Rights and responsibilities

An outline of your rights and responsibilities as a student at Sheffield.


Your rights and responsibilities

As a student at the University of Sheffield, you have both rights and responsibilities. 

A number of formal statements set out what you can expect from the University and what expectations are placed on you.

You will have been offered a place subject to satisfying the academic requirements for admission prescribed by the University and possibly some specific requirements or conditions such as Entry Agreements.

On registration, you're required to give consent to observe our University Regulations.

Some academic departments have additional requirements, e.g. those delivering professionally accredited degree programmes.

Read through any handbooks carefully, such as those issued to you by academic departments or Student Services, as they contain extremely important information.

Equality of opportunity

We're committed to the elimination of any form of unlawful discrimination and to the promotion of equality of opportunity for all students.

We keep our procedures and policies under regular review to ensure compliance with current legislation.

You can expect impartial guidance appropriate to your individual needs.

The University and the Students' Union actively seek to promote an awareness and understanding of your specific needs by ensuring you receive relevant information and guidance.

We will also seek to promote an awareness of, and will respond effectively and appropriately to, the additional support needs of students (eg due to cultural and socio-economic background or individual characteristics such as age, sexuality or disability).

Your conduct

We ask for your commitment to behaving responsibly and appropriately while you're a student, taking account of the need to respect others in the University community. This requirement extends beyond the University campus to student residences and beyond.

As a student, you're seen as an ambassador of the University and are expected to behave accordingly. The page below sets out the attributes we believe you should be acquiring during your studies.

See the attributes of a Sheffield graduate

Our Student Code of Conduct sets out examples of good and bad conduct and how we respond to misconduct. You are expected to abide by this code of conduct.

We take inappropriate behaviour very seriously. The Student Discipline Regulations explain the action which might result in the case of student misconduct. You can view them in the University Calendar.

Copyright and your studies

You're expected to comply with UK copyright legislation. 

This applies to any copyright materials you may use in the course of your studies, both online and in printed form. 

For more information, see our Copyright Hub.

Data protection

You have a right to know what information we store about you, why we are holding this, and how we are using it.

We need to hold and process personal data about you so we can provide the required educational and support services, and fulfil our legal obligations.

For instance, we need personal data about you so we can

  • keep proper records
  • monitor your academic progress
  • provide you with tailored support and guidance
  • confirm and verify your academic achievements
  • provide the required educational and support services

You will have consented to these uses of your personal data when signing the Registration Declaration.

We set out what data we hold, how we use it, and what we do to keep it secure in our student privacy notice.

This also includes more detail about your data protection rights, including the right to have incorrect data updated, the right to access your data, and the right to restrict the processing of/erase your personal data in certain circumstances.

Your accommodation

If you're in University-managed accommodation, your residential contract sets out your legal rights and responsibilities.

For more information, visit the Accommodation and Commercial Services page.

Your health, security and safety

We're committed to providing you with a safe environment while you're a student. 

Sheffield is one of the country's safest cities, but you still need to take care with your personal safety and to help prevent accidents.

For safety reasons, you're required to comply with our Health and Safety Codes of Practice, which provide a general framework for safe working in the University.

We may take disciplinary action against anyone misusing or interfering with health and safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers (tampering with fire safety equipment is a criminal offence).

Everyone who uses University premises has a legal duty of care to colleagues, the general public and the University community.

We aim to ensure that you understand the health implications of excess alcohol consumption and its connection to academic progress, finances, crime or misconduct. You can seek University or local support services for further information:

Health and Safety

Security Services

Student complaints procedure

We believe that you should be entitled to access effective systems for handling any complaints you may have during your studies, as one way of ensuring the highest possible academic and service standards.

You should feel able to make a complaint, secure in the knowledge that it will be fairly investigated.

The complaints procedure comprises a number of stages and can be used for complaints about the delivery and quality of services, teaching, tutorial or supervisory provision, or any other matters relating to a programme of study or research.

If recourse to the University's internal procedures has not resulted in the resolution of a complaint or appeal to a student's satisfaction (eg the internal procedures have been exhausted), the student may wish to consider pursuing their complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).

The OIA provides independent adjudication on the resolution of complaints where an institution's internal procedures have been exhausted. The Students' Union can advise on this external review process.

Unacceptable behaviour

We may exceptionally terminate or suspend consideration of a complaint or appeal where it considers that a student's behaviour is unacceptable or disruptive, for example where aggressive or unreasonable demands are made or where repeated representations are made on matters which have already been considered under these procedures.

Complaints procedure

Student Advice Centre

Students outside engineering buildings

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