Mental Health Problems: Do unis make concessions on your degree *classification*? Watch

Anonymous #1
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I'm a master's student, doing a humanities degree.
I have severe depression and anxiety disorder. This year I experienced serious issues back home which made things 10s of times worse. My uni has already agreed that my condition is impacting my studies, they have helped me a bit here and there, mostly by giving me extensions on a few assignments. They do recognise that i have extenuating circumstances but i'm unsure if that applies to degree classification. For example, if I get 68%, can I make extenuating/special circumstances application to graduate with a distinction?

More specifically, in my case, i need
minimum 68% average in my coursework marks
minimum 70% in the dissertation component
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Anonymous #1
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...More specifically, in my case, i need
minimum 68% average in my coursework marks
minimum 70% in the dissertation component
and 70% overall
I have:
65% in the coursework component (missed by 3 points)
75% in the dissertation (mark is provisional and might be changed after moderation, unlikely though)
68% overall (missed by 2 points)

I know it all depends on the specifics of my circumstances and thee severity of my condition, but is even theoretically possible to get concessions on degree classification? Can I apply for special circumstances to graduate with a Distinction instead of a Merit?


I am absolutely DOOMED if i dont get a distinction. This means i wont get PhD funding, if I don't get PhD funding i wont be able to get an academic job when I graduate, and as such my PhD will be practically worthless.
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Anonymous #1
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Anyone?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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I imagine it varies a lot from institution to institution. You are best off reading your university course's handbook, and contacting the disability office or SU to ask for advice. FWIW, I have mental health issues too and was not given any leniency in the marking of Masters coursework or dissertation grades... Then again, I never asked - so maybe Goldsmiths would have adjusted my marks if I'd asked them too...
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Anyone?
Would be really unfair if they did
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
I imagine it varies a lot from institution to institution. You are best off reading your university course's handbook, and contacting the disability office or SU to ask for advice. FWIW, I have mental health issues too and was not given any leniency in the marking of Masters coursework or dissertation grades... Then again, I never asked - so maybe Goldsmiths would have adjusted my marks if I'd asked them too...
our uni doesnt adjust marks either. They can grant leave of absence, let you retake, offer deadline extensions etc. I don't know if awarding distinction without 70% counts as adjusting marks though. In your transcript it'll still say you got less than 70%.
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CoolCavy
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Tbh the whole point of extenuating circumstances and extensions is to give you a level playing field for what you would have got without mental health issues. You have already had this so it is likely that those marks would have been the ones you would have achieved minus MH issues. As TLG says read your unis protocols and visit the disabilities office but i doubt your marks will change, and they shouldnt really since you have already had the support necessary to negate the impact of your MH on your grades
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
Tbh the whole point of extenuating circumstances and extensions is to give you a level playing field for what you would have got without mental health issues. You have already had this so it is likely that those marks would have been the ones you would have achieved minus MH issues. As TLG says read your unis protocols and visit the disabilities office but i doubt your marks will change, and they shouldnt really since you have already had the support necessary to negate the impact of your MH on your grades
But how do you know I got the support necessary? I only got a week's extension on some of my deadlines, that doesn't necessarily mean that it made up for my extenuating circumstances. I mean it's hard to tell, they offered me academic leave for a year, but i said no so. That might count against me.
Either way, this is what I found:
"
a) No further action – for example, adequate action
already taken in relation to the outcome of individual
course(s);

b) For Honours level year of programme, if the student
has satisfied requirements in line with Taught
Assessment Regulation 52, award credit on aggregate for
relevant courses of that year of the degree programme

c) For postgraduate taught programmes, if the student
has satisfied requirements in line with Taught
Assessment Regulation 56, award credit on aggregate for
relevant courses

d) Where a mark for a course is missing or deemed
unreliable, exclude the affected course(s) from the
classification calculation

e) Take account of special circumstances for progression,
degree classification, award of merit/distinction, and/or
award

f) Exceptionally, to allow a student to graduate without the
required number and / or level of credits for the degree"


I think (e) suggests that it is possible to apply right? It's very brief, it's hard to tell their actual policy from 1 line. My English ain't too good either.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I don't know if awarding distinction without 70% counts as adjusting marks though. In your transcript it'll still say you got less than 70%.
Sadly I can't imagine this happening with final degree classifications The only vaguely similar thing I can think of is: when I was doing undergrad at Oxford, a peer of mine was awarded a scholarship that only people with Firsts get. He had got a 2.1 (near a First) at the end of first year, but my tutor insisted he be given the scholarship anyway, due to his extenuating circumstances.

That was a small scholarship (worth max. £350 a year. The main thing was getting to wear a scholar's gown :smartass: ) and those exams didn't count at all towards his final degree classification. I imagine they would be far less lenient/more stringent about final degree awards

EDIT: Not taking the leave of absence offered to you will almost certainly count against you btw
Last edited by The_Lonely_Goatherd; 3 weeks ago
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Sadly I can't imagine this happening with final degree classifications The only vaguely similar thing I can think of is: when I was doing undergrad at Oxford, a peer of mine was awarded a scholarship that only people with Firsts get. He had got a 2.1 (near a First) at the end of first year, but my tutor insisted he be given the scholarship anyway, due to his extenuating circumstances.

That was a small scholarship (worth max. £350 a year. The main thing was getting to wear a scholar's gown :smartass: ) and those exams didn't count at all towards his final degree classification. I imagine they would be far less lenient/more stringent about final degree awards

EDIT: Not taking the leave of absence offered to you will almost certainly count against you btw
I am sceptical as well, I guess it's still worth asking though. I didn't want to take a leave of absence because i had to wait until the next academic year. It would have delayed my graduation by 1 year. But you are right, it won't look good. But bear in mind that I am not in Oxford, procedures should be way more strict over there.
Do you have any advice about what I should do now that I'll have graduate with a Merit? I want to do my PhD in Politics, but political theory not science (there might less funding in that to begin with). I think it'd be very difficult for me to get funding, my UG is 2.1 as well
Should I do a second Masters', or should I do a self-funded PhD?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I am sceptical as well, I guess it's still worth asking though. I didn't want to take a leave of absence because i had to wait until the next academic year. It would have delayed my graduation by 1 year. But you are right, it won't look good. But bear in mind that I am not in Oxford, procedures should be way more strict over there.
Do you have any advice about what I should do now that I'll have graduate with a Merit? I want to do my PhD in Politics, but political theory not science (there might less funding in that to begin with). I think it'd be very difficult for me to get funding, my UG is 2.1 as well
Should I do a second Masters', or should I do a self-funded PhD?
I don't know much about funding in social sciences or how it works (I'm an arts/humanities PhD student). I guess if you have particular institutions/supervisors in mind, you could approach them and "pitch" your proposed project to them as it were and see what they say/advise?

Also worth thinking of options outside the PhD/academic sphere too Not because of your grades - if you've got a good project, strong references and can find someone willing to supervise your project, then I don't see why you would struggle to get onto a self-funded course. It's more because academia is very cut-throat and fast-paced, which could exacerbate your MH issues. Plus I'm not sure about how political theory academia looks at the moment but there are very few jobs in arts and humanities academia. If it's a similar case in your field, even if you get onto and complete a PhD, you may struggle to find a job afterwards
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
I don't know much about funding in social sciences or how it works (I'm an arts/humanities PhD student). I guess if you have particular institutions/supervisors in mind, you could approach them and "pitch" your proposed project to them as it were and see what they say/advise?

Also worth thinking of options outside the PhD/academic sphere too Not because of your grades - if you've got a good project, strong references and can find someone willing to supervise your project, then I don't see why you would struggle to get onto a self-funded course. It's more because academia is very cut-throat and fast-paced, which could exacerbate your MH issues. Plus I'm not sure about how political theory academia looks at the moment but there are very few jobs in arts and humanities academia. If it's a similar case in your field, even if you get onto and complete a PhD, you may struggle to find a job afterwards
I'm not too worried about getting into a PhD. I mean I have 68% overall. Ofc, I won't get into LSE but I can get accepted into PhD somewhere less prestigious.
I also have the means to afford it, but is it true that a self-funded PhD is 'worthless'? That it won't even give you the chance to apply for academic positions in the first place.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm not too worried about getting into a PhD. I mean I have 68% overall. Ofc, I won't get into LSE but I can get accepted into PhD somewhere less prestigious.
I also have the means to afford it, but is it true that a self-funded PhD is 'worthless'? That it won't even give you the chance to apply for academic positions in the first place.
I've heard that saying too (my own PhD is self-funded via the Bank of Mum and Dad), but I've heard from people I trust on here that it's not necessarily true.

threeportdrift might be able to advise
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
I've heard that saying too (my own PhD is self-funded via the Bank of Mum and Dad), but I've heard from people I trust on here that it's not necessarily true.

threeportdrift might be able to advise
Thanks so much for your help. It's a difficult question, and I guess it depends on other factors too.

BTW political theory is not really treated as Arts these days. I mean in essence it is. But political theorists now work with political scientist, it's something that complements political science. So there are a few more jobs and better funding opportunities. Although you can also do 'political philosophy', it is unclear how these two differ in essence but in practice, political philosophy is done in philosophy departments, that's considered 'Arts'.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thanks so much for your help. It's a difficult question, and I guess it depends on other factors too.

BTW political theory is not really treated as Arts these days. I mean in essence it is. But political theorists now work with political scientist, it's something that complements political science. So there are a few more jobs and better funding opportunities. Although you can also do 'political philosophy', it is unclear how these two differ in essence but in practice, political philosophy is done in philosophy departments, that's considered 'Arts'.
Oh sorry, I wasn't meaning to say that political theory is arts/humanities. What I meant was that funding in my area (which is arts/humanities) is sparse and jobs/postdocs are extremely hard to come by. It's a pretty grim situation for us. I wasn't sure if it was quite so bad in your discipline/social sciences, is what I meant to say
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Oh sorry, I wasn't meaning to say that political theory is arts/humanities. What I meant was that funding in my area (which is arts/humanities) is sparse and jobs/postdocs are extremely hard to come by. It's a pretty grim situation for us. I wasn't sure if it was quite so bad in your discipline/social sciences, is what I meant to say
I got you, I mean't to say funding situation in political theory is basically the same as social sciences in general, though maybe there is less demand for research in political theory compared to science. Unfortunately, scientism is just a fact of our modern age. It's sad how academia has become so instrumental to serve the needs of the market/industry. But that's a big topic.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm not too worried about getting into a PhD. I mean I have 68% overall. Ofc, I won't get into LSE but I can get accepted into PhD somewhere less prestigious.
I also have the means to afford it, but is it true that a self-funded PhD is 'worthless'? That it won't even give you the chance to apply for academic positions in the first place.
You are rock solid believing a whole load of things that are by no means rock solid true and it's making you overthink.

You don't need a first or a Distinction to get funding, you need to put the best package of relevant evidence together for the specific award.

So your starting point for funding is that there isn't much funding for politics anyway, and what there is often lies outside the university itself. So your first research 'project' is to try and find all the possible sources of funding you can, not just pitch for the big RC funds, which are like hens teeth.

I strongly disagree with the contention that a self-funded PhD is worthless, especially outside STEM subjects. I fully accept that the life of an academic relies on their ability to get funding, and so evidence of this is a positive factor. However, there are many more PhD places than full funding opportunities, so it's clear not everyone can get full funding. And also, your PhD is the first opportunity to try and get this competitive, research based funding. To judge someone on that basis is grossly unfair and in my experience, doesn't happen. I've never been asked about the funding I've got for any of my degrees, it's never been an interview question, even for other degree applications.

I work in a university (not as an academic) and from what I've seen, the ability to bring in money and that getting you professional recognition comes mid-career and later. No-one seems to be looking at PhDs and post-docs and ranking or judging them on their income generation.

If having a 1st, Distinction and full scholarship was a pre-requisite for an academic career in politics, there would only be a handful of people joining the career each year.

If you've got decent grades, strong references and a really interesting PhD proposal that fits with a Supervisor, you stand a good chance of getting an offer. Getting funding is separate to that, there is limited open-to-all full funding for politics, everyone, regardless of grades etc will have to hunt for all the specific pots of money that might be available to them, on the basis of topic, age, background, gender, nationality, etc etc.
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Pathway
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My university allowed me to graduate with reassessment (as a first sit). So technically, I initially graduated with 2.i with everyone else in my year and then did my resit (the exam grade went from low 50s to mid 70s in the resit as a first sit), so my degree classification changed from a 2.i to a first overall. This was only granted due to sudden worsening of pre-existing MH issues due to circumstances outside of my control (this also impacted my physical disabilities as well). I'm not sure if you'd get ECs for your circumstances as they don't seem to have changed and you already have things in place to mitigate the impact of your MH issues.

Might be better if you put some time into working on your MH rather than throwing yourself into more academia. Idk.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
You are rock solid believing a whole load of things that are by no means rock solid true and it's making you overthink.

You don't need a first or a Distinction to get funding, you need to put the best package of relevant evidence together for the specific award.

So your starting point for funding is that there isn't much funding for politics anyway, and what there is often lies outside the university itself. So your first research 'project' is to try and find all the possible sources of funding you can, not just pitch for the big RC funds, which are like hens teeth.

I strongly disagree with the contention that a self-funded PhD is worthless, especially outside STEM subjects. I fully accept that the life of an academic relies on their ability to get funding, and so evidence of this is a positive factor. However, there are many more PhD places than full funding opportunities, so it's clear not everyone can get full funding. And also, your PhD is the first opportunity to try and get this competitive, research based funding. To judge someone on that basis is grossly unfair and in my experience, doesn't happen. I've never been asked about the funding I've got for any of my degrees, it's never been an interview question, even for other degree applications.

I work in a university (not as an academic) and from what I've seen, the ability to bring in money and that getting you professional recognition comes mid-career and later. No-one seems to be looking at PhDs and post-docs and ranking or judging them on their income generation.

If having a 1st, Distinction and full scholarship was a pre-requisite for an academic career in politics, there would only be a handful of people joining the career each year.

If you've got decent grades, strong references and a really interesting PhD proposal that fits with a Supervisor, you stand a good chance of getting an offer. Getting funding is separate to that, there is limited open-to-all full funding for politics, everyone, regardless of grades etc will have to hunt for all the specific pots of money that might be available to them, on the basis of topic, age, background, gender, nationality, etc etc.
Thanks so much for your advice. Sorry for the late reply btw. I think that's the better thing to do for me. I love my subject and I just want to keep doing this on and on. It's unfortunate that I didn't get the best marks but I am not giving up.
P.S. I am not even a UK/EU citizen, I still pay UK fees but I'm not permanent resident or citizen. And council funding is very very restricted for me anyways (at least with ESRC AHRC. It'd be unfair for the employer to discriminate bases on funding knowing how hard it was for me to get funding.
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doodle_333
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm not too worried about getting into a PhD. I mean I have 68% overall. Ofc, I won't get into LSE but I can get accepted into PhD somewhere less prestigious.
I also have the means to afford it, but is it true that a self-funded PhD is 'worthless'? That it won't even give you the chance to apply for academic positions in the first place.
Academic places are hugely competitive. They go to the best candidates. I cannot imagine that's about how you paid for your PhD... it will come down to publications (quality and quantity), ability to secure outside funding, proposal and teaching experience/ability. It's probably just that most people who are unable to secure funding for their PhD are weak candidates and end up with a weaker portfolio.

For your marks. It's unlikely to change as they already gave you the extensions etc to help you. However some unis will bump up people who just missed their grade. It's always worth asking your personal tutor, just be prepared for a no.
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