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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 due academic process has not been followed in reaching your formal appeal outcome.

‘Due academic process’ means making academic decisions according to published University, Academic Board and faculty rules, policy, procedure and local provisions, as current at the time the decision was made.

Appealing to the SAB is the final stage for making an appeal against an academic decision at the University.

You need to submit your appeal within 15 working days of receiving your outcome from the formal appeal (or within the allowed timeframe if you are granted an extension.

Please note 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, 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 a formal appeal to the Faculty (see 4.2 of the Rule (pdf, 98KB)). In all other cases, you will need to submit an appeal to the Faculty 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 5.3 of the Appeals Rule (pdf, 98KB).


Resolution with the original decision-maker

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


Appeal to the Faculty or Academic Panel

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

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


Breach of due academic process

You need to be able to demonstrate that due academic process has been breached at the faculty or Academic Panel appeal stage. Due academic process is defined in part 1.6.6 of the Appeals Rule (pdf, 98KB).

If there is no breach of due academic process, the matter will not be heard by the SAB and the decision of the faculty 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 due process, 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:

  • how you think the faculty, school or Academic Panel did not follow policy or procedures when dealing with your appeal
  • relevant information that you think was not properly considered by the faculty, school or Academic Panel
  • any policies or procedures you think the faculty, school or Academic Panel did not correctly apply in assessing your appeal
  • if you are appealing 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 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 Registrar or the Registrar's nominee will assess whether your appeal satisfies the requirements to move to a hearing before the SAB in accordance with the University of Sydney (Student Appeals Against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006 (as amended).

Application assessment

The Registrar’s nominee under Clause 1.6.8 of the University of Sydney (Student Appeals against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006 will determine whether you have met the requirements for your appeal to be heard by a SAB.

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 next steps external to the University if you think that due process has not been observed.

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 you will be going to a 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 a notice of at least 10 working days prior to the hearing.


When your hearing has been confirmed, you will receive a copy of the faculty, school or Academic Panel submission five working days prior to the hearing.

We recommend that you discuss your appeal with an adviser from the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) or Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA). You may bring a support person to the hearing. This may include a representative from the SRC or SUPRA, or a representative of your choosing. Please note, a support person may include but is not limited to a parent or friend. A support person 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 your faculty, school or the 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 where the Panel requires further detail or clarification. The SAB chair will provide you the opportunity to respond to their queries and/or provide oral submissions.

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.


After the hearing, the Appeals Co-ordinator will provide you with a copy of the SAB decision report. This will take approximately 10 to 15 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, or by phone on 02 9286 1000.

Where relevant, applications may be made to the Anti-Discrimination Board, the Equal Opportunity Commission and NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

Student Affairs Unit

  • +61 2 8627 0506
  • Jane Foss Russell Building G02
Contact us
Last updated: 20 August 2021

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