Making a complaint
We want you to have a pleasant and productive time studying with us, but we understand there might be occasions where you are not as satisfied as you could be. SOAS values your feedback as a student and there are a number of ways at SOAS that you can voice concerns about elements of your student experience that you may be dissatisfied about. These are:
- Speaking directly to the relevant staff member/s
- Contacting academic advisors or supervisors
- By emailing the Student Experience team on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Completing termly Student Evaluation Modules, end of year surveys, the National Student Survey (for final year UG students) or PTES/PRES.
- Attending Department Feedback Committees
- Participating in the Student Experience Forums
- Speaking to Student Representatives, or engaging with Student Voice through Moodle
- Going to the all-student meeting with senior members of staff
- Talking to the SOAS Students Union
The complaints procedure
The Student Complaints Procedure describes what you need to do if you remain dissatisfied and wish to lodge a formal complaint about an aspect of the delivery of your programme or other service provided by or on behalf of the School.
PDF document, 191.05KB
In summary, there are three stages to the Student Complaints Procedure.
Stage 1: Early Resolution
Students should make a complaint in writing to the relevant department to which their complaint relates, in the first instance. Many complaints can be resolved early and informally at this stage, to the benefit of all.
Stage 2: Formal complaint Investigation
If the matter is not resolved at Stage 1, or Early Resolution does not appear to be suitable, students can submit a formal complaint through the Student Complaints Form via the Student Information Desk (SID). The form can be located on SID within the ‘Student Complaints and Appeals’ section. Once logged into SID, please select the ‘Stage Two Student Complaint Form’ from the list of options. Alternatively, you can type Student Complaint into the search function box and this will bring you to the Student Complaints and Appeals section.
If the complaint is assessed as valid for consideration, an investigator will be appointed and the student will get a written outcome in the form of an Investigation Report.
Stage 3: Review of complaint
If a student is dissatisfied with the Stage 2 outcome, they can request a review of the Stage 2 decision using the Stage 3 Student Complaint Request for Review Form via the Student Information Desk (SID). The form can be located on SID within the ‘Student Complaints and Appeals’ section. Once logged into SID, please select the ‘Stage Three Student Complaint Review Request Form’ from the list of options. Alternatively, you can type Student Complaint into the search function box and this will bring you to the Student Complaints and Appeals section.
If the review request is submitted on permissible grounds and assessed as valid for consideration, the matter will be referred to a Reviewer. A written outcome will be sent to the student, normally accompanied with a Completion of Procedures Letter depending on the outcome of the complaint. This is the end of the School’s internal complaints process.
Please find the complaints flowchart here (PDF).
Can I complain?
Any student who is enrolled at the School, or is interrupting their studies, can make a complaint.
Complaints should be raised as soon as possible, and not later than 20 working days of the relevant event or circumstance occurring. This enables us to investigate any concern while the matter is still fresh in the minds of relevant people, and enables SOAS to put things right where appropriate.
What can I complain about?
- Issues about module delivery, administration or many other aspects of the learning and teaching experience
- Personal complaints about another student or group of students
- Service delivery, or other non-academic aspects of the student experience
- Bullying, harassment or discrimination. The School uses the Report and Support facility to enable students or staff to lodge named or anonymous matters of concern. However, please note that if you remain anonymous, it may not be possible for the School to take action against a student or member of staff. Complaints lodged concerning these areas will normally be investigated under the Student Disciplinary Procedure.
What cannot be considered under the Student Complaints Procedure?
- The Students’ Union, its events or the conduct of its officers, including sabbaticals. Please utilise the SU Complaints Procedure
- Admissions decisions
- Academic appeals against assessment decisions
- A student’s performance in any assessment, or other matters that involve Academic Judgement
- Matters that are currently subject to criminal investigation or proceedings
- Matters that ought to be more appropriately considered under another School procedure
- Minor or occasional lapses of good manners
- Disputes between students. These incidents normally fall under the Student Disciplinary Procedure and/or the Serious Cases Triage Panel
- Complaints about the conduct of SOAS staff. Complaints of this kind can be lodged under this procedure, however they will be referred to Human Resources for consideration under their procedures
- Concerns about School policies or governance of the institution. Students should raise issues of these kinds through the Students’ Union, who have representation on SOAS committees, including Senate, the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Committee (TELSOC) and the Board of Trustees. Academic Departments can help with concerns about any local policies. Each SOAS policy has a policy owner on the first page – students can contact the owner directly to make comments, or alternatively by contacting email@example.com.