A complaint is any type of problem, concern or grievance about your studies, student life, the University or the University environment.

Basically, this means anything that negatively affects your studies or experience at University can be raised as a complaint.

Students walking across campus

Resolving your complaint 

In most cases, problems can be simply and quickly resolved by raising them at a local level when they arise with the person or area responsible. In instances where issues cannot be resolved by Steps 1 & 2, a complaint can be lodged in Step 3.

Step 1 - Try to resolve the issue yourself

The University has a range of processes and resources for dealing with common issues experienced by students which can be accessed online.

UNSW documents3 Icon

Review of results  

Fee remission 

Special consideration

If you can't find what you are looking for or remain dissatisfied with the outcome of this step, you may wish to proceed to Step 2.

Step 2 - Speak to someone

Female teacher talking to student

Complaints are often resolved quickly and satisfactorily through informal resolution. This usually involves raising the issue with staff closest to the matter. You will not suffer detriment or disadvantage as a direct result of raising your concern with the University.

If your issue relates to a course you are taking, the first step is to speak with your course tutor or coordinator. If you are not comfortable having a conversation with course staff for any reason, Schools have a Grievance Officer whose role is to assist you with any issues related to your studies at UNSW.

Below are some tips on who to contact and what to say.

Relevant staff members may include:

  • Staff at the Faculty Student Centre
  • Manager of Student Administration (not Faculty based)
  • Course Coordinator
  • School Grievance Officer
  • Head of School

If you are a Higher Degree Research Student, relevant staff members may include:

  • Your supervisor
  • School Postgraduate Coordinator or Head of School
  • Associate Dean Research or Director of Postgraduate Research in your Faculty
  • Dean of Graduate Research

When sending an email to the relevant staff member, be sure to include the following details

  • Context.
    • Explain what your complaint is.
      • Does it involve a staff member, a course, a piece of assessment, or a service provided?
  • Reason.
    • Explain the reasons why you think the decision or action you are complaining about is unfair or wrong
      • Does it break any codes or policies
  • Solution.
    • Think about what outcome you are seeking.
      • What would resolve your complaint?
Arc Logo

You can access further support through Arc

 Contact Arc 

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of this step, you may wish to proceed to Step 3.

Step 3 - Lodge a complaint

If you have tried Steps 1 and 2 and your concerns have not been resolved, you can lodge a complaint here.

Below are some tips when making your complaint.

  • Be timely. The Student Complaints Procedure requires that you must lodge a complaint within 12 months of becoming aware of the issue. The sooner you lodge a complaint, the quicker the issue can be considered and hopefully resolved. 
     
  • Provide evidence. To better support your claim, include as much evidence as possible. This might include copies of email exchanges, notes of discussions you had, assessment pieces or marking schemes. The university will assess your complaint and may request more detail from you to assist in deciding how to handle the issues you raise
     
  • Be respectful. You might be dissatisfied about something, but please be mindful in communicating your concerns with courtesy and respect to the complaint handlers assigned to your case. They are available to respond to any questions you have about the complaint process.


The University respects the wishes of those wanting to remain anonymous. However, please keep in mind the University’s ability to investigate an anonymous complaint may be limited and you will also not be provided the outcome of your complaint.

 

Lodge your complaint 

What happens now?

Once you lodge a complaint online, you will receive acknowledgement within 24 hours. The Conduct and Integrity Office (CIO) will look to resolve the complaints process within 20 to 30 working days.

To start, the CIO will assess your complaint to see what steps have been taken at a local level. Except in very serious cases, if you have not attempted to resolve your issue through Steps 1 and 2 above, you will be referred back to the appropriate local area to attempt to resolve the issue.

Once the CIO have assessed that you have taken all reasonable attempts to resolve your issue, we will contact you to confirm the issues you are concerned about and the outcomes you are seeking. If the concerns raised cannot be resolved through mediation, the CIO may commence an investigation into your complaint.

If you are dissatisfied with the way your complaint was handled, you may lodge an appeal. An appeal may only be lodged on the grounds of a lack of procedural fairness in the investigation process.

Procedural fairness is about ensuring that:

  • People are provided with all necessary details of the complaint that has been made against them
  • People are given a proper opportunity to respond to the complaint against them before a decision is made (including as to any mitigating circumstances)
  • Persons involved in deciding an outcome do not have any bias or conflict of interest
  • A decision is based only on relevant evidence.

Once a determination has been made by the Student Conduct and Integrity Unit, you will receive an email with an Appeal form to submit.

For more detailed information please see the Student Complaints Procedure.

You can lodge a complaint to an external agency at any time.

External Agencies include:

NSW Ombudsman

Anti-Discrimination Board

Australian Human Rights Commission

Independent Commission Against Corruption

NSW Police

Please keep in mind that some external agencies may require you to have lodged an internal complaint first.

Helpful information

UNSW holds its students and staff to the highest of standards. Here you can find out more about the standards enforced at UNSW and what to do if you suspect a breach of any of these codes has occurred.