Academic Concerns
The University has several policies and regulations that provide assistance to students who have medical and/or medical grounds that impact their ability to meet their academic commitments. Documentation is required for the special requests identified below.

It is important to communicate with your professors and program advisors if something happens while you are taking a course. They may be able to offer some help.

Authorized Withdrawal | Tuition Fee Appeals | Exams | Leave of Absence | Disability-related Accommodations | Other

Authorized Withdrawals (Aws) from Courses

Authorized Withdrawals are a way for students with documented exceptional circumstances (medical or compassionate) to be withdrawn from current and/or previously completed terms.

Video Tutorial on Authorized Withdrawals

Sometimes medical or compassionate circumstances can compromise your academic performance in courses during a term. If so, you may wish to request an AW for the courses in that term. An AW, if granted, removes the courses entirely from your official academic transcript. Please note, only AW requests for currently enrolled terms and for terms dating back no more than three academic years will be considered. Depending on the timing of receiving an AW, you may also be eligible for a tuition fee refund.

Step 1:
If you are seeking Authorized Withdrawals (AWs) from courses you are currently registered in, the first step is to make certain that you do not want to continue in the courses. Speak to an academic advisor to get advice before you make the decision to Voluntarily Withdraw (VW). Make sure to VW from the courses on or before the VW deadline.

Speak with an academic advisor in your faculty/college/school of registration to discuss your situation and to find out if there is a specific process for making an AW request. You can also review the Authorized Withdrawal Policy and Procedure for specific information.

Step 2:
Complete the authorized withdrawal request form and prepare a letter (see outline for assistance) explaining how your circumstances or symptoms affected your ability to be academically successful in your courses. Please see our Privacy Policy.
Note: You must explain how your academic performance in coursework was affected by those circumstances.

If you have questions or would like assistance in preparing your AW request, you can make an appointment with a Student Advocate.

Step 3:
Obtain supporting documentation.

Some examples include a physician, counsellor or psychologist's note, an obituary or funeral program, or any other official documentation supporting your extenuating circumstances. AW requests will not normally be granted without supporting documentation. Please refer to the "Guidelines for Health Care Professionals" handout which explains the information that needs to be contained in supporting documentation. This handout can be given to your doctor or other health care professional to advise them of the details that needs to be included in the letter.

Examples of supporting documents include:

  • Funeral program and/or obituary,
  • Letter from a physician (general practitioner, specialist or surgeon),
  • Letter from a counsellor, psychologist or other mental health professional
  • Police report or auto accident report,
  • Travel receipts (airline, rail etc.).

Step 4: 
Submit your letter and supporting documentation to an academic advisor in your Faculty/College/School of registration. Your request will then be considered by the Director/Dean of your Faculty/College/School. Be sure to keep a copy of your entire submitted package for your own records.

Tuition Fee Appeals

Students that have either voluntary withdrawn from a course or have been granted authorized withdrawals can request a tuition fee appeal. This request must be supported with documentation. If you are seeking a fee appeal, please visit the Registrar's Office for more information.


Deferred Exams

If you are unable to write a final exam because of an illness or personal crisis, you can request to have the exam deferred through your Faculty/College/School. This should be done within 48 hours of the exam. For additional information about deferring final exams, visit the Registrar's Office

For missed tests or late term work, please consult the course outline and speak directly to your instructor.

If you need assistance with a deferred exam request, after speaking with an academic advisor in your Faculty/College/School, please book an appointment with a Student Advocate.

Supplemental Exams

Some programs make allowances for students to write supplemental examinations if they are unsuccessful in the final of the course. Requests for a supplemental exam may require a formal letter and supporting documentation. For additional information, consult your program’s regulations.

Leave of Absence

If you are an undergraduate student needing a break from studies due to medical or personal reasons, please speak with an advisor in your Faculty/School/College for information about relevant polices or regulations on Leaves of Absence.

If you are a graduate student, information about and procedures for requesting a Leave of Absence is available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website (PDF).

Disability-related Accommodations

If you require accommodation related to a disability, please visit Student Accessibility Services. If you have concerns about your accommodations, please review the Accessibility Policy and Procedure and contact Student Advocacy for assistance.

Other academic concerns

If your academic concern is not identified above but you need to prepare a letter of request or appeal, our generic letter outline (PDF) (DOC) may be helpful. Please consider contacting Student Advocacy for support.