Steps to appealing university decisions

Macquarie University has established processes and procedures for the management of appeals to ensure transparent, equitable and consistent decisions.

University decisions

The University makes a range of decisions affecting students, from whether or not to admit you to a course, whether or not to give you credit towards your studies here for the study you’ve done elsewhere to what mark you receive for a particular unit. The University aims to make fair and equitable decisions and has established policies and procedures to achieve this.

If you have been formally notified of a decision made by the University, and you are not happy with the way the decision was made, you may be able to lodge an appeal. Not all decisions can be appealed, but the decisions that are covered by the University’s appeals policies and processes are outlined in the table below, with links to the relevant rules, policies and procedures. These documents set out the processes and procedures that must be followed in making a decision.

You can submit an appeal if you can show that the relevant decision was made in an unfair way and has caused you substantial injury – in other words, you need to demonstrate that the University has failed to follow its own policies and procedures in making the decision and that you have suffered substantial injustice as a result. Make sure you read the policy that relates to your decision before appealing.

Applicable decision

Authority document

Admission to a degree, or Re-admission

Admission to Coursework Program Policy

Special Consideration

Special Consideration Policy

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Suspension and Exclusion

Academic Progression Policy

Exclusion

General Coursework Rules

Termination - Higher Degree Research

HDR / MRes Termination of Candidature Procedure

Award of PhD, MPhil or MRes degree

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy

Grades

Assessment Policy / Unit Guide Policy

Student Discipline and Misconduct

Student Discipline Procedure

The University has a number of appeals policies which set out how to appeal a decision.

You should refer to the correct policy and its requirements before you submit your appeal:

Decision you wish to appeal

Appeal policy

Admission to a degree, or re-admission

Academic Appeals Policy

Academic Appeals Procedure

Special Consideration

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Suspension and Exclusion

(under the Academic Progression Policy)

Exclusion

(under the General Coursework Rules)

Termination - Higher Degree Research

Award of PhD, MPhil or MRes degree

As above (Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure)

Student Discipline and Misconduct

Student Discipline Rules and Procedure

Grades

Grade Appeal Policy

When the University makes a decision in the categories outlined above, you will receive formal advice of that decision which will include information on your right to appeal the decision. You may only appeal on specific grounds, via AskMQ form and, within the time frame specified. Appeals outside this time frame will not be considered.

Applicable decision

Appeal time frame after notification

Admission to a degree, or re-admission

10 working days

Special Consideration

5 working days

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

10 working days

Suspension and Exclusion

20 working days

Exclusion

20 working days

Termination - Higher Degree Research

20 working days

Award of PhD, MPhil or MRes degree

20 working days

Grades

20 working days

Student Discipline and Misconduct

20 working days

When the University makes a decision in the categories outlined above, you will receive formal advice of that decision, including information on your right to appeal the decision. You may only appeal on specific grounds, via AskMQ form and within the timeframe specified. Appeals outside this timeframe will not be considered.

The grounds for appeal are outlined in the Academic Appeals Procedure. A student must prove with evidence that the decision made by the University was unfair due to one of the 10 grounds outlined in the Procedure existing or occurring. You must also demonstrate that as a result of one of these grounds existing or occurring, the decision was substantially unfair.

Your appeal will be unsuccessful if you are unable to demonstrate that one of the grounds existed or occurred and that the decision was substantially unjust.

If your appeal is successful (meaning if your appeal is upheld), the original decision will be sent to a decision-maker in the relevant faculty for the decision to be made again in line with the correct procedure. This means a new decision will be made, though it is important to note this does not mean that a different result will be reached (for example, a successful appeal will not necessarily result in you avoiding exclusion).

Grade appeals can only be considered where a student can establish one (or more) of the grounds stated in the Grade Appeal Policy You must demonstrate where the University has made a mistake in its processes. If an error is not identified in relation to one or more of these grounds, an appeal will be unsuccessful.

Review your grade(s) first

Before appealing you should:

  • Add the final weighted mark of each of your assessment tasks together. You want to ensure there has been no clerical error in adding these marks together to achieve your final grade.
  • Review your final exam/assessment paper. Your faculty may require you to make a booking, or, you may need to contact your unit convener directly.

Note: Reviewing an exam paper is not an opportunity to challenge marks. You should use this time to reflect on your performance and identify any clerical errors.

Appeal steps
  1. Read the Grade Appeal Policy. Remember that grade appeals only concern your final grade, not an individual assessment task. If you appeal on the basis that an individual task should have had a higher mark, it will not comply with the policy and your appeal will not succeed.
  2. After reviewing your grade, consider the Grade Appeal Policy and if you meet at least one of the grounds listed for appeal.
  3. If you believe you meet the grounds for appeal, lodge a grade appeal for the unit via the form on AskMQ. This must be done within 20 working days from results release.
  4. If you have any problems, you should first contact the faculty of the unit you are appealing. If you still experience difficulties, contact Student Advocacy.
Formal appeal following a grade appeal

If you believe there has been a procedural irregularity in the consideration of your Grade Appeal, you may submit a written appeal to the Academic Appeals Panel in accordance with the Academic Appeals Policy/Procedure. Appeals on this basis are limited to procedural grounds only.

Year 1 - Appeals

For grade appeals, follow the Undergraduate Grade Appeal process outlined above.

Year 2 - Review of result

Results should be reviewed with your MRes Supervisor first. With the support of your supervisor, you can write to the Thesis Examinations Sub-Committee seeking further explanation of how your result was determined.

Requests are lodged with the Committee by email at exam.mres@mq.edu.au and the response will be sent to your official student email.

Year 2 - Appeals after review

For appeals after review, follow the Academic Appeal process outlined above.

For Higher Degree Research (PhD/MPhil) appeals, follow the Academic Appeal process outlined above.

Process overview

The following steps are followed when reviewing the candidature of an HDR student:

1. Unsatisfactory progress

If your supervisor or supervisory panel identifies that you are not making satisfactory progress, you will be notified of their concerns and you will be provided with an opportunity to address these.

A Candidate Action Plan may be subsequently agreed upon and implemented.

If the supervisor continues to have concerns about your progress, a recommendation that your candidature be formally reviewed will be made to your Faculty's Associate Dean (HDR).

You may decide to submit to the review process or discontinue your candidature at this point.

2. Formal Review

The Formal Review panel determines if a candidate:

  • has a viable research program
  • is making satisfactory progress relative to the stage of a candidate's research program
  • is able to complete degree requirements within the period allowed.

A Formal Review may recommend that your candidate be terminated. Alternatively, a formal review may recommend the implementation of a Candidate Action Plan, as above.

Candidates are given the opportunity to respond in writing and in-person to issues being considered by the Formal Review Panel. It is recommended that you provide any relevant evidence or supporting documentation to support your submission/s.

3. Appeal against decision to terminate

Students who are formally notified that their candidature is to be terminated have the right to appeal.

Important: An appeal is not a new consideration of whether your candidature should be terminated or not. Rather, an appeal considers and evaluates the process involved in reaching the decision.

Only specific grounds are available to appeal on. Appeals must be lodged via AskMQ within 20 working days of being notified of the decision. Appeals outside this timeframe will not be considered.

Grounds for appeal are outlined in the Academic Appeals Procedure (see specifically: section 4.2.a.i - 4.2.a.x, and 4.2.b) .

A student must prove with evidence that the decision made by the University was unfair due to one of these 10 grounds existing or occurring. A student must also demonstrate that as a result of one of these grounds existing or occurring, the decision was substantially unfair.

Your appeal will be unsuccessful if you are unable to demonstrate that one of the grounds existed or occurred and that the decision was substantially unjust.

If your appeal is successful (ie. if your appeal is upheld) the original decision will be sent to a decision-maker in the relevant faculty for the decision to be made again in line with the correct procedure. This means a new decision will be made, though it is important to note this does not mean that a different result will be reached: for example, a successful appeal may not necessarily result in your candidature being reinstated.

Candidate templates

Templates have been created by HDRO to assist candidates before they undergo a formal review, as well as while they are under review.

See '4. Responsibilities and Required Actions' of the Termination of Candidature Procedure for a printer-friendly Flowchart of the process.

Discipline and student misconduct

You have the right to request permission to appeal the decision of a Hearing Committee.

The grounds for appeal are outlined in Part 6 of the 'Student Discipline Procedure' and are limited to an irregularity of procedure in making the Committee decision or the imposition of an inappropriate sanction.

The Committee's decision cannot be appealed on the basis that you believe it was not the correct decision or not your preferred decision.

The request for permission to appeal a Hearing Committee decision (including a detailed outline of the grounds for appeal) must be lodged by you in writing to disciplinecommittee@mq.edu.au within 20 working days of your receipt of the letter containing the Committee decision.

Upon the receipt of the request for permission to appeal, you will be notified whether or not permission to appeal is given.

You will be provided further details in the notification of the decision sent to your official student email account.

Need Support?

Student Advocacy can provide independent support and advice regarding your appeal options. View the Self-Help Guide or contact Advocacy by submitting a Student CARE MQ Referral form > select “Advocacy Support” as the reason for referral.