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Academic appeals

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 your Academic Advisor, Programme Director, the Student Support and Guidance Team or other appropriate person in the School.

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 can help to clarify your concerns and help you prepare an appeals form to submit to the School for a review of your case.

How to Appeal

Where possible you should aim to resolve an appeal informally in the first instance ie at School level.  This does not mean that you forego the opportunity to pursue a formal appeal through the University.  If, once your appeal has been considered by the School, you are unhappy with the outcome you still have the right to pursue a formal appeal.

The Informal Stage – Review by the School

Any case for appeal should be set down on a University Appeals form.  The form can be downloaded via the following link Regulation XIX (Academic Appeals).  (Note: although it says on the form that you should submit this to your Faculty Office, at this informal stage, you should submit the form to the School.)  The grounds for appeal must be clearly set out and any relevant documentary information (eg medical certificate) should be attached.

The appeal (and accompanying evidence) should be submitted by email to Jenny Brown, Student Support and Guidance Manager, AMBS (jenny.brown@manchester.ac.uk) within ten working days of notification of the result/decision against which you are appealing.  Appeals received within this time frame will be considered by an Appeals Review Panel. 

The Appeals Review Panel

In AMBS, any appeals received are considered by an Appeals Review Panel which meets following the deadline date by which appeals should be submitted. The Panel is chaired by the AMBS Director for Teaching and Learning and membership consists of the Director of Undergraduate Studies/Postgraduate Studies (as appropriate), Programme Directors and the Student Support and Guidance Manager.

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.

The Formal Stage – 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 formal appeals process and pursue your case 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 provisional decision of the University cannot be considered.

A Basic Guide to Academic Appeals aims to make Regulation XIX easier to understand.

The Faculty of Humanities Appeals, Complaints and Malpractice Office handle formal appeals by AMBS students.  Your case for appeal should be submitted by email to humsacm@manchester.ac.uk within twenty working days of notification of the School’s decision.