If you disagree with the University’s assessment of your research, whether it be your viva, confirmation review, thesis submission or downgrade decision; you have the right to appeal against that decision if you meet a ground for appeal. In the first instance we would advise you to consult your Supervisor, Postgraduate Research Tutor or Head of Department to see if your concerns can be resolved informally. If this does not work you have the option of formally appealing under the University's Academic Appeal Regulations. The regulations apply to the following:
An appeal must be made within 30 working days of publication of results. If for valid reason you require more time to submit your appeal, you should email the Student Engagement and Progress Team on email@example.com before the deadline to ask for more time. Include your department and registration number in the subject field and explain why you need more time. If more than 30 working days have passed since the publication of results, you will need to use the Late Submission Form to request permission to have your academic appeal considered late. You should explain the reasons for this and provide any evidence you are referring to.
You may find it useful to first read the University’s Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes which contains information on; change of candidature, upgrades, confirmation reviews and academic progress.
If your result has meant that there has been a change of candidature (eg to MPhil), then this status remains until your appeal is accepted and any subsequest conditions are met, eg passing of viva/confirmation review.
NB: For undergraduate and taught postgraduate academic appeals please click here.
It is important to remember that you cannot appeal on the grounds of academic judgement, i.e. you think your work deserved a better result, for example if you disagree with the examiners opinions.
You have grounds for an appeal if:
Your appeal should be made in writing using the standard University Academic Appeals form.
The form should be submitted by email with the evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 working days of the date of results being published by your Department, or Research Services.
If you are appealing the results of a confirmation review or PhD viva/re-examination, the date would be that on the formal notification letter that you receive from the Research Services.
It is advisable to use the Word version of the appeal form, and type your appeal so that sections can be expanded and changes can be made easily.
Section A: Enter your Personal Details.
Section B: a) Tick the appeal ground you wish to appeal under.
b) In the ‘My Case’ section you will need to explain what result you are appealing, under what grounds, and explain how your situation meets the appeal ground(s). Further guidance on specific appeal grounds is given in the next section below. .
You can use additional sheets of paper to support your explanation, such as timelines, or if you wish to write your statement on a separate sheet. Please make sure you make reference to these in the ‘My Case’ section and write your name and registration number on the extra sheets.
c) You need to state what outcome you are seeking from the academic appeal. Normally in the case of a failure of an assessment (including where as a result you have been downgraded to Mphil) you would request another attempt at the assessment (i.e. viva, confirmation review, thesis submission), by requesting the failed assessment to be classed as ‘Not Assessed’. If you are seeking a different outcome, it may be helpful to speak to an academic adviser to discuss this, including whether it is reasonable and realistic.
d) You need to list the evidence you will be including with the appeal. You should include evidence to support your arguments wherever possible. This might include medical evidence of illness, death certificates, evidence of financial difficulties, evidence of separation, letters, emails, records of supervision or annual progress reports, minutes of meetings, etc.
Where there is a lot of evidence such as emails, supervision notes, etc, it is advisable to group these into PDF documents and label them as appendices you can refer to in the ‘My Case’ section’.
Section C: You should give details of anyone you have spoken to about the issues to try and resolve it informally, eg your supervisor, postgraduate tutor, head of department. You should have already made reference to this in your ‘My Case’ section above.
In the representative box, you put the details of any representative you are using or the Student Advice Centre staff member if we have helped you with your appeal. Once you have completed the appeal form as per these instructions the advice centre is able to offer feedback on one draft version before you submit it. Please note: you may only use the Student Advice Centre representatives name if we have seen and fed back on your form before you submit it.
Section D: Declaration- You may use an electronic signature or just type your name and date it.
In addition to the above guidance we also have interactive Guidance Notes which you may find helpful. Please note: this requires Adobe PDF Reader and Firefox rather than Google Chrome.
1. Negligence or misconduct by an examiner. You need to explain exactly what happened and why you consider this to be negligence or misconduct. You need address whether you discussed it with anyone in your department/ supervisor to try and see if it can be resolved and what the outcome of that was (include any evidence of meetings of minutes, emails etc). If you did not discuss these issues with your department / supervisor, you need to explain why. Please note; you need to ensure that your basis for this ground is not questioning academic judgment. For example, if you feel the examiner was not knowledgeable in your field or you disagree with their comments.
2. Procedural error or a mistake in the recording, transcription or reporting of your results. You need to explain what the procedural error was, and evidence of this; whether you discussed it with your department to try and resolve it, if not why not. Again you need to ensure that your basis for this ground is not questioning academic judgment; for example, if you disagree with the examiners comments.
3. Extenuating circumstances which you could not, or felt unable to declare to the University earlier, for a valid reason;
4. Supervision problems that seriously affected your performance;
5. Disagreeing with the department action in where you have been found to have used unfair means in an assessment;
If you are not satisfied with the decision of your academic appeal, you have the right to request a Case Review,which comes under the University Complaints Procedure. You can request a Case Review under any one of the following grounds:
(i) There was a material procedural irregularity which rendered the process leading to the decision taken in respect of the academic appeal unfair;
(ii) Material which the student could not reasonably have been expected to produce at the time of the decision taken in respect of the academic appeal casts substantial doubt upon the appropriateness of that decision;
(iii) The decision taken in respect of the academic appeal was manifestly unreasonable.
The request for a Case Review must be made within 10 working days of the full written response provided in relation to the academic appeal. If you need longer than this you must contact the Student Contact and Appeals team (email@example.com) and request an extension detailing the reasons. This will then be passed to a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, or their representative, who can decide to extend this time limit.
Case Reviews requests should be submitted using the Case Review Request Form.
The request will be considered by a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, or their nominee, who can decide:
Usually where a department has responded and provide written comments in response to the request for a case review, a copy of those comments will be sent to the student at the time the decision is notified.
The University’s Procedures for the Conduct of Academic Appeals stipulates that the University aims to deal with Academic Appeals including any subsequent Case Review Request within 90 days of receipt of the Academic Appeal. If this is not possible you should be kept informed on the progress of your case.
Section A: Personal Details
Section B: You need to tick the ground you believe your case comes into.
You need to give an explanation of why you disagree with the decision of the formal complaint based on the case review ground you are applying under, and reasoning in the decision letter:
Grounds for case review
(i) There was a material procedural irregularity which rendered the process leading to the decision taken in respect of the academic appeal unfair; For this ground you would have to demonstrate that there was something incorrect in the academic appeals procedure which would have made the decision unfair, for example if a person closely linked to the academic appeal or from the department considered the academic appeal, or if it was clear from the decision letter that a significant piece of evidence submitted had not be considered because it seems to have been overlooked. These are just examples and are not to base your request on. If you are unsure whether your situation meets this grounds you can speak to an academic adviser at the Student Advice Centre to seek clarification.
(ii) Material which the student could not reasonably have been expected to produce at the time of the decision taken in respect of the academic appeal casts substantial doubt upon the appropriateness of that decision; This would have to be significant evidence that would have likely led to a different decision being made in the academic appeal, and you need explain why you were unable to provide it with the formal complaint.
(iii) The decision taken in respect of the academic appeal was manifestly unreasonable.
You need to set out the reasons why you believe the decision given in the academic appeal was extremely unreasonable. You should refer to points in the decision letter when explaining this.
Section C: You need to enclose a copy of your academic appeal and the evidence submitted, including any additional new evidence you wish to submit for your case review.
If a solicitor or adviser from the Student Advice Centre has assisted you, you may put their details in the representative box. Please note: you may only use the Student Advice Centre representative’s name if we have seen and fed back on your form before you submit.
Section D: Please detail the outcome that you would like, taking into consideration anything that has already been resolved at earlier stages.
Section E: You may type your name or enter an electronic signature.
Once the form and evidence are ready you need to submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 working days of the date of the academic appeal decision letter.
The case review stage is the last stage of the University’s internal appeals/complaints procedure.
If you remain unsatisfied after completing the University’s internal appeals procedure, you may be able to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The OIA is an independent review scheme and forms no part of the University's review or appeal procedures. You have 12 months from the Case Review decision letter to make a complaint to the OIA.
Before you go to the OIA you must have concluded the university complaints procedure.
Further details on the OIA, their complaints process and how to apply can be found on their website at: http://www.oiahe.org.uk/
You may also find the following direct links useful:
Last Updated: 15.01.2019