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Postgraduate Research Handbook

Sickness and other absences

You should always consult your doctor (or in the case of an emergency, the Accident & Emergency department of a hospital) if your illness is severe, if it persists, or if you are in any doubt about your health.

You will find the relevant forms to use in the Forms and Guidance section of this handbook.

For illnesses lasting 7 consecutive days or less: Self-certification

If your condition is not sufficiently serious to cause you to seek medical advice, the School does not require you to supply a medical certificate unless you are absent from the School for more than 7 consecutive days (including weekends).  You should, however, self-certify your illness by completing and signing Part 1 of the Certification of Student Ill Health form (available here) as soon as you are able to return to the School. If you have been, or are likely to be, ill and unable to study for more than 4 consecutive weeks, you should apply to interrupt your studies.

For illnesses lasting more than 7 consecutive days: GP’s certification

If you are absent from the School for more than seven consecutive days (including weekends), you should consult your doctor.  If your doctor considers that you are not well enough to attend the School, then you should obtain a doctor’s note to document your illness; or you can ask your doctor to complete and sign Part 3 of the Certification of Student Ill Health form.  Your doctor may make a charge for this service.

If your illness causes you to miss an RTP assessment deadline

You should notify the Doctoral Programmes Office of your illness in advance of the assessment deadline, wherever possible, and hand in the piece of work as soon as you possibly can after you are feeling well again.  If you are ill for seven days or less, then you can self-certify your illness.  If your illness has been for more than seven days, then you must attach a doctor’s note or a Certification of Student Ill Health form signed by your doctor. Agreement for an extension is required from the MRes/RTP Director, Dr. Nooch Kuasirikun.

If you cannot attend an examination or presentation because of ill health

If you are not well and feel unable to attend a formal assessment (such as a presentation or Mid-Year/Annual  Review), then you must inform the Doctoral Programmes Office immediately, and certainly no later than the day of the assessment. You can do this by phoning or emailing the Doctoral Programmes Office or by asking a friend or relative to do so on your behalf.  If you do not do this, you will normally be considered to be absent without good reason and will be awarded zero for the assessment.  When you return to the School, you must then either self-certify or produce evidence from your doctor, depending on the length of your absence.

The School is only obliged to offer students a maximum of two opportunities to take assessments (i.e. the original opportunity plus a re-take for either failing the subject or because of special circumstances such as ill health).  If the examiners grant you more than two opportunities, you will normally be required to take the assessment at the next scheduled opportunity.

Please Note: There is separate guidance on the conduct of thesis examination and viva (oral) examinations.

If you think that ill health has affected your performance

If you are not feeling very well but are able to proceed with an assessment or examination, but you feel that your performance has been impaired by your illness, you need to inform the Doctoral Programmes Office on the same day as the assessment. You should do this by following the procedure for self-certification.  Please note that the School will not normally consider such claims if you self-certify later than the day of assessment.

If you are suffering from a long-term medical condition, which is affecting your performance and/or your ability to meet deadlines

In such cases, you should consult your supervisory team and/or the Doctoral Programmes Manager as early in the programme as possible and provide supporting medical evidence.  The School will consider your personal circumstances.  If your illness is serious or persistent, then you may need to interrupt your studies.  Please liaise with the School at the earliest available opportunity to consider your options. Further, consider support from the University Disability Support Office or Occupational Health as these services can help with adjustments to study to support your continued progression on your programme.

Persistent self-certification

The School reserves the right to refer students who persistently self-certify to the Student Health Centre for a formal medical assessment.

If your illness lasts for longer than four weeks, you should apply for an interruption to your studies.