academic difficulties

Academic Difficulties

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The University website has a comprehensive section on academic advice for every situation, as well as a list of FAQs and a glossary of academic terms.

CAPOD (the Centre for Academic, Professional, and Organisational Development) provides multiple types of support for students.

Ian Cupples, the Union's Education Advocate - 01334 46 2700 or provides free advice and support to students whenever they have a problem in the University. He can help students with academic appeals, academic alerts, and academic misconduct cases, and also in making complaints, in non-academic discipline cases, and in a range of other problems too. He has also prepared the student guide to academic appeals.




Extensions to coursework deadlines are only granted when your ability to complete coursework has been significantly affected by extenuating circumstances, such as an illness or bereavement. To request an extension, you should contact the relevant course or module coordinator in the first instance as soon as it is possible to do so, and submit a self-certificate documenting the circumstances.




In certain situations, you may be eligible to appeal an academic decision, such as a mart received for an assessment, termination of studies, or refusal to allow entry to Honours. The grounds for an appeal are limited however to the following reasons, please note that disagreeing with an academic judgment or a University policy cannot be appealed:

  • Extenuating personal circumstances that had a significant effect on academic performance, of which the University was not aware when the decision was taken, and which you could not have reasonably disclosed earlier.
  • Improper conduct of an assessment, or irregular application of regulations, that had a significant effect on the result.
  • Irregular procedure that had a significant effect on the academic decision of a Board of Adjudication hearing an academic misconduct case.

You can read our detailed guide to academic appeals here. If you’re considering making an academic appeal, the Students' Association can give you independent and student-centred advice. Contact Iain, our Student Advocate (Education), on, on 01334 46 2700, or through Reception, to have a confidential chat about your options.



Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is a period of time during which you are away from the University, and your studies are on hold. In order to take leave of absence you must apply to the Registry Officer, however, approval is not guaranteed. Any modules taken in the semester in which you are granted leave of absence are removed from your record. Periods while you are on leave of absence are not counted when applying regulations regarding semesters of study.

To return to your studies from a leave of absence you must complete the University’s re-engagement process.

You can read the University’s policy on leave of absence here.



Advisor of Studies

Every undergraduate student in the Faculties of Arts, Divinity, and Science are assigned an Advisor of Studies, who is a member of academic staff within your own Faculty. Students in the Faulty of Medicine have a different support arrangement as you do not have to make any module choices as part of the prescribed curriculum.

Your Advisor of Studies will approve your module choices for the semester, as part of a compulsory meeting during the matriculation process. They are also available for consultation throughout the semester on academic issues, where they can highlight your various degree options and explain any academic regulations. You can find out who your Advisor of Studies is through online advising system.



Changing your degree

The degree structure at the University is designed to be flexible, making it possible to change your mind about your final degree outcome.  Limits s however do exist within the system, and you cannot undertake a degree programme if you do not have the required qualifications for the programmes compulsory modules. Upon accepting a formal offer of admission to a programme, you are committed to study it for at least one academic year. However, if you have decided before completing your first year you can take the require modules for your new intended degree during that first year. After the end of your first year of study, your Adviser of studies can approve a change to a different degree programme within the same Faculty. If you wish to transfer to a degree that is only available in a different Faculty, you will need to gain approval from the Pro Dean (Advising) of the Faculty to which you want to transfer.

You can read the University’ policy on changes to studies here.



Failing a module

Re-assessment of a module is possible should your original grade be 4.0 or higher, but below the pass threshold of 7.0. Details of a modules specific re-assessment pattern are outlined in the course catalogue. Re-assessment is typically not available for modules assessed solely by coursework. For Honours and Masters level modules, the re-assessment grade is capped at 7.0. If you fail a module at re-assessment, you are not eligible for any further re-assessment, though it may be possible to take the module again.



Tutoring Support

The University doesn’t provide specific additional tuition. It’s worth speaking to your School or Student Services who may know a PhD student who would be willing to provide extra tuition at your cost.  Students with a disability/learning difficulty may be entitled to additional tuition and this can be arranged via Student Services.