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Information on absences and attendance

Attendance guidelines

The Department of History monitors attendance at every seminar. This policy is to ensure students who are struggling receive the appropriate support.

During your studies you may experience difficulties which could affect your academic performance. Such difficulties are known as 'extenuating circumstances' and may include: medical problems, including long-term conditions or short periods of illness; personal problems or difficult events e.g. bereavement; and serious incidents e.g. being affected by crime.

Acceptable reasons for absence to be authorised include:

  • Health problems (please think carefully about minor illness such as headache, coughs or colds which, in a work situation, would be unlikely to lead to an absence from work);
  • Bereavement;
  • Serious personal difficulties.

Unacceptable reasons for being absent include:

  • Avoidable and recurring travel delays (e.g. rush-hour traffic is not an acceptable reason);
  • Being unprepared for a seminar;
  • Oversleeping or alarm problems;
  • Attending family celebrations;
  • Paid employment;
  • Extra-curricular sports activities.

Our advice on absences is to consider whether an employer would deem it a reasonable excuse.

This list is not exhaustive and other circumstances affecting attendance will be considered by the Postgraduate Support Manager and the MA Director.

What to do if you're absent?

What to do if you’re going to be absent from a seminar?

  1. Inform your tutor in advance of the seminar. You can find staff email addresses here.
  2. It is your responsibility to catch-up on any missed work due to your non-attendance.
  3. If you are absent from a seminar, you should complete an Extenuating Circumstances Form or Self-Certification Form (see paperwork tab) and submit this to the History reception in person or via email to
  4. Any explanation for your absence reported 24 hours (or more) after the seminar will not be considered an authorised absence, without appropriate evidence (medical or similar).
  5. Students with absences lasting more than three weeks are strongly encouraged to take a Leave of Absence from their studies.

Please note, if you self-certify for more than two seminars per module, you will need to provide medical, or equivalent, evidence. Without this evidence, your absences will be marked as unauthorised.

Action taken

What action will be taken if you're absent from seminars without informing the department?

  1. You will receive an email after every unauthorised absence from a History seminar.
  2. After two unauthorised absences on a module, you will attend a progress review meeting with the MA Director.
  3. If engagement does not improve, a formal unsatisfactory progress report will be submitted to the Faculty Officer.
  4. This may lead to a progress interview with the Faculty Officer or your case being reviewed by a Faculty Committee, which has the power to exclude students from the University.
  5. Overseas students only: The University will report your non-attendance to the UKVI.

Non-attendance not affecting an assessment:
Self-certification form

Non-attendance affecting an assessment (or absence longer than 7 days):
Extenuating circumstances form

Non-attendance affecting an assessment (or absence longer than 7 days) for circumstances which you received treatment from University Health Service:
Extenuating circumstances form (including UHS evidence)

If you have a formal Learning Support Plan in place (provided to the Department by DDSS) which covers the circumstances under which you were absent, then further medical evidence should not be required.