Academic appeals

How to ask for a reconsideration of one of your module grades, the result of an examination, or your degree classification.

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We encourage all students to read the Our Commitment partnership document, which sets out the expectations of both the University and of students in order to help ensure the best learning experience.


Making sure you have grounds for appeal

Students must be able to show that

  • there has been a procedural error, or
  • there is new evidence of mitigating circumstances that was not made available to the examiners, and
  • this evidence could not have been produced at an earlier stage.

Students may also make an appeal regarding the quality of teaching or supervision prior to their examination, as long as they could not reasonably have been expected to make a complaint before their examination.

Appeals against the academic judgement of examiners will not be considered. However, students can appeal departmental action taken against them where they have been found to have used unfair means in the assessment process.


Making a timely appeal

You should inform your academic department of any circumstances that affect your ability to study at the earliest possible opportunity so that they can provide you with support and guidance.

Preventing the appeal process from slowing down

We understand that there can be valid reasons why you may not be able to submit your extenuating circumstances form in a timely manner. However, it is better to have your extenuating circumstances considered as early as possible.

If you present them during the academic appeals process, the process will take extra time to conclude and there is no guarantee that or a mark or award will be changed.

Appeals require more evidence

An academic appeal will also require evidence to support any claims you make. For example, evidence of illness is not required for an extenuating circumstances form.

During an academic appeal you would be expected to provide evidence of illness and details of why you could not submit an extenuating circumstances form at the correct time.

Waiting to disclose this information because you did not feel comfortable, or because you wanted to wait for your results before presenting information, are not normally considered valid reasons.

Keeping confidentiality

The academic appeals process is confidential. 

However, in order to ensure that full consideration can be given to your case, your form and any supporting evidence you provided will be shared with your head of department(s), or a delegate from your department, as well as with other University staff whose input is deemed necessary. 

A faculty officer and the process administrators will also have access to these documents. 

Submitting an extenuating circumstances form at the correct time means your appeal will only need to be considered by a limited number of staff.

Receiving the necessary support

The academic appeals procedure is a formal University process.

If you choose to submit extenuating circumstances as part of an academic appeal once your results are published, you could be leaving it too late to receive suitable support and mitigation should your appeal be upheld.

In the past, students have missed the opportunity to resit, or continue on their programme next session, because their academic appeal was unsuccessful or the outcome came too late.


The appeal process

To make an appeal, you must apply in writing within 15 working days of your exam results being published (30 working days for graduate research students). 

The appeal will then be considered by the appropriate faculty officer. If they find that there is a substantive case, they will either determine that the appeal be upheld or refer the matter to an academic appeals committee.

Until the appeal has been considered, the original decision of the examiners stands. You should proceed with their studies on this basis.


Advice for students

The Student Advice Centre can give independent advice to a student on their position.

Their website contains advice on how to lodge an academic appeal, clear explanations of the different grounds for appeal, and what happens after your appeal is submitted.

We strongly encourage you to read these pages before submitting an academic appeal


Regulations

To read the general regulations for academic appeals, look for the relevant academic year in the University Calendar.


External review

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) runs an independent scheme to review student complaints. The University of Sheffield is a member of this scheme.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your appeal, you may be able to ask the OIA to review your case. Information about making a complaint to the OIA, what it can and cannot look at, and what it can do to put things right is available on the OIA website.

You will normally be required to have gone through the student complaints procedure at the University before you can refer to the OIA. Once you have reached the end of the procedure, and there are no further steps they can take internally, you will receive a 'completion of procedures' letter.


Time limits

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught (PGT) students must submit their academic appeal within 15 working days of their exam results being published.

Postgraduate research (PGR) students must submit an appeal within 30 working days.

If you are unable to meet this deadline, you should contact the Student Engagement and Progress Team. Requests to extend this deadline are considered on a case-by-case basis.


Late submissions

If you wish to submit an academic appeal after the deadlines listed above, you must submit a late submission request form to explain why the deadline was missed, or why you couldn't contact the Student Engagement and Progress Team to ask about extending the deadline.

Completing the form

When filling in the form, you should focus on the period of time between the publication of your results and the date you submit the form.

You should provide an explanation of why you were unable to submit your academic appeal before the deadline, supported by evidence if appropriate.

This form should not be used to present the case for appeal.

Submitting the form

Your form should be submitted to the Student Engagement and Progress Team. It will then be forwarded to the head of your department, or a delegate, who will respond to the points raised.

Any documentation will then be sent to a senior member of your faculty, to decide whether there are sufficient grounds for extending the deadline for academic appeal.

When a decision is made

Once your faculty has decided whether or not to extend the deadline, you will be notified in writing. No action will be taken before this happens.

You should be aware that the faculty officer will not see or consider the case for your academic appeal itself at this stage. As such, we advise you not to submit your academic appeal form until a decision is reached about extending the deadline.

If your request to extend the deadline is successful, you will be given 15 working days to submit your case for an academic appeal in full.


Download academic appeals forms

Academic appeals form (PDF, 171kb)

Academic appeals form (Word, 212kb)

Information for students submitting an academic appeal (PDF, 84.8kb)

Late submission request form (PDF, 339kb)

Late submission request form (Word, 209kb)

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