Find out how the academic appeal process works and how to submit an appeal.

What academic appeals are

You have the right to contest certain decisions relating to your progress, assessment or award, so long as you can demonstrate that you have valid grounds to do so and can meet other relevant criteria.

Defining academic appeals

We use the definition of an academic appeal provided by the Office for the Independent Adjudicator. This is the external regulator which oversees University decision-making.

The definition states that an academic appeal is a challenge to, or request for, reconsideration of a decision by an academic body regarding your progress, assessment and/or award.

Academic appeals process

There are three steps in the academic appeals process. Not all appeals will be eligible for, or need to go through each step. It depends on your circumstances.

  1. Informal resolution 

    You can ask for an informal resolution where your concerns are addressed quickly and directly with your School (where appropriate).

  2. Formal appeal

    If you have not made an informal resolution request, or are not satisfied with the outcome, you can ask for formal consideration of your appeal. Specialist staff outside of your School consider the appeal.

  3. Appeal outcome review

    You can ask for a review of the formal appeal process. We check appropriate procedures were followed and that the decision was reasonable.

How to make an academic appeal 

Find out what you need to do to submit an academic appeal. 

Before making an academic appeal 

Before submitting your appeal, it is important that you take the time to read the academic appeals regulations [PDF 290.43KB].

Not only do the regulations provide full details of the process but they help you to understand:

  • What is and is not a valid reason for appeal

    Acceptable grounds for appeal are normally:

      • exceptional circumstances that were not known in advance
      • a procedural error on the part of the University
      • prejudice or bias on the part of an examiner.

    However, not all grounds are eligible for all types of appeals and so it is essential that you read the full definitions of the grounds in our academic appeals regulations [PDF 290.43KB] according to the decision you wish to appeal. 

  • What the evidence requirements are

    In general, you need to supply written information from someone who knows you in a professional capacity and can independently verify your circumstances, and from when and how they affected you.

    Evidence should be a letter or email. Evidence should be robust, explain the impact of the circumstance and the dates and duration of the circumstance.

    New supporting evidence

    Where an appeal includes new supporting evidence (for example, evidence that was not made available to the academic body for good reason), original hard copy documentation may be requested before the appeal will be considered. You will be informed if this is the case.

    Supporting Evidence not in English Language

    If the original documentation is not in English, you are required to also submit a translation into English that has been certified by an independent person or agency. They must provide their contact details to confirm the translation is a true and accurate representation of the original source.

    Falsified evidence

    Should the Casework have cause to suspect that the documentary evidence provided with the appeal has been falsified, they will refer the case to the Office for Student Complaints, Conduct and Funding for consideration under the Student Discipline Regulation. The appeal will be paused, or the appeal outcome withheld until the matter has been resolved.

    Reasonable Adjustments (RA)

    If you have a fluctuating condition that is covered by Reasonable Adjustments (‘RA’) and suffer an acute episode or worsening of that fluctuating condition, you are not required to submit fresh medical or other evidence related to the condition. The RA constitutes the evidence-base for such applications.

    You are required to submit evidence relating to conditions or mitigating circumstances that are not covered by that established arrangement.

    Appeals will be rejected if the evidence provided is insufficient. You should check our academic appeals regulations [PDF 290.43KB] to see full details about evidence requirements.

  • The deadlines for submitting an appeal

    It is critical that you understand the timeframes involved in the appeal process and adhere to them.

    You should submit an appeal by the following deadlines:

    • Informal Resolution – can be submitted at any time, but within a maximum of 10 University working days following receipt of the academic body’s decision.
    • Formal Appeal – within 10 University working days following receipt of the academic body’s decision or within 10 university working days following receipt of the outcome of Informal Resolution, whichever is the longer.
    • Appeal Outcome Review Request – within 10 University working days of receipt of their Formal Appeal Outcome.

    Late appeals

    Exceptionally, late appeals may be accepted for consideration if there is good reason to do so.

    Such reasons may include (this list is not exhaustive):

    • where a student has Reasonable Adjustments (RA) in place which recommend adjustments in order to accommodate difficulties around meeting deadlines; this is limited to seven days after the appeal deadline
    • where there is evidence of mitigating circumstances that would have prevented a student from submitting their appeal by the relevant deadline (for example, hospitalisation).

    Work commitments, holidays, minor illnesses, not understanding the appeal regulations or awaiting evidence etc are not considered to be acceptable reasons for submitting a late appeal

    If you are awaiting evidence, then you should not delay submitting your appeal. You can state that you are awaiting evidence in your appeal form.

    You should check our academic appeals regulations [PDF 290.43KB] for full details of the appeals deadlines.

Check which academic body made the decision that you want to appeal

There are different bodies responsible for decisions made by the University. You should check which body made the decision you want to appeal (this will be on the documentation you have received). Select the body from the options below to find out how to appeal.

Undergraduate or Masters students

If you are studying an undergraduate or Masters (taught postgraduate) course, you can appeal a decision made by:

Postgraduate researchers

If you are a postgraduate researcher studying a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), you can appeal a decision made by:

If you are a postgraduate researcher undertaking a Professional Doctorate, you can appeal a decision made by:

Students at partner institutions

If you are studying at one of our partner institutions, you can submit an appeal to:

If you have received any other type of decision made through a University process that you want to challenge (for example, a Fitness to Practice decision) you will need to consult the relevant policy or regulation for that process. Only decisions from the bodies listed above are considered academic appeals. 

Get support while submitting an appeal

You can access further support, advice or guidance to help you understand the appeal process. This is recommended as formal appeals can only be considered based on the information that you provide in the appeal form and any supporting evidence submitted.

You can get advice from:

  • the Students' Union – advisers can provide you with independent advice and help you with your appeal
  • the University's Student Advice service at the Student Centre (which is separate to the Students’ Union) – you can get advice about the appeals process and regulations.

How long will I need to wait to receive a response to my appeal

The completion of the full formal appeals process by the University (Formal Appeal and Appeal Outcome Review) should normally take no longer than three calendar months.

If deadlines are exceeded, you will be kept informed.

Exceptional circumstances  

If something affected your performance in a recent exam or other assessment, you might be able to claim for exceptional circumstances.

Reasonable adjustments

If you have a disability you can get reasonable adjustments for your assessments, such as being given more time in an exam.

You should seek reasonable adjustments before you take assessments.

Find out more about reasonable adjustments.