When unexpected circumstances interrupt your studies

Are you facing a challenge that impacts your ability to complete course requirements as indicated in the course outline?  Learn where to start – and find answers to some frequently asked questions. 


When taking courses at the University of Calgary, unexpected circumstances may occur that impact your ability to complete course requirements as indicated in the course outline. This page will help you determine where you can get help or advice – whether you should make informal arrangements for an exception directly with your course instructor or request formal accommodations through the Student Accommodation Policy.

Please note: Being in non-compliance with the UCalgary vaccination directive through COVID-Safe is not considered to be an unexpected circumstance and will not be accommodated unless covered by a protected ground as determined by review under the Student Accommodation Policy. Students arriving from international locations where access to WHO-approved vaccines has been limited may request a temporary accommodation while achieving vaccination status in Canada.

Prior to registering - Select the correct course modality

Prior to registering in courses, please ensure the course modality is appropriate for your personal circumstances.

Most courses will be listed as on-campus or online, with some being offered as blended where there is a mixture of on-campus and online components. In addition, you should check whether the course delivery is ‘Synchronous,’ which means a component is scheduled at specific times, and students must participate or engage at the scheduled time(s). Asynchronous delivery means that a component is not scheduled at a specific time; therefore, students may engage with the course material and learning activities at a time that is convenient for them. Hybrid means that some learning activities for a component will be delivered synchronously, and some learning activities will be delivered asynchronously.

Individual exceptions to the published course modalities are not possible and it is unreasonable to request exceptions to the course modality directly from a course instructor.

Requesting an academic accommodation in your courses

Requesting an academic accommodation in your courses

Note: If your request is not related to academics, please download and complete the Request for Accommodation (General) form.

Accommodations for COVID-Safe Campus vaccine mandate

Please note the deadline to apply for medical and other protected grounds accommodations for the vaccine mandate for January 1, 2022, has now passed and submissions are no longer being accepted. Questions can be forwarded to vpse@ucalgary.ca

Arriving students from international locations who have been unable to receive a WHO-approved vaccine in their country or origin can apply for a temporary accommodation. This accommodation would allow students to attend in-person courses, and/or participate in research or other activities related to a thesis-based program, while they go through the process of becoming fully vaccinated in Canada. Students will need to Complete and submit the Request for Accommodation (General) Form:

  • Under the “Protected Ground” section, select “place of origin.”
  • When answering the form’s question of “Why do you require an accommodation,” provide a detailed explanation of why you are unable to receive a WHO-approved vaccine in your home country before travelling to Canada.
  • Email the completed form to the Office of the Vice-Provost (Student Experience) at vpse@ucalgary.ca by Dec. 1, 2021.

Frequently asked questions

Students who are temporarily absent from classes or school activities should first review the course outlines. The course outline typically includes information on what students should do if they miss a required component of the course. Students should also connect with their course instructors to see what informal arrangements can be made.

Currently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a temporary moratorium on requirements to provide forms of evidence to support temporary absences (such as those caused by a cold or flu) requests. However, you can choose to provide such information if you have it easily available. View more information about supporting documentation in the academic calendar.

If seeking formal accommodation on the grounds of disability, please see the supporting documentation requirements for registration with Student Accessibility Services.

As there is currently no requirement to provide evidence for exceptions, we have temporarily suspended this service.

Protected grounds are outlined in Alberta Human Rights Act and are also listed in the Student Accommodation Policy.

If the request is related to an academic course, your course outline will indicate whether you need to contact a course instructor or an associate dean.

If the request is not related to academics, please complete the form and contact vpse@ucalgary.ca.

There are no formal appeal processes for informal requests, but you can connect with the department head, the associate dean or the dean of the faculty offering the course.

If the request was based on a protected ground, the appeal process is outlined in the Student Accommodation Policy and should appear in any decision letter you receive.

Please talk with an advisor in your faculty advising office or, if you are registered with Student Accessibility Services, with your access advisor. In some cases, they may be able to help remedy the situation or help you withdraw from the course.

An extenuating circumstances withdrawal (EW) is when a significant unforeseen incident occurs that prevents you from continuing with your courses. Typically, extenuating circumstances withdrawals apply to all courses in a term, and tuition fees are not refunded. If an EW is granted, the withdrawal does not count towards a program maximum. View more information about extenuating circumstances withdrawals in the academic calendar.

If you are unable to complete your term and you are enrolled in the SU Health and Dental Plan, the policy does, in some circumstances, cover up to $10,000 to cover tuition, fees, and the cost of textbooks for courses you’ve been unable to complete.

To determine if you need to request an exemption, you may need to know UCalgary’s most up-to-date COVID-19 regulations. You can find the latest updates on our return to campus website