Medical evidence and certificates

This page sets out the standard of medical evidence required for dispensation requests submitted via Education Committee and for applications to the Proctors under Part 14 of the Examination Regulations. It may also be useful as a reference for any other University processes involving medical evidence.

Applications made on the grounds of ill health must be supported by medical evidence.


All medical evidence will be treated in strict confidence and will only be seen by those directly involved in the decision-making process. This may include appropriate officers in colleges, departments and certain administrators, e.g. Disability Advisory Service, but medical information is only shared where relevant and necessary.

If a student does not wish for information to be shared with particular parties this needs to be clearly stated when the application is submitted.

Medical evidence requirements for all processes

All medical evidence must be:

  1. Signed or otherwise verified, this could be:
  • A hardcopy that has been signed and scanned
  • An electronic copy that has an electronic signature (a typed name alone is not sufficient)
  • An electronic copy that has been received from an NHS or private practice email address (entire email with attachment should be submitted), or the college should verify that they received the medical evidence from the student’s doctor in the application form.
  • An electronic copy that has been provided via text message, with a screenshot of the text message showing time and date properties
  1. Provided using the University’s medical certificate template, on headed paper or take the form of other officially produced documentation (e.g. hospital report to GP or hospital discharge summary) and dated. The University may ask the practice/service to verify the evidence.
  2. Provided in English – an informal translation can be provided if the evidence is not in English, but an official translation may be requested.
  3. From a qualified medical practitioner who is the treating doctor (or from the same practice/specialist team). This can be a college nurse for short extensions (of up to one week) relating to acute conditions or a flare up of an existing condition.
  4. Contemporary, meaning:
  • sought at the time of the illness
  • relate in time to the assessment about which an application is being made and for which the student couldn’t reasonably be expected to make up the time lost, e.g.  evidence relating to a period of illness months before a deadline is unlikely to warrant an extension without contemporary evidence of ongoing symptoms.
  1. Sufficiently detailed:
  • confirm the diagnosis and observable symptoms, noting where symptoms are reported rather than observed, and any key history.
  • include the time period when the student has been affected, including start and finish dates.
  • where relevant, comment if the student is now fit to recommence study.
  1. For injury, accidents, surgery etc. discharge documents may not adequately cover the recovery period, if they don’t, then a certificate from the GP will be required for dates beyond the period of hospitalisation for the recovery period or relating to ongoing symptoms.
  2. Statements of fitness to work are unlikely to include enough detail and may lead to an application being rejected on lack of evidence.
  3. Photographs of medication or injuries are not acceptable as supporting evidence

Additional advice for dispensations

Where a student is suffering from a long term illness the most recent report from a doctor or specialist should be submitted if the student does not have a Student Support Plan (SSP). In cases of disability the most recent SSP should be sent with the request for a dispensation.

For students with an established diagnosis and/or SSP, further medical evidence is often not necessary for further dispensations. A statement from the student or college may provide more useful information on the student’s current needs.

If the application relates to arrangements as a consequence of a return from suspension on medical grounds and are being made at the point of return, the student should provide a certificate to say they are fit to resume studies.

Additional advice for Part 14 applications

New evidence must be provided with each request (unless within self-certification limits).

Students with Covid-19 who feel too unwell to sit an examination will now need to provide medical evidence with their exam excusal applications. A positive Covid-19 test will no longer be sufficient. This change is in line with the government's removal of domestic Covid restrictions in England. Students who are Covid-19 positive but otherwise well are expected to attend their exam.

It is not necessary for medical certificates to list the individual assignments affected or the proposed submission deadline (that information is captured on the application form).

For students who have provision within their SSP for flexibility with summative assessment deadlines due to a chronic fluctuating conditions their SSP should be submitted as the evidence for an initial application for extension/late submission waive up to 14 days from the original deadline. Applications for students with this provision will still need to provide medical evidence for:

  • any applications for any extension/late submission requests extended beyond 14 days from the original deadline
  • for all applications for exam excusals.