Complaints and Appeals
When things go wrong
If you have any complaints, worries or suggestions about your course, your working environment, or any other issue of concern, you should let the department know. You can do this in the first instance by informing any one of:
- The staff member responsible for the activity in question.
This would be the lecturer in the case of lectured modules or examples classes, or the laboratory head in the case of demonstrating.
- Your supervisor, or second supervisor.
- Your Postgraduate Student Staff Liaison Committee (PG-SSLC) representatives.
- The Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Elizabeth Stanway
The department takes all complaints and suggestions seriously. We will respond to all points raised either by changing our practices or by explaining why this is not possible.
If you have exhausted these procedures and are still not satisfied then you may lodge a formal complaint. The university has a Student Complaints Resolution Pathway and Procedure that explains how this operates.
If it is decided that your performance merits the award of a lower qualification than the one for which you were registered or does not merit the award of a qualification at all, you have the right of appeal. Regulation 37 sets out the procedure to be followed for taught postgraduate courses, and regulation 38 sets out the procedure for research postgraduate courses. You can also appeal against a decision to terminate your registration for a degree or downgrade your registration to a lower qualification.
Note that appeals can only be submitted after a formal decision has been taken and can take up to a year for the full process to be completed. Students are strongly advised to resolve problems at an earlier stage and through the informal processes outlined above.
There is no right of appeal against
- the academic judgement of examiners
- the requirement to resubmit work or resit examinations
- the decision to award a Master's degree at pass level rather than with distinction
Students should note that appeals can only be on certain grounds where there is evidence of
- exceptional circumstances that affected the student’s performance which the student was unable to present in time for the meeting of the Board of Examiners.
In this instance, the student is required to provide an explanation why the evidence was not available at the meeting of the Board of Examiners;
- procedural irregularity or unfair discrimination in the examination process;
- inadequacy of supervisory or other arrangements during the student’s enrolment at the University.
In this instance, the student is required to explain why a complaint was not made at an earlier stage.
Further information on submitting a postgraduate appeal may be found on the Postgraduates Examinations page.
For advice from outside the department you can contact
- the Senior Tutor, who acts as a sympathetic person to whom students can turn to in confidence for support regarding difficulties with their studies. Phone number: 024 7652 2761. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- the SU Advice Centre, which is independent from the University and offers confidential, free and informal information, advice and representation on a wide range of issues - like a Citizens' Advice Bureau.