How to appeal a university grade

If you're unhappy with your degree grade, you may be able to appeal or complain. Our step-by-step guide explains how to appeal an academic decision or grade.

1 Check the timeframe for appealing

Check your university’s academic appeals and complaints procedures. These can be found on your university’s website.

Appeals usually need to be submitted by the university's appeals deadline which can be as short as seven working days after results are published. 

Other universities allow much longer, so it's important you check the timeframe as soon as possible. 

2 Check if it's an appeal or complaint

Universities often deal with complaints and appeals differently and the scope of investigation may vary. 

Check with student services for advice on whether to appeal or complain and follow the relevant procedure. 

3 Submit your complaint 

Submit your appeal or complaint, along with any written evidence supporting your claim, to the university within the time limit specified. 

You will usually be asked to do this in written form.

Some universities have specific appeals and complaints forms which you should have access to via the university’s website, others will require you to write a letter formally appealing or complaining. You can use our template letter appealing a university grade to do this. 

Make sure you have a clear structure to your claim and present facts chronologically.

4 Get procedures completion letter

Some university’s have additional levels to their appeals and complaints procedures. 

Make sure you have completed all of these before looking to take the matter further. 

When you've exhausted the university’s appeals and complaints procedure you should receive a completion of procedures letter.

5 Complain to the ombudsman

If you're unsuccessful with your appeal or complaint, you may be able to take it to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).

You will need to complete an OIA complaint form within three months of the final decision being made by your university. 

You should include a copy of the claim you made to the university with your complaint form.

Remember the OIA doesn't rule on matters of academic judgement. 

So if you have been given a lower grade than expected this can only be changed if unfair bias can be shown, an error in adding up the grade proved or there were mitigating circumstances that effected your performance. 

The OIA can't change a grade because you disagree with the examiner. 

In Scotland complaints about universities are heard by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).

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