Appealing against an academic decision
How to make an appeal against an academic decision.
Considering an appeal
This page is about appealing against an academic decision.
If you submit an Academic Appeal, and the issues you have raised in it could be dealt with more appropriately under another procedure, the University will advise you how it will consider your case. The guide Complaints, academic appeals and disciplinary allegations may help you decide whether or not an appeal will be the best course of action in your case.
The Academic Appeals process
The Academic Appeals process allows you to appeal against a decision taken by a Faculty, School or Doctoral Board of Studies about your academic studies or academic outcome. This decision could relate to:
- your suitability to progress from one stage of your programme of studies to the next.
- your suitability to remain on your programme of study.
- your marks/grades, degrees, certificates or diplomas, and any classifications/grades awarded.
Before considering an appeal, you should refer to Regulation 17, which sets out the process and the related responsibilities of both the student and the University.
The Academic Appeal process applies only to decisions taken by a Board of Studies. 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 (see Regulation 17.2).
COVID-19 and no-detriment
The University has brought in additional no-detriment measures for taught students to respond to the COVID-19 situation. If you are an undergraduate (UG) or postgraduate taught (PGT) student considering an appeal, the following documentation will explain more about how decisions were made about your 2019/20 outcomes.
- Student Explainer – includes detail about: no-detriment measures; how Semester 2 and supplementary period 2020 assessments have been redesigned to test learning in an online environment; and how Boards of Examiners for Units and Boards of Examiners for Programmes will have considered outcomes in advance of a Board of Studies’ decision.
- Undertaking Your Assessment – Includes detail about: the no-detriment measures that have applied; where IMC claims have not been required; and what happens if you haven’t been able to complete exams or coursework by the set deadline.
- The no-detriment and classification safety net measures that apply specifically to continuing UG, UG Finalist and PGT students.
Appeal evidence requirements in 2019/20
In semester 2 2020 and for the supplementary assessment period 2020 we have waived the requirement for formal evidence (for example, a note from a doctor) if you choose to claim Individual mitigating Circumstances. This is due to the pressures on the NHS and other health services.
For academic appeals, this means that if you are appealing an academic outcome from semester 2 2020 or the supplementary assessment period 2020 under the first grounds set out in Regulation 17.16(c)(i), you do not need to provide formal medical evidence (for example, a note from a doctor). Please do, however, provide whatever evidence is available to you to help you make as clear a case as you can for consideration. If you are appealing an academic outcome based on circumstances affecting your assessments in semester 1 2020, we would normally expect you to be able to provide appropriate evidence related to that time. If your ability to provide this evidence has been affected by COVID-19 disruption, you should explain clearly what you intended to provide and why it is unavailable to you.
If your appeal is made on other grounds (procedural irregularities, bias, prejudice, inadequate assessment, paradigm difference) we would normally expect you to provide evidence in support of the case you are making. If your ability to provide this evidence has been affected by COVID-19 disruption, you should explain clearly what you intended to provide and why it is unavailable to you.
The University has taken both COVID-19 and industrial action disruption into account in its academic decision-making in 2019/20. If your appeal is related to these circumstances, you will need to explain their specific impact on your specific assessments.
You are encouraged to speak to the Director of Studies for your programme 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 following a successful Academic Appeal.
In addition to the guidance available from Directors of Studies mentioned above, it is strongly recommended that you speak to the SU Advice & Support Centre before submitting an Academic Appeal, or as soon as you become aware of any issues with your academic progress. The SU Advice & Support Centre provides independent support and guidance, and its staff can act as the “friend or adviser” permitted by the Regulation.
Doctoral students can also get independent support and guidance from the University Independent Advisor for Postgraduate Research Students.
Additional support for student wellbeing is available from the Wellbeing Service. 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.
Partner College Programmes
If you are a student at Wiltshire College or Bath College, you should seek advice from your College Students’ Union / Student Services not the University of Bath Students’ Union.
Making an appeal (Stage 1)
Stage 1 of the process is where a student submits an Academic Appeal to the Chair of the Board of Studies, against a decision of the Board. The Chair considers the submission and decides whether or not a prima facie case has been established (see Key Terms) for an Appeal Hearing to be held or for Executive Action to be taken.
To appeal against a decision of the Board of Studies you need to follow the process set out in Regulation 17, which details the timescales for each stage of the Academic Appeal procedure. This means that you must send your Stage 1 Academic Appeal so that it will reach the Chair of the Board of Studies for your programme no more than 14 calendar days after notification of the decision against which you are appealing, and including:
- The Stage 1 form (AA1) completed in full
- All of the documentary evidence necessary to make your case, providing English translations of official legal or medical documents as necessary. Please see the advice regarding evidence in 2019/20 in light of COVID-19 disruption.
You are also strongly recommended to seek independent advice from the Advice & Support Centre of the Students’ Union on your academic circumstances and the case you wish to make.
Where to submit your appeal
Please send Stage 1 Academic Appeal requests to the appropriate contact below to reach the Chair of the Board of Studies.
Faculty of Engineering & Design
- By e-mail: Professor Gary Hawley (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Chair of the Board of Studies
Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (including IMML students)
- By e-mail: Professor David Galbreath (email@example.com), the Chair of the Board of Studies
School of Management
- By e-mail: Professor Steve Brammer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Faculty of Science
- By e-mail: Professor Nicholas Brook (email@example.com), the Chair of the Board of Studies
- By e-mail: Mr Simon Gane, Head of Doctoral Recruitment and Programmes (firstname.lastname@example.org), on behalf of the Chair of Board of Studies (Doctoral)
Students on programmes administered by the Learning Partnerships Office:
Addictions Counselling/Early Years and Childhood Studies/Social Work
- By e-mail: Professor David Galbreath (email@example.com), the Chair of the Board of Studies (Please cc: Dr Florin Bisset, firstname.lastname@example.org, Head of Learning Partnerships and Deputy Director of Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach)
- By e-mail: Professor Gary Hawley (email@example.com) the Chair of the Board of Studies (Please cc: Dr Florin Bisset, firstname.lastname@example.org, Head of Learning Partnerships and Deputy Director of Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach)
- By e-mail: Professor Nicholas Brook (email@example.com), the Chair of the Board of Studies (Please cc: Dr Florin Bisset, firstname.lastname@example.org, Head of Learning Partnerships and Deputy Director of Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach)
International Foundation Year
Requesting a review of a Stage 1 appeal decision
Where the outcome of an Academic Appeal is that no prima facie case has been established, you can ask the Director of Academic Registry for a review of the process and its outcome.
Where Executive Action was taken or an Appeal Hearing was held at Stage 1, you can ask the Acting University Secretary to convene a Student Academic Appeals Committee to conduct a review of the outcome.
Read the guide Request a review of a Stage 1 academic appeal outcome for more information.
Key terms in the appeal process explained
Assessment regulations: For most students on taught programmes of study (rather than research students), this refers to the New Framework for Assessment. There are different versions of the assessment regulations depending on which regulations your specific programme uses (for example, the NFAAR:UG for undergraduate programmes and the NFAAR:PGT for postgraduate taught programmes). Your programme handbook and/or the Programme and Unit Catalogue will indicate which assessment regulations apply to your programme of study. The possible actions and outcomes resulting from an Academic Appeal will be limited by both your individual academic circumstances and the relevant assessment regulations, so you are advised to speak to your Director of Studies or the Advice & Support Centre of the Students’ Union 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 the course of your programme stage, 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 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 Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International & Doctoral) in the case of doctoral provision, and will be the person who will make a decision regarding your Stage 1 Academic Appeal. See Where to submit your appeal to identify the Chair of the Board of Studies for your programme.
Director of Academic Registry: The Director of Academic Registry is head of a professional service department that provides a range of academic and regulatory administrative support to the University community. In the context of Regulation 17, at Stage 2(A), the Director of Academic Registry may review the Stage 1 decisions taken by Chairs of the Boards of Study if no prima facie case was established. You can contact the Director of Academic Registry at email@example.com.
Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA): The OIA is an 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.
Prima facie case: This is a phrase that serves to describe briefly what you should seek to provide when you submit an Academic Appeal request. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a prima facie case as “a case that is supported by sufficient evidence for it to be taken as proved in the absence of evidence to the contrary”. It is your responsibility to provide all the evidence needed to support the case you are making in your Academic Appeal. The Chair of the Board of Studies may seek to verify any factual information you have provided when deciding whether you have made a prima facie case for executive action to be taken or for an appeal hearing to be held. Please note the revised evidence guidance in light of no-detriment measures in 2020.
University Secretary (Acting): The Acting University Secretary oversees compliance with relevant legislation, University policies and governance structures. In the context of Regulation 17, at Stage 2(B), the Acting University Secretary is responsible for reviewing the Stage 1 decisions resulting from Executive Action or a Board of Studies Appeal Sub-Committee where the student remains dissatisfied with the outcome.