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Academic appeals

Appeal to the Student Appeals Body (SAB)

You may wish to appeal to the Student Appeals Body (SAB) on the basis that the review decision made by the faculty/school or Academic Panel was:

  • not based on merit
  • not procedurally fair and reasonable, taking into consideration all relevant circumstances, and/or
  • not made in accordance with relevant University rules, policies, procedures, local provisions and resolutions.

Appealing to the SAB is the final stage for reviewing an academic decision at the University. You need to submit your appeal within 15 working days of receiving the outcome of your application for review (or within the allowed timeframe if you are granted an extension).

Please note that if you have been awarded your degree you are no longer eligible to submit an appeal to the SAB. All appeals must be lodged prior to your degree being conferred. If you have lodged an appeal and you are due to graduate, you will need to withdraw from the graduation or conferral process until such time that your matter is finalised. Once your appeal is finalised, please contact the graduations team to proceed with your conferral.

Higher degree by research students

If you are appealing a decision associated with either the termination of your candidature or the examination of your thesis, you may elect to submit an appeal directly to the SAB without an application for review by the Faculty (see 4.2 of the Academic Appeals Rule (pdf, 98KB). In all other cases, you will need to submit an application for review first.

Requirements for a SAB appeal

For your appeal to be considered and heard by the SAB, you need to demonstrate that you have met all of the requirements for a SAB appeal. You can find more information about this in Part 5.1 of the Academic Appeals Rule (pdf, 98KB).

1

Informal Resolution

You need to have first attempted to resolve your concern through an request for informal resolution. If you have not completed this step of the process, you are not ready to submit an appeal to the SAB.

2

Application for review to the Faculty/School or Academic Panel

You need to have submitted an application for review to the faculty, school or Academic Panel, and received an outcome from this application for review in writing.

If you have not completed this step of the process, you are not ready to submit an appeal to the SAB.

3

Breach of procedural process

You need to be able to demonstrate that the decision made by the faculty, school or Academic Panel was:

  • not based on merit
  • not procedurally fair and reasonable, taking into consideration all relevant circumstances, and/or
  • not made in accordance with relevant University rules, policies, procedures, local provisions and resolutions.

If there is no breach of procedural fairness, the matter will not be heard by the SAB and the decision of the faculty/school or Academic Panel will stand.

Prepare your appeal

To prepare a SAB appeal, you will need to provide a written appeal letter summarising the alleged failure of procedural fairness, in addition to all relevant supporting documents.

Letter of appeal

You will need to prepare a letter to support your appeal. Where appropriate, you should try to address the following:

  • if you think the decision was based on something other than academic merit, why you believe this to be the case (Your reason can’t just be that you think you should have received a higher mark or grade.)
  • if you think the decision was not procedurally fair and reasonable, why you believe this to be the case
  • if you think the faculty, school or Academic Panel did not follow relevant University rules, policies, procedures, local provisions and resolutions when it made its decision, which rules etc you believe were not followed and why.
  • relevant information that you think was not properly considered by the faculty, school or Academic Panel
  • if you are appealing against an exclusion, anything you think wasn’t properly taken into consideration in your show cause letter
  • any actions you have taken to address reasons for your poor academic performance that were not properly considered by the faculty or school.

Supporting documents

You can include supporting documents with your appeal letter, such as medical certificates, relevant sections of University policy, forms or correspondence received to and/or from the University.

Submit your appeal

To submit an appeal to the SAB you need to log in and complete the online appeal against an academic decision/exclusion application form.

You will need to upload a written appeal letter and any other relevant supporting documents with your application.

Late appeals

If you require longer than the 15 working days allowed to submit your appeal, you need to contact the Student Affairs Unit at sau.appeals@sydney.edu.au before the deadline. You need to provide a reason why you should be granted an extension to submit your appeal and include documents that support your request. If your extension is approved, you will be provided written advice on the new deadline for your submission.

What happens next

The Director, Compliance and Student Affairs will determine whether you have met the requirements for your appeal to be heard by a SAB, in accordance with section 5.1(3) of the Academic Appeals Rule.

If you have not satisfied requirements, you will be advised that your appeal does not qualify for a hearing and the decision made by the faculty, the school or Academic Panel will stand. You will also be advised of your right to apply for review by the Registrar if you think that the decision of the Director, Compliance and Student Affairs was not procedurally fair. Your application for review must be made within 10 days of receipt of the decision, and explain why you think that the decision was procedurally unfair. The Registrar may decide to affirm or overturn the decision of the Director, Compliance and Student Affairs.

If your appeal moves to a hearing before the SAB, the Appeals Coordinator will contact you to confirm the time, date and location for the hearing. It may take 4 to 6 weeks from the time you are notified that there will be a SAB hearing, to when the hearing takes place.

Sometimes this may take longer due to the University break and exam period, as well as the availability of panel members. You will be given hearing details at least 10 working days prior to the hearing.

Hearing

Five working days prior to the hearing, you will receive a copy of the faculty, school or Academic Panel submission in response to your appeal.

We recommend that you discuss your appeal and the faculty/school or Academic Panel submission with an adviser from the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) or Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA). You may bring a support person or representative to the hearing. This may include a representative from the SRC or SUPRA, or another representative of your choosing. Please note, a support person may include but is not limited to a parent or friend. A support person or representative does not have a right to speak on your behalf, however the Chair of the SAB will consider any request for them to do so.

The SAB Panel will consist of three members, usually two staff and one student. A representative from the faculty, school or Academic Panel will be present, as well as a member of the Student Affairs Unit to facilitate the hearing. The SAB will review all written submissions prior to your hearing. You may be asked questions about your submission if the Panel requires further detail or clarification. The SAB Chair will give you the opportunity to respond to their queries.

The SAB will consider all of the information presented, deliberate and will come to a decision. This process may occur on the same day, or in the weeks following your hearing.

Outcome

After the hearing, the Appeals Co-ordinator will provide you with a copy of the SAB decision report. This will take approximately 15 to 20 working days. Please note, the decision of the SAB is final.

External appeals options

Options for further appeal include complaints to the NSW Ombudsman. The NSW Ombudsman can be contacted at Level 24, 508 George Street, Sydney 2000, by email at nswombo@ombo.nsw.gov.au, or by phone on 02 9286 1000.

Where relevant, applications may be made to the Anti-Discrimination NSW or the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Unit Student Affairs

Phone
  • +61 2 8627 0506
Email
Address
  • Jane Foss Russell Building G02
Contact us
Last updated: 16 August 2022

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