Academic Appeals

An appeal is defined as a request for a review of a decision of an academic body charged with making judgements concerning student progression, assessment or awards.

The University has a duty to maintain and enhance the quality of provision for students and to provide an effective system for handling appeals and complaints. The University upholds the principle that students should have a full opportunity to raise appeals against academic decisions without fear of disadvantage and in the knowledge that confidentiality will be respected.

The Process

Before submitting an appeal students should be encouraged to consult their Adviser of Studies, Supervisor, Course Leader or School/College Administrator for advice and to explore whether there is a possible resolution without proceeding to a formal appeal.

The SRC Advice Centre is available to advise students. See www.glasgowstudent.net/advice/.

You should encourage students to consult the SRC, as they can provide invaluable independent advice on the grounds for appeal and on the appeals process.

When a student is considering appealing against their final award, you should remind them that if they graduate they are deemed to have accepted the award; if they wish to appeal they must therefore withdraw from graduation.

The first stage of the Appeals Procedure is to appeal to the College Appeals Committee. The student must submit a letter intimating an intention to appeal within 10 working days of publication of the decision that they wish to appeal. This should be submitted to the College’s Head of Academic and Student Administration. The student then has a further 20 working days to submit full grounds for appeal and any necessary supporting documentation.[1] Alternatively, if the student chooses not to intimate their intention to appeal, they may proceed immediately to submitting their full grounds and supporting documentation. This must be done within 20 working days of publication of the decision.

There are three permitted grounds for appeal:

i) unfair or defective procedure;
ii) a failure to take account of medical or other adverse personal circumstances;
iii) relevant medical or other adverse personal circumstances which for good reason have not previously been presented.

The College Appeals Committee Convener will decide whether to consider the appeal by full hearing (which the student may attend) or by preliminary disposal (which is held in private).

The College Appeals Committee will consider the grounds for appeal and will take account of a response from the School/Subject Area. If you are asked to provide such a response, please bear in mind that this will become part of the appeal papers and will be made available to the student. The Committee may dismiss the appeal, uphold it or refer the case back to the Board of Examiners/Progress Committee for further consideration.

If the appeal has been considered by preliminary disposal and the student believes that some element of the appeal has been overlooked they may request reinstatement of the appeal for further consideration by a full hearing of the College Appeals Committee. If they wish to seek reinstatement, they must do so within 10 working days of the Appeals Committee’s decision being issued, explaining what they believe has been overlooked. A member of the College Appeals Committee who has not been involved in the case will decide whether there are grounds to permit reinstatement.

If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome from the College’s consideration of the appeal (whether or not they sought reinstatement) they may be able to proceed to the Senate Appeals Committee. Again there are specific permitted grounds for appeal:

i) new evidence has emerged which could not reasonably have been produced to the College Appeals Committee and/or
ii) defective procedure by the College in its disposal of the appeal and/or
iii) the disposal at College level was manifestly unreasonable.

If the student decides to appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee they must intimate an intention to appeal within 10 working days of the College Appeals Committee’s decision being issued. This intimation must be submitted in writing to the Head of Senate Office at senate-appeals@glasgow.ac.uk for the attention of the Senior Senate Assessor for Academic Appeals. They then have a further 20 working days to submit full grounds and any supporting documentation.[1] Alternatively, if the student chooses not to intimate their intention to appeal, they may proceed immediately to submitting their full grounds and supporting documentation. This must be done within 20 working days of the College Appeals Committee's decision being issued.

The Senior Senate Assessor for Acadenuc Appeals will decide whether to consider the appeal by full hearing (which the student may attend) or by preliminary disposal (which is held in private).

The Senate Appeals Committee will consider the grounds for appeal and will take account of a response from the College Appeals Committee and sometimes further information from the School/Exam Board/Progress Committee. If you are asked to provide such information, please bear in mind that this will become part of the appeal papers and will be made available to the student. The Committee may dismiss the appeal, uphold it or may find that the case should be referred back to the College Appeals Committee or to the Board of Examiners/Progress Committee for further consideration.

If the appeal has been considered by preliminary disposal and the student believes that some element of the appeal has been overlooked they may request reinstatement of the appeal for further consideration by a full hearing of the Senate Appeals Committee. A request for reinstatement must be submitted within 10 working days of the Appeals Committee’s decision being issued, with an explanation of what they believe has been overlooked. A Senate Assessor for Appeals who has had no previous involvement in the case will decide whether there are grounds to permit reinstatement.


[1] Any supporting documents should be in English or be accompanied by an English translation.


Support and Advice

Before submitting an appeal the student should be advised to consult their Advisor of Studies, Supervisor, Course Leader or School/College Administrator for advice and to explore whether there is a possible resolution without proceeding to a formal appeal.

The SRC Advice Centre can also provide advice. The Advice Centre is an advice, information and representation service provided by the SRC for all Glasgow University students. The Advice Centre offers free and confidential advice on a wide range of subjects, and will be able to offer advice on such matters as possible grounds for appeal and details of the process. They may be able to represent or support the student in the event of a hearing.

See www.glasgowstudent.net/advice/.

The Advice Centre can be contacted on 0141 330 5360 and at advice@src.gla.ac.uk.


An Appeal or a Complaint?

An academic appeal is a request for a review of an academic decision relating to the classification of degree awarded, the grade awarded for a course of study or a decision concerning the student’s progress to the next year of study or to an Honours programme.

A complaint is a representation about the quality or standard of provision in a particular area of the University. It may be a matter concerning the advice given regarding choice of subjects, the conduct of a member of staff towards a student or towards a class, or administrative matters concerning the organisation of a programme of study. A complaint, even if upheld will not result in a change to an academic decision.


External Adjudication

Following the outcome of an appeal to the College Appeals Committee students may have a further right of appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee. If following consideration of an appeal by the Senate Appeals Committee the student is still dissatisfied with the outcome, they may seek external adjudication.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) provides an independent public services complaints system. Anyone may submit complaints about the University to SPSO if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of an investigation, review of a complaint or conduct of an academic appeal by the University. The SPSO cannot however consider matters concerning i) academic judgement, or ii) discretionary decisions which are made without any maladministration.

Further information about the procedure is available from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

Following completion of a review of an academic appeal, the SPSO will provide a report of the matters considered and the outcome. Reports of complaints against the University of Glasgow are available online as follows:

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Reports   
Date  Outcome  Link to Report 
30/5/06  Complaint Not Upheld  Link 
20/2/08  Complaint Not Upheld  Link 
23/4/08  Complaint Upheld in Part  Link 
17/9/08  Complaint Not Upheld  Link 
22/10/08  Complaint Not Upheld  Link 
19/11/08  Complaint Upheld in Part  Link 
17/12/08  Complaint Upheld in Part  Link 
01/09/09 Complaint Upheld in Part Link