Every undergraduate is admitted to Selwyn on the understanding that he or she will give academic study top priority. The College admits students on the assumption that they are capable of achieving at least an upper second-class result in their University examinations. This does not mean that academic study must be pursued to the exclusion of other interests.  You must, however, seek an appropriate balance between your work and your extra-curricular activities.

This Section of the Student Guide outlines the types of teaching and learning that will characterise your time in Selwyn, the forms of academic support available to you, and the expectations that the College has of all its students. It sets out the structures the College provides to help undergraduates realise their academic potential to the full.

The Senior Members of the College are there to support and guide you. Those you will have most contact with will be your Tutor, your Director of Studies, and your supervisors. Tutorial/welfare matters are dealt with in a separate section of the student support webpages.

Undergraduate Studies: A Statement of the College's Position

The College expects all undergraduates to give priority to their studies during the eight-week teaching term (Full Term) and to use such parts of the vacations as are necessary to consolidate their existing work and prepare for the term ahead. Directors of Studies will give guidance on what is required in this respect. Students who believe it may be difficult for them to devote part of each vacation to academic study should discuss their situation with their Tutor. The College is committed to providing such assistance as is necessary for all students to be in a position to meet this requirement. The College supports the participation by its students in a wide range of extra-curricular activities and is proud of the many achievements by Selwyn undergraduates in many fields. Nonetheless, work comes first.

Failure in a College or University examination (which is understood to mean failure to appear in the Third Class or above, or to be declared to have satisfied the examiners in an un-classed examination) is rare at Cambridge. At Selwyn, as at other colleges, failure leads automatically to the student being sent down i.e. required to leave. There is a right of appeal to the College Council. It should be noted in this connection that the University does not operate a system of exam re-sits. Grounds for an appeal would usually be severe ill health or other serious circumstances beyond the individual’s control that have had a significant impact on their ability to perform to their full potential. It is anticipated that a student should discuss any such circumstances with their Tutor before the examinations.

The College can send an undergraduate down for reason of serious and prolonged neglect of their studies that is found to render them unfit to study. Such neglect is rare, as in the case of exam failure. It is most likely to have taken the form of persistent non-attendance at supervisions or other compulsory University or College classes and/or long-term failure to produce written work for supervisors or complete required assignments. It could also take the form of behaviour that is seriously disruptive of a student’s own, or of other students’, capacity to study. The College might also consider such a course of action appropriate where a student is at serious risk of harm and the College cannot guarantee their safety.

The College imposes this sanction under the College’s Fitness to Study Procedure only in cases of exceptional seriousness and/or in the context of a formal warning by the College’s Academic Committee. Students will usually be given an opportunity to retrieve the situation through the various stages of remedial action outlined in the Fitness to Study Procedure. Should this opportunity not be taken, a recommendation may be made to the College Council that the student be sent down. At the point where the College Council meets to consider such a recommendation, the student will have the right to make representations. The final decision as to the student’s future rests with the College Council.

The College is well aware that a number of students will find themselves in situations beyond their control that temporarily prevent them from working as effectively as they would wish. No student in such circumstances is at risk of being sent down. Anyone in this position should confide in their Tutor, who will respond sympathetically and advise on how best to get back on track.