Academic Related Regulations and Appeals

This section covers University regulations concerning appeals, complaints, the conduct and discipline of students; dignity at work and study. These are:

Academic appeals

Academic Appeals are a way of asking the University to review a decision taken by an Examination Board or equivalent body. This is normally a decision which affects a student’s progression from one year to the next (eg exclusion from a programme of study) or in respect of the award at the end of a student’s degree studies.

An appeal cannot be made simply of the basis of being unhappy with the decision of the Examination Board or disagreeing with a mark that has been given. An appeal which questions the academic or professional judgment of those charged with the responsibility of assessing a student’s academic performance or professional competence is not permitted. Instead an appeal must be based on at least one or the four grounds for appeal recognised by the University in Regulation XIX (Academic Appeals).

The four grounds for appeal

An appeal must be supported by valid evidence and can be made on any or combination of the following grounds:

  1. Circumstances affected the student’s performance of which the Examination Board may not have been aware and which might have had a material effect on the decision; (Note: if students wish to appeal on such grounds, they must give credible and compelling reasons with supporting documentation explaining why this information was not made available prior to the decision being made by the Examination Board).
  2. A material administrative error or procedural irregularity in the assessment process causes significant doubt as to whether the decision might have been different had the irregularity not occurred;
  3. There is evidence or prejudice or bias or lack of proper assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners;
  4. The supervision or training of the student in respect of research for a dissertation or equivalent work was unsatisfactory to the point that their performance was seriously affected. (Note: if students wish to appeal on such grounds but the supervisory concerns arose significantly before the assessment result against which they are appealing, and without it having been raised in writing with the School before the appeal, the student must provide credible and compelling reasons for only raising these concerns at appeal).

Before submitting an appeal

Before initiating an appeal and, in order to better understand the reason for the result or decision against which you wish to appeal, you are strongly advised to discuss the matter with an appropriate person in the School. This may be your Academic Advisor or Programme Director, or you can reach the appropriate AMBS support team on

If you remain dissatisfied once these channels have been explored and believe that you have valid grounds for an appeal, the Students’ Union Advice Centre or University’s Information, Advice and Guidance Service may be able to help to clarify your concerns and help you prepare an appeals form to submit to the School for a review of your case.

Please be sure to read through the University guidance on Academic Appeals before submitting an appeal. Further information on how to appeal at each stage of the appeals process is provided in the sections below.

How to appeal

You should begin your appeal by following the instructions given below for a Stage One (also known as informal) appeal. If you are unhappy with the outcome once the School has confirmed the outcome of your Stage One appeal, you can then submit a Stage Two (also known as formal) appeal. Further information is available in the University's Academic Appeals guidance, and you may find the Quick Guide to Academic Appeals particularly helpful.

Stage One (informal) appeals - Review by the School

To begin an appeal and submit your Stage One informal appeal to the School, you need to submit the Stage One appeal form. You must do this within twenty working days of notification of the result/decision against which you are appealing. Appeals received within this time frame will be considered by the School.

Before submitting the form, please be sure to read the guidance above under 'Before submitting an appeal' as well as the Univeristy guidance on Academic Appeals.

The Appeals Review Panel

In AMBS, appeals are considered on behalf of the School by a panel which can consist of the Director for Teaching and Learning, the Director of Undergraduate Studies/Postgraduate Studies, Programme Directors, and appropriate Teaching & Learning Managers and Officers.

The Panel will consider the appeal according to the case presented on the appeals form and the documentary evidence in support. The contents of a student’s appeal shall remain confidential but the School reserves the right to seek information/clarification if necessary for the purposes of the review (an example of this would be consulting the University’s Disability Advisory and Support Service).

If the case clearly satisfies one or more of the grounds allowed for an appeal and the Appeals Review Panel is clearly satisfied that, given the evidence submitted the appeal should be upheld, the Panel shall recommend that Chair’s Action be taken by the Chair of the Board of Examiners to revise the earlier decision made.

Where the Appeals Review Panel rejects the appeal because the case does not satisfy the grounds allowed for an appeal you will be notified giving the reasons for the rejection.

Stage Two (formal) appeals - Review at Faculty level

Following the informal review by the School, if you feel that you have reasonable grounds for dissatisfaction with the outcome, you may invoke the Stage Two (also known as formal) appeals process and pursue your case further through the University’s Regulation XIX (Academic Appeals).

The purpose of this regulation is to safeguard the interests of students and may only be used when there are adequate grounds for doing so. As mentioned above, it may not be used simply because a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of their assessment or other decision concerning their academic progress. Appeals based upon a provisional decision of the University (e.g. marks that have not yet been ratified by a Board of Examiners) cannot be considered.

The Quick Guide to Academic Appeals aims to make Regulation XIX easier to understand.

The Faculty of Humanities Appeals, Complaints and Malpractice Office handle Stage Two appeals by AMBS students. Your case for appeal should be submitted via the Stage Two appeal form within ten working days of notification of the School’s decision on your Stage One appeal.

Student Complaints

The University defines a complaint as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more students about the University’s action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the University’. (This does not include complaints relating to examinations or assessments or exam board decisions – see Academic Appeals.) Most complaints can be resolved informally. If you have a complaint you should let the School know as soon as possible, and in any case within eight weeks, of the events or actions (or lack of action) which have prompted the complaint so that it can be investigated without delay. As part of the University’s commitment to the student experience, complaints about the standard or quality of academic programmes, services and facilities are taken seriously. It is expected that complaints will be dealt with promptly and efficiently, investigated thoroughly and objectively, resolved satisfactorily taking on board any feedback.

Who to contact

The first stage of any complaint should be informal ie raised in the School with the appropriate member of staff to seek a possible resolution. Matters that are dealt with informally at an early stage have the best chance of being resolved effectively. Much depends on the nature of the complaint but those to contact could be.

Course Co-ordinator

When there is an issue that relates to the quality of your educational experience the first person to approach is the Course Co-ordinator responsible for the course unit. This could be verbally, at the start or end of a class, or via email. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted; if a student feels uncomfortable discussing concerns with a Course Co-ordinator they may refer the matter to their student representative to make the approach on their behalf. A list of student representatives is available via the Online Handbook.

Academic Advisor

Your Academic Advisor is responsible for advising and assisting students and can provide guidance on how a complaint should be dealt with.

Undergraduate Services

Report the matter to a member of staff on the front desk in AMBS 2.091 or email

Committees with student representation

Ask your student representative to raise the matter at your Programme Committee or when they attend Staff Student Liaison Committee.

Whoever you raise your complaint with will follow the same process as highlighted in the flow chart in seeking a resolution. If you consider your complaint is not being dealt with adequately then you can approach your Programme Director who will liaise with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Having followed the above, should you feel that the matter of concern has still not been satisfactorily resolved, you have the right to approach the Head of School.

What you can expect

A student will normally receive an oral or written acknowledgement within five working days and a full response within fifteen working days of receipt of the complaint by the School, although the full response may take slightly longer depending on the extent of the investigations to be made.

Taking a complaint further - the formal process

Ultimately, if you have pursued your complaint through the School and feel that this has been unsuccessful or that you have reasonable grounds for dissatisfaction with the outcome, you may invoke the formal complaints process and pursue the matter through the University’s Regulation XVII: Student Complaints Procedure. In respect of particularly serious complaints, the formal process may be invoked straight away.

Regulation XVII covers issues concerning the provision of programmes, or parts of programmes, services or facilities by the University or the actions or lack of actions by University staff. It does not cover matters relating to assessment and progression, nor complaints involving allegations of misconduct or harassment as these are covered by separate procedures.

This document aims to make Regulation XVII easier to understand. It provides information about the procedure for students who want to make a complaint to the University including the kinds of complaints that are covered and how to make a complaint.

If you are considering making a complaint, you are advised to read this document and, if you do decide to go ahead, follow the details set out within it and the main Regulation XVII: Student Complaints Procedure. You should download and complete a Complaints Form. The completed Complaints Form should be submitted to the Faculty of Humanities Appeals, Complaints and Malpractice office by email to

Formal complaints will be considered in accordance with the time limits contained in Regulation XVII.

Conduct and Discipline of Students

The University’s Regulation XVII, Conduct and Discipline of Students is relevant to all students.

The University requires that every student shall maintain at all times and in all places an acceptable standard of conduct and shall comply with regulations made by the University or by the authorities of any institution or organisation which a student may be required to work in or visit as part of his or her prescribed programme of study. Senate has the power to expel or to suspend or to exclude from programmes of study or to impose a fine or other lesser penalty upon any student found guilty of misconduct or breach of discipline. Senate’s power in this matter is delegated through Regulation XVII and through the Student Conduct and Discipline Committee to University Student Disciplinary Panels.

Regulation XVII sets out what the University defines as misconduct, the process for handling cases of misconduct and the extent of penalties that can be applied.

Students should familiarise themselves with what is defined as misconduct to avoid breach of the regulation but, in particular, attention is drawn to Point 8(k) below in respect of academic malpractice and cheating in examinations.

Point 8(k) involves the possession of unauthorised material or the use or attempted use of unauthorised or unfair means (including academic malpractice such as plagiarism or collusion with other students or fabrication or falsification of results) in connection with any examination or assessment;

For guidance on avoiding academic malpractice please refer to the Academic Malpractice section in this handbook.

Dignity at Work and Study Policy

The University’s Dignity at Work and Study Procedure for Students applies to all students.

The University of Manchester does not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or bullying. If you believe that you are being bullied or harassed you can receive confidential professional advice to help deal with the issue and ensure that you are getting the support you need.

The University’s Student Support website offers a Report and Support tool to speak to an Adviser or anonymously report bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination.

Advisers can provide support and guidance on the options available to you.