On these pages you can find out how to:

Academic Writing

Unfortunately we can't advise you on academic writing skills, such as researching or writing a dissertation.

We know people who can help though.

The University's Academic Skills Kit team are available to guide you through any issues if you're struggling to understand how to structure an essay, what good referencing really is all about, or if you're struggling to fit everything into the working day.

You can get in touch with the Academic Skills Kit team on their website.

The appeal process is for where you’ve received a formal University decision (e.g. degree classification, unsatisfactory academic progress decision) and you feel that they’ve not taken everything into account.  You can appeal on the grounds of undisclosed personal extenuating circumstances (PECs), procedural irregularity in how the decision was made or you feel that there was bias in how the decision was reached.  You can’t appeal just because you think your examiner was harsh, you thought you deserved more marks than you received, or because you’re not happy with the outcome.  You also can’t submit an appeal about lack of support or supervision as you are expected to raise this at the time in a Student Complaint.

There are three stages to the University's appeals procedure:

Level 1 – You have 14 days from the date of decision to submit an academic query in writing (letter or email will suffice) to your School. You should explain why you are challenging the decision and how your case meets the criteria for an academic appeal.

Level 2 – If you are dissatisfied with the Level 1 outcome, you then have 21 days from the date of the school’s response to complete your academic appeal. You will need to complete the appeal form (found here) and include a copy of the School’s response plus any supporting evidence you have. The form should be emailed to the Student Progress Service casework@ncl.ac.uk.

Level 3 – If you remain dissatisfied with the Level 2 response, you can ask for a review of the academic appeal.  You have 14 days from the date of the academic appeal outcome to request a review.  You can only ask for a review if you believe that there has been a procedural error in how the appeal was investigated.  You cannot ask for a review simply because you’re not happy with the outcome.

For further information, you can find the University's guidance and information on the Student Progress Service website.

If you would like advice about the Academic Appeal procedure or help submitting an academic appeal, please contact us to make an appointment.

If you don't like your course, or if you're just not sure it's for you, there are plenty of options available.

Make sure you understand all the implications before making a decision though, it may affect your student funding or you could end up having to pay accommodation costs even if you're no longer in Newcastle. The Student Advice Centre can explain the impact of the decision before you make it.

If you're not sure what you want to do instead, or you want to discuss your future career choices and employability, the University's Careers Service can help you explore your options.

If you're from outside the European Union there can be issues with your student visa so also speak to the University's Visa team.


You may also want to read our useful "Wrong Course" PDF.

Leaving your course

If you want to leave your course, whether it's to do the same course at another University or to do something totally different, discuss your options with a Student Advice Centre adviser first as there can be significant issues with accommodation costs and student funding.

If you're changing University you may be able to transfer depending on the new University's procedure, but if not you will need to withdraw from your course and re-apply for the new one there.

 

Changing your course

If you know you wish to stay at Newcastle University, but you don't think your current course is for you, then you do have the option of an internal transfer to another course at Newcastle University.

If you do know which course you wish to transfer to, then your first step is to approach the School that runs the course you wish to transfer to.  The Degree Programme Director (DPD) will need to agree to you transferring to the new course.  They will often agree if you meet the entrance requirements for the new course, and there is room on the new course.  But you will usually need to wait until the start of the next academic year to transfer to the new course, as in-year transfers are only normally allowed early in the first term.  You might also need to re-start at the beginning of year one.  Changing course can have financial implications, such as issues with accommodation costs and student funding, and the Student Advice Centre advisers can guide you through your options.

If you don't know which course you wish to transfer to, your first step is to discuss your options with the University's Careers Service.  They can help you decide what career options you have and help you decide which course would be best for you.  Once you know which course you wish to transfer to, it's the same process as explained above.

You can complain about a School, Service or member of staff within the University using the Student Complaints procedure. Anonymous complaints will not normally be investigated and you should be prepared to provide evidence to support your allegation.

There are three stages to the complaints procedure:

Level 1 – Write to the Head of School or Service (email is fine) explaining the issue / problem within 3 months of the incident and try to resolve it directly with them.

Level 2 – If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your Level 1 complaint, submit a complaints form (found here) no more than 3 months after the Level 1 response from the School or exceptionally within 6 months of the incident. Email this to the Student Progress Service casework@ncl.ac.uk along with any supporting evidence.

Level 3 - If you remain dissatisfied with the Level 2 outcome, you can ask for a review of the complaint decision within 14 calendar days of notification of the outcome. However, Level 3 requests can only be submitted on the basis of a procedural irregularity in how the decision was made.

For further information, you can find the University's guidance and information on the Student Progress Service website. 

 

Complaints about another student of the University

To complain about another student at the University, email the Student Progress Service casework@ncl.ac.uk. Fully explain your concern and provide supporting evidence. Student Progress Service may invite you to a meeting as part of the investigation.The allegation will normally be investigated under the University's Student Disciplinary Procedure.

 

If you would like advice about the Student Complaints procedure or help submitting a complaint, please make an appointment with the Student Advice Centre.

 

Assessment Irregularities

If the University suspects you of academic misconduct such as plagiarism or not following exam rules, they will investigate this under the Assessment Irregularities procedure.

If it is decided that there was academic misconduct, this procedure can result in academic and disciplinary consequences depending on how serious the case is. For example, a zero mark for the work or fail for the module may be given as well as a formal written warning on your record. The most serious sanction is expulsion.

If you are suspected of an assessment irregularity, you will usually be asked to submit a statement and attend an interview to discuss the case before a decision is made.

For further information, you can find the University's guidance and information on the Student Progress Service website.

If you would like advice about the Assessment Irregularity procedure or support writing a statement, please make an appointment with the Student Advice Centre.

 

Disciplinary Issues

If the University suspects you of breaking the Code of Conduct such as damage to University property, criminal behaviour, or behaviour that may bring the University into disrepute, they will investigate this under the Student Disciplinary procedure.

If it is decided that there was misconduct, this procedure can result in disciplinary consequences such as a warning, a fine, and the most serious sanction is expulsion.

If you are suspected of misconduct, you will usually be asked to submit a statement and attend an interview (or a panel hearing for serious misconduct) to discuss the case before a decision is made.

For further information, you can find the University's guidance and information on the Student Progress Service website.

If you would like advice about the Student Disciplinary procedure or support writing a statement, please make an appointment with the Student Advice Centre.

 

Sometimes life gets in the way of exams and assessments.  Whether it's a personal problem, health issue, bereavement or other difficulty, the University can take this into account through the Personal Extenuating Circumstances (PEC) procedure.  This is the procedure where you tell your School about what is happening and how it has affected your studies, and they work to make sure that it is taken into account.

What issues can be taken into account?

There's no set list of situations that can be taken into account, and difficulties can include short-term health problems and mental health difficulties, illness, bereavement and other personal issues.  In general an issue you're experiencing should be unforeseen and outside of your control, which means that you couldn't have expected it to happen and you couldn't have prevented it happening.

What issues can't be taken into account?

The University won't normally consider issues that you can control.  Obvious examples of this include missing an exam because the Metro was late, missing an assessment deadline because the computer cluster in the library was full, or where you've gone on holiday.

The University also won't normally consider issues that you knew about.  Long-term illnesses and disabilities, and long-term mental health difficulties, will not normally be considered under this procedure.  The University expects you to take steps to get support on these issues long before your exams and deadlines, and you should get in touch with Student Wellbeing's Disability Service to find out how they can help.  Repeated PEC applications for the same issue will normally also be rejected.

How do I tell the University?

If you're an Undergraduate or Taught Postgraduate student, you simply complete the online PEC form as soon as you become aware that your issues are affecting your studies.  The online PEC form can be found on your S3P Student Portal.

The form itself is straightforward.  You explain which assignments or exams have been affected, and you tick the boxes which show how you've been affected.  You briefly explain what the issue is (e.g. illness, bereavement) and you should explain how these issues have affected you.  It is important that you're clear on just how you've been affected, as the University can't make assumptions and can't guess how you've been affected.

Do I need evidence?

Usually, yes.  This ideally needs to be evidence from an independent third party, such as a doctor's letter or a death certificate, confirming what has happened.  If you're asking for an extension for an assignment you can self-certify for seven days, so long as you've filled in a Student Notification of Absence form on your S3P Student Portal, and you won't need any more evidence.  But if your issues have affected an exam then you will need evidence.

What can they do to help?

Firstly, and most importantly, please be aware that the PEC process will not change your marks.  You won't get extra marks because you submitted a successful PEC application.

Your PEC application will go to a PEC Committee, who will decide how severely you have been affected, if at all.  This committee decides if they're going to accept or reject your application, and you should be told quite soon after applying.

If they agree that you have been affected, they usually ask the Board of Examiners to take this into account when they make the decision.  The most common outcomes are that the Board of Examiners give you an additional resit attempt, or if you were very close to the pass mark they can give you a compensated pass (this means they treat you as having passed the module).  They can also decide to uplift your degree classification (e.g. from a 2:2 to a 2:1), although this is quite rare and is dependent on how well you've done in the rest of your course.

When do I have to do this?

The University rules are that you must tell them about any issues as soon as you become aware of them.  You must tell the University before any marks are released, if you decide you were ill after your exam results come out then it is too late to submit a PEC form.  You might be able to submit an Academic Appeal, but it is often too late to have illness taken into account after the event.

I need more information?

You can find the University's guidance and information on the Student Progress Service website.

If you would like help in filling in the PEC form, or collecting evidence, please make an appointment with the Student Advice Centre, where one of our advisers can guide you through the process.

If you're not happy with a decision made in the PEC process, you should also come and speak to one of our advisers to discuss your options.