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Appeals and S-coding

During your studies, you will be subject to many academic decisions, some of which you may consider that you have grounds to challenge, such as:

  • the mark given for a piece of assessed work or an exam;
  • whether you are allowed to progress in your programme of study;
  • the classification of degree you are awarded;
  • notification of Termination of Studies.

If you want to request a formal review of an academic mark or grade, please see the relevant section of the University's Policy on Student Academic Appeals. This document outlines the permissible grounds for appeal and the process involved. You may also wish to seek further independent advice from the Student Advocate in the Students' Association, in preparing your appeal.

For a piece of continuous assessment, check any feedback given by the person marking the work.  If you are still unsure about your mark, you should first speak to the person who marked the work and ask where you went wrong and what you can do to improve your marks in future.  You might also want to ask if the work has been second-marked. 

For an exam mark, contact the School Office as soon as possible after receiving your mark to ask if someone can look over your script with you and give you some feedback.

The School cannot alter a mark based on your studies being affected by personal circumstances.  However, there are other ways in which Schools can account for personal circumstances and you should discuss these with the School before making an appeal.

If you are still unhappy with your mark following the completion of the above, and can clearly demonstrate that permissible grounds exist for the matter to be considered further, you should follow the relevant appeal procedures given in the University's Policy on Student Academic Appeals.  This involves making an initial formal submission at School-level (or, in certain cases, at Faculty-level), with a further avenue of appeal at Senate-level should you have grounds to request a second and final review.

The grounds for appeal are clearly outlined in the Policy on Student Academic Appeals, along with an indication of what the University does not consider valid reasons for submitting an appeal. Note in particular that disagreement with an academic judgement is not one of the allowed grounds for appeal.

If you want to submit an academic appeal you have to act quickly. If you intend to submit an appeal you must do so within the time frames specified in the Policy. If you make a late submission your appeal may not be considered and may be turned down automatically.

If you haven’t met the published requirements for automatic entry to Honoursplease see the policy on Entry to Honours (PDF, 525 KB)In some subjects you may be eligible to attempt Qualified Entry to Honours by retaking exams in the August diet. In all cases you have the right to appeal against the decision, and the details of how to submit an appeal will be explained in the letter notifying you of the Honours entry decision. You will not be permitted to repeat modules in order to attain higher marks, but you may wish to change your Honours subject. If you do wish to discuss changing your degree programme, or have other queries about the Honours entry process, contact the Faculty Associate Dean Students. Please note that the Associate Dean Students is not a route of appeal but they can provide advice on the options available to you.

Degrees are classified by means of an arithmetical formula and there is no discretionary zone that may result in a selective adjustment to your final degree classification. If you have not yet graduated and believe that you have permissible grounds for appealing the grade of a module or modules that contribute to your final degree classification, you should refer to the Policy on Student Academic Appeals. You must provide an explanation for not notifying the University earlier of the circumstances you believe have affected the results that have contributed to your final degree classification. Please note that your graduation will be delayed pending the outcome of the appeal.  If you have already graduated, then you have accepted your classification and it can no longer be appealed. See also S-coding below.

If you have not heard back about your appeal, email or try phoning the relevant office. 

If you are unhappy about your mark but don't have grounds for appeal, you cannot submit an appeal. If you feel, however, that the level of academic provision or service that you have received from the University has fallen short of what might reasonably be expected, you may be able to submit a complaint to the University on the issues with which you are dissatisfied. Complaints, including those academic in nature (such as those relating to the quality of teaching, supervision or delivery of a programme of study), are considered separately from academic appeals. Please see the University’s Complaints Handling Procedure for further details.

If you remain unhappy with the outcome of your academic appeal and can clearly demonstrate that permissible grounds exist to have the matter considered further, you may submit an appeal to the University Senate (the highest academic authority with the University). Check the relevant section of the Policy on Student Academic Appeals for the appropriate process. Whilst you are entitled to make a further appeal, you should take advice from an independent adviser in the Students’ Association on how to formulate your appeal and to ensure that you provide all the documentation required for the consideration of your case by Senate.

If you consider that you have legitimate grounds for dissatisfaction after the completion of the Senate appeals process (which is the last step in the University's internal procedures), you may have an avenue of external review via the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

The Students' Association has a detailed student-focused guide on academic appeals, which you may find additionally helpful.


S-coding is a process through which allowance can be made for special circumstances affecting the final grade for a module. It cannot be applied to modules at 1000 or 2000 level. For more information please refer to the glossary entry on S-coding. If you have further questions contact Student Services.

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Advice and Support Centre
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 (46)2020


Student services

Eden Court
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AS
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: 01334 462720
Fax:01334 464007

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Encountered any difficulties?

Not the right match?  If you haven’t formed a good rapport with your Adviser or you’ve encountered any difficulties and wish to speak informally to someone, please contact Ruth Unsworth ( or Lara Meischke (, Deputy Directors of Student Services, in the first instance.

Please also be aware that the University has Complaints Handling Procedure for formally addressing concerns.


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