Find out how to submit an academic appeal if you’re a student on a taught course.
What is an academic appeal?
An academic appeal allows you to raise a concern about a decision made by your School exam board in relation to:
- assessment results
- progression to the next stage of your course
- degree classification.
This is different from a complaint, which you would raise if you were dissatisfied with an aspect of your time at Sussex.
You can appeal against a decision of the exam board on one or more of the following grounds:
- circumstances which affected your academic performance, which the exam board was not aware of when their decision was taken, and which could not reasonably have been brought to their attention (for example, through an exceptional circumstances claim before the published deadline)
- an error or procedural irregularity that has a material impact on your results
- evidence of bias or prejudice during the assessment process.
When to appeal
If you think that an error has occurred, you are advised to bring it to the attention of your School at the earliest opportunity. Errors can often be easily rectified during the course of the academic year without you needing to appeal.
Until then, all your marks are provisional and could change.
Exam boards meet at different times during the academic year. The table below explains when your results are published.
Marking and assessment boycott
If you have missing or provisional marks you are not eligible to appeal until all of your marks are fully assured.
If you have missing marks this will be clear in your results message on Sussex Direct. You may not know if your marks are provisional and you are therefore advised to contact your School via email to check the status of your marks. If you are advised that you do not have any provisional (or missing marks) marks then you must appeal by the below published deadlines.
If you do have provisional or missing marks you will be contacted in writing by your School once all of your marks are fully assured and the Exam Board has issued a final decision.
You will be given 21 days from the date of this communication to submit an appeal. You must upload a copy of the communication (letter or email) to your appeal, otherwise it may be rejected as late.
If you have been offered resits in the August 2023 resit assessment period, but want to appeal to have your marks uncapped, you are advised to attend your resits. If your appeal is upheld, then your marks can be uncapped retrospectively. You can find out more about the marking and assessment boycott and how it may affect you on the Student Hub.
You must appeal within 21 days of getting your stage results.
If you are waiting for evidence to go with your appeal, it is important that you submit your appeal within the deadline. You can tell us you’re awaiting evidence on the appeal form.
This table outlines when your final results are released through Sussex Direct and the corresponding appeal deadlines.
|Type of appeal||Results 2022-2023||Appeal deadlines 2022-2023|
|Resits for Masters students during the Semester One assessment period||9 March 2023||30 March 2023|
|End-of-year for undergraduate finalists, following Semesters One and Two||14 June 2023||5 July 2023|
|End-of-year for progressing undergraduates, following Semesters One and Two||3 July 2023||24 July 2023|
|For Masters students, following Semesters One and Two||12 July 2023||2 August 2023|
|Resits for undergraduate non-finalists||7 September 2023||28 September 2023|
|Resits for undergraduate finalists||11 September 2023||2 October 2023|
|Undergraduate non-finalists affected by the marking and assessment boycott||18 October 2023||8 November 2023|
|Undergraduate finalists affected by the marking and assessment boycott||26 October 2023||16 November 2023|
|Resits and end-of-year for Masters students||9 November 2023||30 November 2023|
If you’re a PhD student, see information about your progression through a research degree.
Appealing after the deadline
Appeals must be submitted within 21 days of your published results. See section 104 of Regulation 16 for undergraduate students [PDF] or section 72 of Regulation 21 for Masters students [PDF].
We will only consider late appeals if you provide evidence explaining why you could not appeal within the deadline – for example, due to being in hospital.
Preparing your appeal
Important: It is essential you present your case clearly and in full as your appeal will be considered solely on the basis of the case and evidence you provide.
To give yourself the best chance of having your appeal accepted, make sure you have read this guidance.
What evidence do I need
Appeals should be supported by evidence. Evidence is defined as a letter, document or email from someone who knows you in a professional capacity who can verify the circumstances you have described in your appeal e.g. from a doctor, counsellor, or a member of staff at the University.
I am awaiting evidence, what should I do?
Don't delay submitting your appeal. Late appeals are rarely accepted. You can tell us on the appeal form that you are awaiting evidence.
If you are still awaiting evidence one calendar month after submitting your appeal, you must inform us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting your candidate number. Otherwise, your appeal will be considered without evidence.
Appeals will be rejected if:
- The evidence provided has not been provided by someone who knows you in a professional capacity – e.g. from a friend or relative
- The evidence provider cannot fully confirm your circumstances
- supporting evidence is not provided – if you cannot provide evidence, you must explain why on your appeal form
- the grounds of the appeal are not permissible – for example, you cannot appeal against the academic judgment of the examiners, defined by the OIAHE as “a judgment that is made about a matter where only the opinion of an academic expert is sufficient”; in other words, you cannot challenge a mark because you think your marker was wrong
- the outcome requested is not permissible under the examination and assessment regulations.
Typical outcomes that are permissible include the:
- waiver of a late submission penalty
- conversion of a resit for capped marks to a sit for uncapped marks
- offer of a sit for uncapped marks.
Typical outcomes that are not permissible include:
- the disregarding of marks
- an increase in a classification on the basis of exceptional circumstances
- the remarking of work.
For more information, see full details of the academic appeals process.
We therefore recommend you:
- ensure you understand the decision your School exam board made and the rationale for that decision – your School can provide you with this information and explain the examination and assessment regulations the board applied when making its decision
- look at guidance from the Support and Advocacy team in the Students’ Union – it may be the case they can provide independent advice and representation.
Making your appeal
Complete and submit your appeal with supporting evidence using our online form.
Make sure you give yourself time to review your appeal before you submit it.
After your submission
You will get an automatic acknowledgment after you submit your appeal, which you should keep.
If your appeal was submitted by the published deadline, and falls within the permissible grounds above, it will be referred for formal consideration.
Your appeal will be considered by the Chair of the Appeals Board or their approved delegate.
You’ll get a decision from us within three months. We will contact you sooner if it is a high-priority case, such as:
- requesting a resit or sit that’s not already been offered to you
- appealing to progress to the next year, or be offered a repeat year at the time of the resit period.
On rare occasions, cases can take longer than three months to resolve. We will write to you to explain the reasons for the delay, such as:
- your case is more complex
- supporting evidence is needed
- someone who is critical to resolving your case is unavailable.
If you’re not successful
If your appeal is declined, you can ask for an independent review from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.