ACADEMIC: STUDENT GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT
In this section, you can access information and guidance on academic-related topics such as exams, intermission (disregarding terms), University and College complaints, student discipline, changing College and key student resources. This information and guidance have been developed by the Student Advice Team. For further information and to access one-to-one support from a professional Advisor you can contact them here.
Information and guidance on exams and other assessments can be accessed on our dedicated page for Exams.
Your studies may be affected by a physical or mental health condition, bereavement or other serious issues. In these circumstances, you can apply for intermission. Intermission or ‘disregarding terms’ in University language, is a process that allows students to take time off from their studies to allow them to get better and return to their course of study when they are able to do so. You will need to make a separate application to resume study. You are advised to contact your Tutor to discuss your situation and the implications of intermission, as, if you are an undergraduate student, they will need to submit the application on your behalf. The Student Advice Service can also support students through the process and help you prepare a personal statement, if you wish to submit one with the application.
The Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign has created a Guide to Undergraduate Intermission. This guide is based on information sharing from a student perspective. As this guide was created in April 2017, some of the information might not have been updated. To access information that is up to date, please visit the web pages listed below:
The Exam Access and Mitigation Committee (EAMC)has issued Guidance Notes for Disregarding Terms for Undergraduate students and certain Postgraduate students. These notes can be read in conjunction with the relevant University Ordinances which can be found in Chapter III, Examinations in the Statutes and Ordinances.
Guidance notes on the intermission procedure for Postgraduate students are available on the Cambridge Students pages.
Intermission and accommodation - what are my options?
If you are a student considering a period of intermission, you may have concerns about where you will live during your break from studies. When students intermit, they are generally required to leave College residence. This would usually mean that a student returns to their permanent home address for their period of intermission.
However, this is not always an option for students. In some exceptional circumstances, students can return to or remain in College accommodation. Exceptional circumstances may include where a student does not have a permanent address beyond their College residence, or where a student is receiving specialist medical treatment in Cambridge that would be sacrificed if they returned to their permanent home address. This is an option that you might wish to explore with your College Tutor.
Where there are no exceptional circumstances, but you wish to remain in Cambridge, the University Accommodation Service might be able to assist you in finding privately rented accommodation, including house shares. To use this service, you would usually need to ask your College for a letter confirming you can access support from the University Accommodation Service during intermission. You can access further information about what the University Accommodation Service offer here.
The national charity Shelter can also provide independent advice and support for anyone experiencing housing issues. You can contact them or get help through their website, which can be found here.
If you have concerns or you are worried about your accommodation choices during intermission, you can contact an Advisor who can provide support and help you explore your options.
Intermission and Finance - what are my options?
If you are intermitting and find yourself in financial hardship, you can apply for funds from the Special Hardship Fund.
If you are a postgraduate student and are intermitting or thinking about intermitting your studies, speak with your Research Funding Council (where applicable) about your situation as there could be financial implications.
If you are an undergraduate student and are thinking of suspending your studies due to compelling personal circumstances, such as ill-health or bereavement, the Student Loans Company will consider each case individually and ‘do what [they] can to help the student get funding for future study.’ Further details can be accessed here.
Funding for eligible undergraduate students is calculated as the length of current course + one year. For example, if you started your course and intermitted your first year of study, when you resume study, you will be able to use the ‘+ one year’ to fund the academic year of your return from intermission. In some circumstances, a student might intermit their study twice. If that is the case and you need to access funding for a second time, you would have to meet the eligibility criteria for compelling personal reasons. You are expected to provide evidence of compelling personal reasons to the Student Loans Company which, depending on your circumstances, could include for example but not limited to: medical evidence from your GP, evidence from social services and evidence from the University and/or College. Further information can be accessed here.
If the reason for absence is ill-health, you may be eligible for financial support with living expenses for an extended period of up to 60 days. The University needs to notify Student Finance England that you are intermitting for medical reasons. Student Finance England has the discretion to determine that all or part of the grant or loan can be extended to students who are absent from the course for longer than 60 days when the reason is ill-health, or for reasons other than illness. Further information can be accessed on this link.
Intermitting students, undergraduate and postgraduate, who are experiencing financial hardship could apply to the SFE’s financial hardship fund provided they have had their application for student support approved. This funding can be exceptionally extended to intermitting students. Details can be accessed on this link.
Intermitting students can access financial support with medical expenses through Crane’s Fund.
During your time as a student, you may be unhappy with the experience you have received from the University, department, faculty, service, staff member or within your College. If so, you may wish to raise this experience with the University or your College. In order to do this, the University and your College have complaints procedures that students can follow and use to raise their concerns.
Whether your complaint is College or University-related, it might be helpful for you to keep a record of any incidents or actions related to the complaint. ONRECORD is a tool that could be useful in recording any incidents, actions, interactions, etc. that might help you structure the complaint in chronological order and keep an accurate account of what has happened prior to raising the issues experienced. To access this tool please click this link. This resource is free and you will need to create an account to access the features available.
If the issue relates to a provision provided by your College, a College service or staff member you will need to follow your College’s complaints procedure. You should be able to obtain a copy of the procedure from the tutorial office or in your student handbook.
If the issue relates to a provision provided by the University, you can submit a complaint to the University’s Office for Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSSCA) via the Student Complaints Procedure. There is a strict 28-day deadline for raising complaints.
The University has also established an anonymous/confidential prevention reporting process for postgraduate students. More information on this can be found here.
COVID-19 AND INDUSTRIAL ACTION COMPLAINTS
If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and/or industrial action during the 2021/22 academic year and wish to submit a complaint you can access details of the procedure here. The deadline to raise a complaint is 18 July 2021.
We recommend that you seek support and advice before submitting your complaint and this could be from a College/Graduate Tutor or the Student Advice Service. The Student Advice Service can guide you through the complaint process, including helping you present your complaint as comprehensively as possible.
Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
Whether you have used the University or your College’s procedure if you are unhappy with the final outcome of your complaint or appeal you may be able to ask the OIA to review your complaint. The OIA provides an independent scheme to review student complaints within higher education. If you wish to ask the OIA to review your complaint you will need to do this within 1 year of receiving your Completion of Procedures (CoP) letter. The OIA website also provides useful resources and information for students and higher education providers on raising and handling complaints and appeals.
When studying at Cambridge students are required to behave in accordance with the University and their Colleges regulations and rules. If it appears a student has not behaved in accordance with the regulations and rules their behaviour could be investigated by using either their College or the University’s Student Discipline Procedure. Where it is concluded there has been a breach of the regulations and rules penalties or sanctions may be imposed.
College Student Discipline Procedure
Each College will have its own Student Discipline procedure or may refer cases to the University procedure. You may be able to find out more information about the procedure within your Student Handbook or by asking the tutorial office.
University Student Discipline Procedure
The University’s Student Discipline Procedure is overseen by the Office for Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSSCA). More information about this procedure can be found on their website here.
There can be instances when a student may feel they need to transfer to another college. A transfer of college mid-course is very rare however in exceptional circumstances, and if a student’s grounds meet the requirements, this may be possible. When a student and their Senior Tutor agree the student has the grounds to change college and this would be the best course of action, the Senior Tutor can try and facilitate a college transfer by communicating with Senior Tutors in other colleges. This is what is called the informal process.
When the situation is complex or there has been a breakdown in the relationship between a student and their College, a student may prefer to pursue a more formal route via the intercollegiate College Transfer Procedure. On this webpage, you can access a copy of the relevant College Transfer Form.
The Student Advice Service can support students through both the informal and formal processes. We can also support students who don’t have the grounds to change college by helping them explore how they can improve their experience within their current college.
In our General Information Guide for Students, we aim to list and provide links to rules and regulations, key documents, policies and procedures you should be aware exist during your time as a student at Cambridge University. It is not an exhaustive list so please also refer to Cambridge Students for more information or get in touch with the Student Advice Service if you have any questions.
Other resources and links you may find helpful to be aware of during your time as a student at Cambridge include:
University Statutes and Ordinances
University Complaints and Appeals
Code of Practice for Research Students
Exam Access and Mitigation Committee (EAMC)
University policy on plagiarism and academic misconduct
Information Guide on Supervisor Issues