academic complaints


Academic complaints are the formal process to raise concerns you have about something that relates to the delivery of your course. 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.

Can I make a complaint?

Any student can make a complaint about their programme of study or the university’s academic facilities using the academic
complaints procedure.
While academic appeals relate to academic outcomes (e.g. a mark or degree classification), academic complaints relate to other aspects of the student’s academic experience of study at UEA. These might relate to the quality of academic resources (e.g. the library, computer facilities or lecture theatres) or to processes like the support provided whilst on placement, the support provided by advisers or the fairness or robustness of marking practices in your School of study.

Complaints about non-academic services such as catering, accommodation or careers are dealt with by a separate non-academic complaints procedure. If you are not sure whether to make an academic compliant or a non-academic complaint, talk to an advice worker who will be able to help. Alleged harassment is dealt with under separate procedures. 

If you are thinking about making a complaint about the impact of UCU strikes on your studies, read our guide which explains your options and what evidence you will need to gather.

Can you resolve the issues informally?

Before initiating a Stage 1 academic complaint you should try and resolve the matter informally; for example, by talking to your advisor, supervisor, lecturer, module organiser, Course Director or Head of School. advice(su) can support you with this as well as with making a formal complaint. 

Making the complaint

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

The complaint form asks what your concerns relate to and what outcome you are appealing. For help with writing your appeal, see our info sheet Writing an effective statement”.

Once completed, you should submit your complaint form and supporting evidence to your Hub. The Head of School will be made aware of the content of the complaint and will consider if it can be informally resolved. If it cannot the FACP will then consider the complaint.

Each faculty has its own FACP (there is one for students on UG and PGT taught courses and one for students on PGR programmes such as MPhils and PhDs).

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 complaint. You will usually be informed of the outcome of your complaint within 10 working days of the FACP meeting, or you will be told that more time is needed to consider your complaint.

If your complaint is upheld the letter will also say what action will be taken to remedy it. The remedy will be individual to your particular complaint. In some cases, FACPs can agree to make compensatory payments for upheld complaints.

If you are not happy with either the decision made or how the FACP with remedy the complaint you may be able to make a Stage 2 complaint 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 complaint.

Possible outcomes.

Outcomes to academic complaints will vary depending on your particular situation so it is difficult to provide general advice in this area.

However, if you are able to demonstrate that your learning has been detrimentally impacted because of something UEA has or hasn’t done and which it can be reasonably assumed they should have within their control, you should receive an appropriate outcome.

Be careful going into making a formal complaint with the expectation that financial compensation is a likely outcome. The only way this would be possible would be to show that you have not received the education UEA advertised and that this was due to something within their control, and for UEA to accept this is the case.

Where something impacts the delivery outside of the University's control like COVID-19, it would be considered reasonable for UEA to alter the delivery of your education as long as it still meets advertised learning outcomes, in an appropriate way.

How can advice(su) help me?

Our advice team have a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with academic complaints. 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 complaint form and formulating your arguments 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 complaints procedure can be found here.