Circumstances not taken into account
It is not possible to list every circumstance that the Supervisory Panel and/or RSPB would not accept or take into account. However, some of the more obvious examples are listed below:
- general pressure of academic work is not taken to be circumstances beyond your control, as you are expected to plan your work schedule
- a short-term problem or illness which has occurred during the year and which is not deemed to have had an overall effect on your progress
- financial difficulties, as you are expected to plan and manage your budget sensibly
- employment demands, as you are expected not to over-commit yourself to any paid or unpaid work that you decide to take on during your studies
In some cases, such as short-term illness, the RSPB may accept your claim but they may conclude that it has no material effect on the decision regarding your progress.
Assessment of your extenuating circumstances
Your Supervisory Panel and RSPB will try to determine whether, and to what extent, your reported extenuating circumstances have affected your academic performance and progress, and determine what action, if any, can be taken. In assessing the significance of extenuating circumstances the RSPB will normally take into account:
- the severity of the problem and the length of time involved
- any supporting documentary evidence
- whether it is possible to gauge the effect of the extenuating circumstances upon academic performance
- whether your achievement is consistent with past performance
- whether it is possible to adjust the deadline for you to reach expected milestones
Possible action taken by the RSPB
The RSPB can assess whether your extenuating circumstances have affected your ability to submit work to the Supervisory Panel and/or RSPB by the required deadline. It also assesses whether your extenuating circumstances have affected your progress in a way that means it is not reasonable to have expected you to reach the required milestone (including the criteria for Confirmation of PhD Status). In such cases, the RSPB may be able to extend the deadline for work to be submitted and/or extend the deadline by which you must have reached the relevant milestones in your study.
If appropriate, the RSPB may recommend that you take a period of intermission (leave of absence). The Supervisory Panel and RSPB cannot allow, or recommend to the Dean, an indefinite extension to your deadline.