We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Physics


Deadlines for submitted course work

All modules in the Department require students to submit work that is assessed, either summatively or formatively. This work must be submitted by defined deadlines. If a piece of summatively-assessed work is not submitted by the deadline, it will be subject to a cap (maximum mark) of 40% if up to five working days late; for work submitted more than five working days late a mark of zero will be awarded. (In the special case of weekly problems, a mark of zero will be returned for late work, regardless of how late it was.) If it is known that required work cannot be submitted by the deadline and there is a good reason for this, the appropriate member of staff must be informed, in writing (e.g. by email), at least 24 hours before the deadline. If it is agreed that the late submission is justified then you will be informed in writing that the work will be accepted up to the approved later submission time. The names of the members of staff responsible for considering requests for deadline extensions for particular assignments are given on the deadlines lists (see below). Please note that issues such as "the dog swallowed my memory stick" or "my laptop died" are examples of circumstances that are not normally regarded as valid grounds for deadline extensions, since ultimately the effects of such problems are avoidable.

Approval for the late submission of work may be given after the appropriate deadline in the case of serious adverse circumstances. If you believe that serious adverse circumstances, such as illness, prevented you from applying for an extension to a submission deadline, or caused you to fail to submit work by the deadline, you must contact the member of staff responsible for receiving the work as soon as possible to explain the situation. A deadline extension may be granted on the basis of a self-certification of absence form, but if you have independent evidence of your circumstances (such as a medical certificate or letter from a counsellor) then you are advised to produce it. The member of staff administering the deadline will consider your situation and will either

  • accept that you had good reason for having defaulted on your academic commitments and that you could not reasonably have negotiated in advance an extension to the deadline. In this case you will be permitted a retrospective extension to the deadline for the submission of your work; or
  • not accept that you could not have negotiated an extension to the deadline. In this case the standard marks penalty will apply.

It is your responsibility to be aware of the deadlines for submission of assessed work. All such deadlines are displayed on the Department notice board and on the “Physics Undergraduates” pages in DUO. You may also be informed of deadlines by email or via your tutor.

Advice on managing deadlines

Deadlines will be strictly enforced. There are a number of ways in which you can help yourself to meet them.

  • Aim to begin work on the assignment as soon as possible after it has been set. 
  • Aim to submit your work well in advance of the deadline. For paper-based assignments it is impractical for all students to turn up at the same time, a few minutes before the deadline, so if you can submit it earlier in the day then you are encouraged to do so.
  • Take into account your timetable of lectures and other activities occurring near the deadline. For example, if you have a lab report deadline at 1pm and a lecture from 11 until 12 then make sure that you submit your report before your lecture, rather than relying on the hour immediately before the deadline.
  • Back up your work frequently and robustly.
  • In the case of most physics assignments, which are submitted electronically, you are allowed to submit multiple versions before the deadline, then the last one submitted before the deadline counts as the assignment to be assessed. Our advice is to submit drafts of your report as you are writing it, so that, in the worst case scenario, e.g., if your file gets corrupted on the day of the deadline, you will still have submitted something. We cannot deal with issues such as "the dog swallowed my memory stick" or "my laptop died" on the day of the deadline. These are examples of circumstances that are not normally regarded as valid grounds for deadline extensions, since ultimately the effects of such problems are avoidable.
  • In the case of printed assignments, for simlar reasons, aim to print out a draft of your work well in advance (a minimum of 24 hours before the deadline). This will highlight any potential problems with software, printing, etc. and you will then have time to address any such problems. In the case of a disaster on the day of the deadline, you will be able to hand in an annotated version of the draft you printed out earlier.
  • If you are relying on CIS printers then check well in advance that you have plenty of print credit balance in your account.
  • In the case of electronically-submitted assignments, do not rely on domestic internet connections on the day of the deadline. Again, dodgy connections are not normally regarded as valid grounds for deadline extensions.
  • Do not rely on your friends to hand in your work on your behalf, especially if they are not taking that module themselves, since they may be unfamiliar with the exact time of the deadline, the location for submission or the strictness with which it is enforced. Students have been known to receive zero marks for the Level 4 project report (the largest single assessment component in the entire degree) simply because they asked their friends to submit on their behalf and the deadline was missed.
  • Occasionally you may have multiple deadlines occurring close together, especially if you are taking modules from more than one department. This is a feature of life a student; they are known in advance and should be planned for in advance. In order to avoid stressful situations and the subsequent difficulties that such stresses cause, ensure that you have noted down the deadlines very carefully.
  • Try to avoid taking new medication shortly before a major deadline. If this is unavoidable (e.g. if prescribed by a physician) then try to make allowances for possible side-effects such as drowsiness or irregular sleep patterns.
  • Don't forget that most physics assignments (other than weekly problems) need to be submitted online – but sometimes on paper too – allow time to do this.