Student complaints and grievances

This page will guide you through the processes and procedures required to escalate an unresolved student complaint or grievance.

Difference between complaint and grievance


complaint is a problem or concern raised by a student who considers they have been wronged because of an action, decision or omission within the control or responsibility of the University.


A grievance is a matter to be investigated according to formal grievance processes. This includes complaints which are not able to be resolved through informal processes or mediation, and matters relating to allegations of misconduct where disciplinary action against a student or staff member may be an outcome of the investigation.

The submission of a grievance may result in the appointment of a case manager or an independent investigator to examine the matter, according to the process established by the University Student Complaints and Grievances Policy.

The University considers addressing concerns and complaints by students to be an important part of the University’s commitment to continuous review and improvement. No student should fear a negative outcome or retribution from raising concerns or making a complaint provided that they are not vexatious or made maliciously.

Before submitting a complaint or grievance

Step 1: Attempt to resolve the issue informally

Before you submit a formal complaint or raise a grievance, you should attempt to resolve the issue informally in the area where the complaint arose, unless there is a compelling reason why this is not appropriate. The formal process requires you to outline the history of the complaint or grievance and your attempts to resolve it.

Step 2: Raise the issue

If you are unable to resolve the issue with the area where the complaint arose, familiarise yourself with the processes, policies, and services available to help you raise an issue or concern.

Step 3: Escalate a complaint or submit a grievance

If you are unable to resolve the issue by following the first two steps, you may escalate a complaint or raise a grievance.

Please consult the procedural principles section of the Student Complaints and Grievances Policy which outlines the following:

  • Seeking independent advice
  • Informal complaint resolution
  • Escalating a complaint
  • Submitting a grievance
  • Processes for the investigation of a complaint or grievance.

Grounds for a complaint or grievance

The grounds for the submission of a complaint or grievance include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • You were affected by a decision that was made without sufficient consideration of facts, evidence or circumstances.
  • You were affected by a failure to adhere to appropriate or relevant published University policies and procedures.
  • A penalty, where applied to you, was unduly harsh or inappropriate.
  • You were affected by improper, irregular or negligent conduct by another student or staff member.
  • You were affected by unfair treatment, prejudice or bias.

Exceptions and additional information

There are some categories of complaints that are handled using specific policies and procedures that fall outside, or are managed alongside, the student complaints and grievances process.

If your complaint relates to any of the following, please read the accompanying policy and procedure pages for more details:

  • Sexual assault, discrimination, sexual harassment or bullying by another student or staff member:
    At the University of Melbourne, we believe that bullying, harassment, sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination are never okay. In the first instance, please contact the University’s Safer Community Program for specialist support, and advice on how the matter might be best progressed under the provisions of the Student Conduct Policy or the Appropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy. Additional information can be found in the University’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy.

    The University of Melbourne also has an anonymous register for students, staff, alumni or visitors to record instances of inappropriate behaviour without making a formal complaint, although we still encourage the submission of a complaint where possible.
  • Unsatisfactory progress:
    Academic performance is managed by the Course Academic Progress Committee (CAPC). The process for appealing the decisions of the CAPC can be found in your CAPC outcome letter and in the Academic Performance Policy and Academic Progress Review Procedure document.
  • Academic judgement:
    Queries about marks and grades should be raised with your subject coordinator, program coordinator or head of school. More information regarding this process is contained within the Assessment and Results Policy.
  • Selection appeals:
    Queries regarding course selection decisions are managed by the University’s Office of Admissions through the Study website. Selection appeals are not heard through the student complaints and grievances process.
  • Privacy concerns:
    Students with complaints about potential privacy breaches should raise their concerns with the university’s privacy officer. Please read the Privacy Policy for more details.
  • Research conduct concerns:
    Students wishing to raise concerns about the standards of responsible and ethical research conduct should refer to the Research Integrity and Misconduct Policy for information on how to proceed.
  • Education agents:
    If the complaint or grievance relates to a related party such as an education agent, students should use the student complaints and grievances web form.

Next steps

Escalating a complaint

Submitting a grievance

Please note: these links will provide you with more information, and will not start the formal procedure.