Things can go wrong when you’re a student, we all know that. But sometimes things can go very wrong and it threatens your degree. If this happens suddenly, or has a bigger impact than you expect, you may not be able to react quickly enough to prevent it affecting your results. In those situations, you may be able to get your circumstances taken into account.
The first thing to do if your studies have been affected is to follow the Personal Circumstances procedure. If you have missed the deadline for this and have a good reason for having done so; or if you submitted Personal Circumstances but are still unhappy with the University's decision, you may be able to appeal. There are two stages of appeal and the first is a Faculty Appeal.
If you've already submitted a Faculty Appeal and it has failed, information on the second stage is at the Senate Appeal page. Otherwise, read on!
So first things first, the University’s Faculty Appeals process covers anyone who…
- …is told they have to transfer to a different degree e.g. Honours to General or Masters to Diploma;
- …is put into suspension or told to repeat a year;
- …is told they have to withdraw from the university;
There are three distinct categories for appeals and you must have grounds of appeal that fall under one of more of these categories, the grounds for appeal are:
- That there were procedural irregularities in the assessment process;
- That there was inadequate assessment, prejudice or bias on the part of one or more of the examiners;
- That there were unknown medical, personal or other circumstances which affected your performance.
While most reasons you would want to appeal can be put into one of these categories, there is one red line that will not be accepted as a ground for appeal - you cannot challenge academic judgement. This basically means that you cannot appeal just because you think the mark does not reflect your ability, or how hard you worked, or because you think the marker has misunderstood something you wrote.
The appeal process is in fact pretty simple; you need to write to the university explaining your circumstances. Everyone’s story is different so you might want to come and speak to the staff support in the Advice Hub and they will help you pick out the most important parts of your story and give you some advice on what evidence you might be able to get to support your case.
While the appeals process is in itself simple we realise that having to appeal – especially if you have already had a pretty rubbish time of it – isn’t always easy so email us, so we can to give you support through the process. They can give you advice on your letter; suggest changes to help make your situation as clear as possible to someone who doesn’t know you; and basically be there for you throughout your appeal. Whether you need someone to talk to, someone to contact the university to check details on your behalf or even the loan of an envelope to submit your finished appeal in, ASK is here to support you throughout.
If you are in your final year and are considering an appeal, it is important to note that you cannot graduate until the appeals process is over. Because of the short time between final results and Graduation, for most people this will mean that you won’t graduate at the normal time. So if you are meant to graduate in July, you’ll have to wait until the following November and vice versa.
Over the last academic year a large proportion of the Advice Hub’s work involved appeals so we’re no strangers to the things that can and do go wrong for students. If you think you have a case get in touch and we’ll talk you through what you need to do. You can also check out our quick guide to Faculty Appeals or if you want can look at the uni’s full procedure.
Tips for writing a Faculty Appeal
- Try and convey three main things: what has happened, what impact that has had on you personally, and what the impact has been on your studies. Remember that not everyone will know you and your situation, so it has to be understood by someone with no knowledge of your circumstances.
- Dates of when things happened are important, include them!
- This is your opportunity to present your case - don't hold any information back; you will not have as strong an appeal as you could and the appeals panel will not be able to make a fully informed decision.
- You can only appeal against an Exam Board decision, not against an individual grade that you have been given for a piece of work.