Postgraduate appeals procedure
Updated on 9 November 2022
Procedure for postgraduate students to follow if they wish to appeal a decision.
1. There shall be a committee of the Senatus entitled the 'Postgraduate Appeals Committee' which shall be empowered to receive and determine appeals, as defined in these Regulations, by postgraduate degree or diploma candidates.
2. The members of the Committee shall be: a Deputy Principal or a Vice-Principal or equivalent ex officio as Convener, one representative of each School Board, and the Students' Assessor on the Senatus ex officio.
3. The term of office of members of the Committee, other than the Convener and the Students' Assessor shall, subject to special arrangements to ensure that all members do not demit office at the same time, be three years.
4. Any three members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum.
5. The Committee shall be empowered to obtain all such information or opinions it may consider desirable.
6. A member of the Committee who is a member of the examining committee for a postgraduate degree or diploma candidate shall not be a party to the decision of the Committee on an appeal by such candidate.
7.1 The Committee shall determine:
(i) appeals by taught Master's degree or diploma course candidates on failing to pass assessments;
(ii) appeals by research students whose studies have been discontinued by the Senatus in terms of Regulation 3 of the Admission of Research Students Regulations;
(iii) appeals by postgraduate degree candidates against the non-award of a degree following submission of a thesis or dissertation.
(iv) in the first instance the student shall seek to resolve the appeal with the Dean of School. Only if such resolution is unsuccessful shall referral be made to the Secretary of the University as required in Regulation 8 below.
7.2 Appeals under items (i), (ii) and (iii) shall not be considered unless they are based upon allegations of
(a) extenuating circumstances affecting the candidate's performance and of which the examiners were unaware when their decision was taken, or
(b) procedural irregularities (including administrative error) in the conduct of a written or oral examination of such a nature as to give rise to reasonable doubt whether the examiners would have reached the same conclusion had they not occurred, or
(c) prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners.
7.3 In exceptional cases, where an appeal does not fall within the provisions of Regulation 7.2 but there is prima facie evidence of injustice, a student may petition the Senatus, as the body responsible for the academic work of the University. The Senatus may decide the matter itself or may refer it for determination to its Postgraduate Appeals Committee, notwithstanding Regulation 9.1 and 9.2, or to an ad hoc Committee.
8 Every appeal shall be in writing and shall be lodged with the Secretary of the University within four weeks of the date on which the candidate received intimation of the decision against which the appeal is directed.
9.1 The Secretary, in consultation with the Convener of the Committee and the Dean of the candidate's School, shall determine whether the grounds of appeal come within the provisions of Regulation 7.2 . Extenuating circumstances under Regulation 7.2(a) shall not include a candidate's illness at the time of the examination unless a medical certificate has been submitted to the head of the department either before the examination or within seven days thereafter.
9.2 If the grounds of appeal do not satisfy the provisions of Regulation 7.2, the Secretary shall inform the candidate accordingly.
9.3 If a prima facie case is established the Secretary shall cause written notification to be sent to the candidate by recorded delivery or registered post, intimating:
(i) the date on which the Committee will meet to consider the appeal which shall not be less than fourteen days from the date of despatch of the intimation, and
(ii) the candidate's right:
(a) to be present at the hearing and to be accompanied, or be represented, by a lawyer or friend,
(b) to call witnesses,
(c) to examine opposing witnesses, and
(d) to give oral and/or documentary evidence: provided that a copy of any document to be produced shall be lodged with the Secretary not less than 48 hours before the Hearing.
10.1 After consideration of all the submissions made to it, the Committee may:
(i) reject the appeal;
(ii) uphold the appeal and recommend, as appropriate, that the candidate be permitted, subject to such conditions as the Committee may impose -
(a) to take the written examination or practical assessment again, or
(b) to revise and resubmit their thesis or dissertation, or
(c) to resume their research.
10.2 If the Committee upholds an appeal on the grounds of prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment, it shall direct that the committee of examiners be replaced by a new committee to re-examine the candidate's work.
10.3 In the event that any issue involving disability, race or other equal opportunities issue arises, any Committee or University officer has a discretion to adjourn proceedings to seek a report from any University or external adviser and/or to consider such a report or any related submission by any person, and to consider the promotion of good race relations and racial harmony. This may be at any stage, but is at the sole discretion of the Committee or member(s) of staff involved.
11 The decisions of the Committee, which shall be final, shall be reported to the Senatus and to the appropriate School Board.