Support for Students Experiencing Difficulties

The Department realizes that it is not unusual for students, especially in the first year of the program, to be dealing with a number of difficulties that affect the student’s ability to carry out their program of study.

The Department and the Faculty of Medicine have systems of support to assist students whenever possible, as indicated in the following section.




Within the Department

1. Course Instructor (if the student is having difficulty in a particular course).

2. Faculty Advisor (if it is not possible to approach the Course Instructor or if the issue is not necessarily academic but will influence academic performance and/or student life).

3. Graduate Coordinator or Program Manager.

4. Chair of the Department.


Outside the Department


  1. Office of Health Professions, Student Affairs (Faculty of Medicine), FitzGerald Building, 150 College Street, Room 121, or 416-978-2764 (appointments email: For Mississauga students, on-campus counselling can take place at the CCT building or by Skype/phone.Staff include personal counsellors, career counsellors, academic coaching, and general wellness support services. You can review individual counsellors biographies on the OHPSA website.


2. Health Services, at both the Mississauga and St. George campuses:

St. George
: Health and Wellness Services (U of T), Koffler Student Services Centre, 214 College Street.

  • Counselling and Psychological Services, 416-978-8070
  • Health Services, 416-978-8030 (e.g., appointment with physician or nurse)

Mississauga: Health and Counselling Centre, Davis Building, Room 1123A (near Bookstore).

  • All Services: 905-828-5255


3. Graduate and Life Sciences Education (GLSE) Student Health and Wellness (St. George) Counsellors:

  • Contact the Health and Wellness Centre first, at 416-978-8030, select option “5”, or drop by the Koffler Student Services Centre, Room 111, and ask to book a time with a GLSE Faculty of Medicine counsellor.
  • The two wellness counsellors are Laurie Coleman (MSW, RSW) and Saretta Herman (MSW, RSW)


Faculty Advisors

Role of the Faculty Advisor:

1. Encourage and support the student throughout the program;

2. Be the student’s first point of contact with faculty when he/she is seeking guidance with regards to academic issues, career or academic opportunities, housing and financial concerns, award applications, or anything that may impinge on a student’s studies toward career and personal goals;

3. With the permission of the student, be a liaison between the student and faculty when issues arise that affect his/her studies and student life.

After the initial faculty advisor meeting on the orientation day, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange subsequent meetings with his/her faculty advisor.

Though students will be assigned Faculty Advisors, this does not preclude the student from developing supportive working relationships with other members of the faculty. The Department assumes that students will get to know their professors and seek out those who they feel can provide them with support, advice and encouragement as they progress through the program. If a student has a problem that is personal and/or not specific to a course or academic issue, they are encouraged to speak to their Faculty Advisor. It is the student’s responsibility to know the academic policies of the Department; however, students are strongly encouraged to take proactive measures when he/she first begins to experience academic difficulty. Students should feel free to approach any faculty member of the Department to ask for help in developing a plan for improvement.

Remedial Work

a) Students are responsible for self-study, if they experience a lack of background knowledge in a particular area, or difficulty with a particular aspect of a course.  The student can choose a self-study program of his/her own, or ask the Course Instructor or his/her Faculty Advisor for advice on how to improve understanding of certain material or competence in skills.

b) Remedial work will only be allowed for serious health problems or exceptional personal circumstances which may adversely affect the student’s performance in the program.  The student will receive the actual mark earned on the remedial work.

Exceptional Circumstances

a) Students with health problems or other personal circumstances, which might adversely affect their performance in, or ability to complete course work, tests, examinations, or other departmental assessments, may request special consideration.  The student should complete the Department’s Request for Special Consideration form which can be downloaded from the Department’s website (under Current Students, Student Forms) attach appropriate evidence such as the U of T Verification of Student Illness and Student Injury Form, and submit it to the Course Instructor as early as possible before or within 48 hours following the test, examination, or due date of assessment.  The onus is on the student to ensure their physician has filled out the Illness or Injury Verification Form in full. The instructor will inform the student of his/her decision, record this decision on the form, and forward the form to the Program Manager to be placed in the student’s academic file.  This form is available online at the Illness Verification website.

b)  U of T policy on religious observances states that no student shall be seriously disadvantaged because of his or her religious beliefs.  If this policy is relevant to a student’s circumstance, he/she must complete the Request for Special Consideration form in advance of the date(s) in question, and submit it to their Course Instructor, so alternative arrangements can be made.

c) (i) U of T policy requires that accommodations will be provided to any student with a documented disability that affects their ability to function in an academic setting.  If this policy is relevant to a student’s circumstance, he/she should refer to the Guidelines for Student Accommodations below.

(ii) For items (a) to (c) (i) above: if a deferral of a test or exam is being requested, and permission is granted, the student may be required to sign a non-disclosure form by the Course Instructor.

d) Students in this program are registered full-time and are expected to be committed to full-time studies.  Requests for special consideration for personal circumstances are strongly discouraged (e.g., taking care of domestic business, leaving early for reading week, attending a wedding, going on a vacation, employment, participating in sports events, preoccupation with other courses, etc.).  Requests for special consideration will only be considered if:

– the request is made in advance

– the situation is entirely out of the control of the student

– the student has made every effort to find an alternative solution

– the student makes a strong case for the issue to be considered exceptional

– explanations of each of the above points are included on the Request form along with supporting documentation

If a deferral of a test or exam is being requested under item (d) above, and permission is granted , the student will be required to pay a fee of $70.00 according to the University Schedule of Administrative User Fees and Fines, prior  to the test or exam being written.  The student must download the Deferred Examinations Payment form from the OT website as he/she will be required to show their receipt to the Course Instructor at the time if the exam.  The student may also be required to sign a non-disclosure form by the Course Instructor.