Examination Allowances for graduate degrees relate to the MPhil by Advanced Study, MRes and MSt degrees and the Certificate of Postgraduate Study (CPGS) and Graduate Diplomas in Economics, Legal Studies and International Law. Candidates should contact their college tutor if they are not registered for one of the above courses and need information on examination allowances.
The relevant Ordinances are:
- Regulation 12 of the General Regulations for Admission as a Graduate Student
- Regulation 15 of the General Regulations for the MSt Degree as published in Statutes and Ordinances
Detailed guidance notes for staff and students are available and should be read before an application is submitted.
An allowance for an examination for a graduate degree normally comes into effect if a candidate has been, or is likely to be, unable to undertake part or all of their examination, or failed part or all of it because of illness or other serious and unforeseen urgent cause. An examination may constitute assessed work such as an essay or research report in addition to a formal examination paper.
The Board of Graduate Studies will consider cases based on illness or other grave cause, provided that the circumstances are unanticipated and beyond the student's control. The Board's task, in considering applications, is to balance the merits of the case with ensuring that no student gains an unfair advantage over others taking the same course.
An examination allowance does not affect the marks received. Its purpose is to allow candidates a chance to obtain the qualification they have been registered for, if the Board of Graduate Studies accepts that their performance in the examination has been affected by serious mitigating circumstances.
If a request for an examination allowance is upheld by the Board of Graduate Studies there are two possible outcomes:
- to approve the candidate for the graduate qualification without further examination if the appropriate degree committee has recommended that they have performed with credit in a substantial part of the examination;
- to allow candidates to be examined or re-examined under such conditions and at a time determined by the Board after consultation with the appropriate degree committee
If a student feels unable to attend an examination paper(s) on a specific day(s) due to religious observance, they must follow the University’s process for declaring this, which is available at http://www.cambridgestudents.cam.ac.uk/your-course/examinations/faith-provision-university-exams.
How to Apply for an Examination Allowance
Applications are best made as soon as candidates know that they have been unable to undertake part or all of their examination, or failed part or all of it because of serious urgent cause.
Applications must be submitted not later than three months after the date on which the Faculty Degree Committee or the Board of Graduate Studies (for the CPGS) communicated formally the outcome of the examination to the candidate. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.
Applications are submitted by the student’s College Tutor. Students may not apply direct to the Board of Graduate Studies. The declaration form asks students to give permission for any medical evidence to be disclosed to members of the Board of Graduate Studies and its medical advisers and also asks for the student’s consent for the College to contact their doctor to discuss their case, if necessary.
A College’s application must include all of the following:
- a completed application form;
- a statement from the College Tutor;
- a completed declaration form from the student;
- original and contemporary evidence of medical circumstances or other grave cause.
The application may also include any additional information which the College wishes to submit.
Completed applications should be sent to the Secretary of the Board of Graduate Studies at The Student Registry, 4 Mill Lane (Kerri Gardiner, email: email@example.com). The application must be complete, i.e., it must include all the required documentation and tutorial signatures. If an application is not complete when it is submitted, it will not be considered by the Board of Graduate Studies.
If the Board of Graduate Studies agree there are grounds to uphold the examination allowance, it will, without exception consult the Faculty Degree Committee to determine whether the student should be approved for the degree or to determine the conditions for the student to be examined or re-examined. The Secretary of the Board of Graduate Studies will email the College Tutor to communicate the Board’s decision and the details of the form of allowance, if applicable. The tutor will be asked to forward the offer to the student who is give a period of one month to confirm to the Secretary of the Board of Graduate Studies whether they wish to accept or reject the offer.
When the Board of Graduate Studies grants, on medical grounds, permission to return in the following academic year to resit an examination or examinations, it will normally attach a condition of fitness to return to study. Evidence of this condition having been met is required prior to the student returning to the course, and students must complete the return to study form. A student with this condition may not resume residence without the permission of the College, the Board of Graduate Studies and the Faculty Degree Committee.
Information for Medical Practitioners
Medical practitioners who have been asked to support a student’s request for an examination allowance or their return to study should consult specific guidelines.
For further information and advice please email Kerri Gardiner (Kerri.Gardiner@admin.cam.ac.uk).
Review of decisions taken by the Board of Graduate Studies in respect of allowances
A student, or her or his Tutor with the student's consent, may seek review of a decision in relation to that student made by the Board of Graduate Studies in respect of an examination allowance. A request for review must be made in to the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints & Appeals, Academic Division, 4 Mill Lane (StudentComplaints@admin.cam.ac.uk). Applicants are referred to the full details of the review procedure, which can be found in section 6 of the Guidance Notes.