Student Complaints 

Student Complaints (inside)

UCD is committed to providing an excellent education and support services to our students. We continuously seek to enhance the student experience. In recognition that on occasion issues can arise, we have put in place a Student Complaints Policy and Procedure. As students, you should feel free to raise concerns, express dissatisfaction and seek resolution to any problems you may encounter. You should be supported in expressing dissatisfaction and seeking resolution to any problems you encounter. 

UCD defines a complaint as an expression of significant or sustained dissatisfaction where a student seeks a specific action to address the issue, including an apology.

Complaints can be raised by students about any unit, function or service provided by the University or on behalf of the University. You can make a complaint if you are currently registered as a UCD student or are within three months of having ceased registration. 

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

If an issue arises during your time at UCD, you should raise it as soon as possible with the relevant person or area (Unit, School or service provider). Issues can often be resolved easily and quickly at local level.

You can raise your issue in person, by telephone or via e-mail. To assist staff in addressing your concerns, you should provide your name and student number. You should clearly and concisely outline your grievance and indicate what outcome you seek.

If you are unsure about who your complaint should be directed to or about how best to raise your issue, you can seek advice and guidance from a student support professional. While we understand that you may feel frustrated if an issue arises, it is important that you remain calm and respectful when raising your concern.

If having initially raised a concern you are not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may submit a formal complaint. The first step is to submit the Student Complaint Form: Head of Unit Review to the Head of the relevant School/Unit in which the issue arose.

Prior to submitting a complaint, you must read the Student Complaints Policy and Procedure, and are strongly encouraged to seek advice from a student support professional. When submitting a complaint, you should remain factual in your account of what has occurred and refer to any relevant evidence.

If you remain dissatisfied, having received a formal response from the Head of School/Unit, you can make a complaint at University level, by submitting a Student Complaint Form: University Review to the Student Complaints Officer

The Student Complaints Officer will review your complaint to ensure that it falls within the scope of the Student Complaint Policy; that it has been submitted within the required timeframe; and that you have attempted to resolve your complaint at local level in the first instance. An Investigating Officer will then be appointed to review the complaint and you will receive a formal decision from the University on the outcome of your complaint.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the University review of your complaint, you may raise your complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman, or Office of the Ombudsman for Children (for complainants under 18 years of age).

If you are concerned about an issue, you should raise it at local level as soon as possible, and within 15 working days of becoming aware of it.

If you wish to submit a formal complaint at local level, the Student Complaint Form: Head of Unit Review should be submitted within 15 working days of having received an initial response to your complaint from the individual/area concerned.

If you wish to submit a formal complaint at University level, the Student Complaint Form: University Review should be submitted within 15 working days of having received a formal response from the Head of School/Unit.

The University will endeavour to respond to your complaint within 15 working days at each stage of the process. However, in some cases additional time may be required to ensure a thorough and robust investigation. If delays are likely, you will be advised of this and when an outcome is expected.

More information is available in the Student Complaints Policy and Procedure

Q1. WHAT IS A COMPLAINT?
UCD defines a complaint as an expression of significant or sustained dissatisfaction where a student seeks a specific action to address the issue, including an apology.

Q2. WHO CAN COMPLAIN?
You can make a complaint if you are currently registered as a UCD student or within three months of ceasing registration as a UCD student.

Q3. CAN ANYONE ELSE COMPLAIN ON MY BEHALF?
Third party complaints on behalf of a student are not normally accepted. However, if a student is unable, because of incapacitation, to raise a complaint on their own, the student may authorise another individual to make the complaint on their behalf. Students under 18 years of age may authorise their parent/guardian to make a complaint on their behalf.

Q4. CAN A COMPLAINT BE SUBMITTED BY A GROUP OF STUDENTS?
Yes. Students may make complaints jointly, if desired.

Q5. CAN I COMPLAIN ANONYMOUSLY?
No. Anonymous complaints will not be considered under the UCD Student Complaints Policy.

Q6. WHAT CAN I COMPLAIN ABOUT?
You can complain about things like:

  • the quality or standard of any service provided by the University or on behalf of the University;
  • failure to provide a service;
  • the quality of facilities or learning resources;
  • the failure of the University to follow an appropriate administrative process;
  • unfair treatment or inappropriate behaviour by a student or a staff member;
  • an alleged action or inaction by the University or a member of its staff.

Q7. WHAT CAN I NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT?
Not every issue raised with the University is a complaint. For example, we cannot deal with the following issues under the UCD Student Complaints Policy:

  • an appeal seeking a review of an academic decision on assessment, progression, completion or admission. The University provides separate appeals procedures to deal with these issues for undergraduate, graduate taught and graduate research students.
  • an initial request for information.
  • a request under the Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act.
  • a request for information or an explanation about a regulation, policy or practice.
  • a response to an invitation to provide feedback through a formal mechanism, for example, questionnaire or online feedback.
  • issues raised at student-staff consultative fora.

Furthermore, we cannot take the following complaints under the UCD Student Complaints Policy:

  • Complaints of harassment, including sexual harassment and bullying, are dealt with under the UCD Policy on Dignity and Respect.
  • Complaints about the conduct of students are normally handled under the UCD Student Code.
  • Complaints under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015 may be made in line with the procedures set out at https://www.ihrec.ie/your-rights/i-have-an-issue-with-a-service/i-have-an-issue-about-education/
  • Complaints relating to non-compliance with legislation where, under the legislation, the University must appoint a special inquiry officer, for example, the Disability Act 2005.
  • A complaint relating to an alleged clinical error by UCD Healthcare staff: where this has not been resolved locally with UCD Healthcare Services, a student may raise their complaint to the appropriate professional or statutory body, e.g. Medical Council
  • In the event that matters of a staff disciplinary nature arise they will be dealt with separately, at the discretion of the University, through the agreed staff disciplinary process.

Q8. HOW DO I INITIATE A COMPLAINT (STAGE 1 - LOCAL RESOLUTION)?
In the first instance, you need to raise your concern as soon as possible (and within 15 working days after becoming aware of the issue), directly with the individual or the area (Unit, School or service provider) in which the issue has occurred. At this stage you can complain in person, by phone or by email.

When complaining, please provide your full name, UCD Connect email address and student number, explain the nature of your complaint clearly and concisely, provide as many relevant details as possible and indicate what outcome/resolution you seek.

Q9. WHEN SHOULD I COMPLAIN?
Make a complaint as soon as possible and no later than 15 working days after first becoming aware of the issue.

Q10. WHAT DO I DO IF I AM NOT SATISFIED WITH THE INITIAL RESPONSE RECEIVED?
If you are not satisfied with the initial response/outcome received you need to complete the official University form: Student Complaint Form: Head of Unit Review (link to new pdf) and email it to the Head of School/Unit in which the issue has occurred.

Q11. IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR FORWARDING MY COMPLAINT TO THE HEAD OF SCHOOL/UNIT?
Yes. Email the Student Complaint Form: Head of Unit Review (link to new pdf) to the Head of School/Unit as soon as possible and no later than within 15 working days.

Q12. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THE HEAD OF SCHOOL/UNIT TO DEAL WITH MY COMPLAINT?
Normally, the outcome will be communicated to you within 15 working days of receipt of your complaint by the Head of School/Unit. However, sometimes delays can arise. In this case the Head of School/Unit should let you know when it is anticipated that the outcome will be available instead.

Q13. WHAT IF MY COMPLAINT STILL HAS NOT BEEN RESOLVED?
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint at the local level, you need to complete the Student Complaint Form: University Review (link to new pdf) and email it to the Student Complaints Officer (student.complaints@ucd.ie) within 15 working days from the date of the email sent to you by the Head of School/Unit informing you of the outcome.

Q14. HOW WILL MY COMPLAINT AT STAGE 2 - UNIVERSITY LEVEL INVESTIGATION - BE DEALT WITH?
The University Level investigation will include the following:

  • The Student Complaints Officer will assess your complaint to decide whether it is valid or whether it is considered to be malicious or vexatious. 
  • The Student Complaints Officer will assess whether your complaint is within the remit of the UCD Student Complaints Policy, whether it has been submitted within the required timeframe and whether you have attempted to resolve your complaint at the local level in the first instance.
  • The Student Complaints Officer will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 5 working days.
  • The Student Complaints Officer will appoint a member of staff from an approved panel as Investigating Officer.
  • The Investigating Officer will review the complaint, taking account of any documentation supplied by the complainant and information supplied by the relevant area of the University.
  • The Investigating Officer will write a report, including recommendations for resolution, and submit it to the Academic Council Committee for Student Appeals and Complaints for final decision. In accordance with UCD’s Student Complaints Policy, formal complaint investigations are normally completed within 15 working days from commencement, however, depending on the relative complexity of the complaint and the availability of both complainant and respondents to participate in the investigation the process may take longer.
  • Where the timeframe of 15 working days for resolving the complaint cannot be met, the Student Complaints Officer will inform the complainant and the respondent outlining the reasons for the delay and when it is anticipated that the outcome will be available instead.
  • The Academic Council Committee for Student Appeals and Complaints will make the final decision on the outcome of the complaint.
  • The Student Complaints Officer will inform the complainant and the respondent in writing of the outcome of the Investigating Officer’s investigation and of the final decision of the Academic Council Committee for Student Appeals and Complaints.

Q15. WHAT IF I AM STILL DISSATISFIED WITH THE OUTCOME OF MY COMPLAINT?
The decision of the Academic Council Committee for Student Appeals and Complaints is final and cannot be appealed further within the University. However, if you are still dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint you may raise your complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman or Office of the Ombudsman for Children (for complainants under 18 years of age) within 12 months of the date of the outcome being communicated to you by the University.

Q16. GETTING FURTHER HELP WITH MAKING YOUR COMPLAINT
You should ask University student support professionals (such as Student Advisers or Students’ Union Officers) for guidance about the appropriate complaint mechanisms available to you.

Each programme has a dedicated Student Adviser who can offer support, information and advice.

Access contact details and information on a range of student issues. 

UCD Chaplains are available for support, guidance and advice.  

The SU Sabbatical Officers are available to offer assistance and support to students.

Student Counselling Service is provided by professionally qualified psychologists and counsellors.

Dr Aoife Duignan
Student Complaints Officer
Student Engagement, Conduct, Complaints and Appeals Office
L112, James Joyce Library Building
Email: student.complaints@ucd.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1 716 7135