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Student Complaints

If you received your decision on 1 October 2017 or later please see


If you received your decision before 1 October 2017, the Review of decisions of the Board of Graduate Studies (Statutes and Ordinances, 2016, p. 424, 539) applies.

The review procedure, which provides for the independent consideration and review of a decision taken by the Board of Graduates Studies in respect of allowances (for illness, or other grave cause) to candidates for examinations, is set out within the following regulations:

(i) Regulation 12 of the General Regulations for admission as a Graduate Student;

(ii) Regulation 15 of the General Regulations for the M.St. Degree.

Strict time limits apply: a request for a Review must be made using the RBGS form here, stating the grounds of review, normally within one month of written notification of the Board’s decision. Requests for review should be submitted to No person who applies for review under this procedure shall be entitled to apply also for review of the same matter under the Student Complaints Procedure.

Information about allowances is provided by the Board of Graduate Studies.

Students are advised to discuss any issues they are facing with their Graduate Tutor.  Students can also receive free independent advice regarding any University procedure from the Students' Unions' Advice Service at

Q. Can I appeal a decision made by the Board of Graduate Studies (the Board)?

You can request a review of any decision taken by the Board with regard to examination allowances ie. where you might have been, or are likely to be, unable to undertake part or all of an examination, or have underperformed because of serious unforeseen circumstances.

Complaints regarding any other decision made by the Board can be made under the student complaints procedure.

Q. Is there a deadline for submitting an appeal?

Yes. Any request should be made by completing the form here and sending it to within one month of the original decision having been communicated to you in writing. If you make a request later than this you should explain why you were unable to make the request earlier; only in exceptional circumstances will late requests be accepted.

Q. What should I include in my request?

Any new or additional information which you consider could change the decision of the Board, and for which there is good reason for not previously having submitted. You should also include an explanation, and any evidence, as to why you believe the original decision to be incorrect.

Q. What will happen once I have submitted my request for review?

If your request is in time, the Chair of the Board will identify whether there is any relevant additional information. If so, the case will be reconsidered at the next meeting of the Board, and you will be informed of the decision.

If the Chair finds that there is no relevant additional material, or if the Board has reconsidered the decision and it has not changed, a Reviewer will be appointed. The Reviewer will be a member of academic or academic-related staff who has had no previous involvement in your case.

The Reviewer will be provided with your submitted request; all information that was available to the Board, except for any confidential medical evidence; relevant Ordinances and Notes of Guidance; and an opinion from the Committee.

The Reviewer will consider whether there is evidence of:

  • inadequate consideration of the matter by the Board;
  • the Board having made a decision, to the detriment of the student, which is inconsistent with the relevant Ordinances or its own Notes of Guidance; or,
  • material circumstances of which the Board was unaware that would have led the Board to have reached a different decision.

Q. Will I need to attend a meeting?

The reviewer will only hold a hearing if they feel this is necessary. As a procedural review, this is not normally required.

Q. What will the outcome look like?

You will receive a written report from the reviewer which will include findings of fact, conclusions and recommendations. This report will have been considered by the Board who will normally accept the reviewer’s recommendations. Only in certain circumstances may the Board decide not to accept a recommendation. Where recommendations or remedies have been suggested, you will be informed of any action taken, or to be taken, as a result.

Q. What if I am not happy with the final outcome?

The University of Cambridge subscribes to the independent scheme for the review of student complaints. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the review procedure you may be able to apply for review of your case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). Such an application should be received by the OIA within twelve months of the University’s outcome letter. The OIA’s leaflet, An Introduction to the OIA for Students, can be downloaded from their website: and a link to the OIA Complaint Form is available on page 10.