Academic appeals

Find out more about the process for appealing an academic decision

The University values fairness and works hard to ensure the best outcomes for its students. If students remain dissatisfied with an academic decision affecting academic progress or the right to an award, students may be able to appeal the decision through the Academic Appeals Procedure.

It is important for students have a thorough understanding of the standard academic regulations before they proceed with the appeals process.

Students can obtain independent advice about submitting an appeal from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.


Should I make an appeal?

The appeals procedure applies to all University of Plymouth students who are studying at sites of delivery in the UK and international partnerships unless a non-standard regulation has been formally approved.

The appeal procedure is concerned only with formal progression or award decisions and the assessment processes which give rise to these.

It is not appropriate to deal with problems experienced with programme delivery or availability of facilities (for example) via the appeal procedure. Students should seek a swift resolution to such issues through the Student Complaints Procedure.


GSM London students

If you are a former GSM London student, there is a separate process to appeal against the decision of a GSM London Academic Misconduct Panel or Award Assessment Board.

Appeals for former GSM London students

How do I submit an appeal?

In order for the University to process and consider the validity of an appeal, you will need to download and complete the academic appeals form. Once completed, this will need to be emailed to appeals@plymouth.ac.uk as an attachment. You should receive acknowledgement from the Complaints and Appeals Office within ten working days of receipt of the appeal.

What can I expect from the appeals process?

Initial scrutiny of appeal

The appeals procedure will not be initiated if appeals are based on any of the following grounds:

  • questioning the academic or professional judgement of the examiners (unless there has been evidence of a material irregularity related to assessment)
  • disappointment with a result of classification where marks have been accurately recorded, assessment regulations correctly followed and where no evidence of material irregularity exists
  • extenuating circumstances have already been considered by the appropriate Award Assessment Board
  • no appropriate explanation has been provided on the appeal form/letter to account for the fact that evidence of extenuating circumstances was not submitted to the Faculty by the required deadline date.

If your appeal is refused on any of these grounds, you will be informed of the decision within 20 working days.


Formal stage

If the appeal has grounds to be pursued, it will enter the formal consideration of appeals stage, where the case will be investigated against the University's Academic Regulations. At this point, we may require additional relevant information to be gathered to help us in reaching a decision.

Following investigation, the Complaints and Appeals Office may decide to:

  • reject the appeal since there are no grounds under Academic Regulations
  • allow the appeal to proceed, referring back to the Award Assessment Board
  • allow the appeal to proceed, referring relevant issues back to the Faculty Extenuating Circumstances Screening Meeting.

The Complaints and Appeals Office will aim to resolve appeals at the formal stage within 20 working days (complex cases can take longer)

We aim to resolve academic appeals as quickly and effectively as possible during the initial scrutiny and formal stages of the appeal. However in some cases that are slightly more complicated, or you feel the best outcome hasn't been reached, there are additional steps that you will need to take.

Guide to the Academic Appeals Procedure (PDF)

What happens if my appeal is upheld?

When an appeal is upheld, it will be referred back to your Faculty. The Complaints and Appeals Office cannot preempt what the new decision will be, but the Faculty will contact you directly to confirm this.

If you remain dissatisfied once you have received the revised decision, you have the right to ask for a review of your case by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). If you wish to ask for a review of your case by the OIA, you will need to contact the Complaints and Appeals Office within 10 working days of the revised decision for a Completion of Procedures letter and contact details for the OIA.

What can I do if my appeal is rejected?

Review stage

If a student remains dissatisfied with the formal stage decision, they are entitled to have their case considered for review. Students must submit a request for review via email within ten working days of receiving the formal stage outcome, using the form that will have been provided to you with your formal outcome letter.

appeals@plymouth.ac.uk

At this point, the student must be able to demonstrate that grounds for review have been met:

  • there was a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the formal stage
  • the outcome was not reasonable in the circumstances.

In exceptional circumstances, the University will consider appeals at the review stage where new evidence or material is available, which the student was unable (for valid reasons) to provide earlier in the process. If the Complaints and Appeals Manager (or equivalent) does not find that the student has demonstrated sufficient grounds for review, they will issue the student with a Completion of Procedures letter via email.


Appeal Panels

If your appeal does have grounds for review following the formal stage outcome, your case may be referred to an Appeal Panel. The panel will be comprised only of members who have had no previous involvement with your case.

The Complaints and Appeals Office will notify you of the Appeal Panel’s decision.


Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)

If your request for review was declined or if the Appeal Panel agreed with the decision made at the Formal Stage, you may still be able to ask for a review of your case by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).

The Complaints and Appeals Office will provide with you with information regarding submitting a complaint to the OIA if you receive a Completion of Procedures letter, however you may wish to visit the OIA’s website for further guidance.

How will my appeal impact on graduation?

In some instances, a graduation ceremony may be held within the two-week deadline period for the submission of appeals. In such cases, students will be permitted to attend the ceremony, without prejudicing any appeal they may later submit, providing the appeal is submitted within the deadline.

Students whose appeals are undergoing consideration at the time of a graduation ceremony may also attend the ceremony without prejudicing the outcome of the appeal process. Such students will not receive an award certificate until the appeal is concluded.

Want to find out more about the rules and regulations that relate to your studies?

From data protection and equality and diversity, to codes of conduct and how your work will be assessed – find all the information you need in one place.

Student regulations, policies and procedures