University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)

Advice and Assistance for Students

Help with Academic, Health or Personal Problems

The Physics Building is home to roughly 500 students and it is inevitable that some will be faced with difficulties and problems of an academic, health or personal nature. Students with difficulties are encouraged to seek appropriate advice at the earliest opportunity. Tutors (or supervisors in the case of research students) are normally the first point of contact in such circumstances but students welcome to discuss problems with a Stage Co-ordinator or any member of the academic staff to whom they feel able to talk.

Note: Academic staff are not in a legally 'privileged' profession. Therefore, before revealing specific personal information to a member of staff, a student should indicate its general nature and agree the extent to which it can remain confidential.

Students who have difficulty with the content of a particular module should raise the matter with the module instructor as soon as possible. As well as being able to help the individual student, module instructors always welcome such feedback because it helps them to identify the areas of the subject which students find difficult. All module descriptors have links to the instructor's personal webpage which gives contact information, and there is also a virtual staff photograph board.

The University and the Students' Guild also provide assistance through the:

Exeter Depression and Anxiety Service (DAS) is available to students who are not able to access the University welfare system is a self-referral free service for mental health issues.

For further helpful advice and information please also refer to the:

Physics undergraduates operate their own peer-support scheme for Stage 1 students.

Education Support Office

Enquiries of an administrative nature can be dealt with by emailing the Education Support Office:

or by calling in person at the Peter Chalk Reception during the following opening times:


Help with Study Skills

Effective studying depends on a number of factors: the subject discipline, the particular teaching methods used and the personal preferences of you the student. However, you also need to adapt your study techniques to fit in with the learning situation in which you find yourself. This document:

will give new students some insight into study at University and suggest some practical approaches to studying that will be helpful.

The University's Academic Skills and Student Engagement Team publish a comprehensive set of:

These are designed to help students develop a range of academic skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures. The resources are interactive, self-paced and contain a variety of activities to support development. They are suitable for both undergraduate and postgraduate taught students.

Students with Mitigating Circumstances

Students should take action during their studies if they are affected by advertse circumstances. Students with short-term medical conditions or personal circumstances that are beyond their reasonable control and affect their ability to study and/or their performance in assessments should use the

if they wish to have them considered by the Department. A student who is affected by such circumstances at the point of an assessment should attempt the assessment if they are well enough to attend and submit an application for mitigation at the earliest opportunity. Where mitigating circumstances become apparent during the course of the year students should consider interruption (see below).

Students with Health Issues

Students with physical or mental health issues that are not short-term and are affecting their ability to study and/or their performance are supported by following the University's:

See also:

Students with Disabilities

The Department subscribes to and supports the University's Statement on access for disabled students. A Disability Liaison Officer to helps with University practice, procedure and practical adaptations.

The AccessAbility will provide an Assessment Summary document for disabled students who require special arrangements to facilitate their learning. Students in this position must supply copies of the document to:

  1. the Senior Administrator this copy will be placed in the student's personal file;
  2. the staff member(s) who will be supervising the activity, if the Assessment Summary refers to constrained assessment activities (e.g. mid-semester tests). This must be done at least a week in advance of the test in order to allow adequate time to make arrangements.
  3. the module instructors, as appropriate (e.g. if large-print copies of handouts are required).

In order to maintain confidentiality, responsibility for ensuring that relevant staff are provided with a copy of the document lies with the student. The Department cannot act retrospectively if the correct procedures have not been followed.

The advice of the Disability Liaison Officer or AccessAbility (was the Disability Resource Centre) should be sought in cases where the above procedures are problematic or where non-trivial modifications to standard practice (e.g. building work or significant departures from approved programmes of study) may be required.

See also:

Interruption and Voluntary Withdrawal

A student who is considering interrupting, or withdrawing from, their programme of study should discuss the matter with their tutor in the first instance and then follow the advice contained in the University's procedures:

Support for Students Who Fail Modules

Students who are referred in (e.g. need to retake examinations) one or more failed modules should discuss the matter with their tutor (or the module instructor) who will help them formulate a strategy and timetable of work required to pass the referred assesment. This is likely to require the student to thoroughly review content of the module and re-read the core text, then re-attempt any problems set by the module instructor, and finally practice producing high-quality answers to examination questions.

For some modules, instructors will issue 'remedial problems-sheets' and/or arrange revision classes prior to the referred examinations.

Complaints Procedures

Within the Department complaints about teaching are usually dealt with via the Student Representation mechanisms described elsewhere. For cases where these mechanisms are not appropriate there is a University Complaints Procedure to which all parties involved are expected to adhere. It covers complaints about:

However, for the following matters of potential dispute, separate procedures apply:

The first stage of the University Complaints Procedure is quoted here for convenience:

[Students who make use of this procedure should ensure that they inform those with whom they are raising a complaint that they are doing so under the procedure.]

Wherever possible, issues of concern should be raised immediately with the member of staff responsible or, alternatively, with one of the support services such as those listed below, with the aim of resolving the problem directly and informally. It is anticipated that the vast majority of complaints will be resolved in this way.

The Informal Stage will generally be an oral process and a written record will not be made, but any staff involved will be encouraged to share the experience where the effectiveness of their Department or section could benefit.

If you are still not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you should use stage 1 of the formal procedure outlined [in the University Calendar].

University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)