Accessibility statement

Academic Appeals

Overview

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.

Update on coronavirus impact

The University Special Cases Committee is continuing to work on investigating and resolving academic appeals. These will continue to be managed as efficiently as we possibly can. Delays are likely, however, as colleagues in departments may be called upon to participate in contingency efforts. The Special Cases Team will continue to prioritise cases based on individual circumstances, and to inform appellants of the progress of their case.'  

When to appeal

Once an academic decision - eg 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  .

Appeals can be submitted on the basis of:

A procedural irregularity and/or:

Previously undisclosed exceptional circumstances (see guidance) but students must have good reason for not using the exceptional circumstances procedures within 7 days of the affected assessment(s).

See right-hand column for all guidance documentation - also linked to from within the form. Please scroll down to the bottom of the right-hand column to see Covid-19 guidance applicable to appeals submitted from March 2020.

Guidance

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: https://www.york.ac.uk/records-management/dp/your-info/students/.

 

Evidence and use of third parties

Students are strongly encouraged to seek assistance with their appeals from the advisers at YUSU or the GSA, where confidential and independent expert advice is available free of charge. 

Students are advised against using private companies to help with preparing appeals. We are aware of a number of private companies offering the following services: writing appeals for students, creating fabricated evidence on behalf of students, and corresponding with the University on the student’s behalf. These companies, which are often advertised through social media and word of mouth, are unregulated and unlicensed. They are in no way connected to or associated with the University of York, which only recommends YUSU or the GSA for help in preparing appeals.

We are aware of companies charging students very high fees to fabricate appeals or evidence. In some cases, these companies have increased their fees once the appeal evidence is submitted to the university, and blackmailed students by threatening to reveal the fraud to the university and/or the police unless they receive the additional fees. 

Consequences of submitting fabricated evidence and or false appeal information 

Students can take advice on appeals, but they must be written by the student themselves, be a full and honest account of events and, where appropriate, accompanied by genuine supporting evidence.

We are aware that in some cases, companies have fabricated appeal evidence, as well as fabricating the events listed in the appeal, in order to try and secure a positive outcome. 

Students who submit fake evidence and/or fake appeal information may be subject to disciplinary action by the University.

The case officers handling appeals are taking active measures to detect and verify fake or fraudulently modified appeal evidence. If fake or modified evidence is confirmed, the Special Cases team reserves the right to reject evidence, reject an appeal, to refer students for disciplinary action (which may result in expulsion from the University or other sanctions) and to refer the matter to the supposed source of the medical evidence. You should be aware that forging medical evidence and submitting it to the university to try and gain an advantage is a criminal offence under the Fraud Act.

If your appeal is initially upheld, and we subsequently discover that your appeal was upheld due to false evidence, we reserve the right to initiate disciplinary proceedings at a later date.

If you would like assistance with your appeal, you should instead use the advisers at YUSU or the GSA. YUSU and the GSA advise solely in relation to York and have regular discussions with the case officers who handle appeals at York. YUSU and GSA advisers therefore have the highest level of expertise in York’s regulations, while still being independent of the University and free of charge for students to use.

 

Review-Stage (second stage) of the Appeals Process

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 within 90 days of receipt, though there may be times when this target is exceeded if an appeal is particularly complex or at peak times of year. 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, eg students must pass year 2 before progressing to year 3. This means that any student appealing against failure in summer should not expect to progress to the next academic year in the same autumn - eg failure in summer 2021 will mean a student cannot progress to the next academic year in autumn 2021. Further information on remedies is available in this document: 09 - Appeal Remedies Guidance (PDF , 95kb)