Handbook for Supervisors of Research Postgraduates

9.0  Appeals, Complaints and Unfair Practice

9.1  Appeals

If the thesis is not passed at examination, the candidate shall have the right to appeal against the decision of the examiners as laid down in the Appeals Procedure (Postgraduate Research Degrees) available from the Academic Office. The appeal must be made in writing, to the Academic Office, within two months of official notification of the result of the examination, on one or more of the following grounds:

  • defects or irregularities in the conduct of the examination;
  • exceptional personal circumstances affecting the candidate's performance which the candidate was unable, for good reasons, to inform the Examining Board of prior to its meeting;
  • evidence of prejudice, bias, or inadequate assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners;
  • inadequate supervision, which had not been previously reported for exceptional reasons.

Appeals which question the academic judgement of examiners are not admissible.

9.2  Complaints

The University has a formal complaints procedure which is set out in the ‘Rules, Regulations and Information for Students' booklet issued each year to new students. It is also published on the web.

If research students have any complaints or grievances concerning the University they should address them in the first instance to their supervisor. If they cannot be resolved at this level students should approach their Department's Postgraduate Co-ordinator, or Head of Department. If matters are not resolved at this level, or if this is not practicable, students can take their case either to the Dean of their Faculty or to the Director of Postgraduate Studies. Once all internal procedures have been exhausted a candidate may submit a complaint to the OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator). Any such complaint must be submitted by sending a completed Scheme Application Form together with all relevant information to the OIA within three months of the date on the Completion of Procedures Letter from the University on completion of internal procedures. A Scheme Application Form can be obtained from the Academic Secretary or downloaded from the OIA website.

9.3  Unfair Practice

Unfair Practice is the act of obtaining an unpermitted advantage to obtain a result higher than a person's abilities would otherwise secure. Plagiarism is the act of using someone else's work with an intent to deceive. No intellectual endeavour is entirely original. Even the most original minds depend on the thoughts and discoveries of their predecessors. Indeed one of the criteria for meeting the standards for the award of PhDis the ability to relate the results of study to the general body of knowledge in the subject. Supervisors should offer advice on proper referencing, note taking and bibliographic and citation procedures.

For the University's procedure for dealing with research misconduct, including unfair practice and plagiarism please visit the Academic Regulations Web Page.