Appeal or complaint?

What is the difference between an academic appeal and a complaint?

There are important differences between an academic appeal and a complaint.

Academic appeals

An academic appeal allows you to raise concerns over:

  • a specific academic decision
  • a breach in due process in making an academic decision.

For example, you may submit an appeal against a grade for an assessment, or a special consideration application outcome. Read the University’s information about appeals.

Serious concerns with course content, or exam conditions or format, for example, can be included in a stage 1 appeal if you can clearly show how these issues impacted your grade for the assessment.


A complaint is a way to raise an issue with the faculty or the University over matters such as:

  • discrimination
  • harassment
  • bullying
  • the quality of teaching or assessment.

You have 12 months after the date of the incident to lodge a complaint. Read the University’s information on complaints.

A complaint is not the appropriate process to change or challenge your grade.

If you do not want to challenge your grade, but you want to raise issues, it is your right to make a complaint to the faculty or to the University via the Student Affairs Unit.

Appeal and complaint

If you submit both an appeal and a complaint for the same unit of study, at the same time – whether to the faculty or the University – there are important procedural matters to be considered. Your appeal will not be considered until the complaint is resolved. This means a complaint may delay the release of your results, or your ability to graduate.

If you want to understand more about academic appeals or complaints, contact us for help.

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Written by SUPRA Postgraduate Advocacy Service March 2023.

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