Student complaints and academic appeals
The University of London is committed to providing a high quality student experience.
However, it is recognised that students will sometimes become dissatisfied with a service we have provided or failed to provide. We know that there may be disagreement regarding decisions we have made, such as the outcome of a refund request or how the regulations have been applied.
There may also be occasions where students have grounds to appeal a decision made by the Board of Examiners relating to an academic outcome, progression or classification.
The Student Complaints and Academic Appeal procedures set out the processes for considering and responding to complaints and academic appeals, from seeking early resolution through to formal investigation and review:
Please also take some time to read the Frequently Asked Questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf. A complaint will usually be about something that has a direct impact on the complainant.
An academic appeal is a representation against a decision of the Board of Examiners.
Academic appeals will only be considered on the following grounds, supported by evidence:
- Serious mitigating circumstances which the Board of Examiners was not aware of when making their decision
- Procedural irregularities
- Evidence of prejudice or bias
You may not challenge the academic judgement of the examiners and disagreement with marks awarded is not grounds for appeal.
You also cannot appeal against the final conclusions reached by the individual or panel which considered your mitigating circumstances or any reasonable adjustments you requested for your assessment(s).
Examples of what you can make a complaint about include:
- The quality and standard of any service we provide
- Our failure to provide a service
- Our failure to follow appropriate administrative process
- An application of the regulations
- The quality of your learning experience
- Unfair treatment
- Inappropriate conduct by a student or staff member
- Harassment, in line with the University of London guidance for students on responding to harassment
- Dissatisfaction with University policy.
There are some things we cannot deal with through the Student Complaints Procedure. These include:
- A routine, first-time request for a service. You should submit a query through the 'Ask a Question' tab on the Student Portal (Opens in new window). For students at the School of Advanced Study, please submit an enquiry to the Registry.
- A request for information or an explanation of policy or practice. You should submit a query through the 'Ask a Question' tab on the Student Portal (Opens in new window).
- A request under Freedom of Information or Data Protection legislation. Please visit the relevant pages on the University website.
- Complaints against the outcomes of disciplinary procedures, including assessment offence penalties. Please refer to the embedded appeals process within the procedure.
- Complaints against Recognised Teaching Centres. You must follow the centre’s internal complaints procedure.
- Complaints or appeals against admissions decisions. Please refer to the separate Admissions Appeals Procedure.
- Information received through routine feedback mechanisms (e.g. questionnaires or surveys) and other open communication channels (discussion forums, social media, etc.) will not normally be considered as complaints.
- Complaints from anonymous individuals or un-attributable sources
- An issue which is being, or has been, considered by a court or tribunal.
Any current student, groups of students, or recent alumni can make a complaint or appeal under the relevant procedure.
In most cases you should first raise a complaint through the Student Advice Centre on the Student Portal (Opens in new window), the SAS Registry, or in direct response to the member of University staff handling your query. It is easier for us to resolve complaints if you raise them as soon as you become aware of the issue.
If you are reporting an incident of harassment, or have reason to believe your complaint is of such a nature that it cannot be handled informally, please follow the instructions for submitting a formal Stage Two complaint.
When complaining please tell us:
- as much as you can about the complaint
- what has gone wrong
- how you would like us to resolve the matter
- what evidence you have to support your complaint.
The formal stages of the Student Complaints Procedure (Stages 2 and 3) and all academic appeals are initiated by you sending us a completed submission form, which can be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complaints must first be submitted within three calendar months of the event giving rise to the complaint. Where you are requesting escalation to Stage 2 of the Procedure your submission must be made within 4 weeks of conclusion at Stage 1.
You must make an academic appeal within 4 weeks of the formal publication of your assessment results.
The Student Complaints and Academic Appeals procedures have three stages.
Stage One – Informal Resolution / Screening
We aim to resolve complaints quickly and locally by encouraging early resolution within the department that provides the service. This could mean an apology, an explanation if something has gone wrong, or immediate action to resolve a problem. Sometimes a matter will have to be referred to more than one member of staff to find the right answer, or receive approval for an outcome, but we will aim to keep you informed as we go along.
If you are not satisfied with the response we give at this stage, we will tell you what you can do next. The matter may need be escalated within the same department. If you remain unhappy, you can take your complaint to Stage Two of the procedure.
Academic appeals are screened at Stage One to determine whether they are submitted on valid grounds.
Stage Two – Complaints: Formal Investigation
Stage Two deals with complaints that have not been resolved at Stage One and those that are complex and require detailed investigation by the Student Resolution and Casework team.
A submission form should be requested from A&C@london.ac.uk. The process is initiated by the submission of your completed form along with any supporting evidence. All submissions made to this inbox are treated confidentially.
- Acknowledge receipt within three working days
- Provide you with an outcome as soon as possible and normally within four weeks.
If our investigation will take longer than four weeks, we will tell you.
Stage Two – Academic appeals
Academic appeals that are confirmed as eligible will first be investigated by the Student Resolution and Casework team before being referred to the Chair of the relevant Board of Examiners for a decision. We will aim to provide an outcome within three weeks of Stage Two being confirmed.
Stage Three – Complaints Resolution/Representations Panel
Stage Three is the review stage and looks at complaints that have not been resolved at Stage Two. The criteria for making a submission at Stage Three are:
- that there is additional evidence which could not have reasonably been made available at Stage Two
- that our policies and procedures were not followed in the handling of your original complaint.
- that the outcome at Stage Two was unreasonable
Complaints under Stage Three should be submitted via email to email@example.com.
- Acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
- Refer to the Chair to determine whether the Panel should be convened in accordance with the criteria
- If appropriate, convene a meeting of the Panel
- Meet within twenty working days (excluding University holiday periods) of acceptance of the complaint at Stage Three
- Give you a full response of the decision within ten working days of the meeting of the Complaints Resolution Panel.
If the Panel will take longer than the agreed timescales, we will tell you.
If your complaint has completed Stage Three you will be provided with a Completion of Procedures letter. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (Opens in new window) (OIA) in accordance with their rules.