Undergraduate Teaching 2019-20

Rearranging coursework & allowances: general rules

Rearranging coursework & allowances: general rules

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Although we expect students to attend all lab sessions and respect coursework deadlines, there may be a number of reasons why such commitment may not be honoured. Students experiencing difficulties should seek appropriate support as soon as possible. Their Tutor will have to approve any allowance request and should be kept in the loop.

The Faculty Board of Engineering has issued the following guidelines about the circumstances under which coursework activities may be rearranged or allowances granted. The Head of Department delegates all the responsibilities mentioned in this document to the Director of Undergraduate Education. All forms are processed via the Teaching Office.

Points to consider

  1. Students should make all reasonable efforts to complete any missed exercises at a later date and so must first try and make rearrangements with the lab leader.
  2. Applications should be made at the time rearrangement proves not to be possible, and at latest by the end of the relevant term.
  3. Any application for an allowance must be made on the standard form. This form must be completed in full by both student and Tutor. The Tutor may be required to submit supporting medical evidence (e.g. if the period affected is over 7 days).
  4. Forms should be submitted as soon as it is clear that an allowance may be required.
  5. A total allowance of more than four weeks coursework will not normally be given, in any year.

Types of allowance

The granting of an allowance implies either:

  1. an extension of the scheduled period for completion and submission of an activity (applicable to both standard credit and positive credit activities); or
  2. the allocation of a number of marks for the activity missed, if it proves impossible to rearrange or catch up the activity. For standard credit activities, the mark allocated will normally be the qualifying mark for the activity. For positive credit exercises, any mark allocated will depend upon the student's performance in related assessed activities.

In all cases, the Director of Undergraduate Education will consider the allowance form submitted by the student and Tutor, and decide upon the type and extent of any allowance to be made. These are incorporated in the final coursework marks sent to the Chairmen of Examiners. The Teaching Office will notify the Tutor and the student of the outcome of any application.

Allowances for individual activities are described in more detail for each Part:

Reasons for arranging coursework

Reasons for seeking to rearrange course work fall into one of the following five categories:


Educationally it is always preferable to rearrange coursework missed through illness, and this should be attempted wherever practicable. If rearrangement is not possible, then students should apply for the appropriate allowance.

‘Illness’ is broadly defined as any illness, mental health problem, physical injury or other grave cause which, in the opinion of both the student's tutor and the Director of Undergraduate Education, prevents the student from completing their scheduled coursework activities on time, or in some cases at all.  

Compassionate or religious grounds

Students will, wherever practicable, be allowed to rearrange coursework on compassionate or religious grounds (for instance, to enable them to attend a funeral, or because the coursework is scheduled on the day of a religious festival). The student concerned should try to rearrange the coursework in advance. If rearrangement proves impossible, then an application for an allowance may be made with the support of the student's tutor.


When applying for jobs, work placements or sponsorship, students may be invited for interview on days that conflict with coursework activities. Students should in the first instance seek to rearrange the interview rather than the coursework. If this proves impossible, then the student should try to rearrange the coursework. Allowances are not normally given for coursework missed through interviews.

Sporting commitments

Coursework may not be rearranged to accommodate College sporting commitments. Students will, wherever practicable, be allowed to rearrange coursework that conflicts with University sporting competitions (i.e. representing the University of Cambridge in a competitive event) but not for training sessions.

NB. Allowances are not normally available if such rearrangement is possible.

Other reasons

If a student wishes to seek to rearrange coursework for any reason not covered by the four categories above, they should discuss the matter with the Director of Undergraduate Education.

How to rearrange coursework

Part I coursework

For Part I coursework (including sign-up sessions) students should identify an appropriate replacement slot in the timetable, in discussion with the appropriate chief technician, and then clear this with the lab leader in charge of the activity.

Contact details of lab leaders and technicians are available online: IA, IB.

Part II coursework

For Part II coursework, students should contact the staff member in charge of the coursework activity (e.g. lab/EAA leader or module leader). Wherever possible, arrangements should be made in advance – failure to do so when the need for rearrangement was foreseeable may result in the request being refused. In some cases, it may be necessary to apply for an extension to a deadline to allow coursework to be completed.

Last updated on 29/08/2019 15:27