University Student Complaints Procedure

The Proctors will consider complaints raised by students under the University Student Complaints Procedure (208kb) in relation to the following:

  • University administrative and support services (including departmental facilities and central facilities such as libraries, counselling etc.)
  • University academic services and support (departmental teaching, supervision etc.)

The process allows you to pursue a complaint as an individual or as a group of students.

If you wish to complain about the decision made by an academic body (e.g. board of examiners, transfer and confirmation etc.) you will need to make an academic appeal.

If your complaint relates to admissions, College services, staff and/or student conduct, OUSU, research integrity or public interest disclosure, you need to make your complaint under one of the University’s other complaints procedures.

In the first instance

Before you make a formal complaint you should try and resolve the matter with the person or body responsible.


If the matter relates to one of the Bodleian Libraries or another University library, you should raise it with staff in the library in the first instance and thereafter with the Head of the Library in question.

Bodleian libraries

Other University libraries

If the matter relates to a college library, you should pursue it via the college’s procedures, as with any other college matter.

College libraries

University Administration and Services (UAS)

Write to the head of the respective section. UAS sections

 Department facilities

Write to the Departmental administrator or Head of Department as listed on the department’s website. University departments

 Teaching and supervision

If you feel able to do so, take up your concerns with the member of staff directly.

If not, take it up with your Director of Undergraduate Studies or your Director of Graduate Studies as appropriate.

If the matter involves one of these individuals and you wish to raise it with somebody else, speak to the head of department or faculty. 


You may wish to take advice about your concerns from your Senior Tutor, Tutor for Graduates or College Adviser. You can also contact the Proctors’ Office and speak to a caseworker (in confidence and without committing yourself to any action) if you are considering making a formal complaint.

Usually, the initial raising of a complaint is successful in resolving a problem. If, however, you feel that it hasn’t, or that there’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed in the University system, then you can make a formal complaint to the Proctors.

Formal complaints

To make a formal complaint, you need to familiarise yourself with the University Student Complaints Procedure (208kb) and complete a Complaint Form available from the Proctors’ Office website. If it is a joint complaint on behalf of a group of students, the group will need to nominate a representative to actually make the complaint. Time limits do apply and you should submit your form within three months of when the matter you are complaining about occurred.

The Proctors will open a formal investigation of the complaint. They will deal with many aspects of the investigation through one of their permanent caseworkers, though they will handle some aspects themselves including all key decisions. Conducting an investigation will usually mean sharing the details of the complaint, including your identity, with those responsible for the matters complained about. The Proctors will normally try to complete their investigation within 30 days of receiving the form. You will receive a written outcome explaining what the Proctor has done to investigate your complaint, their decision and the reasons for it, and any directions or recommendations to address the complaint.


If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you may be able to request a review of the decision. Finally, after completing all of the University’s procedures, you may be able to complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

Complaints and appeals - review