Good Cause - Key FAQs for students

Illness or other difficulties affecting examinations, coursework and other assessments - here's some important information

Good Cause – What is it?

In times of illness or other adverse circumstances, Good Cause is the University's process concerning the impact of such circumstances on a student's ability to demonstrate in assessment what they have learned. This could relate to an essay or other piece of coursework, or to an exam, or to some other form of assessed work such as an assessed seminar or presentation.

A Good Cause claim might result in adjustments such as waiving a late penalty, granting an extension, or allowing a resit. Note: grades are NEVER increased through a Good Cause claim. Good Cause claims are submitted via MyCampus.

A brief overview of how the Good Cause process works is available here.

If you want us to take into account such adverse circumstances you MUST report your circumstances to the University through MyCampus, by submitting a Good Cause claim.

Further details are available in the MyCampus Good Cause Guide.

I am unwell and have a piece of coursework due to be submitted

If you are affected by illness or other adverse circumstances at the time when you should be completing coursework you may wish to apply for an extension of the submission deadline. (See 'I am unwell. Can I request an extension of my coursework submission deadline?')

However, if the circumstances have been so severe that you feel unable to complete the work at this time then you may apply for Good Cause.

If you have submitted the coursework but feel that your performance was affected by the adverse circumstances you may apply for Good Cause. Bear in mind that it might be better to apply for an extension than to submit an incomplete or poor piece of work on time.

If you do not submit the coursework:

  1. Seek evidence to support your Good Cause claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Cause Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the submission deadline. If your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period. Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the assessment.

If you submitted the coursework, but feel that your illness caused you to underperform:

  1. Seek evidence to support your claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Cause Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the submission deadline (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explainn how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the assessment.

Before you submit a claim, make sure you understand the possible outcomes from such a claim. Note: grades are NEVER increased through a Good Cause claim. (See ‘What happens if my Good Cause claim is accepted?’)

I am unwell. Can I request an extension of my coursework submission deadline?

You should always plan your various assessments carefully, taking particular note of where a number of deadlines fall around the same time. Try to complete assessment in good time so that you will still be able to submit by the deadline in the event of an unexpected disruption to your ability to study. Before submitting a request for extra time, consider carefully whether this would really be in your best interests. By submitting on time your marked work will be returned to you promptly and you will avoid creating a later bottleneck of deadlines.

If illness or other adverse circumstances mean that you will be unable to submit your work on time, you may request an extension.

Extensions of up to five working days: If you think that you need an extension of up to five working days, you should contact the course convener and explain the situation. (Your course documentation will provide the relevant contact details.) There is no requirement to provide supporting evidence for an extension request of up to five working days. If the course convener accepts that you will be prevented by circumstances beyond your control from submitting the work on time then they will grant whatever extension they believe is appropriate, up to a maximum of five working days. You should request an extension as soon as you become aware that it may be necessary. If you submit the request after the submission deadline, and there is no good reason for not having requested the extension earlier, then late submission penalties may be applied.

Extensions of more than five working days: If you think you need an extension of more than five working days, you must submit a Good Cause claim:

  1. Seek evidence to support your Good Cause claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus as soon as you become aware that you may need an extension. If your evidence arrives later you should add this to the claim as soon as possible. Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the assessment and say how much extra time you think you need.

You are advised to bring the claim to the attention of a member of staff such as your Adviser of Studies or Honours Convener to ensure that it is responded to promptly. As soon as your claim has been considered you will be told whether an extension has been approved and, if so, what your new submission deadline is.

I am unwell for my exam

You need to decide whether you feel well enough to sit the exam.

Many exams in 2022-23 will be online, but for on campus exams please do not attend if you are in the infectious stage of an illness, e.g. chickenpox or needing to self-isolate due to Covid-19.

If you are unsure, you are advised to seriously consider taking the exam as you may still submit a Good Cause claim afterwards if you believe that you underperformed due to the illness.

If you miss your exam:

  1. Seek evidence to support your Good Cause claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the exam (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the exam.

If you take your exam, but feel that your illness caused you to underperform:

  1. Seek evidence to support your claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the exam (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the exam.

Before you submit a claim, make sure you understand the possible outcomes from such a claim. Note: grades are NEVER increased through a Good Cause claim. (See ‘What happens if my Good Cause claim is accepted?’)

I have been unwell during revision time

If you feel that being unwell during revision time has caused you to underperform in an exam, you may submit a Good Cause claim.

You should take your exams if you feel well enough on the day. If you are too unwell to take your exam, see I am unwell for my exam.

If you take your exam, but feel that having been unwell during the revision time caused you to underperform:

  1. Seek evidence to support your Good Cause claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the exam (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the exam.

Before you submit a claim, make sure you understand the possible outcomes from such a claim. Note: grades are NEVER increased through a Good Cause claim. (See ‘What happens if my Good Cause claim is accepted?’)

I have suffered a bereavement

If someone close to you has sadly passed away we understand that this could disrupt your exam revision.

In most cases we would advise you to try to take your exams, although only you can decide whether you feel able to, and if there is a funeral at the time of your exams, we understand that you will want to be there.

If you miss your exam:

  1. Seek evidence to support your Good Cause claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the exam (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the exam.

If you take your exam, but feel that your bereavement caused you to underperform:

  1. Seek evidence to support your claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the exam (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the exam.

Before you submit a claim, make sure you understand the possible outcomes from such a claim. Note: grades are NEVER increased through a Good Cause claim. (See ‘What happens if my Good Cause claim is accepted?’)

A close relative/friend has been seriously ill and it has affected my exam preparation – what should I do?

If you feel your exam preparation has been compromised by these difficulties (perhaps you have been needed to care for that person or take over caring responsibilities for others), you may wish to submit a Good Cause claim.

If you are able to, you should take your exam.

If you miss your exam:

  1. Seek evidence to support your claim. This could include medical evidence relating to your relative/friend. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the exam (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have prevented you from taking your exam.

If you take your exam, but feel that your circumstances caused you to underperform:

  1. Seek evidence to support your claim. This could include medical evidence relating to your relative/friend. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. Submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the exam (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the exam.

Before you submit a claim, make sure you understand the possible outcomes from such a claim. (See ‘What happens if my Good Cause claim is accepted?’)

I had to attend a family crisis at the time of my exam – what should I do?

If you have missed an exam due to a significant family crisis, you should submit a Good Cause claim.

  1. Seek evidence to support your claim. (See 'What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?')
  2. You must submit your Good Cause claim on MyCampus within five working days of the exam (if your evidence arrives later you can add this to the claim, but the claim MUST be started within the five working day period). Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.
  3. In your claim, you must explain how events have impacted on you and your preparation for the exam.

Before you submit a claim, make sure you understand the possible outcomes from such a claim. (See ‘What happens if my Good Cause claim is accepted?’)

What circumstances would be considered as Good Cause?

We want to know about serious issues that you believe have prevented you from taking an assessment or significantly impaired your performance in an assessment. We mean circumstances that are beyond your control such as:

  • Serious or incapacitating injury, illness or medical condition or emergency operation.
  • Significant short-term mental ill-health.
  • A long-term or chronic physical health condition, which has recently worsened significantly.
  • A long-term or chronic mental health condition, which has recently worsened significantly.
  • A significant family or personal crisis (e.g. bereavement or serious illness affecting someone close to you such as a family member, friend or partner).
  • Jury Service or Court attendance.
  • Unforeseen, unpreventable events, being a victim of a crime which is likely to have significant emotional impact such as a sexual or other physical assault, being involved in a road traffic accident or an exceptional crisis of employment commitment beyond your control, being immediately impacted by military conflict, or natural disaster.
  • A financial or housing crisis, e.g. temporary homelessness, the unexpected requirement to move at short notice.
  • Severe disruption during your online exam, such as prolonged loss of internet connection, or a sudden domestic crisis.
  • Extreme travel disruption on your way to an on-campus exam, which could not have been foreseen. (You are expected to take reasonable steps to allow for some cancellation/delays.)

We understand that some adverse circumstances may be extremely sensitive, such as sexual assault, pregnancy termination, family crisis. In such cases, you do not have to write down the details. You may find it helpful to discuss your situation with a member of staff in the School who will be able to help in handling your claim or advise on other sources of support.

What circumstances would NOT be considered?

Students are expected to cope with difficulties, problems and minor illnesses that occur in normal life in the same way as everyone does at work or at home, and to manage competing demands on their time. Around exam time a certain amount of stress is natural. The following are examples of circumstances which would not normally be considered as Good Cause:

  • A long-term or chronic health condition (including mental ill-health) which has not significantly worsened recently. If you are affected by a long-term health condition you should consult the Disability Service at an early stage so that support and reasonable adjustments can be put in place, as appropriate. You may also speak to your Advisor of Studies to explore other possible options in relation to your programme of study (e.g. moving from full-time to part-time study or taking a 'Fitness to Study' Leave of Absence).
  • A minor short-term illness or injury (e.g. a common cold), which would not reasonably have had a significant adverse impact on assessment.
  • Personal/domestic events that could have been planned for.
  • Choices in personal life (e.g. attending weddings, holidays).
  • General worry about financial difficulties over a period of time. Please note that advise is available on the Cost of Living Support Pages.
  • Failure or theft of your computer or other equipment being used to produce the work to be assessed, including work not being backed-up. For exams being taken on your own device, please see the online exams checklist for advice on steps to take in advance. Note also that the IT Helpdesk is available 24 hours a day during exam diets to assist with technical issues. Keep the web address and telephone number to hand throughout the exam diet.
  • Poor management of time or misunderstanding of deadlines/dates (including failure of others to submit group assignments).
  • Regular commitments to paid or voluntary employment.

You should therefore take appropriate steps to minimise the impact of such events as these are unlikely to be accepted as valid claims under Good Cause.

We understand that exams are often associated with a degree of stress and anxiety, and would encourage all students to refer to the self-help resources:

#LookAfterYourself with the Exam De-Stress Events, brought to you by the SRC, GUSA, QMU & GUU.

Counselling & Psychological Services self help.

Are long-term or chronic circumstances accepted as Good Cause?

No, unless you have a temporary serious flare-up of a chronic condition at the time of your assessments.

Good Cause regulations relate only to short-term issues that may have affected the taking of exams, submission of other assessments, or your performance in assessments. In other words, issues that have prevented you from demonstrating in your assessments what you have learned through your studies.

If you have on-going difficulties which are impacting on your ability to fully engage in your studies and assessments, you should seek support through the Disability Service so that support and reasonable adjustments can be put in place, as appropriate. You may also speak to your Advisor of Studies to explore other possible options in relation to your programme of study (e.g. moving from full-time to part-time study or taking a 'Fitness to Study' Leave of Absence).

I missed a lot of classes due to ill health but feel better now and sat the exam. Can I make a Good Cause claim so that this can be taken into account?

No. Good Cause regulations relate only to short-term issues that may have affected the taking of exams, submission of other assessments, or your performance in assessments. In other words, issues that have prevented you from demonstrating in your assessments what you have learned through your studies.

If you have been unable to fully engage in your studies during the semester, you should speak to your Adviser of Studies about the best course of action.

How long do I have to make a claim?

You only have five working days from the date of the assessment (e.g. exam date or coursework submission deadline) to initiate your claim on MyCampus, otherwise it is deemed to be late and will not be accepted without good reason for not submitting on time.

Evidence to support your claim can be uploaded later, but the claim MUST be STARTED on MyCampus within five working days. This applies both to assessments that you have missed, and to exams that you attended or coursework that you submitted but where you believe your performance was significantly affected. Please see MyCampus Good Cause Guide.

If you are unable to make a claim on MyCampus by the deadline:

You should make every effort to submit a claim on time, however we recognise that occasionally this may not be possible (e.g. if you are in hospital and unable to access the system). In such cases you should still try to make contact with your School or Adviser to let them know that you have missed the deadline but intend to make a claim as soon as you can.

You can, in extreme circumstances, ask a friend or family member to pass a message on if you are unable to make direct contact. This will also help us to understand your current difficulties and advise you of any support that may be available.

What is appropriate supporting evidence for a Good Cause claim?

For any type of evidence, the relevant dates must be included to show how the circumstances impacted on your assessment.

For medical matters evidence could be documentation from a:

  • GP
  • Consultant
  • Hospital
  • Clinic
  • Counsellor
  • Therapist
  • Carer

This could include: a hospital report; a doctor or other medical professional’s report; a doctor’s “Fit Note”; a formal notification of a hospital or clinic appointment, or hospital discharge letter.

Note: As soon as you become a student at the University you should register with a local doctor (within the postcode area of your term-time home) who will be responsible for your medical care whilst at the University. This does not mean the relationship with your home doctor is broken. You may still consult them when on vacation. Information on registering with a doctor can be found here: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/students/safetyhealth/healthservices/#registerwithadoctor

Please note that you should only make an appointment with a GP if you require advice and/or treatment in relation to a medical matter. The University does not expect good cause claims to be supported by GP letters in relation to minor matters that did not require advice and/or treatment. It is therefore not appropriate to make an appointment with the purpose of obtaining a doctor's letter in such circumstances. For supporting a good cause claim, there is little value in a letter from a GP saying that you told them that you recently had an illness such as a stomach upset or flu. It is also not a good use of a busy GP surgery's time to be asked for such letters.

If you are consulting a GP for advice and/or treatment in relation to a medical issue that has impaced an assessment, they may be willing to provide a letter to confirm their own assessment of your medical condition. However, they are under no obligation to do so. (Please see 'What if I am unwell but do not have a doctor's letter?')

Remember that a request for an extension of up to five working days does not need a good cause claim. Such requests should be sent direct to your course coordinator, with an explanation of why you need extra time, but you do not need supporting evidence.

The above information about evidence would also apply if the health circumstances you are reporting relate to a close relative or friend. In such cases you would need to explain in your claim why you were affected and, in the case of a hospital appointment, why it was essential that you accompanied that person. Before submitting any evidence in relation to a third party you must have their consent.

For cases where there has been a short-term worsening of a long-term (chronic) condition you can seek a supporting letter from any relevant service you have already been registered with for support for the long-term condition such as your:

  • Disability Advisor.
  • Counsellor (e.g. from Counselling & Psychological Services (CAPS)).
  • GP, mentor or other suport worker.

For personal circumstances which are not health related, you should provide a letter or document from an independent responsible person (or organisation), with their contact details provided, who can vouch for the circumstances you are reporting, such as:

  • A support service which has been assisting you with the issue (e.g. a social worker, Citizen’s Advice Bureau or other support organisation).
  • The Police (e.g. crime report or accident report with reference numbers).
  • The Court, Crown Prosecution Service or a solicitor.
  • An insurance company (e.g. in relation to road traffic incident).
  • A member of staff who was alerted to the circumstances at the time.
  • The leader/manager of a group or club that you belong to, or of an organisation where you volunteer, or a senior colleague in your place of paid work.

In the case of a bereavement, you could provide a letter from an independent person (usually not a family member) giving a view on the closeness of the relationship to you. A death certificate, funeral notice, or order of service are other forms of acceptable evidence, depending on what is available to you.

Letters of support from personal friends or family members may be submitted in relation to any circumstances, but these carry less weight in supporting a Good Cause claim. In your claim you should explain why this is the best evidence available to you.

What if I am unwell but do not have a doctor's letter?

Please note that you should only make an appointment with a GP if you require advice and/or treatment in relation to a medical matter. The University does not expect good cause claims to be supported by GP letters in relation to minor matters that did not require advice and/or treatment.

If you don't have any documentation from your GP, there may be another independent person who can provide a letter of support - either from having seen you or from having spoken to you at the relevant time. While they will not be able to provide a professional opinion or diagnosis, they can advise us of any observations they had regarding your physical and/or mental wellbeing at the relevant time. Again, the letter must provide clear information relating to the date or dates relevant to the circumstances being reported. People who can provide such information could be:

  • Someone you know in the University such as your tutor or Adviser of Studies.
  • The leader/manager of a group or club that you belong to, or of an organisation where you volunteer, or a senior colleague in your place of paid work.

Sometimes the only people who will have seen you at the time when you were unwell will be personal friends, flatmates or family members. Letters of support from them may be submitted, but these carry less weight in supporting a Good Cause claim. In your claim you should explain why this is the best evidence available to you.

What happens if my Good Cause claim is accepted?

There are two stages in considering a Good Cause claim:

a)  A judgement on whether the circumstances themselves should count as good cause.

And, in cases where you have submitted a claim for underperformance in an assessment:

b)  A judgement on whether the grade you achieved in your exam or coursework has been “manifestly prejudiced” i.e. significantly affected by the circumstances.

Step b) will only happen if Good Cause is accepted at Step a).

If your Good Cause claim is accepted in relation to work that you completed (e.g. an exam that you sat, a piece of coursework that you submitted) the grade that you achieved will NOT be increased to reflect the difficulties that you were facing.

The most common outcome for an accepted claim (whether for completed assessment or missed assessment) is that you will need to complete the assessment at a later date. This later opportunity will be treated as your first attempt (unless the discounted attempt was already a second attempt). This will usually be at the resit diet, which takes place during the summer vacation. PLEASE NOTE: that if it is judged that you have significantly underperformed, the assessment(s) will not be counted even if your performance was good enough to allow you to progress or achieve a grade you find acceptable.

I am a Senior Honours/integrated masters Student – What happens if my Good Cause claim is accepted?

There are two stages in considering a Good Cause claim:

a)  A judgement on whether the circumstances themselves should count as good cause.

And, in cases where you have submitted a claim for underperformance after attending an exam, or submitting a piece of coursework:

b)  A judgement on whether the grade you achieved in your exam or coursework has been “manifestly prejudiced” i.e. significantly affected by the circumstances.

Step b) will only happen if Good Cause is accepted at Step a).

If your Good Cause claim is accepted in relation to work that you completed (e.g. an exam that you sat) the grade that you achieved will NOT be increased to reflect the difficulties that you were facing.

Depending on the stage you are at in the Honours programme and on how much assessment you have missed, you may be required to complete the missing assessment at a later date.

At the end of Senior Honours or the final year of an integrated masters programme, where Good Cause is accepted, a limited amount of assessment could be set aside (i.e. the grade not counted and the assessment not required to be completed at a later date).

Could my marks be improved to take into account my circumstances?

No.

Marks cannot be awarded on the basis of undemonstrated performance as it is not appropriate for examiners to speculate on what level of performance you may have achieved in better circumstances.

Where illness or other good cause has impaired your performance in an exam or coursework, you will usually be given another opportunity to take the examination or assessment at a later date (e.g. at the resit diet which takes place during the summer vacation). This later opportunity will be treated as your first attempt (unless the discounted attempt was already a second attempt). In limited circumstances some work may be “set aside” and you will not be required to complete it.

If my circumstances are accepted as Good Cause, will I have to re-take the exam or submit new coursework even if I managed to pass the course?

In some circumstances, Yes:

There are two stages in considering a Good Cause claim:

a)  A judgement on whether the circumstances themselves should count as good cause.

And, in cases where you have submitted a claim for underperformance in an assessment:

b)  A judgement on whether the grade you achieved in your exam or coursework has been “manifestly prejudiced” i.e. significantly affected by the circumstances.

Step b) will only happen if Good Cause is accepted at Step a).

You will not be able to keep the grade achieved at the time of the adverse circumstances if the examiners judge that your performance has been manifestly prejudiced - i.e. if they believe that you have underperformed significantly in that assessment. While this is more likely to happen if you achieve a poor grade, it could still happen if you pass the exam, or course overall; for instance, if you normally get marks of A and B but receive a D for the affected assessment, it is likely that the mark would be discounted and you would need to take the exam or complete the coursework again at a later date. This later attempt will be treated as your first attempt (unless the discounted attempt was already a second attempt).

What would prevent my Good Cause claim from being approved?

We may not approve your claim if:

  • It is late and you have not given a good reason for this.
  • It does not include legitimate circumstances that would count as Good Cause.
  • You did not provide a sufficient explanation of how your circumstances disrupted your assessment(s).
  • There is insufficient evidence to support your claim.
  • In the case of completed assessment, it is judged that your performance has not been significantly impacted.

What happens if my Good Cause claim is declined?

If your claim is not accepted the grade for any assessment you have completed will stand, and any missed assessments will be treated as a non-submission.

Can I cancel my Good Cause claim?

Good Cause claims can only be cancelled up to five working days after the assessment date (e.g. exam date, coursework submission deadline).