Absences from Study

If you are unable to attend lectures or tutorials for any reason, you should, when possible, notify the School Office or the tutor in advance.  This can be done by telephone or email and/or, if you’re too ill, by someone on your behalf.  It is essential that you read the University’s Study Regulations in conjunction with the below guidance. In the event of any confusion, the University will rely on the regulations in order to reach a decision.

Short-term absence (up to 5 working days)

Normally, self-certification of illness is acceptable for an absence of less than 5 working days.  Self-certification forms will be available from your School Office.  The completed form should be submitted to your School Office within 3 working days of returning to study.

However, there are notable exceptions to this:

  • if you have been absent from an examination or class test.
  • If you have been unable because of illness to hand in coursework by a set deadline.
  • In the case of PGR students, if you have been absent from a Progress Review Meeting.

In these instances, supporting evidence/medical certificate will be required to explain your absence.  For undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, the Exceptional Circumstances procedure should be followed.

Absence longer than 5 working days

Absence of more than 5 working days must be covered by a medical certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner. Medical certificates should be submitted to your School Office within 3 working days of returning to study.

If you have been absent from an examination or class test or been unable to hand in coursework by a set deadline, you should follow the Exceptional Circumstances procedure.

Medical conditions - including temporary impairments

If you have a short-term medical condition or impairment e.g. broken limbs, please consult the guidance available on the Student Wellbeing website.

Student Maternity, Maternity Support and Adoption Policy

Various support arrangements can be put in place for students who become pregnant during their studies; prospective students who are already pregnant when they commence study; students who have given birth within the previous 26 weeks (or are continuing to breastfeed); their partners and those who have recently become parents (e.g. through adoption).  Information is available within the Student Maternity, Maternity Support and Adoption Policy.

Long-term absence/serious illness

If you expect to be absent from the University due to an illness for an extensive period of time, please discuss this with your School as soon as possible so your circumstances can be considered and the appropriate arrangements can be put in place.  

Returning to the Course after Absence

You should supply any self-certification or medical certification documentation to the School Office within 3 working days of when you return to study.  In the case of a medically certified absence which does not include a return to work date, a signing off line must be submitted on or before return to the course.

Please note, dependant on your programme of study and your circumstances, you may be required to attend QUB Occupational Health prior to resuming your course.  

Unauthorised / Repeated Absences

Repeated medical absences may result in a referral to QUB Occupational Health and/or the Fitness to Continue in Study Procedure may be invoked.

Failure to report absences can have serious implications and may affect academic progression, visa requirements and bursary payments.