Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Health and personal matters

If a personal problem should arise during your time at the University, we will do our utmost to provide you with assistance and to limit any repercussions that it may have on your studies.

You’ll find examples below of some of the issues which can affect students but, whatever the problem, we encourage you to get in touch with the Student Support team at an early stage, so that we can help.  You’ll find our contact details at the foot of the page.

What should I do if… I have a disability?

The Student Disability Service supports students with a wide range of impairments and specific learning difficulties. These include dyslexia, autism, sensory and mobility impairments, mental health problems and some medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

If you wish to discuss your support options please talk to a member of the advisory staff who will work with you to assess your individual support requirement and will help you to apply for financial assistance, if required.

I have health problems?

The University offers a variety of support services to maintain the health and wellbeing of students. It is advisable for you to register with a GP as soon as possible on your arrival in Edinburgh.

If you feel that your academic performance has been affected by health problems, you can apply for special circumstances to be considered by the Examinations Board.

I am absent through illness?

You should contact the Student Support team or the course administrator as soon as possible to let us know if you are unable to attend classes. Absences of up to two weeks are permitted but it’s important to ensure that you can catch up with your coursework.

If illness has significantly affected your progress, you can apply for consideration of special circumstances. If your illness prevents you from dealing personally with your academic affairs, you may nominate someone (e.g. a parent) to act on your behalf, however we must receive confirmation from you in writing from your University e-mail account before we can communicate with a third party.

I have personal problems?

It is inevitable that many of us will be faced with difficult situations at some point in our lives and we understand that your studies may be affected by these. There is a network of support available to students, and you may find it useful to speak to the Student Counselling Service, the Chaplaincy or Nightline.

Where you feel that your academic performance has been affected by your personal issues, you should approach your Personal Tutor or Student Support team about applying for special circumstances.

The Advice Place can offer advice and information on health, disability issues, finance, accommodation, academic and legal matters, plus specific information for international and mature students. The Chaplaincy Centre also offers a support service to all students.

In some cases you may wish to take time off from your studies (see- I wish to take an Authorised Interruption of Study) and the Student Support Team can guide you through this process. As with many issues noted here, if you do find yourself in a difficult personal situation, we would encourage you to let us know as early as possible so that we can help you access the support you need.

I have had a bereavement/family crisis?

Let the Student Support team know and we will ensure that course organisers and all relevant staff are aware of the situation and are able to offer support during this time. 

The Student Counselling Service provides an opportunity to talk about any emotional or psychological problems you may be having. The Chaplaincy Centre may also be able to offer emotional support.

I would like a third party to speak to the University on my behalf?

Under the Data Protection Act, we are not permitted to discuss students with any other party, which includes parents, unless we have specific written permission from the student. This policy applies to all students, even those younger than 18 years of age and where fees are being paid by parents.

If you are prevented from dealing personally with academic affairs due to illness or similar you may wish to nominate a third party to speak to the University on your behalf (e.g. a parent). We must receive confirmation of this in writing from your University e-mail account before we can communicate with a third party.

Please contact the Student Support Team if you require any clarification.

I have financial problems?

You MUST contact the Fees Team in Scholarships and Student Funding at the earliest opportunity if you are having problems paying your fees in order to find a solution. Further support is also available from the Advice Place who will be able to offer guidance on applying for hardship funds.

Visit the webpages of the Scholarships and Student Funding Service

Other useful links:

I need childcare?

Please see the website below for details of our nursery facilities and available support.

I wish to take an Authorised Interruption of Study?

Students who require a leave of absence of more than two weeks need to apply for an Authorised Interruption of Study (AIS). An AIS is where a student is given permission to suspend their studies for a period of time for 'good' reason. An AIS will not normally exceed one academic year and supporting evidence (such as a personal statement, medical letters and/or third party statements) may be required.

If you wish to apply for an AIS you should contact the Student Support team as soon as possible. It is worth noting that interruptions cannot be granted retrospectively and students cannot take re-sits while on an AIS.

During the period of absence it is your responsibility to provide a current postal contact address and to ensure that any legal requirements imposed by your funding or grant authority are met. You must also check your University email account regularly for communications from the University.

If your question has not been answered, you may want to check our other sections: