Attending your course


Whatever the memes say, you’ve come to university to study. This means when you enrol at Durham you‘ll be expected to engage with your course, attend regularly and maintain a reasonable standard of behaviour. You can also expect your department and the University to address any issues that may be affecting your studies.

What does attending your course mean?

While teaching remains online, attending your course can look a few different ways. It could be a lecture or seminar on Zoom or Teams, a meeting with your academic advisor over the phone or by email, or it could be responding with answers to questions set online. If you’re in doubt, please contact your module leader for that module. Remember to keep in touch with your academic advisor, who can help you navigate this if you’re unsure.

Where can I find info about my course?

You can find your course’s faculty handbook here. The handbook provides detailed information about how modules are assessed and what you need to achieve in each module to progress to the next stage.

What if I am struggling with my course?

University is not always easy, but if you’re struggling there’s no need to do so alone. It’s important to raise any problems you are experiencing with your department as soon as possible, so they can help you. If you don’t want to approach your department, you can discuss options with the Advice and Help service. You can also find lots of online resources as well as workshops that can help you with your general academic skills here.

What if my department is concerned about my progress?

If your department is concerned that you are not progressing or have been absent without authorisation, they will first contact you to raise these issues. At this stage, your college may also be included in any correspondence and may contact you to offer support.

If you do not respond to your department or they are concerned that your progress has not improved, you could be sent an academic progress notice. This will formally set out specific tasks you will be required to carry out within certain time limits, and a warning that you could be withdrawn from the University if your situation does not improve.

Your department must follow the correct procedure and give you the opportunity to provide evidence of any circumstances you might have which has been affecting your studies. You will have a right of appeal against any final decision made. Your college will be copied into this correspondence.

What if I am not enjoying my course?

Many students start courses only to realise that they are not for them. That’s okay. If you are worried, try talking over your options with your academic adviser or student support in your college. This will hopefully help you explore what you are not enjoying, as well as being an opportunity to consider other options. You might be able to transfer to another course, institution or even withdraw, and start your studies again at a later date. Before making any decisions it is best to seek further advice as your funding may be affected.

What if I experience any other issues with my course?

If you experience problems with your course it is important that these are raised as soon as possible. You can talk to:

  • your academic adviser or the programme leader of your department
  • your course rep (please email our HE Policy Coordinator if you don’t know who they are)
  • the student support officer/senior tutor in your college
  • the Advice and Help service about any issues you might have with your course.

The University also has set procedures to deal with issues like sickness and other factors which may be affecting your studies. Please see our section on sickness and other circumstances for more information.

Page last reviewed: 27/05/2020