academic appeals


Academic appeals are the primary formal way of challenging an academic result or decision. Below we outline the process of making an appeal and things you need to think about. Remember we can be there to support you at every step.

What can I appeal?

The academic appeals procedure can be used by any student to challenge:

  • a degree result
  • a confirmed exam mark
  • a confirmed coursework, dissertation or
  • research project mark
  • failure to be transferred to a PhD from an MPhil
  • required withdrawal from a course
  • a verdict of plagiarism and/or collusion
  • a penalty applied in respect of plagiarism and/or collusion
  • a refusal to permit the late submission of coursework for assessment
  • an application for a delayed first sit that has been rejected

In general, if your concern is about your academic results you should use the academic appeals procedure. For other academic concerns, you should use the academic complaints procedure.

To make an appeal you need to be able to show one or more of the following grounds:

  • extenuating circumstances (ECs) were not fully and properly considered
  • your performance was affected by ECs not previously considered (only when late submission is approved by the Academic Director of Taught Programmes)
  • correct procedure was not followed which undermined the validity of a result
  • prejudice and/or bias affected the academic result
  • significant changes were made to a course which were not properly communicated
  • the teaching, supervision or research training was insufficient
  • the learning support provided was unsatisfactory or inappropriate
  • natural justice dictates that the appeal be upheld

It’s important to say that unfortunately, simply not achieving the individual marks you hoped for is not grounds for making an academic appeal – the academic judgement of the marker(s) is not appealable.

Whilst it can be extremely disappointing to have just missed out on the degree classification you were hoping for, being close to the grade boundary is also not a reason in itself for an appeal. 

Where regulations allow for an uplift in grade boundaries in the absence of any reported ECs, this will have already been considered/actioned by the Exam Board before your results were released.

Can you resolve the issues informally?

Before beginning an appeal you should try to resolve the matter informally if you can - for example, by talking to the marker, LTS Hub, the specific Course Director (if it relates to a mark or teaching) or the Plagiarism Officer (if it relates to a penalty applied for plagiarism/collusion). 

Making the appeal

If what you want to appeal about cannot be resolved informally, you'll then need to enter the Stage 1 appeal process by completing this appeal form.

The appeal form asks what your concerns relate to and what outcome you are appealing. For help with writing your appeal, see our advice guide "providing supporting evidence.

Once completed, you should submit your appeal form along with supporting evidence to your LTS Hub. It is usually  best to send it by email, but you can hand in a hard copy. In either case, we advise that:

  • you clearly mark the envelope/email containing your appeal with your name and student number, specifying that it is a Stage 1 appeal; and
  • you keep a copy of everything you send to the Hub.

If the appeal concerns a module or an academic issue relating to a school that you are not registered in you should still submit the appeal to the LTS Hub for your school.

The Head of School will be made aware of the content of the appeal and will consider if it can be informally resolved. If it cannot the FACP will then consider the appeal. Each faculty has its own FACP (there is one for taught student appeals and one for research student appeals). The FACP is made up of a chairperson, 3 members of staff from the faculty, one member from a panel in another faculty and a secretary.

You should receive an acknowledgement letter informing you of when your appeal will be considered by the FACP within 5 working days of submitting it. The FACP meeting should be within 20 days from the date you submitted your appeal. You will usually be informed of the outcome of your appeal within 10 working days of the FACP meeting, or you will be told that more time is needed to consider your appeal.

A FACP will uphold an appeal if it considers that you have shown that one of the grounds of appeal applies. If your appeal is accepted the letter will also say what action will be taken - for example, an Exam Board may be asked to review a decision they have made or a concession may be proposed.

If your appeal is rejected you should receive a full and clear explanation of the decision. If you are not happy with the decision you may be able to make a Stage 2 appeal if there has been a procedural irregularity at Stage 1. In some cases, you may be able to make a complaint to the Office of Independent Adjudicators (OIA) if you do not meet the grounds for a Stage 2 appeal.

How can advice(su) help me?

Our advice team have a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with extenuating circumstances. We offer appointments by phone, face to face, Microsoft Teams or by email.

In your appointment, your advice worker will discuss with you all of the options open to you and provide you with their advice on what course of actions you should take. Whether in the meeting or later your advice worker can help you make contact with the University and others if more information is needed, support you in completing your appeal form, find the right language to express your situation and be a point of contact should you have any questions or issues.

More information

Our full academic appeal guide can be found here.

The University's academic appeals procedure can be found here.