Medical Certificates

Medical certificates are used in relation to a number of procedures throughout the University.

A new medical certificate template designed for use in all University procedures requiring medical evidence, plus accompanying guidance for medical practitioners, has been developed under the auspices of the Sub-Committee on Student Health and Welfare.

These documents have received input from the College Doctors’ Association and have been endorsed by Examinations Panel and the Senior Tutors’ Committee of the Conference of Colleges.

Further to Education Committee’s approval of both the certificate and the accompanying guidance, these documents are available for use from the beginning of Michaelmas Term 2015.

Use of the revised certificate

The certificate may be used for any University procedure requiring medical evidence, including (but not necessarily limited to):

  • evidence for access to study related support for disabled students

  • evidence for departments/faculties in relation to the progression of postgraduate students e.g. to authorise a certain number of terms’ suspension or extension (below the limit where a dispensation must be requested from Education Committee)

  • evidence for colleges in relation to the progression of undergraduate students e.g. to authorise a certain number of terms’ suspension, or in relation to resuming study, or withdrawal from the course, or course transfer

  • evidence in fitness to study cases, (both when a student is suspending study and returning to study) both in colleges and for the University Fitness to Study Panel

  • evidence for requests for alternative examination arrangements

  • evidence for performance in examinations being affected by an illness or medical condition (i.e. factors affecting performance), or for non-appearance in an examination

  • evidence for extension requests for submitted work, or for applications for late submission fees/penalties to be waived

  • evidence accompanying applications to Education Committee for dispensation from the Examination Regulations

  • evidence (for example of mitigating circumstances) in Student Disciplinary Panel/Student Appeal Panel cases

  • where appropriate, in applications for hardship funding, for example to the University Hardship Committee, or in applications to the Walter Gordon Fund

  • where appropriate, in support of applications to the Fees Panel (for example, if there is a request to reduce fees for disability-related reasons).

The use of the new medical certificate template will be reviewed in 2016-17, following its first year in operation (2015-16). It is hoped that this new document will improve the consistency of reporting in relation to medical evidence.

Authorisation and submission of the certificate

Arrangements have been made to supply college doctor practices with an electronic version of the certificate that is compatible with their information management systems, and which can be pre-populated with both their and student patients’ details.

Once completed, medical certificates should be submitted either directly to the appropriate receiving office within the University, or via the relevant college.

From 2015-16, the University (including the Proctors’ Office and Student Administration) will accept medical certificates supplied electronically (which may include a scanned version of a signed, hard copy), where the receiving officer is satisfied that the e-mail address from which the certificate is sent is a genuine UK NHS account (e.g. or equivalent).

On occasion, such as when a certificate may have to be completed by a medical practitioner overseas or from another UK practice, then it should include their appropriate registration / licensing details (an alternative version of the medical certificate template is available for this purpose), and should be scanned and submitted by e-mail, with a hard copy to follow.

Update: Trinity term 2016 – Cases of acute illness

A change in policy has been agreed regarding medical evidence for emergency examination adjustments, which allows college nurses to issue certificates without the need for a follow-up doctor’s certificate in certain cases of acute illness. Please see below for further details.

Last minute adjustments

For alternative arrangement requests made within 24 hours before the examination, for reasons of acute illness, the Proctors will now accept the following evidence:

a) a medical certificate (or signed letter) from a college nurse (no longer requiring a follow-up certificate by a doctor);

b) a signed letter from a Senior Tutor/Dean, provided it is followed within 7 days by a letter or medical certificate from a doctor or college nurse;

c) a medical certificate from a doctor.

Requests for non-emergency alternative examination arrangements will continue to require a doctor’s medical certificate.

Extensions, missed examinations (non-appearance) and factors affecting performance

Medical certificates may be submitted by college nurses for these requests in appropriate cases of acute illness. For guidance, please contact the Proctors’ Office.

Medical certificates submitted to departments

Students sometimes need to submit medical certificates to departments when they need to miss classes due to ill health (for example, if they need to miss laboratory practicals which contribute towards assessment).

When this non-attendance is due to acute illness, departments may accept medical certificates submitted by college nurses, in the same way as they may be submitted in such circumstances for last minute alternative arrangements, extensions, missed examinations and factors affecting performance.

Which certificate to download

Medical certificate template (internal)2016 (26kb)  is designed for use by college doctors and college nurses.

Medical certificate template (external) 2016 (27kb)  is designed for use by health professionals  who do not have any formal association with the collegiate University (i.e. they are not college doctors or college nurses). They may be based outside Oxford, elsewhere in the UK or overseas.