinator
Department of Economics
Social Science Room 4075
Telephone: (519) 661-3507
Fax: (519) 661-3666