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Request for Appeal ‘J’ Grade: Policy & Form

Appeal of a "J" Grade Policy

Normally, a student who is absent from a final examination will be given deferred status only if his/her absence was the result of illness or personal/family problems, previously documented. Otherwise, a grade of ‘J’ (absent) will be recorded for the course.

Students absent from a final exam for reasons not covered above will have the right to appeal for special consideration. Applications for appeal will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will take into account:

  • previous compliance with Faculty regulations (e.g. no previous ‘J’s except for valid reasons, etc.)
  • written confirmation by the course instructor of satisfactory performance in term work
  • overall academic record
  • plausible explanation of absence

Normally, an “honest” mistake, such as the student having presented him/herself at an incorrect time, oversleeping, etc. will not, in and of itself, be sufficient reason for granting a deferred examination.

Steps in the J Appeal Process

1. For the appeal, the student must arrange an appointment with the Internships & Student Affairs Officer. The request for an appointment must be made before January 15 for Fall term exams and before May 15 for Winter term exams. Email isa.education [at] mcgill.ca to make an appointment.

2. The following documents must be submitted (by email or in person) before the appeal meeting.

  • a letter of appeal which explains the reason for missing the exam
  • supporting documentation, where appropriate, regarding the reason (e.g. medical note, note from a healthcare provider, etc.)
  • confirmation from the Course Instructor of course performance. (this can either be requested using the online email form below, or by using this paper formPlease note that the instructor must send this directly to the ISA Office once complete; copies submitted by the student will not be considered.

What Happens if an Appeal is Refused?

Students who receive a negative response to their appeal of a grade of ‘J’ may complete the application form for a supplemental examination.

In the case of an appeal, the grade of ‘J’ will remain on the student’s record until the appeal is heard and is successful. If deferred status (grade of ‘L’) is not awarded, the grade of ‘J’, which counts as a failure in the GPA and CGPA, will remain on the student’s record, with the following exception:

  • If the weight of the final examination in the course is such that the student has already obtained a passing mark before the final examination is given a mark of zero, the student may elect to have the ‘J’ appear on his/her record and write a supplemental examination, or to simply accept the passing mark. In the case that the passing mark is a ‘D’, the student may accept the ‘D’ and also write the supplemental examination.

If there is an opportunity for the student to write the supplemental examination prior to the appeal meeting, the student will be allowed to sit the examination. The resulting grade will appear as a supplemental mark for the course should the appeal prove unsuccessful, or will replace the final mark for the course should the appeal be successful.

For questions or further information about the policy or process, please contact isa.education [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Question%20about%20the%20J%20Appeal%20process) or visit the Internships & Student Affairs Office.   


McGill University is located on land that has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes, and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet. Learn more.

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