Make an academic appeal

You can ask for a review of a decision made by Boards of Examiners, who make decisions about your progress, assessment and awards. This is part of the University Examination Regulations (PDF, 111kB).

Research students

This page describes the appeals process for undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes only. There is separate appeals guidance for postgraduate research students.

When you can appeal

You can only appeal on the following grounds:

  • that there has been a material irregularity in the decision-making process. Examples of this are if the University has not applied its regulations correctly or if the Board of Examiners failed to consider extenuating circumstances that you had submitted before the board meeting;
  • that you had extenuating circumstances which you were unable to disclose before the meeting of the Board of Examiners. Your appeal will need to explain why you could not submit these beforehand;
  • that you believe a penalty your received for plagiarism was too harsh.

After the meeting of the Board of Examiners, your faculty will publish your programme outcome online and notify you by email. The programme outcome comment states whether the decision is appealable. Read more about each programme outcome.

When you can't appeal

You can't challenge matters of academic judgement. These are decisions that can only be made with the opinion of an academic expert.

Potential appeal outcomes

When making an appeal, you should ensure you are clear on which outcome you are seeking. Possible outcomes include:

  • permission to progress to next year of study;
  • permission to undertake supplementary year to complete failed units to satisfactory standard;
  • permission to repeat year in entirety (Health Sciences only);
  • permission to re-register for programme of study following a required to leave decision;
  • permission to remain on programme of study and not be required to transfer to alternative programme of study;
  • uplift of degree classification;
  • removal of penalties or caps to unit/assessment level outcomes.

What to do if you're thinking about making an appeal

Start preparing as soon as possible. Submitting your appeal promptly gives you the best chance of receiving an appeal outcome in good time to prepare for your next academic year.

  1. Read the University Examination Regulations, Section 11, to find out which grounds of appeal are permissible.
  2. Talk to your unit directors, personal tutor, programme director or senior tutor if there is anything you do not understand in your marks.
  3. Contact JustAsk, the free and confidential Bristol SU advice service, for:
    • independent advice;
    • help understanding whether you can appeal;
    • help preparing an appeal.
  4. If you are on a Student visa, speak to one of our advisers about how your programme outcome, appeal process and appeal outcome might affect your visa status.

How to make an appeal

You have 15 working days from when you receive a programme outcome notification to submit an appeal.

  1. Download an Student appeal form (Office document, 82kB).
  2. Organise any evidence you believe supports the reason for your appeal.
  3. Email the completed form and evidence to your faculty by the deadline, using the correct address:

What happens after you submit an appeal

Within three working days you will receive an email to confirm that your appeal has been received. Faculties review appeals at the local stage.

Emails will be sent to the address you provide on your appeal form.

When you will know the outcome of your appeal

You will receive the appeal outcome by email as soon as possible, normally within 25 working days. If the outcome is not confirmed within 25 days, you will receive an email explaining the status of your appeal and a timeline for it to be concluded.

The time it takes to review an appeal will vary from faculty to faculty. 

It is not possible to finalise all appeal outcomes before the start of the next academic year due to:

  1. the timing of examination boards, and
  2. the results of re-assessments being released.

In some cases this may mean you are not able to continue studying immediately even if your appeal is successful. We will work with you to manage the outcome in this case.

Until you are told the outcome of an appeal, the original programme outcome from the exam board still applies. 

The appeal outcome email from the local stage will include information on next steps, including how to progress your appeal if you are not satisfied with the outcome, as detailed in the University Examination Regulations, Section 11.

If you are concerned or worried

If you'd like to talk to someone here about how you're feeling or how you might raise this news with your family, contact the Student Wellbeing Service.
Phone +44 (0)117 456 9860 or find out what other support is available.

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