Fitness to study
Find out what support will be offered to you if you are unable to participate and function in university life, and read our policy and procedures on fitness to study.
Fitness to study is defined as your fitness to participate and function in university life.
You are deemed fit to study if
- you're able to function independently in academic, residential and community environments
- your mental or physical health needs do not disrupt the learning or research work of other students
- you're able to benefit from the programme of study or research, and you can pursue it for the required period with a reasonable chance of progression
You're deemed unfit to study if, for health reasons, it's not in the interest of you or the University that you should begin – or continue – a programme of study.
If you have disabling conditions or long-term mental or physical health issues, we will give focused, appropriate and boundaried support to help you to participate and function.
This includes offering reasonable adjustments and support to make sure you have equal opportunities to succeed in all aspects of university life.
Occasionally, this might not be possible because
- the adjustments and support offered are not sufficient or appropriate
- you are unable to, or choose not to, engage with the adjustments and support offered
- based on clinical evidence, we judge that continuing would be detrimental to your health
- your presentation is disruptive, in a way that impacts significantly on the study or work of others in the University
If it is not possible, you may be deemed unfit to study and the University's Health Requirements Regulation (26) may be invoked.
Follow the below links to find out more about support we offer:
Find out if you're eligible for disability and dyslexia support.
See what to do if you think you might have an eating disorder.
Browse through an overview of our support services, or see full list of our University support contacts (student login needed).
Visit our Support Hub pages (student login needed), which can signpost you to the most appropriate information and support.
Setting up a support package
If you're struggling to deal with the challenges of university life, you may benefit from an integrated package of support provided by clinical and specialist staff.
This is where several support services work with you to agree on supportive measures to help you deal with the challenges of university life (eg counselling, mentoring or help from a doctor).
Below is a brief outline of the steps involved in getting support.
Fitness to study procedure
Read a more detailed explanation of our fitness to study procedure.
Step 1: Contact the relevant support service
If you think you will benefit from a discussion of your circumstances, you should make contact with the relevant support service to talk about your needs.
This may be the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service or University Counselling Service (student login needed).
Step 2: Initial case consideration meeting
If the service believes you may benefit from a support package, they'll discuss your case at an initial case consideration meeting. Any relevant support services and departments will attend.
You'll be asked to give your express consent to have your case discussed, but you can remain anonymous.
Information will be shared in extreme cases where there is a risk to yourself or others.
Attendees will consider the range of support or other options available to you, and then monitor your progress. If it's decided that a support package would be helpful, you will be contacted by the mental health support coordinator.
Step 3: Support package meeting
A support package meeting will be held to talk about what will be included in your package and how it will work. You may be asked to attend this meeting, but often the mental health support coordinator will report on your behalf.
During this meeting, the support services will work with you or your coordinator to agree on a number of measures to help you deal with the challenges of university life.
Step 4: Progress review
When a package has been agreed, your support package coordinator may contact you to make sure everything is going as planned.
Your package may be reviewed occasionally, and if your needs or circumstances have changed, adjustments can be put in place.
You can ask for changes to be made at any time.
Taking time out or withdrawing
You can request a deferral, leave of absence or withdrawal at any point.
If the group consider that, for health reasons, it may not be in the interest of you or the University that you should begin – or continue – a programme of study, they will hold a Regulation 26 meeting. At this meeting, they will discuss whether you should be required to take a leave of absence, withdrawal or deferral.
Explore the University
Discover why Sheffield is the right choice for you at one of our open days or events.