Appeals and complaints policy

Updated September 2017

This document sets out the department’s policy and processes for handling complaints and academic appeals at the first stage of the University’s student complaints and academic appeals procedures. Information about the University’s full procedures, including the later stages, is available on the Proctors’ Office website.

Appeals by students

  1. If you are dissatisfied with a decision relating to the award of credit, mark or grade, your first step should be to raise it within the department under this policy. This policy only applies to decisions concerning assessment or related matters concerning academic progress; if you wish to raise an issue regarding any other matter concerning your studies the departmental policy regarding complaints should be followed.
  2. Concerns may be raised regarding ongoing assessment or finalized assessment. Only concerns relating to finalized assessment, however, may be escalated to the second stage of the University procedures.
  3. Concerns can only be acted on if there was an error in the decision-making process or a procedural irregularity; and/or there was any bias or perception of bias in the decision-making process. There is no right of appeal over matters of academic judgment.
  4. You should raise the matter with your course director or course tutor who will, in consultation with the Head of Student Administration, review the concerns. In accordance with the University policy, on no account should you contact the examiners or assessors directly in their role as examiners or assessors. Where the course director is the examiner or assessor, you should contact Registry for advice.
  5. If it is not possible to clear up the concern with the Department, you may wish to appeal against a final result under the University Academic Appeals Procedure

Complaints by students

  1. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of your studies relating to either the educational provision or support services, you should raise your concerns with the Department as soon as possible. This may cover such matters as teaching accommodation, provision of course information, quality of teaching, library services or relationship with Departmental staff. Matters relating to the outcome of any assessment should be raised under paragraphs 1 to 5 above. General areas of concern about provision affecting students as a whole should be raised through student feedback mechanisms, such as questionnaires, discussions with course tutors and course directors, your student representatives, and course committees.
  2. The Department hopes and intends that cause for complaint will be infrequent. But it is committed to maintaining and keeping under review an effective system for concerns to be raised and properly considered with a view to resolving them swiftly; and making clear to students how a matter should be raised and how they can expect it to be treated.
  3. Complaints will be dealt with confidentially by all parties involved, except where it is necessary to disclose information to carry out a fair investigation (e.g. your identity will usually be disclosed to a person involved in the matter that you are concerned about).
  4. If you have a concern or complaint, you should first of all seek to resolve it informally with your course director or course tutor, or, for example in connection with logistical matters, with the administrator of the course. They may wish to seek advice from other staff in the Department, for example where the case raises issues going beyond their previous experience, in relation to academic matters from the Registry and on other matters from the staff of the Departmental Administrator and Operations Manager.
  5. In the event that this does not lead to satisfactory resolution, you should set out in writing to the Deputy Director responsible for managing your course a statement of the nature and grounds of the complaint, the steps already taken in seeking redress and the remedy which is being sought. The Deputy Director will acknowledge the complaint when received, and will deal with it as quickly as is consonant with a thorough investigation of the matter, and normally within not more than thirty working days of receipt.
  6. If deciding to uphold the complaint, the Deputy Director may as appropriate close the issue with a letter of apology and/or other form of redress.
  7. If deciding not to uphold the complaint, the Deputy Director will respond to you in writing setting out the reasons for the decision.
  8. If you are on a course leading to the award of a Certificate, Diploma or Degree, or to the award of academic credit, and are not satisfied with the outcome of the Department's attempt to achieve a resolution, you may make a formal complaint under the University's Student Complaints Procedure or, as explained on the Proctors’ Office website, under a different college or University procedure, depending on the nature of the matter.

www.proctors.ox.ac.uk/complaintsandacademicappeals/complaints

www.proctors.ox.ac.uk/complaintsandacademicappeals/othercomplaints