Academic Appeals


Academic appeals are appeals against academic decisions. The academic decisions most commonly appealed against are:

  1. Failure of academic programme
  2. Degree classification
  3. Exceptional Circumstances Committee decisions
  4. Academic misconduct decisions

Students may also appeal against other Board of Studies decisions but may not appeal against the academic judgement of their examiners. Disagreeing with the academic interpretation of the quality of an assessment, for example, is not a basis for submitting an appeal.

If a student is unhappy about the provision of a service, such as feedback quality, teaching quality, supervision, campus facilities or accommodation, this is handled via the Complaints process.

When to appeal

Once an academic decision - e.g. failure or degree classification - has been ratified by the Board of Examiners, there is no further scope within an academic department to amend that decision. In such cases, students are advised of their right to appeal that decision within 28 days.

When an Exceptional Circumstances Committee has made a decision, it can review that decision (for example by reviewing further evidence) provided the affected assessment's mark has not yet been ratified by the Board of Examiners. Where the Board of Examiners has met, students may only contest the Exceptional Circumstances Committee's decision by submitting an academic appeal.

How to appeal

Appeals must be submitted within 28 days of the decision by submitting a Formal Stage appeal form to the Special Cases Committee. An online form is available : Formal Stage Appeal Form  (see right-hand column for all guidance documentation - also linked to from within the form). Appeals can be submitted on the basis of a procedural irregularity and/or previously undisclosed exceptional circumstances, but students must have good reason for not using the exceptional circumstances procedures within 7 days of the affected assessment(s).

Before submitting an academic appeal students are encouraged to read carefully the guidance attached to the appeal form and the appeals procedures. Where students wish to contact the Special Cases team, they are advised to read the  Policy on Communications in Relation to Academic Appeals and Formal Complaints (MS Word , 29kb). Any data students share as part of their academic appeals will be treated in accordance with the University statement on data protection, which can be viewed at:

Students who are dissatisfied with the outcome of their Formal Stage appeal have 10 calendar days from being formally notified of that outcome to submit a Review Stage appeal. Students should only complete this form if they have received a Formal Stage Appeal Outcome letter. An online form is available: Review Stage Appeal Form

Remedies and timescales

Students should be aware, before submitting an appeal, of the likely outcomes if their appeal is upheld. The appeals process aims to resolve appeals (including both appeal stages) within 90 days of receipt. This 90 days does not include days when the case officers are waiting for students to provide evidence. Triaging, investigating and providing a considered response to appeals is a detailed and time-consuming process. In addition, the university requires several weeks of advance notice before the August resit period so there is time to set up resit exams. As a result, students submitting appeals in June or July should not expect to be offered resits in the August resit period. The most likely remedy in such cases is to be offered a leave of absence for the next academic year or to be offered repeat study.

Students cannot progress to the next academic year until they have passed the preceding year, e.g. students must pass year 1 before progressing to year 2. This means that any student appealing against failure in summer should not expect to progress to the next academic year in the same autumn - e.g. failure in summer 2020 will mean a student cannot progress to the next academic year in autumn 2020. Further information on remedies is available within the Formal Stage Appeal Form.