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Appealing against an academic decision

How to make an appeal against an academic decision taken by a Board of Studies.


The Academic Appeals process provides a mechanism to challenge or to request for reconsideration a decision on academic progress, assessment, and awards.

Our academic appeals process is guided by the principles of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator's Good Practice Framework, and we are committed to ensuring that you will not be unfairly disadvantaged because you have challenged an academic decision made by us.

Before considering an appeal, you should refer to Regulation 17, which sets out the process and related responsibilities for students and the University.

Key points

  • You can only appeal against decisions taken by a Board of Studies within your current year of study. You will only be eligible to appeal once that decision has been formally communicated to you. You cannot appeal against provisional results.

  • Dissatisfaction with a mark or set of marks, or any other aspect of the properly exercised academic judgement of the examiners, will not of itself be acceptable as a valid ground for an Academic Appeal.

  • Any action or actions which might be taken following consideration of an academic appeal are subject to the assessment and/or regulations that apply to your course and your overall academic performance to date. Therefore, some desired actions or outcomes might not be possible.

  • Students are expected to act reasonably and fairly towards the University and its staff when making an Academic Appeal. The University reserves the right to refuse repeat appeals made on issues already considered and appeals which it deems to be without serious purpose or value.

  • If you have concerns about assessment outcomes that have not yet been approved by a Board of Studies, you should seek advice in the first instance from your Director of Studies. You may, for example, suspect errors in the totalling or transcription of marks or grades, or you might want to seek clarification about the marking process.

  • If you submit an Academic Appeal, and the issues you have raised in it could be dealt with more appropriately under another procedure (for example, the student complaints procedure), the University will advise you how it will consider your case.

  • To request a review of a decision relating to a breach of academic integrity, follow the steps in our information on Academic Misconduct.


Appeals will only be accepted if submitted, in writing, no more than 14 calendar days after notification of the academic decision against which you are appealing (this will have been sent to you by email to your University email address). Appeals received after this deadline will not normally be considered.

You will normally be notified of the outcome of the Stage 1 appeals process within 35 calendar days of receipt of your appeal - or within 28 calendar days, if the outcome is that an Appeal Hearing will be held.

Making an appeal (Stage 1)

The Academic Appeals process allows you to appeal against a final decision taken by a Faculty, School or Doctoral Board of Studies about your academic outcome. This decision must relate to one or more of the following:

  • your suitability to progress from one stage of your course of studies to the next
  • your suitability to remain on your course of study
  • your marks/grades, degree, certificate or diploma, and any classification/grade awarded

Your appeal must be based on one or more of the following grounds:

For taught and research degrees

  • that there exist circumstances affecting the performance of the candidate of which the Board of Examiners have not been made aware and which the candidate could not reasonably have been expected to have disclosed to the Director of Studies in accordance with Regulation 15.3 (d) [or for Doctoral students - to have disclosed at the time of assessment]

  • that there were procedural irregularities in the conduct of the examinations or formal programme/course assessments (including administrative error) of such a nature as to cause reasonable doubt whether the Board of Examiners would have reached its decision had the irregularities not occurred

  • that there is positive evidence of prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners

For research degrees only

  • that there were genuine academic differences in philosophical approach or paradigms which had not been apparent when examiners were appointed on the recommendation of the Board of Studies

You must submit your Stage 1 Academic Appeal no more than 14 calendar days after notification of the academic decision against which you are appealing. You must submit:

  • the Stage 1 Academic Appeal form completed in full
  • all of the evidence that you have available to you to support your case

Your submission must contain all the details and evidence that you wish to be considered as part of the appeal process.

A group appeal can be submitted by several students on the same issue.

Appeal evidence requirements

You must provide evidence to support your academic appeal case. The information on what you can submit as evidence, in our guidance on requesting a coursework extension or IMCs, may be helpful to you, when considering the evidence you will provide.

Your evidence should confirm what happened, and when.

You must provide evidence that is available to you to make as clear a case as you can when you submit your academic appeal. Your submission must contain all the details and evidence that you wish to be considered as part of this appeal process. You will not normally have any further opportunity to present your case or provide further detail beyond the information you provide in the appeal form and the evidence you submit.

If you are making your appeal under ground 17.12c) i) - that there were mitigating circumstances around the time of your assessment which you did not tell the University about, and which you are raising now - your evidence should also clearly show why you were not able to disclose these circumstances at the time (for example, through the University’s Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMCs) procedures or by raising them with your Director of Studies).

Any evidence you provide does not need to be formal documentation if this is not available to you. For example, if you do not have access to formal medical documents such as a letter from a doctor, you can supply alternative evidence such as copies of relevant (dated) correspondence or evidence of medication.

If your ability to provide specific evidence has been affected by events outside of your control, you should explain clearly what you intended to provide and why it is unavailable to you.

If there are circumstances where evidence you are hoping to provide to support your appeal will only be available later than the 14 calendar day deadline, you should make this clear when submitting your appeal, giving the reason you have not been able to provide the evidence sooner and a date by which the late evidence will be provided.

Where to submit your appeal

Stage 1 Academic Appeal forms must be sent to the appropriate contact.

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student, you should complete the Stage 1 Academic Appeal form and submit this to the Chair of the Board of Studies for your Faculty/School as follows:

If you are a doctoral student, complete and submit the Stage 1 Academic Appeal (Doctoral) form to:

If you are an International Foundation Year student complete and submit the Stage 1 Academic Appeal form to the Chair of the Board of Studies ( Please cc: Dr Florin Bisset,, Head of Learning Partnerships

Royal Academy of Dance students should use the Royal Academy of Dance Stage 1 appeals process. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you can request a review of a Stage 1 appeal decision by the University of Bath.

While a decision is pending

The decision of the Board of Studies stands unless your academic appeal results in a change to this decision.

If you have any questions or concerns about what this means for your circumstances, please contact the relevant Stage 1 Faculty/School/Doctoral College contact - as shown in the section above 'Where to submit your appeal'.

Stage 1 Academic Appeal outcomes

Your appeal will be considered by the Chair of the Board of Studies for your course, who may consult with relevant members of staff to confirm facts of your academic circumstances and the details of the case you have presented.

The Chair will decide:

  • that the appeal is successful, and action will be taken
  • that an Appeal Hearing will be held to further investigate and consider the appeal
  • that the appeal is unsuccessful and no action will be taken

You will be informed of the decision of the Chair of the Board of Studies, any action to be taken, and any next steps for you, within 35 days of receipt of your appeal.

Please see Regulation 17.21- 17.36 for details of Appeal Hearings.

Having received a decision, if you feel that your case remains unresolved you may be able to request a review of this academic appeals process and its outcome.


You are encouraged to speak to the Director of Studies for your course should you wish to raise an academic issue informally at any point. Directors of Studies may also help you to understand your individual academic situation, and the possible actions and potential range of outcomes permitted by the assessment regulations for your course following a successful Academic Appeal.

In addition to the guidance available from Directors of Studies noted above, it is strongly recommended that you speak to SU Advice & Support before submitting an Academic Appeal, or as soon as you become aware of any issues with your academic progress. SU Advice & Support provides independent support and guidance, and its staff can act as the friend or adviser permitted by Regulation 17.

Doctoral students can also get independent support and guidance from the University's Independent Advisor Service for Postgraduate Research Students.

If you are an international student, you should seek advice from the Student Immigration Service if you have questions regarding the implications of a Board of Studies decision.

Support for your wellbeing

At any point in the academic appeals process, welfare support and guidance is available from the Wellbeing Service with whom you can arrange a phone or video call. Be Well - Talk Now is a 24-hour confidential service offered by Student Support which gives you immediate advice and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Partner College Programmes

If you are a student at Bath College, you should seek advice from your Programme Leader or Manager or Bath College Students’ Union or Student Services.

Group appeals

Students may choose to submit a group appeal. The Chair of the Board of Studies will determine whether this is appropriate or whether students should submit appeals individually.

Where it is determined that a group appeal is appropriate:

  • the group will nominate one student to act as the group representative
  • the group representative will liaise with the Chair of the Board of Studies and with the other students in the group

Adjustments may be needed to the appeals processes, including, for example, outcomes being applied to all group members, or an Appeal Hearing being conducted collectively for the group.

Individuals’ personal data should not be disclosed to the group, and group members will be informed directly and individually of outcomes that reflect their own circumstances.

Where it is determined that a group appeal is not appropriate:

  • the Chair of the Board of Studies may invite the students to submit appeals individually, within seven days. In such cases, consideration of the individual appeals will follow the normal processes.

Key terms explained

Assessment regulations: these are the rules that govern course outcomes, progression requirements, award eligibility and how degree classification is calculated. The possible actions and outcomes resulting from an academic appeal will be limited by both your individual academic circumstances and the relevant assessment and/or other regulations, so you are advised to speak to your Director of Studies or SU Advice & Support about what may be possible in your situation.

Board of Studies: Boards of Studies are responsible to Senate for all matters relating to the organisation of education, teaching and research, including all examination matters. While you may receive marks/grades and feedback throughout each stage of your course, you will not receive a formal progression or award notification, or final marks/grades, until the Board of Studies has met and made a decision to accept the recommendations from Boards of Examiners. The Academic Appeals process applies to these final decisions only.

Chair of the Board of Studies: the academic member of staff who leads the meetings of the Board of Studies. This is normally the Dean of the Faculty/School, or the Academic Director of the Doctoral College in the case of doctoral provision and will normally be the person who will make a decision regarding your Stage 1 Academic Appeal.

Director of Academic Registry: head of a central professional services department that provides a range of education-supporting services and regulatory guidance to the University community. In the context of Academic Appeals, at Stage 2 the Director of Academic Registry will normally be the person who will make a decision regarding your Stage 2 request for review.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA): the independent body, external to the University, set up to review student complaints. You can apply to the OIA for a review of your case if you remain dissatisfied with the outcome when both stages of the University Appeal procedure have been completed.

Secretary to Senate: in the context of Academic Appeals, at Stage 2, the Secretary to Senate is responsible for convening a Student Academic Appeals Committee.

Updated June 2024

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