What To Do When You Don't Have DP

Life happens and sometimes you haven’t made DP. That’s okay. 9 times out of 10, you can achieve DP status if you know what process to follow.

Firstly, a question that I’m sure springs to the mind of anyone who is not a student at UCT: “What is DP?”

Well, DP stands for “Duly Performed”. DP is a code you need to achieve in order to be allowed to write your exams.  The requirements for achieving DP vary between courses, but generally include the submission of all assignments, attendance of a certain percentage of tutorials and/or lectures, attendance at all tests and a coursework mark that exceeds a certain threshold (e.g. 35%).

If you do not meet all the DP requirements prescribed by your course, you will receive Duly Performed Refused (DPR). DPR means you are not allowed to write the exam for that course - and since you can’t write the exam, you automatically fail the course.

UCT suggests that if you’re aware that you will not be able to meet the DP requirements of a course within the first six weeks of taking that course (due to medical situations, family issues arising, etc.), you should de-register from the course. This is because it looks better to potential employers or other universities you apply to to see an INC (incomplete) on your transcript rather than DPR. Of course, this isn’t always possible and is definitely not an option at this stage in the semester.

At present, you still have a few options: firstly, appeal to your department and explain why you could not meet the DP requirements.

Departments are usually understanding if you have a good reason - for example, they should accept if you were ill during the semester and then couldn’t perform one of the DP requirements (though often you may still need to produce a medical certificate). Depending on how nice the department is, you can have your DP restored rather swiftly.

When appealing to have your DP restored, your first point of contact should be the Teaching Assistant or your Course Convenor. Speak to them immediately after DP lists have gone out in order to sort out your situation. If you are unhappy with your Course Convenor’s response, you can approach your faculty council to make an appeal to the department on your behalf. If you are still not happy, it can be up-scaled to the Head of Department.

If you are still denied DP and believe that the department is treating you unfairly, you can write to the Deputy Dean in undergraduate affairs for your faculty. While following these processes, know that I am crossing my fingers for you to get this DP.

Some departments are no longer doing exams as of next year. For example, the Anthropology, Gender Studies, and Linguistics departments – so DP will no longer exist in those departments. But for now, and for people in other faculties, we must continue the fight to get our DP!

Even if you don’t get DP, it’s okay. A course does not define who you are as a person. You are amazing, you are smart, and you are talented. Worst comes to worst, you may have to extend your degree, and that’s only if you cannot make up for this course by doing it during Summer or Winter school. But that’s okay, the only thing that matters is that we are taking care of ourselves and are working our way to get these degrees. I believe in you, you can do this!