Medical & Emotional Difficulties

Medical & Emotional Difficulties

Life throws curveballs from time to time. If you encounter personal challenges during your degree, we’re here to help. Supporting LFS students is our job! If something goes off the rails, get in touch with us at Student Services. We’ll help you find the support you need to get back on track.

On this page, you’ll find information about the LFS academic advisors, missing classes or exams, academic concessions, and links to other resources.

When Things Go Sideways, Talk to an Academic Advisor

We know that what you are going through may be difficult to share. You may not feel comfortable telling us exactly what’s going on, and that’s okay. You’re not required to share personal details with us, but disclosing what’s going on to an academic advisor is important so that we can offer our support. For example, we can help you navigate the academic impact of missing classes or a final exam. We can also help you access resources and services that may be helpful. All details shared in an advising interaction remain confidential and we are very protective of the information you share with us. The only time an academic advisor may share information is when a UBC-related resource needs to know in order to help you (e.g. Centre for Accessibility, UBC Counselling Services, UBC Student Health) — and we talk about it with you beforehand.

Missing Classes? Missing a Final Exam?

Short-term absences from class

In your time at LFS, you may experience a short-term complication or issue that prevents you from attending class, writing a midterm exam, or completing an in-class test or assignment. If you need to miss class, you may be able to catch up on class notes by contacting a fellow classmate. Establishing a connection with your classmates early on can provide you with a support network for such instances, and we encourage you to do so — it’s a skill that’s useful in the working world, too, as you would similarly need to catch up with colleagues after having missed a day or two of work. If you miss an in-class test or midterm, you will need to connect with your instructor directly and refer to your course outline for their attendance policies as soon as you can. LFS Student Services advisors rarely get involved in cases of short-term absence, but if you need further assistance, please visit our office.

Long-term absences from class

If you are facing issues that affect your in-class attendance for an extended period of time (e.g. health concerns, a death in the family, mental distress etc.), the first step is to address them. If you are feeling unwell, anxious or low, there are many on-campus services available to you to access and receive support. In the case of a long-term absence, you may miss too many lectures to realistically catch up in your courses. When considering withdrawing from one or multiple courses, it’s best to consult with an academic advisor about how this decision will impact you academically. You may also need to contact your enrolment services advisor (ESA) to discuss any potential impact on scholarships or bursaries, your student loan eligibility, your residence contract, or your athletics eligibility. If the withdrawal deadline for your course has passed, you will need to consult with an LFS academic advisor to discuss a late withdrawal, which is a type of academic concession (see below).

Absence from a final exam

You may experience an unforeseen event or illness that prevents you from writing a scheduled final exam. If you are affected by a family emergency, accident or illness, be sure to take care of yourself and access the support you need, then notify LFS Student Services as soon as you’re able. If you are dealing with a medical or personal situation that affects your ability to complete coursework or write a final exam, an academic concession in the form of a course withdrawal or deferred standing may be considered (see below).

​What is an Academic Concession?

An academic concession is an academic exception or extension that is formally granted by LFS Student Services to a student dealing with a hardship that seriously affects their ability to perform academically. The two most common types of academic concessions approved:

  1. You may be granted a standing deferred (SD) when you’re facing conflicting responsibilities or unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from completing your coursework or final exams. If you’re approved for a standing deferred, an SD will be placed on your academic record. This shows that you have been granted a deferral for a final exam, or for final term work. Typically, you will need to make arrangements with Enrolment Services to write your final exam, or with your instructor for submitting your final coursework.
  2. In exceptional or extenuating circumstances, you may be granted a late withdrawal (W), and a standing of W will be placed on your academic record. Late withdrawal from a course is not normally possible if you have written the final exam or if the course is otherwise deemed complete (i.e. if there is no final exam).

How can I receive an academic concession?

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you require an academic concession, you should contact LFS Student Services as soon as you are able.

  1. Get in touch with an academic advisor in LFS Student Services, either by phone, in person, or via email.
  2. Gather appropriate supporting documentation for your request. In the case of compassion requests, a copy of an obituary, or other documentation may be required. If your request is based on health concerns, the medical documentation must have the following:
    • The name of the medical office on official letterhead and the date the visit occurred.
    • The duration of illness or impairment. In the case of an ongoing disability/impairment, documentation must include information indicating how the severity of the condition prevented you from completing your coursework or exams.
    • Comments on the effect of the illness/impairment on your ability to meet specific academic requirements.
    • Signature of the healthcare professional.

Final coursework

If you have final coursework that’s incomplete, it is your responsibility to contact your instructor to discuss extended completion deadlines and how to submit your work.

Writing deferred final exams

You will be expected to write deferred final exams during the official deferred examination period set by Enrolment Services. It is your responsibility to arrange your schedule to be available at these times. Please note the examination periods may be different for specific courses in various faculties, so be sure to read all information you receive regarding your deferred exam carefully. LFS Student Services will email you to outline specific information in relation to your exam, but it is your responsibility to follow through with the instructions and attend the deferred exam. A deferred final exam cannot be deferred again, so it is important to attend.

Please remember that academic concessions are only granted in extenuating circumstances. Your request must be approved by both LFS Student Services and by your course instructor. Academic concession requests might not be granted if any or all of the following reasons apply:

  • You have not attended class regularly.
  • You have not completed a sufficient amount of term work.
  • Your supporting documentation is insufficient or inaccurate.
  • Your request has not been made in a timely manner.
  • Your application has missing or inaccurate information.

You can read more about the UBC policy that guides our Faculty’s decision-making process regarding academic concessions in the UBC Calendar.

Other resources you can access

UBC has many groups, resources and experts who can help keep you feeling focused and supported during your time here. When the going gets tough, reach out! We’re all in this together. And we’ll help you get through. Start here:

Still Have Questions?

We’re always here to help. Pick up the phone, send us an email, or better yet, drop by our office.