Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances

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This page aims to inform students and instructors/staff about the Academic Consideration process and how it can assist students in completing academic requirements when experiencing extenuating circumstances in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

If this does not apply to you, please see the “Who qualifies for Academic Consideration in the Faculty of Arts and Science?” question below for information on where to access resources for your specific Faculty.

Important Information

Zoom Office Hours will be closed for the Summer 2022 term, from May 21 to September 13, 2022. If you require support during this time, please contact the Academic Consideration Team at asc.consideration@queensu.ca.

COVID-Related Absence Information

If you have symptoms or are deemed a close contact of someone with COVID, please access our COVID-Related Absence Reference Guide. This guide will provide you with information on applying for consideration, the types of documentation (including non-medical documentation) you can use to support your request, as well as insight into how the Faculty office will assess these requests.  

If you have questions after reviewing the reference guide, please attend our virtual Zoom Office Hours on Tuesdays from 2-3:30pm or Thursdays from 10:30am – noon or see our contact information below.  

Academic Consideration is a process for the university community to provide a compassionate response to assist students experiencing a short-term extenuating circumstance.

Consideration is based on the principle of good faith, wherein the university and instructors understand that student circumstances and documented requests are legitimate.

Similarly, students understand that Academic Consideration options are provided with the best interest of the student in mind, ensuring they meet essential academic requirements.

Consideration options are at the discretion of the Professor and may include:

  • an excused absence
  • a deferral
  • an extension
  • a modified schedule for assignments, projects, labs, or placements
  • an alternative assignment
  • a re-weighting of term marks
  • permission for an incomplete grade
  • course withdrawal without penalty (this requires an appeal to the Associate Dean of Studies)
  • other options at the discretion of the Professor

Academic Consideration is governed by the University Senate Academic Consideration for Students in Extenuating Circumstances Policy.

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Unforeseen extenuating circumstances that may impact or impede a student’s ability to complete their academics. Some examples are:

Health Condition or Injury 

  • Short-term physical or mental illness (e.g., stomach flu, mononucleosis, pneumonia, short-term anxiety or depression) 
  • Serious injury (e.g., concussion or broken bones) 
  • Treatment (e.g., surgery, medication, vaccination) 
    • Please note that Academic Consideration is only eligible for the day of the vaccination. If you are having a reaction to a vaccine, you will be required to submit additional supporting documentation (Please see the “Supporting Documentation” section for more information.).  

Traumatic Event/Confidential 

  • Bereavement (e.g., death of family member or close friend)  
  • Serious injury or illness of significant other/family member (e.g., car accident, palliative care) 
  • Required treatment of a significant other/family member (e.g., surgery) 
  • Traumatic event (e.g., divorce, sexual assault, social injustice) 

Requirements by Law or Public Health Authorities 

  • Court Dates (e.g. jury duty, summons)
  • Unexpected, non travel-related requirements to isolate

Significant Event

  • Varsity Athletic Event
  • Distinguished Event
  • Serving in the Reserve Forces

Other

  • If you are experiencing an unforeseen extenuating circumstance not listed above and are unsure if it would qualify, please submit the information you have to a request using the Academic Consideration Request Portal. Our team will be in touch if we require further clarification.
  • If you want to speak with a member of our team about your situation, please see the “Who do I contact if I have questions?” section below.”

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The following circumstances are not covered by the Academic Consideration policy. 

  • Academic AccommodationsStudents seeking Academic Accommodations for a chronic or ongoing health/mental conditions, learning disability, or an existing disability should register with Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS). For further information, please contact the QSAS Intake Coordinator at: qsas.intake@queensu.ca. See Academic Accommodation and Academic Consideration section below for more information. 
  • Academic/Exam Related StressStudents who are not able to meet academic requirements due to experiencing high levels of academic or exam-related stress should seek out support by contacting the following:
  • PersonalFamily events (e.g., wedding, vacation, general travel, child care, etc.) or competing commitments (e.g., work, volunteering, extra-curricular activities, etc.) are not covered by this policy as they are planned, foreseeable commitments. If you are a reservist, please see the Significant Event section for more information.
  • Religious observancesThese are covered by the university policy on religious holidays. The process for these requests is outlined on the Religious Accommodation page on Queen’s Faith and Spiritual Life website. If you require assistance or academic support, please contact the University Chaplain at: 613-533-2186 or chaplain@queensu.ca.
  • Technological difficulties: Technological challenges (e.g., persistent hardware/software failure, prolonged poor internet coverage, lack of planning or knowledge of program software/OnQ, missing notifications/reminders, use of unsupported/out-of-date software) are not covered as it is the student’s responsibility to ensure they have access to the tools they require for their studies.
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Undergraduate Arts and Science students, including those studying on-campus, online or at the Bader College, are eligible to use the Academic Consideration Request Portal when experiencing an extenuating circumstance (please see “Definitions” section for more information).

If you are not an Arts & Science student, please see the Academic Consideration departments across campus list under the “Info for Faculty and Staff” section and “Faculty/School Office Contacts for the Academic Considerations” drop down to find the appropriate contact for your Faculty.

If you are a graduate student studying within the Faculty of Arts and Science, please speak with the School of Graduate Studies.


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General Process

All requests for Consideration must be submitted through the Academic Consideration Request Portal

Requests submitted to the portal will be reviewed by the Faculty Office’s Academic Consideration Team.  The team will verify the timeline and severity of impact of the extenuating circumstances based upon the supporting documentation provided by the student (please see “Supporting Documentation” section for more information). All documentation submitted through the portal is confidential and will not be shared directly with professors.  Once the request has been reviewed, a confirmation email stating the verified dates and severity will be sent to the student and instructors.  It is the student’s responsibility to contact their Professor(s) to arrange for Academic Consideration once their circumstance has been verified by our staff.

Types of Academic Consideration Requests

Short-term Requests

Short-term Academic Consideration can be requested for a maximum of 3-days. These requests must be submitted within 4 days of the onset of the extenuating circumstance (eg. if you are requesting Consideration for September 1, you must have your request submitted into this system by September 4 at the latest).

A reminder that our office validates that you are experiencing an extenuating circumstance over a certain period of time. Requests should therefore include the due date of a deliverable as, if you were not experiencing an extenuating circumstance on this date, the deliverable should be handed in on time.

Courses that have flexible deadlines, universal design, or Academic Consideration built into the course already may not be eligible for short-term requests. Please check your course syllabus to verify short-term requests for Academic Consideration apply to your course.

  • Without Documentation
    • Each student can make one short-term request for up to 3-days without supporting documentation per academic term. (i.e., Fall, Winter, Summer). These types of requests cannot be used during the exam period, nor can they be withdrawn once used. After you have used this request, all subsequent requests for the remainder of the term will require documentation.
    • For additional guidance on submitting this type of request, please see the “Academic Consideration Resource Guide – short-term, No Doc.” 

Long-Term Requests

Requests for long-term Academic Consideration can be submitted for 4-days to a maximum of 3 months. These requests should be made as soon as the student’s need becomes apparent. Delays may limit the Consideration options available to you. 

This type of request requires supporting documentation, which needs to be submitted within 5 business days of submitting the request. If supporting documentation is not submitted, your request may be withdrawn.

All requests must be submitted before the end of term. For full-year courses, requests must be received during the semester for which you are requesting Academic Consideration. Case-by-case exceptions can be made in extreme cases (ie: the student is in a coma or otherwise incapacitated). Please contact our team at asc.consideration@queensu.ca if you have questions. 

For additional guidance on submitting this type of request, please see the “Long-Term Requests.

Varsity, Military Reserve or Distinguished Event Request

Students who are participating in a Queen’s Varsity Athletics event, an event to which you are invited as a distinguished guest or participating as a student reservist in military sanctioned event can submit a Significant Events request. These events can be at the provincial, national, or international level. 

A minimum of two weeks before the sanctioned event, or as soon as the event is scheduled, complete and submit a Request for Excused Absence for Significant Event Form (see Extenuating Circumstances – Info for Students – Forms). You will also need to provide the following information:

  • A personal statement about why participation in the event is significant to you/Queen’s
  • Specific details about what is being missed (i.e., exactly what courses, what tests, what assignments, etc.)
  • A copy of the invitation to participate/details about the competitions that determine who is invited
  • Any other relevant details about the event (i.e., tournament information, schedules, team details, who is participating)

Please submit your completed application based upon the information listed below:

  • Varsity Athletic Events:
    • Senior Member of Athletics and Recreation Staff as directed by your team or clubs coach or coordinator.
  • Distinguished Events, Student Reserve Forces: 
  • BADR Students:

If you have questions about these requests, you are encouraged to review the Office of Support Services & Community Engagement’s website.

Once you have received a completed “Request for Excused Absence for Significant Event/Activity” form, please submit a request in the Academic Consideration Request Portal.  

For additional guidance on submitting this type of request, please see the “Academic Consideration Resource Guide – Significant Events.” 

Application Tips 

  • Consideration is granted by the extenuating circumstance, not by the course, so only one request per circumstance is required. You can add as many courses as you need to your request.
  • Before submitting your request through the portal, you will need to gather the following information: 
    • The course name and number (e.g., PSYC 100) of all courses for which you are requesting academic consideration
    • The Instructor or Course Coordinator's name and their Queen's email address for each course in your request (you can find this information in the course syllabus or OnQ)
    • Information regarding the missed deliverable (missing a test, assignment, tutorial, etc.)
    • Supporting documentation (please see Supporting Documentation section)
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For student privacy, all documentation must be uploaded to your request in the Academic Consideration Request Portal. We do not accept documentation via email.

Students can provide a variety of documents to support their request for Academic Consideration:

Health Condition or Injury 

  • Verification of Personal Health Condition Form (see “Info for Student” section and “What supporting documentation do I need? on the Student Wellness website)
  • A medical report, or medical prescription
  • A note from a health care professional or other professional (i.e., doctor, nurse practitioner, social worker, counsellor, occupational therapist)  

Traumatic Event/Confidential 

  • Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstances Form (see “Info for Student” section and “What supporting documentation do I need? on the Student Wellness website)
  • An accident report or police report
  • A court order
  • News article of social injustice (Short-term requests only)

Attestation Form (For Short-Term Requests ONLY)

Note: Attestation forms cannot be used as supporting documentation for requests that are longer than 3 days.

  • If you are unable to obtain supporting documentation and have already used your short-term request without documentation, you may be eligible for an Attestation Form. 
    • An Attestation Form is a document that you fill out and sign if you are requesting Academic Consideration but do not have supporting documentation to support your request for up to 3 days. By filling out and signing the form, you agree that your request is made in good faith and that any false or misleading information provided constitutes a breach of academic integrity, which could result in you being subject to the University’s Academic Integrity procedures.
    • To obtain an attestation form, please email asc.registration@queensu.ca.  Please title your email "Attestation Request".  Please include your name, student number and the dates of your request in the body of the email.  If you fail to include this information, there may be a delay in processing your request.

Translated Documents

As an English language school, Queen’s does not have the capacity to translate supporting documentation from other languages. To be able to assess the severity and timeframe of an extenuating circumstance, we require documentation in English.  Here are some options you can explore to provide our office with the information we require: 

  1. Visit Forms | Student Wellness to download the Verification of Personal Health Condition or Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstances forms. These forms can be completed by a Provider and attached to your request.  
  2. If you are unable to obtain documentation in English, our office requires a verifiable translation. Please use one of the following two options below to translate your document:
  • Translation by Person: The translation must be provided by someone other than yourself and preferably by someone other than a family member. To accept this translation as valid, the translator must submit:
  • Translation by Computer-Generated Software: This translation can be completed on your own. To accept this translation as valid, you must submit: 
    • A completed Certificate of Translation
    • A copy of original document
    • Screenshots/photos/scans of a computer-based translation program (i.e: Google Translate) showing the translation of the information contained in your document to English

If you are having trouble gaining access to documentation in English, please contact asc.consideration@queensu.ca for further assistance.

Other 

  • If you have access to other forms of supporting documentation, please upload it to your request in the Academic Consideration Request Portal. If our team has questions about your documentation, we will follow up with you.
  • If you need assistance in obtaining supporting documentation, please contact the Academic Consideration Team at asc.consideration@queensu.ca to discuss further.
  • For long-term requestsIf you do not yet have access to your documentation, you will have 5 business days to provide it to our team. You may submit a request in the Portal and select “Documentation not yet available.” Once received, please attach documentation to your request in the Portal.
  • Please note that for student privacy, we do not accept documentation via email.  For document security, all documentation must be submitted via our Academic Consideration Request Portal.
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Once your request has been submitted, the Academic Consideration Team is responsible for validating your request. Please see information pertaining to each request type below:

Short-Term Requests: Each of these requests are reviewed and verified by the Academic Consideration Team. If we are unable to validate the request, or we require additional information, you will be notified within 24-48 business hours. If you do not hear from our office within this timeframe, your request has been validated. Please note that your confirmation email also serves as verification of the validity of the request.

Long-Term Requests: Our team will review your request and supporting documentation. If we are unable to validate the request, we will contact you to request additional information. When the request has been verified, you and your professor(s) will receive a verification email detailing the duration and severity of your request. Long-term requests can take up to 6 business days to be processed.

After the verification process has been completed, students are required to follow up with their instructors (as per the directions listed in their syllabus) as soon as possible to discuss Academic Consideration options available. Delays in contacting the course instructor may limit the consideration options available. 

Course instructors will determine what Academic Consideration is appropriate for your course based on the academic requirement(s) you may miss and the essential academic requirements learning outcomes of the course (please see Definition section). All students who receive Consideration must meet all essential academic requirements/learning outcomes and standards of the course. Academic consideration does not guarantee academic achievement in a course/program.

Should Instructors and/or students have any questions or require further support, they are encouraged to contact the Academic Consideration Team directly at: asc.consideration@queensu.ca. Immediate assistance is available by speaking with our Student Resource Staff at 613-533-2470 (option 4).


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Academic consideration is a good faith process allowing for a compassionate response for students experiencing an extenuating circumstance. Academic consideration is a Queen’s University Policy, and does not fall under the Ontario Human Rights code, meaning there is no duty to accommodate requests made through this process. This means that Instructors have discretion how and whether Consideration can be granted. 

Academic accommodations are available to students with visible and non-visible disabilities to remove barriers to learning. This involves removing barriers caused by unique student functional impacts, allowing students to fully access the academic environment. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, Queen’s University, made up of all members of the Queen’s community have a responsibility to uphold the Duty to Accommodate students with disabilities.  

For both academic consideration and academic accommodation students must continue to meet all essential academic requirements and standards of the course. Receiving either an academic consideration or an academic accommodation does not guarantee success in a course. 

The following describes some of the academic accommodations that may be approved for a student as part of the academic accommodation process.  

  • Extra time when completing a quiz, test, or exam;  
  • A different location to write a quiz, test, or exam; 
  • Use of computer, adaptive technology, note-taking, alternate formats (e.g., receiving textbooks in audio and/or electronic format): 
  • Extensions on assignments, etc.  

Students seeking academic accommodation related to a chronic or ongoing physical or mental health condition, learning disability, or an existing disability are encouraged to review the Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) website.  If you need assistance, or your question is not answered on the website, please contact the Intake Coordinator at qsas.intake@queensu.caor by calling 613-533-6000, ext. 77628. 

For more information review our handy “Consideration vs. Accommodation” Cheat Sheet for more information.

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Academic Integrity

Academic integrity provides the foundation for learning, teaching, research and service at Queen’s University. Any behaviour that compromises the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility is considered a departure from academic integrity and may be subject to remedies and sanctions as established by the Faculty of Arts and Science. Providing any false or misleading information, or using the forms contained in the Procedures for Academic Considerations for Students in Extenuating Circumstances to delay or avoid fulfilling academic requirements constitutes a departure from academic integrity and will be investigated. 

Essential Academic Requirements

Essential academic requirements and standards refer to the knowledge and/or skills that must be acquired and/or demonstrated, for a student to successfully meet the learning outcomes of a course or academic work.

Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating circumstances refer to a personal circumstance beyond the student’s control that temporarily interferes with the student’s ability to complete academic requirements related to a course(s) for a short period of time, not to exceed three months.

For more information on extenuating circumstances, please see the “What circumstances qualify for Academic Consideration?” and “What circumstances do not qualify for Academic Consideration?” sections above.

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The academic requirement I’m missing is in an Arts and Science class, but I am not an Arts and Science student (ie. Engineering, Commerce, Nursing, Health Sciences).  Should I submit a request using the Arts and Science Portal? 

No. If you are a student from another Faculty (i.e., Commerce, Engineering, Health Sciences or Nursing student, or a graduate student), please see the Academic Consideration departments across campus list under the “Info for Faculty and Staff” section and “Faculty/School Office Contacts for the Academic Considerations” drop down to find the appropriate contact for your Faculty.

Should I submit a request for Academic Consideration if I am not missing an academic requirement?

Generally, no. If you are not missing an assignment or other academic requirement and there are no marks for attending a class, tutorial or lab, you do not need to submit a request for Consideration.

Please double check your syllabi to ensure you aren't missing any deliverables (i.e: participation marks, etc.) before submitting.

If you need to add a course after submitting, please email our team (see “Who do I contact if I have questions?” below.

I am experiencing high stress because of my studies or an upcoming exam.  Should I make a request for Academic Consideration?

No. It is common to experience some degree of stress related to academic deadlines and/or exams. Academic Consideration is not intended to be used for situations where you are experiencing academic or exam-related stress. For more information, please see the “What circumstances do not qualify for Academic Consideration” section above.

I have an ongoing disability. Can I submit a request?

If you have an ongoing disability, your needs are likely best served by Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS). However, please refer to the specific points below to see what best fits the circumstance you are experiencing: 

1. You have an ongoing disability, and you are not registered with QSASPlease visit Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) website to begin the process of registering using the steps below:  

  • Please upload your documentation and complete the Student Intake Form in the secure Online Intake Portal on the QSAS webpage.   
  • For more information on the intake process, please contact the Intake Coordinator at qsas.intake@queensu.ca, (or 613-533-6000 x77628 by phone).  

2. You have an ongoing disability, are registered with QSAS, and you are experiencing an exacerbation of your disability: 

  • Often extenuating circumstances can exacerbate symptoms of an ongoing disability. Students can receive support for exacerbations of their ongoing disability through Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS). Please send an e-mail to your instructor regarding your specific accommodation needs and copy your accommodation advisor. This is the best means for you to receive the accommodation you require. If you are not sure if you are registered, or do not know your QSAS Advisors contact information, please contact qsas.intake@queensu.ca.   

3. You have an ongoing disability, are registered with QSAS, and you are NOT experiencing an exacerbation of your disability: 

  • If your request is related to an extenuating circumstance (I.e., bereavement, illness, accident) that is not exacerbating your disability, please submit a request for Academic Consideration through the Academic Consideration Request Portal.

For more information, including a handy “Consideration and Accommodation” cheat sheet, please see the “Academic Consideration and Academic Accommodation” section above.

When should I use my one short term request without documentation per term?

If you have documentation that clearly states the duration and severity of the extenuating circumstance you are experiencing, it is always better to use this documentation to support your request. Please note that we can only validate dates that are clearly visible on supporting documentation.

If you do not have access to documentation, you should use your one short-term request per term without documentation before requesting an Attestation form.

What kind of supporting documentation can I submit to support my request?

Supporting documentation should include information about the impact on your academics and how long the impact is expected to last. For more information on valid supporting documentation, please see the “Supporting Documentation” section above.

What kinds of Academic Consideration can my instructor grant?

Academic consideration includes but is not limited to:

  • an excused absence;
  • a deferral;
  • an extension;
  • a modified schedule for assignments, projects, labs, or placements;
  • an alternative assignment;
  • a re-weighting of term marks;
  • permission for an incomplete grade;
  • course withdrawal without penalty (this requires an appeal to the Associate Dean of Studies)

Your instructor will determine which form of academic consideration is appropriate for your course based on the academic requirement(s) you may miss, and the essential requirements/learning outcomes of the course. All students who receive Academic Consideration must meet all essential academic requirements/learning outcomes and standards of the course. Academic Consideration does not guarantee academic achievement in a course/program.

Can I submit supporting documentation in a different language?

As an English language school, Queen’s does not have the capacity to translate supporting documentation from other languages. To be able to assess the severity and timeframe of an extenuating circumstance, we require documentation in English. Please review the “Supporting Documentation” section for more information regarding our required translation process.

How do I extend my request?

In cases where students require an extension to an already verified request, our team can re-activate your request in the portal (please DO NOT submit a new request). To be eligible for an extension, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The request must pertain to the same extenuating circumstance (ie: if you previously applied for Consideration due to illness, but then were required to attend jury duty, this would be deemed a new circumstance and you would need to submit a new request).
  • You must have already obtained new or updated valid supporting documentation (see “Supporting Documentation” section).
    • (If you are awaiting new documentation, please wait until you have access to it before following up, as described below.)

 If you meet both criteria, please email our team at asc.consideration@queensu.ca to re-open your request. Students will be given 48 hours to provide new documentation, at which point the request will be withdrawn. Your request will not be re-opened again, so please ensure that you pay close attention to these deadlines.

My need for Academic Consideration extends into next term. What should I do?

Students are expected to make decisions about their academics on a semesterly basis. This means that if you have an extenuating circumstance that spans two academic terms, the Faculty office expects you decide about your involvement in new course(s) based on your current abilities before the drop deadline. Any requests that extend into the new academic term will be granted for one week into the term to allow you time to make an informed decision. Any further requests for Academic Consideration for this circumstance will not be granted. 

Can I submit a request for Consideration after the course has ended?

The Faculty Office generally does not accept requests for Academic Consideration once a course has closed/ended. In most cases, an academic appeal is likely to be recommended; you can make an appointment with an Academic Advisor to discuss your options by calling 613-533-2470 or emailing asc.studentservices@queensu.ca to make an appointment.

Exceptional cases will be reviewed by our Academic Consideration Team on a case-by-case basis.  To be eligible to submit a request for Academic Consideration after the course has ended, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Your extenuating circumstance has impeded your ability to submit your consideration request in a timely manner
  2. You have supporting documentation clearly outlining the severity, timeline and duration of your extenuating circumstance.
  3. Your professor is in support of your request for academic consideration and is willing to accept work late.
  • Exception: In cases where the student has disclosed sexual violence, the university has a legal obligation to provide consideration for the student.  In these cases, the student only has to meet criteria 1 and 2 to be able to proceed with a request.  
    • If you need assistance, please see the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services website to Get Help Now.

If you believe you meet all these criteria, please reach out to our Academic Considerations Team at asc.consideration@queensu.ca.  If you would like to speak to a team member about your situation, you can call us during our office hours:

  • Tuesdays: 2:00 – 3:30pm
  • Thursday: 10:30am – 12:00pm
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Please review the Frequently Asked Questions sections above, as they contain many common answers. You may be able to find an answer quicker than reaching out to us as emails can take between 2 – 5 business days to receive a response.

If you still have questions after reviewing the information listed on this page, please contact our team by email at asc.consideration@queensu.ca or by joining our Zoom Office Hours on:  :

  • Tuesdays: 2:00pm - 3:30pm
  • Thursdays: 10:30am – 12:00pm
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