Academic Appeals - research degrees

Academic Appeals are initiated by the student in accordance with Regulation B6. The purpose of the Research degrees appeals process is to allow all students to appeal against the recommendations to Senate of the Research Degrees Committee provided that they have grounds.

Research Degree students may appeal against the following decisions of the Research Degrees Committee:

(i) Doctoral progression procedures
(ii) Requirement to withdraw for not maintaining good academic standing
(iii) Award following examination

For Research Degrees students appeals may only be made on the following grounds:

(i) procedural irregularities;
(ii) exceptional circumstances, providing that these circumstances were not known by the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee at the time it made its decision, that these circumstances can be substantiated, and that there is a valid reason for not notifying the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee in advance in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code of Practice on Postgraduate Research Degrees;
(ii) inadequacy of supervision or facilities. (However you should note that alleged inadequacy of supervisory or other arrangements during the period of study must be raised at the time, in accordance with procedures set out in the  , and does not constitute grounds for appeal following the submission of the thesis.)

You must submit your appeal on the approved Appeal Form no later than 28 calendar days (not including University closed days or Bank Holidays, but including weekends) from the date of the email or letter informing you of the decision of the Research Degrees Committee.

If you wish to appeal against an award you must inform the University of your intention to appeal before Senate confirms the decision of the Research Degrees Committee. Information of how to do this will be given in the email or letter informing you of your award. Your name will then be removed from the list of awards submitted to Senate for approval. You should note that this could mean that you will be unable to graduate at the next available opportunity.

Upon receipt of your appeal, the Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Team will email (to your Keele email account) to confirm its arrival. If you do not receive an email within two working days of sending your appeal, you must contact the team to check that your form has arrived. As the staff can be very busy processing appeals at certain times of the year (particularly June/July and September), it would be appreciated if contact is by email if possible. Emails will normally be responded to, within the same working day. During the processing of your appeal, the Team will communicate with you via your Keele email so please check your email on a daily basis.

Appeal cases will be considered in the first instance (Sifting Stage) by the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct and a member of the University Academic Appeals Committee to decide if there is a case for the appeal to be considered. This Sifting Stage of the appeals process consists of an initial assessment of readily available documentation which will include your appeal submission, information on the student database (SCIMs), previously submitted exceptional circumstances, and initial comments from the School or Service, as appropriate. Where such initial comments from the School or Service are going to be taken into consideration in the Sifting Stage, you will be given the opportunity to respond to these comments before a decision is made.

In cases where the case is deemed to be straight forward and the evidence to be sufficiently compelling, your appeal may be referred back to the Board of Examiners for consideration with a recommendation to uphold the appeal. However the final decision regarding the outcome of the appeal rests with the University Academic Appeals Committee.

Where the case is deemed to be more complex or requires further exploration of the evidence, your appeal will be considered by the University Academic Appeals Committee. Appeals will normally be considered based on documentary evidence. However if the Appeals Committee is of the opinion that a decision cannot be made solely on the documentary evidence available, you will be invited to a meeting of the Appeals Committee

Where the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct and the member of the Academic Appeals Committee are of the view that based on the information available no case exists, you will be advised in writing, stating the reasons.

If you are invited to a meeting of the Appeals Committee you will be given at least 7 days written notice of the date. You will be given a copy of all the paperwork that the Committee will have available when considering your case. You and/or your representative have the right, but are under no obligation, to be present at the meeting. Your representative should normally be a member of Advice and Support at Keele (ASK), a current student, an elected officer of the Keele University Students' Union or the Keele Postgraduate Association or a member of staff. It is advised that it would be in your best interests to seek the representation of Advice and Support at Keele (ASK) in the Students’ Union. A representative from your Academic School(s) will also be asked to attend. You may also ask any other person (from within or outside the University) to write to the Committee on your behalf, which must be received in “good time” for the meeting.

Following the meeting you will be notified in writing of the outcome no more than seven working days after the date of the meeting. Reasons for the decision will be given.

Research Degree Students should submit an appeal using the Research Degrees Appeals Form Postgraduate Research Appeal Form - Aug 2023

Guidance on how to complete PGR Appeal Form - Aug 2023

If you require the form or any other materials in an alternative format, please let us know. On request we can provide you with an electronic copy, enlarged print on coloured paper, audio recordings or Braille. 

Independent advice on making an appeal can be obtained from Advice and Support at Keele (ASK) in the Students' Union:

Tel: +44 (0)1782 734800

If you have any questions about the process, please contact Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Team.

The appeal should be emailed to the Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Team . In order to assist the team in processing appeals as quickly as possible, please send your email to Please note that appeals will only be accepted electronically if they have been emailed from your Keele email account. 

If your Keele IT account has been closed, please send the form using the non-Keele email account you added to your student record.

If it is not possible to email the appeal, please contact the team to discuss the matter further BEFORE the appeal deadline.