If you have concerns about your results after the University Senate Examination or Research Degree Boards have made their decision, or if you feel that your results have been affected by problems on the course, or due to personal issues, then you may be able to request an Academic Appeal.
Key points to be aware about. You will need to:
- understand the basic rules for academic appeals and the difference between an academic appeal and a complaint (which have separate processes);
- demonstrate that your appeal meets specific grounds (depending on whether you are undergraduate/taught postgraduate or a research student);
- submit the appropriate appeal form in time and include supporting evidence.
What is an Academic Appeal?
The University defines an academic appeal as:
“...a request for a review of a decision of an academic body charged with taking decisions on student progression, assessment and awards.”
This can include, for example, cases where you might disagree with the decision made because you feel that the University has not adequately considered your personal circumstances which may have impacted on your ability to engage with your studies.
Remember, to avoid having to make your appeal at all, or having your appeal rejected, you should always try to submit evidence of personal circumstances as early as possible and certainly before the examination boards meet, via the special circumstances process.
Decisions on being excluded from University can also be appealed against following this same academic appeal process. Please see our Academic Progress guide for more information.
Though your appeal may include complaints within it, this is not the same as a formal complaint which has a separate process and, if upheld, with different non-academic routes for redress. Please see our Complaints Procedure guide for more information.
Remember: The University will not accept an appeal if your only concern is that you disagree with the ‘academic judgement’ of the marker/s or the Examining Board.
Grounds for Appeal
If you feel that you have in some way been disadvantaged during your studies and this is reflected in your results then you may have grounds for an academic appeal.
For undergraduates, there are three main grounds for appeal; in short, these are:
- Personal circumstances which had an adverse effect on your academic studies;
- Defects or irregularities in the conduct of the assessments or in written instructions or in advice;
- Evidence of prejudice, or of bias, or of inadequate assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners.
For research postgraduates, there is an additional ground:
- Evidence that the supervision provided was inadequate and that there were exceptional reasons why this had not been reported by the student prior to the decision of the Examining Board.
Gathering evidence can be tricky at the best of times but submitting it late or at the wrong time can also cause problems. This is because appeals will normally only be considered if they are based on one or both of the grounds that it couldn’t reasonably have been submitted at the time via the Special Circumstances process. Please see our Special Circumstances and Extensions guide for more information.
Remember: The standard deadline for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students is 10 working days, and for postgraduate research students it is 20 working days.
How do I submit my Appeal Form?
You will have to complete the appeal form depending on whether you are a undergraduate and taught postgraduate or postgraduate research student. Both forms ask for personal details, the grounds on which you wish to appeal, reasoning behind your appeal, the impact on you or your studies, evidence and crucially, your desired outcome.
You can submit the form which you can find by using the useful links at the end of this guide either by post to: Academic Registry (Appeals), Cledwyn Building, Penglais, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DD, or by e-mail to: email@example.com.
What happens after I submit the form?
There will be an initial decision on eligibility of the appeal and if accepted a latter decision regarding the outcome of the appeal (which may or may not include a hearing). Examples, of the types of decisions that can be made can include the opportunity to resit a module for full marks without payment of a resit fee, raising a degree class where students with significant special circumstances fall within the Window of Opportunity, etc.
What if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of my Appeal?
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of an academic appeal you may request a Final Review. Firstly, you will need to submit a Final Review form within a specific timeframe, normally 10 working days under the following grounds:
- Procedural irregularity (an error made in application of regs/procedure), or,
- New evidence (which couldn’t have reasonably been submitted earlier).
What happens once I have submitted a Final Review form?
Final Review is a chance for a Pro Vice-Chancellor from the University management structure to review whether matters were investigated fairly and that reasonable decisions have been made. It is not a chance to re-open the investigation and start anew. They may however decide to convene an official Panel, where appropriate, in order to assist them.
Either way, the kind of options available to them (or Panel) shall be to dismiss the request for review and uphold the original decision; or else, if upheld, to recommend appropriate remedial action. This process can take up to 6 weeks and the decision is final and a closure of the internal University process. Once again an advisor from the Advice Service may be able to attend a Panel, if convened, and will be able to support you through the Final Review process.
If you remain unhappy with the outcome of the Final Review decision, there is another option external to the University; by taking a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) which can be discussed further with an advisor.
What can the AberSU Advice Service do to help?
The AberSU Advice Service is independent from the University and provides a free, confidential and impartial service to all Aberystwyth University students.
The Advice Service can assist you in a range of ways, including:
- Explain the Appeals Procedure to you and guide you through its various stages;
- Review any draft statements that you prepare and offer suggestions;
- Monitor the progress of your appeal;
- Accompany you to any meetings to provide support and representation;
- Help you to collate appropriate evidence to support your case.
To discuss all of your options, including what support is available to you, please contact us below:
First Produced: June 2017
Reviewed: November 2018