Making a complaint

Find out more about which issues can and cannot be resolved by our student complaints procedure and how to make a formal complaint if you need to

The University welcomes all feedback, both positive and negative, and considers complaints to be a valuable source of information enabling us to improve services and enhance the student experience.The University is committed to ensuring that you have the opportunity to make complaints without risk of disadvantage or recrimination. Each case will be considered on its own merits with regard to the evidence and circumstances presented and in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures.

Should I make a complaint?

Making a complaint under the University’s Student Complaints Procedure may not be the best, quickest or most appropriate way to deal with a problem. Issues or problems with courses can be raised at Programme Committees, School or Faculty Graduate Affairs Committees and Staff/Student Liaison meetings by course or student representatives.
Examples of issues that can be consideredunder the procedure:
  • aspects of your learning and teaching experience
  • service issues
  • facilities
  • University-managed accommodation.

Who can make a complaint?

Undergraduate, taught postgraduate or research students currently registered on a University of Plymouth award can make a complaint under the Student Complaints Procedure. The University expects you to make the complaint yourself but in exceptional situations you can ask a relative or supporter to make a complaint on your behalf. You must give your explicit written consent for someone to do so.
If you are studying for an award at a partner institution, you should follow the University’s Student Complaints Procedure, except where your complaint is concerned with a service issue at the partner institution, in which case the issue should be raised via the partner institution’s internal complaints procedure.

How can I make a complaint?

Early resolution stage

Raising your complaint informally often provides the quickest and most effective way to resolve an issue.

You should raise your complaint via email to your Faculty Registrar, Doctoral College Manager or Accommodation Services within 40 working days of the issue arising, who will refer it to the appropriate member of staff.

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business

Faculty of Health

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Postgraduate research (Doctoral College)

To seek a quick and effective resolution to an issue with University-managed accommodation, please contact

If you are studying at a partner institution, you should raise your complaint at the early resolution stage directly with your college through your tutor, programme lead or Head of Higher Education.

Your concern may relate to a service or facility not directly provided by any of the above i.e. Estates, Student Services or the library. In such circumstances, please raise your concern to

Further information when seeking informal resolution

When raising your concern make clear what outcome you would like. You may be asked to attend a face-to-face meeting with the person considering your concern, where the circumstances make this appropriate. You are entitled to bring a member of the University community (student or staff member) or representative of UPSU to the meeting for support. You will not be entitled to bring a legal representative to the meeting.

You can take advice from UPSU’s Advice Centre, or an equivalent at a partner institution, at any stage of the process.

What if my complaint isn’t resolved?

If you are not satisfied with the proposed resolution at the early resolution stage then you are eligible to submit a formal complaint online.

As part of the formal submission of your complaint, you will be required to provide:

  • details of your complaint
  • details about any action you have already taken to resolve your complaint
  • details about the response you have already received
  • why you are not satisfied with the initial response
  • your desired outcome
  • any supporting evidence that might be important.

If you require any help or advice before submitting your formal complaint, you can take advice from UPSU’s Advice Centre (or an equivalent at a partner institution).

What can I expect from the complaints process?

We aim to resolve all issues quickly and effectively during the early resolution stage, but for 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.

What if I am unhappy with the end outcome?

Review stage

Complaints submitted will be reviewed only if you are able to demonstrate at least one of the following grounds:

  • the University's response failed to address all of the issues
  • the University's response failed to consider all evidence
  • there is evidence of bias or prejudice in consideration of the complaint
  • a procedural irregularity occurred in consideration of the complaint
  • any remedy offered is unreasonable in all the circumstances.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your formal complaint, and you fall into one of the categories above, you may submit a request for review. This will need to be submitted within ten working days of the University’s response with the outcome of your formal complaint.

Being unhappy with the University’s response to a formal complaint is not sufficient grounds for the matter to be considered for review.

External review

If you remain unhappy with the outcome once you have completed the University’s internal procedures, you may refer your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). This must be done within 12 months of the date of the Completion of Procedures letter you will receive once you have completed the University’s internal procedures.

Further information is available via the OIA.

I don’t think my issue is covered by the complaints process

Academic decision taken by an assessment board
Please refer to our academic appeals information.
Please raise your concern directly with the Head of Student Recruitment and Admissions.
Bullying or harassment
Please refer to our bullying and harassment information
Student conduct
Please raise your concern directly with the Student Support and Conduct Manager.
The University’s annual Student Perception Questionnaire (SPQ)is an opportunity to provide critical feedback. Most final-stage undergraduate students are also asked to participate in the National Student Survey (NSS), the results of which are used to help the University improve its support for the student learning environment.
Consult with UPSU Advice (or equivalent at partner institutions) or a Student Union Officer who can deal with matters directly or raise issues through their representation on University committees.

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