IMPORTANT: Deadlines for Show Cause and Exclusion are not negotiable.  Please do not ignore them, as this will most likely lead to automatic exclusion.  Talk to SRC caseworkers if you’d like help with your appeal

The Show Cause & Appeals Process

RESULTS for the semester come out.
‘Show Cause’ request sent by faculty.

SHOW CAUSE letter written by student.
(deadline as stated in letter, generally 15 working days)
Excluded by Faculty Associate Dean, or allowed to re-enrol.

(deadline 20 working days)
Exclusion confirmed by Faculty Dean, or allowed to re-enrol.

(deadline 15 working days)
Written response by Faculty and then SAB hearing.
Exclusion confirmed by SAB, or allowed to re-enrol.

You should also look at the Student Affairs Unit website at

If you are unsure whether you need to appeal to your faculty or the SAB, check your letter.

If you need to submit it to your ‘Faculty Office’, this is a faculty level appeal, if it says to submit it to the ‘Student Appeals Body’ then this is a SAB appeal.

If you want to appeal but missed a deadline, seek advice from an SRC caseworker.

Appeal (1st) Appeal to the Faculty

Deadline: 20 working days to appeal  (the deadline may be stated in the exclusion letter)

If you received an exclusion notice from your faculty this may be because you did not submit a show cause letter by the deadline. If so, you can try to ‘appeal’ by writing a show cause letter but also explain in detail why you did not submit it on time. For Show Cause advice please see our Showing Good Cause leaflet.

If you did submit a show cause letter then your exclusion may be because the faculty have not understood, or not been convinced by, your show cause letter. When making their decision, the faculty also refers to your full transcript, any notes of interviews and past show cause letters.

The most important thing is for your appeal letter to show that you can be successful in your future studies. If you do not believe you can pass do not appeal. If you do not have a set of realistic strategies for your future studies, and/or cannot demonstrate that you have managed the things that adversely affected your studies, your appeal will not be a strong one.

You submit your letter to the Faculty. The Faculty should reply in writing, via your university email account, within 10 working days of receiving your appeal.

Appeal (2nd) to the University Student Appeals Body (SAB)

Deadline: 15 working days

If the Faculty rejects your appeal, you then have 20 working days (4 weeks) to lodge an appeal with the Student Appeals Body (SAB). The SAB is the University’s final decision-making body.
You need to write a further appeal letter. You could follow the letter template in this leaflet but replace with and reread the suggestions given in the previous section.

Make sure you use the words suggested in the first paragraph of the letter template.
You should summarise, but not repeat, all the information you have already given. You could add additional information or documentation, explaining why this was not included before. You can write about any other changes that have been made to improve your prospects of successful study in the future. It is important that you respond to the reasons the faculty provided for rejecting your appeal.

Submit your appeal to the Student Affairs Unit, who will assess if there has been a breach of process from the Faculty, and if they should consider your appeal. If they decide they will consider your appeal, they will set a hearing date. This may take a long time (months), and you should continue with your degree until you receive a decision

Faculty response to your SAB appeal & the SAB Appeal Hearing


When you lodge an appeal with the SAB the faculty will be sent your appeal and asked to provide a written response explaining why it has made the decision to exclude you. You should then be sent this response 5 working days before your appeal hearing.

It is a good idea to show the Faculty response to an SRC HELP caseworker so that we can discuss any possible response you may wish to make, as well as prepare you for the appeal hearing itself.

Try to get all information to the SAB as early as possible. You normally cannot submit additional documents at the hearing, but you can ask and it is up to Chair of the SAB whether it is accepted. You might discuss additional information at the Hearing, and refer to what you have as evidence.


An appeal hearing usually takes a number of weeks to organise, but you can continue with your studies until the SAB hears your case and makes a final decision.

At the appeal hearing there will be you and a support person (an SRC HELP caseworker or someone else), a faculty representative and the SAB members. There are three people on the SAB (usually two senior academic staff and one student). None of them will be from your faculty. They alone decide the outcome.

Most appeal hearings last 20 to 30 minutes. The SAB members will have read your show cause letter, your appeal letters and the Faculty’s reasons for the Exclusion. A pack of this correspondence will be sent to you before the hearing.

The purpose of the hearing is for the SAB to ask you and the faculty any questions they may have.

Before the hearing, make notes of what you want to say and think about your responses to possible questions. Talk these through with your caseworker.

On the day of the hearing arrive in plenty of time. Dress neatly. Try to stay calm and relaxed. If you are nervous and don’t hear or understand a question, ask them to repeat it. Answer clearly and concisely. Don’t rush. The SAB will be courteous and want to hear what you have to say.

You may have the opportunity to make a final comment. You should emphasise why you will pass in the future and address any outstanding issues raised by the Faculty and the SAB.

If you can’t attend you can request a date change or arrange for a representative (eg. SRC HELP caseworker) to go in your place. If you or a representative do not attend the hearing, the SAB can make a decision in your absence. It may also be possible for them to conduct the meeting remotely eg. via Skype.

After the meeting the decision can take anything from a few days to a few weeks. You will be given the decision in writing via your university email account.
This decision is final. If your appeal is not upheld (unsuccessful) your enrolment will be cancelled and you will not be able to complete the semester.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I attend classes if I appeal?

Yes – you can remain enrolled until the SAB makes a final decision. Attend classes as usual and study hard so you can talk about how well your studies are going at the appeal hearing. If you can’t enroll online, ask your faculty to manually enroll you. If you have any problems, contact an SRC HELP caseworker.

Can I take a semester off?

Yes – you must fill out the relevant paperwork at your faculty and appeal the exclusion at the same time.

What if I choose not to appeal?

Sometimes students choose not to appeal. If you don’t appeal you will be excluded for at least 4 semesters. An exclusion may negatively affect applications to other universities. Some faculties may allow you to ‘permanently discontinue’ rather than excluding you. If you wish to discuss whether to appeal or not, speak to SRC HELP.

What if I am excluded at the end of the process?

You cannot return to study at the University of Sydney for at least 4 semesters.
You can apply to do another course at another university but you may have difficulty being admitted because of the exclusion. Seek advice from Admissions officers at the other university.

Can I appeal anywhere else after the SAB?

All students can make complaints to the NSW Ombudsman. There must be a procedural problem with the University’s decision. You would need to show that the University has broken its own policies or a law.  (Note: You cannot attend classes whilst making a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman).

What happens to my student visa if I am finally excluded?

If you are excluded and have exhausted your appeal options within the University you are considered to be in breach of a Visa condition. The University will write to you about this and inform you that they will be notifying the Department of Home Affairs. This may have immediate and long-term implications, even if you get a place at another university. To book an appointment with a migration solicitor call 9660 5222.

Should I tell Centrelink if I am finally excluded?

Yes – If you receive a payment you must tell Centrelink when you stop being a full-time student. Seek advice from SRC HELP about other Centrelink options.

How can I return after an exclusion?

You can seek readmission at the end of 4 semesters from your last completed semester. International student visa restrictions may make this period longer – seek advice from our migration agent. Readmission is not guaranteed.

Put your readmission request in writing to your faculty a number of months before the start of the semester. You need to demonstrate that the problems you previously had have been resolved, that you spent your time productively whilst not at university (eg. by studying or gaining work experience) and have developed skills that will help you succeed in your studies. Talk to the Faculty for advice on what would help your prospects of readmission.

Note: Some degree time limits may negatively affect your chances of readmission.
Talk to SRCHELP or your faculty at the time of exclusion if you are concerned

Your Argument

If you have not already done so, read the SRC Show Cause leaflet to help write your letter. The appeal does not need to repeat the whole of your show cause letter. We have included a letter template to assist you in preparing your appeal. Try drafting an appeal using our letter template and referring to our suggestions below to help you build your argument. Use a separate paragraph for each semester, problem and solution. Keep your sentences short.


Summarise the problems and solutions in your recent show cause (or faculty appeal) letter.


Re-read earlier your letter/s and get advice. Add any further information, explanation or evidence that you did not include in your previous letter.
For Example:

  • provide greater detail and try to make things clearer;
  • add more information about results across your whole academic record, both passes and fails – why you did well, why you didn’t do so well?;
  • explain how problems affected assessment in each Unit of Study in the previous, and earlier, semesters;
  • explain if problems raised in any earlier show cause letter/s (or interviews) were settled and try to provide evidence of this;
  • Raise any problems and solutions not previously discussed  (if appropriate explain why you are only mentioning them now);
  • attach new or additional supporting documentation, such as medical certificates or statutory declarations; (if appropriate explain why you are only providing them now);
  • provide more information about your solutions for your future study, including what specific steps you have taken/are planning to take. Try to document or provide evidence of steps you have already taken;
  • if a new semester has started, highlight any good marks you have received;
  • identify any changes to your major or study load, or any extra help you are getting;
  • provide a realistic plan of the Units and semesters needed complete the degree, but get this checked first;
  • explain why you are interested and committed to the course.


Politely respond to each of the reasons the Faculty has given to exclude you. This is really important as these identify the basis on which your faculty is justifying their decision to exclude you.  Explain your reasoning in detail as to why you disagree. For example: Do you think the facts they cite are wrong or perhaps misunderstood? Did they not (fully) take into account your argument or evidence about a problem or solution that you provided or are now providing? Are their reasons no longer so relevant? Generally do you think it is not fair for some reason?

Exclusion Appeal Letter Template

The University of Sydney NSW 2006

Dear ,
I wish to appeal the Faculty’s decision to exclude me from the . I do not believe that the Faculty has properly considered my case for Good Cause, as defined in the Coursework Policy 2014. I ask you to consider the following explanation of circumstances that have affected my studies, and why I am confident that I can successfully complete my degree.
To summarise my previous letter , my past study was effected by . I also wrote that each of these difficulties were solved or addressed by .
I add the following additional information which I did not previously raise, or may not have clearly explained, in my previous correspondence. I wish to respond to the Faculty’s reasons for excluding me. To support their decision the Faculty stated:

I am very committed to completing my degree. I believe I have overcome the difficulties I experienced. I am confident that if I am permitted to enroll, I will demonstrate that I am capable of completing my degree.

Yours sincerely,


Information updated on 20 April, 2020. (EXC)