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2. Studying at Selwyn


This Section 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. Tutorial/welfare matters are dealt with in a separate section of the student support webpages.

Selwyn admits students on the assumption that they should be capable of achieving at least an upper second-class result in their University examinations and that they will give academic study their top priority. 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 that allows you to fulfil your academic potential. The College will support you with the aim of helping you to realise that potential to the fullest possible extent.

The College's Policy and Priorities 

The College expects all undergraduates to prioritise their studies during every term and to use such parts of the vacations as are necessary to consolidate their existing work and prepare for the next term. The Fellows, especially your Tutor, Director of Studies and supervisors, provide support and guidance. The College is committed to providing support to help ensure that all students are in a position to meet this requirement. We would prefer to support a student financially than for them to miss out academically for financial reasons. Students who think it may be difficult for them to devote part of each vacation to academic study should discuss their situation with their Tutor and their Director of Studies.

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 (i.e. failure to achieve a Third Class result or better, or to be declared to have satisfied the examiners in an un-classed examination) is very rare at Selwyn. If any appeal for mitigation to the University is unsuccessful, and 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. 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 expected that a student should have discussed 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 extremely rare. 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 to 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 or that of others.

These approaches are very rarely necessary. They are imposed under the College’s Fitness to Study Procedure and only in cases of exceptional seriousness. Students would usually have had an opportunity to retrieve the situation through the various stages of the Procedure. Should this opportunity not be taken, a recommendation may be made to the College Council that the student be sent down. The final decision as to the student’s future rests with the College Council, to which the student has the right to make representations.

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. It is vital that any student in such circumstances should confide in their Tutor, who will respond supportive and appropriately with advice.