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Student Complaints

If you received your formal examination results on 1 October 2017 or later please see:


If you received your results before 1 October 2017, the Review of the Results of Examinations for Postgraduate Qualifications (Statutes and Ordinances, p426-429) applies.

You can use this Procedure if:

  • you are a Graduate Student; and
  • something went wrong in the examination process that meets at least one of the following grounds:
  1. that there existed material circumstances relating directly to the examination (excluding circumstances relating to the candidate's course of research or course of study) of which the Examiners were not aware;
  2. that procedural irregularities occurred in the conduct of the examinations, which were of such a nature as to cause reasonable doubt as to whether the Examiners would have reached the same conclusion had the irregularities not occurred;
  3. that there is demonstrable evidence of prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment in the examination process.

Before you make an application, you should:

  • consider seeking advice from your Graduate Tutor or the professional independent advisor at the Students' Unions' Advice Service at;
  • read the  Review of the Results of Examinations for Postgraduate Qualifications (Statutes and Ordinances, p426-429) and the information on this webpage;
  • ensure you include all of your evidence with your application;
  • remember that the University does not consider applications made on the basis that you believe the examiner has awarded you an unreasonable or unfair mark for your work, this is academic judgement.  The University has robust processes in place to ensure that academic judgement is used appropriately and therefore this cannot be accepted as a ground for examination review. 

To request a review of your examination results, complete the Exam Review Postgraduate Qualifications Form within three months of the date on which the final result was communicated to you and return it to If you are submitting a form after the three month deadline, you will need to explain why you could not submit it on time and provide evidence; only in exceptional circumstances will late requests be accepted.

What will happen once I submit my application for a review of my results?

Any request made will be acknowledged within ten working days and – if in time - the application will be forwarded to the Degree Committee for comment. This comment and your representations will then be considered by the Board of Graduate Studies who will determine whether your request falls within the relevant grounds and should be Justified or Not Justified.

Where a case is Justified, the Board can provide any of the following remedies:

  1. to require the Examiners to re-examine you;
  2. to require the Examiners to hold an(other) oral examination;
  3. to permit you to submit a revised submission to be examined by the same Examiners;
  4. to require the Degree Committee to appoint one or more additional Examiners to make an independent report or reports on the work you previously submitted;
  5. to require the Degree Committee to appoint new Examiners to replace the Examiners previously appointed, and to permit you either to be re-examined by the new Examiners,  or to submit a revised submission, to be examined by the new Examiners;
  6. to require the Examiners (either the previous or new Examiners appointed under (v)) to set fresh examination papers or other exercises to be taken by you under arrangements specified by the Board.

What if I am not happy with the review by the Board of Graduate Studies?

If you are not happy with the Board’s decision in response to your representations, you may apply request a Review Committee to consider your case. You must make this application on the form provided with the outcome from the Board, and within three months of receiving that notification.

What will happen once I submit my request for a Review Committee to consider my case?

The Review Committee will first consider your written representations, alongside the Board of Graduate Studies outcome, and determine whether they fall within the grounds outlined above. If not, the case will be dismissed at that point, giving reasons.

If the representations are considered to fall within the grounds, the next steps are as follows:

  1. your representations shall be made available to any person the Committee deem necessary, including the Board, your Degree Committee and your Examiners. These parties will have the right to respond in writing;
  2. You will be provided with the above responses and will have an opportunity to comment;
  3. You will be invited to a hearing, and may be accompanied by up to two advisers: an officer of the Graduate Union, a sabbatical officer of Cambridge University Students’ Union, or a University officer.

The Review Committee will consider all of the information provided at the hearing.  The Review Committee will determine whether the request is Not Justified or Justified.  If the Review Committee consider your representations Justified they can:

  • require the Board or Degree Committee to reconsider their earlier decisions on your case;
  • apply any of the remedies available to the Board of Graduate Studies

What if I am not happy with the final outcome?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Examination Review Procedure you may be able to apply for review of your case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), an external ombudsman.  More information will be given in the final decision letter you receive from the University.  You can find out more information about the OIA at