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Section 9: Illness, Personal Difficulties and the Unexpected

If your studies are adversely affected by illness or personal or family difficulties, you should inform your personal tutor without delay. This is particularly important if these difficulties will affect your performance in exams or assessed work. It is your responsibility to bring these circumstances to the attention of the examination board, through your personal tutor.

Absence through Illness

Always tell your module tutors if you have had to miss lectures or seminars through illness. If your illness lasts less than three days but nevertheless causes you to miss seminars and/or lectures, you should send an e-mail to your personal tutor and the departmental undergraduate secretary (Philosophy). If your illness causes absence of more than three consecutive days from prescribed classes you should refer to the Philosophy Department's procedure on requesting authorised absences which can be found at the following web address:, providing a medical certificate if necessary. Such a certificate is also essential if you miss an examination or a deadline for an assessed essay through illness. Submit a doctor’s certificate to your personal tutor or to the appropriate departmental office as soon as possible after your return to health. Normally no allowance can be made for illness (e.g. by extensions to assessed essay deadlines) without a proper certificate.

Absence for other reasons

If you are absent from class for other reasons, for instance, family illness or bereavement, please inform your personal tutor without undue delay. In the case of missing an examination or an assessed essay deadline for non-medical reasons, it will be important to explain the situation fully to your tutors and to apply for an extension. In the case of English modules, you will need to fill out a Special Cases form. This form is available from the Director of Undergraduate Studies page. In the case of Philosophy modules you should complete a Special circumstances form .

Applying for an extension

If through illness or serious personal difficulties you will not be able to complete assessed work on time for the deadline, you must, in advance, inform your personal tutor and also apply in writing to the Philosophy Senior Tutor or to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English. Extensions are granted depending on the merits of the case. Note that if you submit work late without permission, late penalties will automatically be applied.

Switching to another course

If you feel that the Phil/Lit course is not for you, you should seek advice from your personal tutor or one of the course convenors without delay. It is sometimes possible to move to another course, but this depends on the availability of a place on the course you’d like to move to (the English BA cannot always offer availability). Note, also, that moving to another course is usually possible only at the beginning or end of your first year, conditional upon passing the first year examinations.

Suspending or terminating registration

Sometimes, for personal, health or family reasons, students need to suspend their studies. If you are in this situation, take advice from the course convenors as to the best time for this. It is not normally possible for students to retake honours level modules or exams, so you should bear this in mind when considering the timing of taking a year out (for instance, if you suspended studies in January, you would resume them the following January, not in September).