The side of the Richard Doll building
The Richard Doll building, housing many of the University's research laboratories, offices and support spaces for the Medical Sciences Division
(Image Credit: Rob Judges / Oxford University Images)

Appeals and complaints

This procedure covers complaints and appeals regarding our graduate access programmes (UNIQ+ and the Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarships) related to the application, selection process or delivery of the programmes.

Selection appeals

A selection appeal is an appeal of a decision which is made during the selection process (eg a decision rejecting your application or imposing certain conditions). An appeal can only be made on the grounds that there was an error in the decision-making process or a procedural irregularity. There is no right of appeal or complaint over matters of academic judgement.

Complaints

A complaint is a complaint about any other issue arising during the application or selection process. 

Informal advice

For informal advice about the complaints and appeals procedure, please contact us by email (uniqplus@admin.ox.ac.uk) with the subject line 'Complaints procedure'.

Submitting a complaint or appeal

In the first instance, please send your query by email (uniqplus@admin.ox.ac.uk). This is the informal stage.

If you are still dissatisfied by the response provided, and wish to submit a formal complaint or appeal, please email the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment (director.graduateadmissions@admin.ox.ac.uk), setting out:

  • what you are complaining about or appealing against;
  • the reasons for your complaint or appeal – please explain what kind of error or irregularity in the process you think has happened; and
  • what outcome you are seeking.

You should submit your complaint or appeal as soon as possible and at the latest within 10 working days of the matters you are complaining about occurred (complaints), or the date you were notified of the relevant decision (appeals). 

You will be asked for evidence that you have tried to address the matter informally and the Director of Graduate Admissions may decline to consider your complaint or appeal if you have not done so.

Reviewing and responding to your appeal or complaint

The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment will confirm receipt of your complaint or appeal within two working days of receipt.

The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment may decline to consider your complaint or appeal if it is trivial or repeats a complaint or appeal that has already been made. 

For all other complaints or appeals, the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment may take any steps which are considered necessary to investigate, including calling on any person to provide specialist assistance. The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment will usually send details of the matter to anyone who is a subject of the complaint (complaints) or the decision-maker(s) (appeals). 

The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment will usually provide a response within 10 working days of acknowledgement. If the time limit needs to be extended, the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment will keep you updated about the progress of the investigation.

General principles applicable to complaints or appeals arising from application or selection process

Information about your complaint or appeal will only be shared with other parties where disclosure is necessary in order to ensure a fair investigation.

All parties involved in a complaint or appeal are required to act reasonably, fairly and courteously towards each other and to respect the University’s procedures.

Complaints arising during graduate access programmes (UNIQ+ and the Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarships)

  1. Any complaints by participants in the University of Oxford’s graduate access programmes (UNIQ+ and the Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarships) that arise as a result of matters or circumstances during a participant’s engagement in such a programme, save for harassment complaints against staff or students of the University (where paragraph 11 applies), shall be dealt with under this procedure.
  2. The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment shall be entitled to delegate the role of investigating and deciding a complaint to any other employee engaged in an admissions role for the University, and references to the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment below shall be construed accordingly. Where a complaint relates to matters that occurred within a college of the University the college’s resolution of a complaint under its own procedures shall be sufficient. There is no entitlement to pursue parallel University and college complaints procedures, save where they concern entirely different matters. In any case of uncertainty over whether University or college procedures apply the decision of the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment is final. 
  3. Complaints should be submitted in writing by email to the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment (director.graduateadmissions@admin.ox.ac.uk), setting out:
    • What the complaint is about;
    • The reasons for the complaint or appeal, with any factual background;
    • Attaching any communications or any other evidence relied on; and
    • An explanation of any outcome sought.
  4. Complaints must be submitted as soon as possible and at the latest within 10 working days of when the matters complained about occurred.
  5. The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment will acknowledge receipt of any complaint no later than 2 working days after receipt.
  6. The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment may decline to consider a complaint if it is trivial or repeats a complaint or appeal that has already been made.
  7. The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment may take any steps which are considered necessary to investigate, including calling on any person to provide specialist assistance, and will usually send details of the matter to anyone who is a subject of the complaint.
  8. The Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment will aim to provide a substantive response to a complaint within 28 working days of acknowledgement. This time limit may be extended, in which case the complainant will be updated about the progress of the investigation.
  9. The decision of the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment on a complaint shall constitute the completion of the University’s procedures for that complaint. Participants on the University’s graduate access programmes are not registered students of the University, nor studying for any qualification recognised under the University’s Exam Regulations nor eligible for credits under Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education principles. Attendees who complete their programmes are only entitled to a certificate of attendance. Accordingly, participants are not entitled to escalate or appeal complaints under the University’s Complaints Procedures nor to complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIAHE).
  10. Any complaints of harassment or other seriously inappropriate behaviour by a participant a graduate access programme against another programme participant shall be dealt with promptly, with regard to seriousness of the allegations and any evidence available. If the complaint alleges activities which may constitute serious criminal misconduct the complainant may be advised to take their complaint to the police. In cases where investigation by the University is appropriate the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment shall expedite investigation and aim to resolve the complaint within 10 working days of acknowledgment. Remedies may include summary termination of a participant’s graduate access placement. If the allegations concern events which took place on a college’s premises the college has powers to deal with such complaints, in accordance with the college’s procedures. Colleges are asked to notify the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment of any complaint outcome.  A decision by a college to revoke a participant’s access to college premises shall terminate a participant’s graduate access programme placement also.  
  11. The University does not tolerate any form of harassment or victimisation and expects all members of the University community, including staff, students, visitors (including graduate access programme participants) and contractors, to treat each other with respect, courtesy, and consideration. The University’s harassment policy and the Code of Discipline are published on the University's website. If a complaint alleges harassment or victimisation by a member of University staff or a University student then the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment shall decide the appropriate procedures and next steps with reference to the context of the University’s policies on harassment (in liaison with the Director of HR or the Proctors, depending on whether the allegation concerns a member of staff or a student). The procedure adopted shall be proportionate to the seriousness of allegations in the complaint, and the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment (or the Director of HR or Proctors as appropriate) shall not be obliged to follow all stages of the University’s Harassment Procedures or of investigation under the Code of Discipline for Students in each case. Allegations of harassment or victimisation that occur within a college environment will normally be dealt with under appropriate college procedures, with reference to the principles of the University’s Harassment Policy where appropriate.
  12. The following general principles shall apply:
    • Information about your complaint will be shared with other parties where disclosure is necessary in order to ensure a fair investigation;
    • If a complainant submits an anonymous complaint, or if they refuse to give permission for details of their complaint to be shared with relevant parties, the Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment may decline to investigate; and
    • All parties involved in a complaint are required to act reasonably, fairly and courteously towards each other, to respond to any requests for further information promptly as required, and to respect the University’s procedures.
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