Academic Issues

Academic Issues

The Advice Centre can help you with a range of academic issues including:

Academic Appeals, Mitigating Circumstances, Fitness to Practice, Academic Misconduct and complaints.


Appeals Workshop

Contact our Advice Team


A first stage appeal needs to be submitted within 10 working days of the academic board confirming your mark.

The appeal would need to be based on at least one of the following grounds:

  1. That an Assessment Board has given insufficient weight to extenuating circumstances.
  2. That the student’s academic performance has been adversely affected by illness or other factors which the student has for good reason been unable to make known to the Assessment Board.
  3. That there has been a material administrative error at a stage of the examining process, or that some material irregularities have occurred.
  4. That the assessment procedure and/or examinations have not been conducted in accordance with the approved regulations.

You should also note that questioning the judgement of the marker is not a valid reason for appeal.

Evidence will also need to be supplied where appropriate.

For further Frequently asked questions on submitting an appeal, please click here:


Sometimes things can happen in your personal life that are out of your control and can impact on your studies. In these situations, there is a process called Mitigating Circumstances that can support you.


How do I apply for Mitigating Circumstances?

You can do this manually or online through the Student Portal- it is always a good idea to seek advice and guidance from an academic staff member such as your personal tutor or course/module leader.

You can apply for Mitigating Circumstances on the following reasons and will be asked to supply appropriate evidence, some examples of which are listed below:

Mitigating Circumstances Reason Evidence that would be accepted
Significant illness or injury to self
  • Medical certificate or prescription
  • Hospital letter or note
  • Photograph
The death or critical/significant illness of a close family member/dependent
  • Death certificate
  • Obituary notice
  • Funeral order of service
  • Newspaper article
  • Medical certificate/ hospital letter or note
Family crisis or major financial problems leading to acute stress
  • Documents relating to the issue
Absence for jury service or maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • Official letters/ documentation
A criminal act where you have been a victim
  • Police report

What doesn’t count as reasons for Mitigating Circumstances?

1. Everyday illnesses such as colds and headaches.

2. Religious observance or obligations.

3.Extended periods of international travel during term time.

4. Disability or learning difficulty.

5.The final deadline for submission of claim is normally 3 days after the assessment deadline or date of exam for a module.


What happens once I submit an application?

When you submit an application, you will receive an automated email acknowledgement from your School. If you have submitted an application with sufficient supporting evidence, you will be advised within 5 working days whether your application has been approved.

Your School may request additional information if the evidence provided is considered to be insufficient.


What happens if my Mitigating Circumstances are approved?

The granting of Mitigating Circumstances means that you may submit course work after the original deadline and/or sit an examination at the next available opportunity without penalty. You should contact the individual module tutors to discuss appropriate solution for each module.


What is the deadline for submitting Mitigating Circumstances?

Although this may be a difficult time for you, if you are applying for Mitigating Circumstances it is best to act as early and quickly as possible. You must apply no later than 3 days after the examination/assessment or submission date. Do not wait until you receive your assessment results to submit a claim.


How confidential is my application?

The University is committed to ensuring confidentiality and only those staff who are part of the decision-making and academic process will have access to your information. If your Mitigating Circumstance is of a particularly sensitive and/or personal nature you may request that the senior member of staff who is considering the application only sees the information. In such situations you should complete a paper based application.


The University regards cheating as any attempt to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage. Examples include:

  • Having unpermitted prior access to exam questions
  • Unfair use of electronic or communication devices
  • Impersonation and copying from another student’s work

The University regards plagiarism as the copying from the works of another person without attributing it through quotation marks and appropriate referencing

The University regards collusion as where a student copies or closely imitates another student’s work or where two or more students work together on an assignment of work.

It is also considered collusion if a student fails to take reasonable steps to safeguard their work by making it easily accessible to others to read.


I have been accused of one of the above, what happens next?

If you have been suspected of an offence of cheating, plagiarism or collusion then you will receive an email from your School asking you to discuss the academic misconduct. You should be given at least 5 working days notice of this meeting.

There should be a Turnitin report with the email, if there isn’t then you should contact the School to ask if one has been carried out. If there has, make sure you get a copy.

You should then our Advice Centre.Make sure you attach your Turnitin report so we can see the details of the case. One of our advisors will provide you with advice on the meeting and will be able to attend with you as your representative. The advisor will need to have full knowledge of your case and discuss this with you beforehand, so please give them plenty of notice of the date and time of your meeting.


What happens at the meeting?

The module leader or marker of the assignment should explain why they think you are guilty of plagiarism/collusion. They should provide a copy of your assignment as well as a copy of the document that has allegedly been copied to demonstrate the similarities.

You will then be given the opportunity to present your case as to why the similarity occurred. If you are guilty you should always be honest and admit this.


If found guilty, what are the potential outcomes?

This will depend on the level of the misconduct. If you contact an advisor, they may be able to give you some insight into what the outcomes might be, but ultimately these will be decided by the chair of the meeting you attend.

Category Penelty
Cat. 1

The outcomes will be determined via the standard marking processes. The element of assessment will be marked and the mark may be reduced (by up to 10% of the maximum mark) to reflect the failure to address the assessment criteria regarding referencing.

The student will be given advice and will be referred to relevant support and learning opportunities regarding good academic practice.

Cat. 2

A mark of 0% for the element of assessment which must be resubmitted where permitted*, to the required standard. The mark for the element of assessment following resubmission will be capped at the minimum pass mark.


A mark of 0% for the element of assessment which must be resubmitted where permitted*, to the required standard. The mark for the module following resubmission will be capped at the minimum pass mark.


A written warning setting out the consequences of further academic misconduct and a referral to learning opportunities regarding good academic practice. A flag will be placed on the student record system.

Cat. 3

A mark of 0% for the module with no opportunity for re-assessment. The student may be permitted to retake the module in a subsequent year when the module result will be capped at the pass mark for the module.


A final written warning setting out the consequences of further academic misconduct and a referral to learning opportunities regarding good academic practice. A flag will be place on the student record system.

Cat. 4

Level failed and a requirement to withdraw from the programme. (This does not preclude the student from applying for re-admission to the University after a period of time defined by the Committee.)


Expulsion from the University on a permanent basis.

The Academic Misconduct Committee will advise the Assessment Board regarding the student’s entitlement to any exit award or credit achieved. The student will normally be entitled to retain an exit award or any credits awarded for work that has already been passed without evidence of academic misconduct.

A flag will be placed on the student record system.


*Where academic misconduct is detected for the first time on a reassessment for an already failed assessment, no further reassessment will be permitted, and the appropriate fail grade will be conferred.

The above penalties will apply where a student transfers from one UCLan course to another during their period of studies and module credits gained on the former course are transferred to the current course.


Can I appeal the decision made at the meeting?

You also have an opportunity to appeal any decision made. For more information on how to do this as well as the first and second stage appeal forms click here. The grounds for appeal against an Academic Misconduct finding are

1. That the original hearing was not conducted fairly and/or in accordance with the published procedure;

2. That the original decision was unreasonable in all the circumstances;.


Please note: This only applies to courses that lead to a qualification with a professional body.


If a concern for a student’s professional practice is raised, the Head of School will appoint an Investigating Officer to look into the issue. The Officer would then ask you to attend a meeting to discuss the concern and record your side, then speak with other parties involved before compiling a report for the Head, who in turn will decide if a Fitness to Practice Panel is needed.


The Fitness to Practice Meeting

If you have been called for a Fitness to Practice meeting, you should be sent details of the meeting along with the Investigating Officer’s report. You can contact our Advice Centre for support with the meeting and/or to attend with you.

The advisor will need to have full knowledge of your case and discuss this with you beforehand, so please give them plenty of notice of the date and time of your meeting.

The outcomes from the Head of School meeting can be

a. that there are no grounds for concern and the case should be dismissed;

b. that further investigation is necessary;

c. that the matter should be referred to be dealt with under another University procedure;

d. that there is insufficient evidence to reach a finding that a student is unfit to practise, but that the cause of concern is sufficiently serious to warrant remedial action such as monitoring or supervision of the student for a defined period, and/or the issue of a written reprimand which will normally have effect for the duration of the course;

e. that the student be re-assessed in specified part(s) of the course, in consultation with the Chair of the Assessment Board;

f. that the student be permitted to continue on the course, subject to conditions and/or an undertaking including (without limitation) a 5 programme of rehabilitation or treatment, or observation/supervision, reviewed by the Dean/Head of School after a given period;

g. that the student is required to withdraw from his/her studies for a specified period, in which case the student’s return to study may be subject to a further satisfactory assessment and/or conditions;

h. that the matter should be referred to a Fitness to Practise Committee.

If the Head of School decides to refer your case to a full panel meeting, the meeting is your opportunity to ask any questions about the report and lay out your case. Other members of the panel will also have the opportunity to question the report and ask you any questions. You will then be asked to leave the room/call whilst a decision is made. Sometimes a decision will be made on the day, but the panel have the right to talk afterwards before confirming the decision in writing.



Possible outcomes will vary depending on the situation but can include; the meeting being adjourned because further investigation is needed, a period of monitoring or supervision, reassessment, the case being dismissed as no cause for concern has been proven or transferring to a non-professional course.

In very serious cases it may be decided that the student has been found unfit to practice and their professional education and training may be terminated resulting being withdrawn from university.

If you are unhappy with the decision made you can appeal to the within 10 working days of the date on letter confirming the fitness to practice decision. This appeal must fit within 1 of these 3 grounds:

  • If new evidence or Extenuating Circumstances has become known which the student could not have made known at the time of the original hearing.
  • If you felt the original hearing/interview was not conducted fairly or in accordance with the published procedure
  • If the original decision was manifestly unreasonable.

The University is committed to supporting students and recognises the importance of their health and wellbeing in relation to their academic progress and University experience. Students are expected to take a proactive part in the process, by managing their own health and wellbeing as well as engaging with any support, in order to fulfil their academic potential.


There may be occasions where the health or wellbeing of a student deteriorates to the point where it raises questions about their fitness and suitability to continue their studies. The Fitness to Study Procedure will be used to deal with instances where concerns have been expressed over a student’s health or behaviour.


This procedure has three stages based on the level of support needed by the student and/or seriousness of risk posed by the health or behaviour of a student. Depending on the concern raised, it may be appropriate to move straight to a higher level. Students are encouraged to engage with the University and access all support available to them, if they choose not to do so, then this procedure may continue without their involvement.


You can find out more about the University’s Student Support, Health & Wellbeing Service on their website here.


The University recognises that there may be times when you have cause for complaint about the service you receive. If you have already left the University but wish to make a complaint, then this should be done within 3 months of leaving.

There are 3 stages to the Complaint’s Procedure:


1st stage (informal): Try to approach and complain to the person who is responsible for the issue or incident you are complaining about, ideally within 10 working days of its occurrence and in writing.

This could be to a manager of a University service, or if it is an academic member of staff then you should take it to the line manager of the person in question (usually the course leader).

If the issue cannot be resolved using this method and you want to take it to 2nd or 3rd stage, then you should seek advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre by contacting an advisor  

2nd stage: This stage requires a written complaint within 15 working days of the outcome of your 1st stage complaint preferably on acomplaints form

At this stage you should:

Explain what the complaint is and what has been done to resolve it.

State why you aren’t happy with the response at stage one.

State what outcome you want to achieve.

Attach as much evidence as possible.

You should then submit this to the Complaints Liaison Officer at


3rd stage: Still not happy with the response at stage 2? You can progress to 3rd stage if you can provide evidence of one of the following:

1. That new evidence or circumstances have become known which you could not have known at the time of the stage 2 complaint.

2. That the stage 2 investigation was not conducted fairly which affected the outcome.

3. That the outcome of stage 2 was unreasonable in light of new evidence provided.

This must be completed and submitted to the Complaints Liaison Officer within 15 working days of the 2nd stage formal outcome letter.

Once a 3rd stage complaint is received, the Vice Chancellor will appoint a panel that will discuss in private the complaint to decide if:

Dismissed with the reasons given (you would also be told you have the right to take the complaint to theOfficer of the Independent Adjudicator).

The student is given a hearing to present their case and will be provided with a response. If you are still unhappy with the outcome, then you are able to submit your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

Any student wishing to take a complaint to the Office of Independent Adjudicator should consult the Advice Centre beforehand.


The University has regulations regarding the behaviour and conduct of students. Below are some examples of the types of behaviour that may breach the University’s regulations:


Disruption or improper interference with any academic, administrative, sporting, social, or other activities run by the University. Please note this can be on or off University premises.


Any violent, indecent, disorderly, aggressive, threatening, or offensive behaviour or language. This include on social networking sites.


Fraud, deceit, deception, misrepresentation, falsification of records, dishonesty in relation to the University and staff and students of the university. Please note this can be in relation to being a student of the University.


Action likely to cause injury or can impair the safety of University premises or whilst on a placement.


Breach of provisions contained in of the University’s regulations, guidelines, rules, codes, conditions or/and policies.


Assessment and/or examination offences, which include, theft, falsification, bribery, the use or promotion of commercial services which offer academic dishonesty and breach of any attendance requirements.


Any behaviour or conduct that is deemed a criminal offence.


If a member of staff believes you have breached these regulations you may be asked to attend a meeting by the Director of Student and Academic Support Service (SASS) or Dean/Head of School, depending on the seriousness of the accusation.


The Disciplinary Meeting

It may be an informal meeting but if it is considered serious you may be asked to attend a disciplinary interview or hearing. For these you should be given 5 working days’ notice and should state what the allegation is, who will be at the meeting, and possible outcomes. During this time, students are sometime suspended from campus. However, you are still entitled to receive representation from The Advice Centre, but this must be by pre-arranged appointment.


The possible outcomes vary depending on the seriousness of the allegation however, they can range from verbal or written reprimands, to partial or permanent exclusion, to monies or fines to be paid by the student.


You are also allowed to bring evidence with you to support your case as well as a representative. The adviser will need to have full knowledge of your case and discuss this with you beforehand, so please give them plenty of notice of the date and time of your meeting.


We would advise you to always contact us to seek advice and request one of our advisors attend with you to these meetings.

Is there anything wrong with this page? Let us know