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Student Complaints Procedure



We make every effort to ensure that you have the best experience possible while studying at Exeter. However, we recognise that there may be occasions where you believe the University has not met the high standards it sets for student experience.

The Student Complaints procedure is designed to allow students to raise dissatisfaction about something the University has or has not done or about the standard of a service that has been provided. Primarily the procedure will cover the following types of issues:

  • a failing in a University service, academic or non-academic
  • misinformation about academic programmes
  • poor teaching or supervision
  • insufficient facilities

Full details of the Student Complaints procedure can be found by clicking here.

For a flow chart of the different stages of the Student Complaints Process, click here.‌

What Cannot be Considered Under this Procedure

Matters that are considered under the Academic Appeals procedure cannot be considered as a complaint. An appeal is different to a complaint, as an appeal is a challenge to a decision made by an academic body, which includes decisions relating to marks, progress decision, final award classification or mitigation decision. If you are affected by any of these issues, please visit the Appeals page.

If the issues causing you concern relates to both the Complaint and Appeal Procedure, then you should submit a Complaint and an Appeal within the timeframes set out in both procedures. Where the outcome of a Complaint will have a direct impact on an Appeal, the Complaint will be considered first and the consideration of the Appeal will be paused until the Complaint has been completed.

How the Process Works

Most complaints can be resolved quickly with the member of staff most directly for the area of work which is causing a concern. With this in mind, if you are unhappy with your experience or with the service you have received, you must initially raise an informal stage complaint with the member of staff most directly for the area of work. You can contact to the member of staff to organise a meeting to discuss your informal complaint or put your concerns in writing if you prefer.

If you have completed the informal stage, but remain dissatisfied, you may raise a formal stage complaint, using the Complaint Form – Formal Stage.

If you have been affected by industrial action, and you are thinking about making a complaint, please see the relevant webpages for information before submitting a complaint.

It should be noted that the University does not accept anonymous complaints or evidence.

The informal stage could include discussing this issue with the member of staff most directly responsible for the area of work causing concern, with the aim of resolving it as soon as possible. It is expected that both sides will make a genuine and reasonable attempt to resolve any issues at this stage.

In cases of alleged bullying and harassment, you should first seek advice of a Dignity and Respect adviser.

Where your complaint is about a member of staff and you do not feel you can raise this directly you should aim to raise this with another staff member of the relevant Faculty/Service area, for example the Director of Education and Student Experience for your Department or other Professional Services staff in the relevant service. Exceptionally if you feel unable to raise the matter yourself the Students’ Guild Advice Unit in Devon, or the Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union in Cornwall, with your consent, will be willing to help you unless there is a conflict of interest. Before doing so you should see advice from the Students’ Guild Advice Unit in Devon, or the Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union in Cornwall.

The Informal Stage ends when one of the following applies:

  • When you have received a written outcome to your informal complaint from the member of staff considering your complaint at the informal stage
  • When you have not received a response within 5 working days of requesting a meeting to discuss your complaint with the member of staff responsible for the area of work about which you wish to raise a concern.
  • Where you have been unable to arrange a meeting within a reasonable amount of time of contacting the member of staff concerned.
  • When no written outcome has been received within 15 working days following a meeting or your email outlining your concerns if a meeting was not necessary (or you have not received an acceptable resolution within the alternative timescale you have agreed with the member of staff), you should email the member of staff advising them you will be making a formal complaint.

If you are a Taught student, and you wish to submit a Formal Complaint about your academic experience to your Faculty having been dissatisfied with outcome of your Informal Complaint, you must put the complaint in writing on the Complaint Form - Formal Stage and send it to the relevant address below:

On receipt your Formal Complaint will passed to the person nominated by the Faculty to consider Formal Complaints. This will usually be the Faculty Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education with the support of the Senior Education Partner for the Faculty.

For all Postgraduate Research wishing to a raise a Formal Complaint about academic experience, once you have completed the informal stage, please send your completed Complaint Form to:

For Services, Formal Complaints should be sent directly to the member of staff nominated by the Service to handle complaints on the relevant Service website.

Your details, the details of the complaint, the remedy sought, and any supporting evidence should be included. You should also explain how you have attempted to raise the matter informally and why you remain dissatisfied. You should attach evidence to the form confirming that the informal stage has been completed. Unless you can demonstrate that you have been unable to receive an informal resolution of your complaint, you may be asked to return to the informal stage before a formal complaint can be considered.

If your complaint is not resolved under the Formal Stage, you may refer it to the University centrally via the Student Cases Office within 10 working days of the date of the final response letter from the Faculty Pro-Vice Chancellor or Head of Service (or nominee) under 7.2.7. For your Review Stage complaint to be accepted your will need to demonstrate one or more of the following grounds and provide supporting evidence:

  • The new and relevant information is available that for good reason and independently verifiable reasons was not available at the Review Stage and now ought to be considered.
  • That at the Review Stage the College or Service failed to follow the University's procedures.
  • That the conduct of the investigation into your complaint was subject to bias and/or prejudice against you.
  • The decision reached at the Formal Stage is one at which no reasonable body (properly directing itself and taking into account all relevant factors) could have arrived at.

You should send copies of all relevant documentation with the Complaint form - Request for Review to

Advice from the Students' Guild/SU

Please remember that a complaint should be submitted as soon as possible after a problem occurs and in any event must be whilst you are a current student or within 30 days of ceasing to be registered with the University. If you are a postgraduate research student, you may use the procedure for up to 30 calendar days after you have been notified of your final award of your withdrawal. We recommend that you draft your complaint, including your preferred resolution and sent it to us at We can assist you by explaining how the complaints process works and what you need to do. We will read over documents and may accompany you to meetings. However, we cannot represent you or write documents for you.

Students based in Cornwall should visit

The Students' Guild Advice Unit (Devon)


The students' Guild Advice Unit offers a range of support whether you need someone to listen or are looking for support. Friendly, trained advisors can be contacted in person, by phone or by email to discuss any problems you might be experiencing in your University or personal life. The team can provide confidential support and signpost you to expert advice if needed.

You can find the Students' Guild advice Unit on Level +1 in the Forum, phone 01392 723520 and email

The Falmouth and Exeter Student's Union Advice Service (Cornwall)

The SU has a team of fully trained and experienced advisers to help and support you. The Service covers the full range of issues including student funding, benefits advice, financial problems, housing queries, consumer advice, employment, institutional/academic related problems and more.

The Advice Service offers free independent, confidential, and impartial information, advice and support to all students of the University of Exeter Penryn and of Falmouth University Campus.

You can contact the SU by phone 01326 255861 or by email on