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Academic appeals, complaints and disciplinary issues

The University is committed to ensuring as high a quality student experience as possible while studying at St Andrews. Occasionally things may go wrong and if you are experiencing a difficulty, or are dissatisfied with your academic experience, you should raise concerns as soon as possible. This allows effective resolutions to be worked out quickly.

Such issues normally fall into one of three categories:

  • An appeal requesting a formal review of an academic decision - where, for example, the University has made a judgement about your assessed work or progression within a course of study which you have grounds to query (see the relevant Policy on Student Academic Appeals);
  • Complaints  - where you are dissatisfied with the quality or standard of service that you have received from any part of the University, either academic or non-academic (see the University’s Complaints Handling Procedure);
  • Disciplinary cases - where the University has grounds to believe that you have conducted yourself in an unacceptable manner in either an academic or non-academic context. Academic Misconduct is dealt with under the Good Academic Practice Policy; Non-Academic Misconduct is dealt with under separate procedures.

If there are extenuating personal circumstances that may affect your academic performance or impact on your progression you must bring these to the attention of an appropriate member of staff (for example your Academic Adviser, module coordinator or the appropriate Associate Dean) as soon as possible and normally prior to completing any assessment. If you base a subsequent academic appeal on such extenuating personal circumstances, you will be required to provide valid reasons to explain why you failed to notify the examiners or other relevant persons of these circumstances prior to completing the assessment.

Using the Right Procedure
If you are unsure whether to use the Appeals procedure or the Complaints procedure, there is a key question to ask yourself. What kind of outcome are you seeking?  If you are seeking to have an academic decision changed (such as a mark or grade, a decision about progression, or termination of studies), then you must use the Appeals procedure. The permissible grounds for submitting an appeal are clearly detailed therein. If you are dissatisfied with the level of service you have received from the University, or if you believe that a service needs to be improved, or that the University has failed (for example) to follow one of its administrative processes properly, then the Complaints procedure is normally more appropriate. For matters involving teaching in general, there are also feedback opportunities through Staff-Student Consultative Councils, module questionnaires and School presidents.

You can make both a personal Complaint and an Appeal, by using both the Appeal and Complaints procedures, but it must be emphasised that changing an academic judgment or decision is not one of the outcomes from the Complaints procedure used alone.

Further guidance and support
The Students' Association provides independent and confidential help and advice for students who are contemplating submitting an academic appeal, complaint or are having discipline proceedings taken against them. The Students' Association employs Iain Cupples, the Student Advocate (Education), whose job it is to ensure that you receive help with writing and submitting a submission. Iain can also accompany you to any hearing. He should be your first point of contact as soon as you feel you need help.

Contact: Iain Cupples, Student Advocate (Education), 01334 462700,