Students should submit petitions through the EX&S Petition Submission Form. Submitting via email may cause delays.

EX&S Frequently Asked Questions

When do I petition?

If you have experienced extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting academic responsibilities, you may petition the Committee. You may petition for permission to add or drop a course after the deadline, for permission to return to the University after an academic suspension, for waivers of rules or requirements, and for other actions pertaining to your academic status.

If you have a problem that a professor or a department has the authority to solve, it is wise to approach the professor or department before petitioning the Committee, because the Committee will usually refer such matters to the professor or department for action.

Do my circumstances qualify?

The committee is charged with approving exception to the rules as extenuating circumstances warrant. This typically includes circumstances outside the student's control such as illness, family emergencies and accidents. Circumstances within the student’s control are not considered justifiable cause for an exception.

Reasons for granting a petition must be fair to other students in a course. Reasons including but not limited to, "I've been working on a play at my college, and I want to drop a course late to avoid a bad grade", "I want to drop this course after the deadline because I am not doing well and a low grade will look bad on my transcript", or “I want to pass/fail this course after the deadline because I changed my major and it is no longer a required course for my major.” Participating in extracurricular activities, wanting an adjusted transcript, or changing a major are not considered extenuating circumstances.

Students are expected to assess their progress and act accordingly before published deadlines.

What if my circumstances are personal in nature?

Occasionally students are faced with circumstances that are personal and/or difficult to share, but the committee needs a full set of facts in order to make a fair and informed decision. Students are encouraged to be as forthcoming as possible. All committee meetings are confidential, with only committee members privy to the proceedings, and all discussions ending at the close of the meeting.

What is the petitioning process?

  1. Submit your petition through the Google Petition Submission Form.
  2. Submit supporting documentation to Note that supporting letters must come from the letter writers; we cannot accept them from you.
  3. If revisions or additional supporting materials are needed before your petition can be heard, you will be notified via your Rice email or via a petition status spreadsheet.
  4. If applicable, submit revisions and/or additional supporting documentation.
  5. File is prepared for the committee’s review.
  6. Petition is presented to committee for consideration and a decision is reached.
  7. Decision and any further instructions are communicated via Rice email.
  8. If applicable, student follows instructions indicated in decision email to finalize process.

How do I write a petition?

A petition should be written as a letter, addressed to the Committee on Examinations and Standing. It should begin with your request, followed by reasons for making the request, a description of the extenuating circumstances, and documentation from physicians, instructors, or others that proves your description is true and that your request is feasible.

Some questions you might need to address in your petition would include:

  • How did your circumstances prevent you from meeting the deadline?
  • Did you reach out for assistance before the deadline?
  • How have you resolved your circumstances to ensure the likelihood of meeting future deadlines?
  • If making a request based on a single course, how did your circumstances affect you in one course and not others?
Do you have a petition template?

There is no specific template for a petition. The petition needs to be formatted as a letter, include all relevant information, and be concise. The petition should be written as a pdf attachment. Please do not send other file types as it could delay the process.

While each petition will be different, as the request is based on individual circumstances, below is a sample of a simple petition.

September 23, 20XX

Mailing Address

Houston, TX 77005

Dear Members of the Committee on Examinations and Standing:

I request approval to add English 381 after the add deadline. Three days before the deadline for adding courses, I was hospitalized for a broken leg after a car accident in Galveston, and I was unable to submit my add request by the deadline.

I have done all the work for the class to date. I have been attending the class regularly since the second week of the semester, and I have Professor X's approval to add the class. A memo indicating the instructor's approval and a letter from the physician in Galveston will be sent directly to A copy of the accident report is also attached.


Full Preferred Name, Student ID

Residential College

Rice Email

What documentation do I need to include?

The committee will require confirmation of your circumstances; therefore you will need to submit documentation to support your claim.

For example, if you claim that illness prevented you from submitting your add/drop request by the deadline, you should request a physician's statement that you were in the hospital or under care at the time of the deadline. If you claim that you should be permitted to add a course late and that the instructor has agreed to your adding the course, request a confirming statement from the professor, written on department letterhead, and emailed directly to If your request is due to a death, you will need to provide an obituary.

If you are stating medical reasons but do not have medical documentation, supporting letters from your Magisters, RAs and/or other professors can be helpful if they are familiar with your circumstances.

An unsupported or undocumented request is unlikely to be approved.

How do I submit a petition?

Upload your petition as a PDF through the Google Petition Submission Form before the weekly deadline.

How do I submit supporting documentation?

Supporting letters must come from the letter writers; we cannot accept them from you. Letters should be on company or department letterhead and emailed directly to

If you need to submit medical documentation or other supporting documents, you can send them via email to If being sent directly from your medical provider or other third party, please ask that they include your name in the subject line of the email.

When does the committee meet?

The committee meets weekly during the academic year, taking a break for winter recess and university holidays.

What is the deadline to submit my petition?

For petitions to be considered by the EX&S Committee, completed petitions, including supporting documentation, must be submitted by Tuesday, 5:00 p.m. prior to the weekly meeting.

Do I need to attend the meeting?

EX&S Committee meetings are confidential; therefore, petitioning students do not attend the meetings. The committee chair will present the petition and supporting documentation to the committee for consideration.

What are the chances that my petition is approved?

Each petition is reviewed individually and a decision is rendered based on the unique facts of each case. Therefore it is impossible to predict the likelihood of approval.

I submitted my petition; when will I get a decision?

If the petition and all supporting documentation were received by the deadline, and your case reviewed by the committee, usually a decision will be communicated via your Rice email account within 48 business hours of the meeting conclusion. The committee’s decision is communicated via letter PDF attached to your Rice email, and will not be provided over the phone regarding the decision.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you need to discuss your situation before submitting a petition, or have additional questions regarding the process please contact Aliya Walji, Student Services Specialist, at or 713-348-4996.