We've answered some of your most frequently asked questions...
I want to change my course. How do I do this?
In the first instance, you should discuss the matter with your Adviser of Studies or Supervisor, who may be able to advise you on your options. Information on the University's Internal Transfer Policy is available here.
I want to leave my course. What do I need to do?
In the first instance, you should discuss your options with your Adviser of Studies or Supervisor. Withdrawing from your course can have implications on your student finance and fees - you can contact us for individual advice about your circumstances. It is important that students who decide to withdraw follow the University's withdrawal procedure
Will I get a student loan if I start a new course?
This depends on your situation. Every case is different and the rules of the various funding bodies - for example, Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or the Student Awards Agency for Scotland - are quite complex. Get in touch with your student funding body for confirmation, or contact us for advice.
I've read on the Queen's website about Emergency Loans. Can I apply for one of these?
The rules around emergency loans are very strict. They are only available if statutory funding is late or delayed. They are not an advance on scheduled future funding. If you meet the criteria, contact us on email@example.com and we will advise further.
How can I find a part time job?
Queen’s University operates a Student Jobshop, details of which are available here. The Student Jobshop is part of Careers, Employability and Skills and its purpose is to help students find fairly paid part-time, temporary work whilst they are studying at Queens University, Belfast. The Student Jobshop is located in the Student Guidance Centre and can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need a national insurance number in order to work?
If you don’t have a national insurance number, you’ll need to apply for one when you start work. Find out more about National Insurance registration here.
As a student, how many hours should I work in my part time job?
International students must adhere to the conditions of their visa. It is generally recommended that other full-time students work no more than 15 hours per week in part time employment in order to avoid an adverse impact on academic performance.
What rate of pay am I entitled to in my employment?
If you’re above school leaving age but below the age of 25, you’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage. If you’re aged 25+, you’re entitled to the National Living Wage. Current rates are available here.
Do I need to pay income tax?
If you earn less than your personal tax allowance during a tax year (6th April to 5th April) you do not have to pay tax, however if you earn over this amount you will normally have to. It's a good idea to keep an eye on the tax you pay on your income. Students often end up paying too much tax. This can be due to being put on an 'emergency' tax code when starting a new job, or having higher than normal income in any given month. The personal tax system assumes your income will be stable throughout the year and tax is calculated accordingly, which can cause problems where work is seasonal or ad-hoc. Changing employer or going on placement during the tax year can also cause issues in terms of tax paid. For more information, visit HM Revenue and Customs.
Who can I contact if I have problems at work?
If you have problems at work, contact Advice SU and we will be happy to help. Where necessary, we’ll also signpost you on to specialist organisations who can help you - such as the Labour Relations Agency.
Can I be disciplined for something that happened off-campus?
Yes, students can be disciplined for offences that take place off-campus, including causing disruption to neighbours, making excessive noise, drinking alcohol in a prohibited area, and anti-social or offensive behaviour. This list is not exhaustive - Other examples of off campus misconduct can be found here.
What is a Committee of Discipline?
A Committee of Discipline, made up on University staff and a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer, considers allegations of serious misconduct, or allegations of misconduct by students who already have a disciplinary record. The Committee of Discipline also considers appeals against the decision of a Disciplinary Officer. If you are invited to a Committee of Discipline you can expect to answer questions about your alleged misconduct, or to present your appeal against a Disciplinary Officer’s decision.
Do I have to engage with the disciplinary process?
Students who refuse to engage with the disciplinary process may be considered to be in contempt of the University’s disciplinary procedures and may be subject to an additional penalty. Therefore, it’s important that you seek advice and support to fully engage with the disciplinary process.
What are the possible outcomes of a disciplinary investigation?
The possible outcomes of a disciplinary investigation vary according to the stage and severity of the offence.
The standard penalties for various types of offence are outlined through this link. Note that these are not maximum penalties – more serious offences may carry more severe penalties.
Where alcohol has played a part in a disciplinary offence, a student may be given the choice to offset all or part of their penalty by attending the Alcohol Education Initiative, which aims to raise students’ awareness of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.
For more information on the disciplinary process, click here.
Can I appeal against a disciplinary decision?
In most cases, you have the right to appeal against a Disciplinary Officer’s decision, provided you have grounds to do so. The Disciplinary Officer’s decision letter will outline your appeal rights.
You may be able to appeal against the decision of a Committee of Discipline. If your case was referred to the Committee by a Disciplinary Officer and you are unhappy with the Committee’s decision, you may appeal to a Student Discipline Appeals Committee.
It is important to be aware that, upon appeal, your case will be reconsidered and the outcome may be more or less severe than the penalty already imposed, or remain unchanged.
If your case was before the Committee because you appealed against the decision of a Disciplinary Officer, there is no further right of appeal. However, if you are unhappy with the outcome of your appeal you may make a complaint to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman within six months of the decision of the Committee of Discipline. The Ombudsman will then make a decision as to whether they can consider your complaint.
Will a disciplinary offence affect my academic progress?
The impact on your academic progress will depend on the outcome of the disciplinary process.
A written warning will stay on your student transcript until graduation and may be considered if further offences come to light during the period of study. In the most serious cases, the outcome of disciplinary proceedings could be suspension or expulsion from the University.
There may be Fitness to Practice implications on some professional courses such as medicine, dentistry, nursing and midwifery, psychology, teaching, social work, pharmacy, professional legal training, and health and leisure.
No matter the outcome, the disciplinary process itself can be stressful and it is important that you seek help from Advice SU, the Student Wellbeing Service and other support services to help you to continue to focus on your studies.
Can I end my private tenancy early?
You are liable for any rent until the end of the fixed term of your tenancy, and your tenancy agreement will outline what notice period you are required to provide thereafter. If you wish to end your tenancy early, you will need to talk to your landlord / agent and ask for permission to be released early without financial penalty. It is at their discretion as to whether they agree, and is often only granted in exceptional circumstances. Your tenancy agreement might include a 'break clause' outlining when/how a tenancy can be ended - sometimes a landlord or agent will allow a tenant to leave early if they find a suitable replacement tenant and/or pay an early release fee. Such fees should be outlined in the tenancy agreement and should be reasonable.
My tenancy includes unreasonable terms. What can I do?
If you believe the terms of your tenancy are unreasonable, you may wish to contact the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service who have the authority to deal with unreasonable terms for consumers.
Can I end my Queen's Accommodation contract early?
Normally, this is only possible in the event that (a) you find a suitable replacement student to take over your contract or (b) you permanently withdraw from the University. You should check your Conditions of Occupancy and/or speak to Queen's Accommodation staff for further clarification.
I've been called for jury service - can I be excused?
Every year, around 33,000 people from the electoral register will receive a juror notice pack. This notice tells you that you may be called for jury service during the following months, but doesn't mean you definitely will. You need to truthfully complete and submit the Form of Return within 14 days of receiving the pack, otherwise you could be fined up to £1,000. Some people will be ineligible for jury service and others may be excused - you can find out more here.
Between July and June following your jury notice, you could receive a jury summons at any time asking you to attend court. Usually, about ten days' notice is provided. This summons still does not mean that you will have to sit on a jury - that decision will be made when you attend court.
If you are summonsed to attend court but are unavailable with good reason, a judge may be able to excuse you or defer your sitting until a later date. Students who are summoned for jury service should contact their Adviser of Studies to discuss the impact on their studies. Students may ask to be excused or have their sitting deferred if attending court would have an adverse impact on their academic progress. Such a request must be made to the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals' Customer Service Centre and should be accompanied by a letter from the University. Such letters are normally accessed through Student Registry Services. Each application for excusal or deferral will be considered on its own merits by the relevant Court's office.
Can you deal with my parent/guardian instead of with me?
As one of the primary aims of the service is to enable and empower students to act for themselves, third parties (such as parents of students) will be asked to encourage the students to contact Advice SU directly. We are happy to signpost parents to other sources of information or to help them find publicly available Queen’s regulations, but we will only discuss students’ issues with the students themselves.
Can you give me advice on immigration and visa issues?
Advice SU is not regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner therefore we cannotprovide advice on immigration issues. Students should contact International Student Support in the Student Guidance Centre for immigration / visa advice.
The issue I have is with the University. Can you still help me?
Yes, we can indeed. The great thing is that the advice we provide is independent from the University which means we can be impartial in giving you the best possible advice.
If you can't find what you're looking for, or would like to have a chat face to face, just get in touch!