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Academic appeals

Find out how to make an academic appeal


What is an academic appeal?

An academic appeal is a student’s request for a review of a decision made by the College relating to their academic studies. This can include reference to a past complaint made and investigated.

The following may be investigated through the academic appeals process:

  • Decisions made by an Examination Board, including the outcome of coursework or examinations, academic progression, degree classification or degree award, and termination of registration.
  • Decisions made by an upgrade panel or an MPhil/PhD/DPS/DClinPsy/ Masters by Research viva panel.
  • Termination of registration on academic grounds through the formal warning procedure
  • Penalties applied for examination and assessment offences
  • Reconsideration of requests for access arrangements for assessment
  • Decisions made by a Fitness to Practise Panel 

What is a complaint?

A complaint is where, as a result of a student’s experience at Royal Holloway, a student is dissatisfied about the College’s provision of services or facilities and wishes their concerns to be investigated.

Your concerns may be investigated under the Complaints Procedure for Students but normally only within three months of the incident or action being complained about.

Where you have submitted an academic appeal and your grounds for appeal are effectively dependent on the outcome of the complaint, the College may determine that the nature of your appeal requires investigation under the Complaints Procedure first. In this situation your case will be referred to the Secretariat. You will be notified of this and provided with further guidance. 

The appeal investigation will be delayed until the complaint investigation is complete. The College tries to complete these processes as quickly as possible; however, a thorough investigation takes time, so you are advised to continue to make plans on the basis that your appeal is unsuccessful.

Find out more about Complaints

How do I appeal?

You must make an appeal within 15 working days of being notified of your result or decision.

How to make an Academic Appeal, step-by-step

  • Read our Academic Appeals Guidance
  • Discuss your concerns with your Department/School and the Students’ Union, if appropriate
  • Complete and submit the Appeals Form including relevant original evidence in hard copy
  • An Investigating Officer will decide whether your appeal falls within the remit of the Academic Regulations, whether you have grounds for appeal and whether you have provided sufficient evidence
  • Yes
    The Investigating Officer will
    investigate your case
  • No
    Your appeal will be dismissed
  • The Investigating Officer will write to you with a holding letter or the initial findings from their investigation (normally within two months)
  • You'll be given 10 working days in which to comment on the Officer’s initial findings as set out in the letter. If you believe that your concerns have not been addressed and that you meet the grounds as set out in the College Regulations you may request a review
  • Once the Head of Student Administration is satisfied that the investigation is complete, you will be sent a Completion of Procedures Letter confirming the College’s final decision on your appeal
  • End of Royal Holloway's internal procedures
  • If you are dissatisfied with the outcome you may be able to ask for your case to be reviewed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

Important things to know

Please read our Academic Appeals Guidance and refer to the flowchart above. You can appeal if you have grounds for an appeal and your case meets all of the necessary requirements. The form for submitting an appeal can be found here.

Your appeal will not be considered if:

  • The appeal is not submitted in writing
  • The appeal is not accompanied by any supporting evidence
  • The appeal is submitted after the deadline without an approved extension
  • The appeal is submitted by someone other than yourself without your written consent
  • The appeal is based on provisional marks rather than marks confirmed by an Exam Board
  • The appeal is frivolous or malicious. Please note if your appeal is considered to be frivolous or malicious, you may be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Disciplinary Regulations

Your appeal would not be considered as valid if it is:

  • An appeal against the academic judgement of the examiners, including requests for work to be re-marked
  • An appeal for special consideration of extenuating circumstances which you have submitted after your final results have been published
  • An appeal resulting from your lack of awareness of the relevant College procedures or regulations

Please send your appeal form and supporting documents by e-mail to

Originals of any supporting documentary evidence should also be sent, accompanied by a copy of your appeal form, to:

Student Administration
Arts Annexe
Royal Holloway, University of London
TW20 0EX
Once you have submitted your appeal, we ask you to communicate with us in writing either via letter or e-mail. Please do not phone the Student Administration team as unfortunately we are not able to discuss individual cases over the phone.


You must submit your appeal within 15 working days of the decision against which you are appealing.

We do not normally grant extensions to the appeal deadline. If you cannot submit your appeal by the deadline, you should send an email request to before the set deadline with a request for an extension and a clear explanation as to why you need such an extension. Late appeals will not normally be investigated unless there are exceptional circumstances which are supported by documentation deemed acceptable by the Head of Student Administration.

What to include in your appeal submission

Your submission must include all of the following:

  • The Appeal Form completed in full, including an indication of the ground(s) upon which you are appealing
  • Supporting Evidence (where appropriate) to include all documentary evidence which you wish to be investigated and considered
  • Official English translations of any documents which are being supplied in a language other than English
  • A clear indication of how each piece of evidence relates to your appeal
  • Where relevant, an explanation for why you were previously unable to disclose any of the evidence or information
  • Where relevant, a signed record of all comments or remarks made by the examiners which, in your view, indicate bias.

It is important to check you have included all relevant evidence as the College is not obliged to take into consideration any additional matters which are introduced later in the appeal process, e.g. when you respond to the Initial Findings Letter.

Please also be aware that the College may verify the authenticity of any supporting evidence provided as part of your appeal.

The investigation and outcome

Your appeal will be investigated by a senior member of Student Administration, who is known as the Investigating Officer.

The Investigating Officer will decide whether or not the issues you have raised fall under the appeals procedure, you have given reasonable grounds and have provided enough evidence. If the Investigating Officer decides to proceed with an investigation, this will be conducted in writing through letters and/or emails. The Investigating Officer may request additional information, an expert opinion or, in exceptional cases, a meeting. We aim to complete any investigation within a two month period; however during busy times of the year this may not be possible and the investigation may take longer than two months. If this is the case then you can expect to receive a letter from us advising you of the delay.

Where you do not have adequate grounds for an appeal or enough evidence, your appeal may be dismissed without further investigation and you will be advised in writing of this decision.

Once any investigation is complete you will be issued with an initial findings letter. This letter will explain the facts, judgements, and conclusions of the investigation. This will be sent to the address provided on your appeal form, to your College email and any other email address provided on your form. Please ensure that you check your email accounts regularly.

As part of the investigation staff in your department/school may be shown all or part of your appeal submission and may be asked to comment in writing and/or provide the Investigating Officer with any relevant correspondence. 

The outcome

The Investigating Officer may decide not to uphold your appeal, in which case the original decision will stand.

If your appeal is partially or fully upheld, the Investigating Officer and/or Director of Academic Services or nominee will normally make recommendations on what should be done before informing you of the initial findings. If procedural irregularities are discovered, but the irregularities do not cast doubt over the original decision, your appeal will not be upheld. However, this may still result in College processes being reviewed and changed in the future.

Requesting a review

If you believe that your concerns have not been addressed in the initial findings letter and that you meet the grounds to request a review you may request a review of the decision by completing our 'request for a review' form. The grounds for review are limited to the following:

  • fresh evidence can be presented which you could not with reasonable diligence have been submitted with the initial appeal and which might cause reasonable doubt as to the fairness of the decision in the initial findings letter
  • there is evidence of a failure to follow the procedures in the regulations which might cause reasonable doubt as to the fairness of the decision in the initial findings letter
  • the decision in the initial findings letter was perverse given the evidence which was available at the time.

Please be aware that a review will not normally result in a full reinvestigation of your case.

Your request for review form will be considered by a member of Student Administration who will determine whether you have fulfilled the grounds sufficiently to warrant a review of your case. If you have not fulfilled the grounds, the investigation will be considered complete and you will be sent a Completion of Procedures Letter confirming the College’s final decision on your appeal and the completion of the College’s internal procedures. Once this letter has been issued, the College will not act on any further requests to investigate the matter.

If you have fulfilled one or more of the grounds for review, your case will be presented to a Review Panel who will make a final decision. They may request that further investigation is carried out to aid their decision-making, or hold a meeting of the Panel to fully consider the case. Please note that a meeting will only occur in the most complex of cases.

Once the Review Panel have made their decision, you will be sent a Completion of Procedures Letter confirming the College’s final decision on your appeal and the completion of the College’s internal procedures. Once this letter has been issued, the College will not act on any further requests to investigate the matter.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)

If you believe that your concerns have not been addressed you can ask for your case to be reviewed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).

This usually happens only after the College’s internal procedures have been completed. The College will send you a Completion of Procedures Letter with a link to the website of the OIA at the appropriate time, after which you will have twelve months in which to refer your case to the OIA, if you meet their grounds for investigation.

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