Submitting an academic appeal

On occasion, you might receive a decision of the Board of Examiners that you were not expecting. Academic appeals allow students to formally request for the decision of the Board of Examiners to be reconsidered because of special circumstances.

Who this information is for

The current academic appeals procedure below is for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students only and includes students studying at partner institutions.

The full process is outlined in Academic Appeals Procedure for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students (.pdf)

Postgraduate research students follow a different procedure and should read the PGR policies, procedures and guidelines.

Procedures for students from previous years of entry can be found on the governance webpages.

Grounds for appeal

You should only appeal if you think you have valid grounds. Appeals will only be upheld if these grounds are met and it is deemed that the Board of Examiners original decision would or should have been different. Appeals that don’t have valid grounds will be dismissed.

Extenuating circumstances

Appeals will only be accepted if there is a new claim of extenuating circumstances (or new evidence for a previous claim) which for good reason was not previously available to the Board of Examiners and which might have materially affected the outcome.

Your appeal must include a valid reason why you were not able to submit an extenuating circumstances claim by the published deadline.

Procedural irregularity

Appeals will only be accepted if you can provide evidence that the University did not follow its own rules of assessment or policies and procedures properly and that this disadvantaged your case when the Board of Examiner considered your academic progress.

Prejudice or bias

Appeals will only be accepted if you can provide evidence that the Board of Examiners were prejudice or biased when they considered your academic progress.

Invalid grounds for appeal

Your appeal will not normally be considered:

  • if you are appealing on the grounds of extenuating circumstances that could have been submitted by the deadline, this includes concerns related to the inadequacy of teaching during the period of study.
  • if you disagree with the academic judgment of internal or external examiners. Coursework and examinations cannot be remarked, except in cases of procedural irregularities.
  • if you had been given an informal assessment of your work by a member of academic staff, but your final marks are different.
  • if you marginally failed to attain a pass. Unfortunately, there will always be some students who fall just below the pass mark.
  • if you have booked a holiday during the resit period or you have booked flight tickets to return to Essex for the start of the academic year and cannot change them for the resit period.

Get support and guidance 

If you're a University of Essex student, we strongly advise you to contact SU Advice before making a formal appeal against a Board of Examiners decision. SU Advice will provide support with completing the paperwork and advice regarding the necessary evidence.

The Student Services Hub can also provide advice on understanding your results, the appeals procedure and if you are experiencing emotional or mental health difficulties.

Students studying at a partner institution should contact their education provider directly or visit their institution’s website for information regarding available support.

Reasonable Adjustments

If you have a disability or an ongoing medical condition, and you are having difficulties in taking part in these procedures, then we can also consider making individual arrangements for you. To find out if this is available for you, please contact the Student Wellbeing and Disability Service via the Student Services Hub.

Submitting your appeal

You may only appeal against a decision made by the Board of Examiners within ten working days of receiving your end of year results. If you submit an appeal after the deadline without valid reasons and supporting evidence, your appeal will not be considered. If you are studying at the University of Essex, the exam results schedules will be published during the summer term.

It is not possible for you to meet with the Appeal Officer, Dean or Exam Board to present your appeal. All students must explain their appeal fully in writing in the appeal form and submit any evidence that may be appropriate.

Appeal form

  • University of Essex students: download and complete the Academic Appeal Form (.docx) and email it to
  • Students at partner institution: contact your education provider to obtain and submit the form. The form will not be accepted by the Student Progress Team until it has gone to the partner institution in the first instance.

Your evidence for an appeal

You must provide all the evidence that you have in relation to the appeal. You will not normally be permitted to submit further evidence after the submission of the Academic Appeal Form.

Examples of commonly accepted forms of evidence:

  • medical/health certificate which confirms illness for a defined period
  • photocopy of a death certificate
  • letter of support/explanation from a support service at the University, for example, Student Support
  • letter of support/explanation from a third party (eg. police report, local authority report or counsellor's letter)

Examples of evidence which are unlikely to be accepted in isolation:

  • evidence of a medical condition which a doctor did not see/diagnose
  • a letter from a friend or family member

If your appeal is late

A late appeal will only be considered if you have provided a valid reason why you were not able to meet the normal deadline. Where possible, you should also provide evidence of this reason.

Appeals based on more than one reason

You can appeal on the basis of more than one reason as long as each reason meets the requirements for being a valid ground of appeal.

Appeals made on your behalf

You must submit your appeal yourself unless you have a disability or have received special dispensation from Student Support.

If you are studying at one of the University’s partner institutions you should submit your appeal to them in the first instance following your institution’s internal procedures.

Joint appeals

All appeals have to be submitted individually.

No penalty for submitting an appeal

Appeals are considered independently from your department or school. If the appeal is dismissed, then your existing circumstances will not change and you will not be penalised for submitting an appeal. If the Board of Examiners reconvenes following your appeal, then your progress will be given fresh consideration and may lead to a new outcome being decided upon.

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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub or SU Advice who will be happy to assist you.