Making a Complaint

We are committed to providing you with a high-quality educational experience. If an issue arises, we encourage students to discuss this with the person concerned, or if this isn’t possible, either your personal tutor, Head of Curriculum or the Deputy Head of Higher Education to enable a swift an effective and efficient resolution. However, where this is not possible, there are a number of procedures that you can use to raise your concern and, if necessary, make a formal complaint or academic appeal. 

We are committed to ensuring that you have the opportunity to make complaints without risk of disadvantage or recrimination. Each case will be considered on its own merits with regard to the evidence and circumstances presented and in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures.   

Should I Make a Complaint?

Making a complaint may not be the best, quickest or most appropriate way to deal with a problem. Issues or problems with courses can be raised during tutorial, or at Programme Committees, student consultative forum meetings by course or student representatives. 

Examples of issues that can be considered: 

  • Aspects of your learning and teaching experience 
  • Service issues 
  • Facilities 


Who Can Make a Complaint?

We encourage students at all times to make the complaint yourself but in exceptional situations you can ask a relative or supporter to make a complaint on your behalf. You must give your explicit written consent for someone to do so. 

If you are studying for an award at a partner institution, you should follow the Student Complaints Procedure, except where your complaint is concerned with a service issue at the partner institution, in which case the issue should be raised via the partner institution’s internal complaints procedure. 


How Can I Make a Complaint?

Early Resolution Stage 

Raising your complaint informally often provides the quickest and most effective way to resolve an issue. 

You should raise your complaint at the early resolution stage directly through your Module Leader, Personal Tutor, Head of Curriculum or Deputy Head of Higher Education. 

You can raise a complaint for early resolution via [email protected]  

Further Information When Seeking Informal Resolution 

When raising your concern make clear what outcome you would like. You may be asked to attend a face-to-face meeting with the person considering your concern, where the circumstances make this appropriate. You are entitled to bring either a fellow student or staff member, to the meeting for support. You will not be entitled to bring a legal representative to the meeting. 

UCSD has three complaints Procedures which are dependent on the type of complaint and who validates your qualification.  All three Procedures follow the same process. 

  • Higher Education Service Complaints 
  • Higher Education Academic Complaints for University of Plymouth Programmes 
  • Higher Education Academic Complaints for all other Programmes  

What if my Complaint isn’t Resolved by an Early Resolution?

If you are not satisfied with the proposed resolution at the early resolution stage then you are eligible to submit a formal complaint.

As part of the formal submission of your complaint, you will be required to provide: 

  • details of your complaint 
  • details about any action you have already taken to resolve your complaint 
  • details about the response you have already received 
  • why you are not satisfied with the initial response 
  • your desired outcome 
  • any supporting evidence that might be important. 

If you require any help or advice before submitting your formal complaint, you can take advice from the Helpzone team. 

What can I Expect from the Complaints Process?

We aim to resolve all issues quickly and effectively during the early resolution stage, but for some cases that are slightly more complicated, or you feel the best outcome hasn’t been reached, there are additional steps that you will need to take.

Guide to Student Complaints Procedure 

What if I am Unhappy with Outcome?

Review Stage

Complaints submitted will be reviewed only if you are able to demonstrate at least one of the following grounds: 

  • the College’s response failed to address all of the issues 
  • the College’s response failed to consider all evidence 
  • there is evidence of bias or prejudice in consideration of the complaint 
  • a procedural irregularity occurred in consideration of the complaint 
  • any remedy offered is unreasonable in all the circumstances

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your formal complaint, and you fall into one of the categories above, you may submit a request for review. This will need to be submitted via email to [email protected] within ten working days of the College’s response with the outcome of your formal complaint. 

Being unhappy with the College’s response to a formal complaint is not sufficient grounds for the matter to be considered for review. 

External Review

If you remain unhappy with the outcome once you have completed the College’s internal procedures, you may refer your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). This must be done within 12 months of the date of the Completion of Procedures letter you will receive once you have completed the College’s internal procedures. 

Further information is available via the OIA. 


I Don’t Think my Issue is Covered by the Complaints Process

Academic decision taken by an assessment board
Please refer to ouracademic appeals information. 

Please raise your concern directly with the Admissions, Engagement and Outreach Coordinator  

Bullying or harassment
Please refer to ourbullying and harassment information. 

Student conduct
Please raise your concern directly with the Deputy Head of Higher Education 


UCSD’s annual Student Perception Questionnaire (SPQ) is an opportunity to provide feedback. Most final-stage undergraduate students are also asked to participate in the National Student Survey (NSS), the results of which are used to help the University improve its support for the student learning environment.