What can I do if I have problems affecting my academic progress?
Difficulties with your studies
If you have difficulties related to your course or with a member of academic staff, ask for help as soon as possible to avoid delaying your academic progress. Start by speaking to your personal tutor/supervisor or another contact in your school/department. If you can’t find the support you need there, visit the Student Advice Centre. Their advisers are experts in helping students find solutions to academic difficulties.
Personal/health difficulties affecting your studies
It is important to talk to your personal tutor/supervisor immediately about personal or health problems that may affect your studies. Or you can ask the International Student Office or the Student Advice Centre for support and advice. If you feel your work may suffer as a result of something outside your control, it is essential to submit a mitigating circumstances letter which your school/department can take into account when they make decisions about your academic progress. Do this at the time you are having difficulties. Don’t wait until after you have failed an exam/assignment.
Even if you find it too embarrassing to talk about your problems in detail, you must say something to your school/department or they will not be able to take your circumstances into consideration if you do badly in assessments. The Student Advice Centre can help you explain problems to your school.
Unexplained absence from studies
If you applied for your visa using a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) the University will, by law, have to report periods of unexplained absence to the UK Border Agency. Remember to talk to your tutor if you are going to miss part of your course. To notify the University if you have been sick and missed classes, follow the instructions here.
Coping with exam stress
Exam time can be very stressful for students but developing good study skills will help you to manage the work and feel calmer. Skills@Library workshops can help you prepare for exams and find strategies to improve your exam grades at resit. If you are suffering from exam stress, you can speak to the Student Counselling Centre or if you are worried late at night, you can talk to Nightline.
Nightline Tel: 0113 380 1381, or
How can I find out about University rules and procedures that affect me?
Read your Taught Student Guide or Research Student Handbook and familiarise yourself with the rules and procedures that form the core of the contract between the University and its students.
You can find the guide and handbook in the Student Services section of the Portal
It is essential to be familiar with the University’s examination procedures well in advance of taking your exams. These procedures are in the ‘Taught Student Guide’ and on the Taught Student Administration, Exams pages, including a frequently asked questions section.
Research degree students should review the information and guidance located in the ‘Thesis Submission and Examination’ section of the Research Student Administration website.
Exams and religious commitments
If you are likely to find it difficult to attend exams on a Sabbath, holy day or religious festival due to religious reasons, you must submit the ‘Notification of Religious Commitments’ form by the last Friday in October to Taught Student Administration, Exams. You need to give details of the dates on which you will be undertaking religious observance. Be careful not to miss the deadline, as you may be charged a £100 administrative fee. The University will make every effort to avoid arranging exams on a Sabbath or holy day for those students who have informed Taught Student Administration, Exams. The University, however, may need to hold exams on such days if no alternative time is convenient.
Dictionaries in exams
During an exam you can use a simple language translation dictionary which has been approved by Taught Student Administration, Exams, unless this is prohibited in the instructions on the exam paper. Check this with your school/department. Find out whether the list of approved dictionaries includes a simple language translation dictionary for your language. If not, contact Taught Student Administration, Exams for advice about which dictionary you can buy. Once you have bought a dictionary, take it to the Student Service Centre, Counter Services to be checked and stamped for approval.
If you are not happy with the grade or classification of a piece of work or your qualification overall, you should speak to your tutor immediately.
If you are still unhappy you should then contact the Student Advice Centre. Staff there will tell you whether they think you have a good case and will help you prepare and present your case to the University authorities. The University’s regulations and procedures for appeals information on appeals for taught students are available here. Refer to the procedure and follow it as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss the opportunity to appeal.
Immigration rules on re-sits, withdrawal and changes to study plans
Students who need permission from the immigration authorities to live and study in the UK must visit the International Student Office for advice immediately if they need to re-sit exams, or are considering temporary withdrawal or changing the duration of studies. Students from outside the European Economic Area are not allowed to study part-time if they are here with student status. It is important to know about immigration rules relating to progression difficulties like re-sits and withdrawal. If you do not take the correct action in these situations, it may affect your eligibility to stay in the UK.
Making a complaint
If you have a complaint about any aspect of your experience at the University of Leeds you can find information about how to raise your concerns in the Student Complaints Procedure section in your ‘Taught Student Guide’/‘Research Student Handbook’. The Student Advice Centre can advise and support students who want to make a complaint about the University.
The University requires its students to follow the rules of academic conduct set out in the ‘Taught Student Guide’/‘Research Student Handbook’. There are serious penalties for breaking these rules, including permanent exclusion from the University. Types of academic misconduct include plagiarism, cheating, fabrication (when you make up test or survey results) and collusion (when you are supposed to carry out work on your own but someone helps you). Not all types of academic misconduct involve dishonesty. For example, you can be guilty of plagiarism if you do not reference your work properly, even if you did not intend to deceive your tutors.
Read the University’s rules on academic misconduct in the ‘Taught Student Guide’ and ‘Research Student Handbook’. The Student Advice Centre explains these rules more simply in their ‘Guide to the cheating, plagiarism, fabricated or fraudulent coursework and academic malpractice procedure’.
Plagiarism is when you present a piece of work which includes another person’s ideas but you don’t make clear which sections are not your own original work. In the UK the rules about how the ideas of experts and other sources can be included in a student’s piece of work are different to the practice in some other countries. It is essential that you understand and follow the rules used here in order to avoid committing plagiarism, which is a very serious type of academic misconduct. There are many useful resources on the University’s plagiarism webpages.
Plagiarism may result from not referencing a piece of work properly or from presenting groupwork incorrectly. Referencing means indicating any sections of your work where you are including other people’s ideas. Using good study skills can help you avoid plagiarism.
When you write notes which you will use as the basis for a piece of work, make sure you clearly mark where you took the notes from (for example journals, library books and/or lecture notes). This will help you to reference your finished piece of work properly. Because each school has its own rules on how to reference your work it is important to check your school handbook for details of the exact requirements. If you can’t find this information or it is not clear, ask your tutor to explain. To avoid problems with groupwork, each time you are given an academic task, make sure you understand which parts of the work you must do on your own and when you can work with others.
If you are ever in any doubt about whether a piece of work might include plagiarism, always ask your tutor’s advice before you submit/present your work. Even if one day you are feeling under pressure and rushing to meet a deadline, never be tempted to plagiarise. The University uses many methods to identify plagiarism, including electronically checking your work. Don’t risk being expelled from your course because of plagiarism.
Developing skills to avoid plagiarism
Learn more about how to avoid plagiarism by attending academic writing skills workshops offered by Skills@Library or the Language Centre and by taking the Library’s online Information Literacy tutorials, especially the ‘Plagiarism and Copyright’ tutorial.
Being accused of breaking a University rule
If you are accused of breaking one of the University rules, e.g. plagiarism, the University may take action against you. If this happens, contact the Student Advice Centre straight away, even if you feel too upset to talk about it. Don’t argue against the University’s decision before you ask for advice. For more information about what happens if you break a rule, contact the Student Advice Centre.