What are extenuating circumstances and when can you submit a claim? Find the answers here.

  • What do we mean by extenuating circumstances?

    Extenuating circumstances (often referred to as 'ECs') are circumstances which rarely occur and would normally be unforeseeable in that you could have no prior knowledge of the event concerned, unpreventable in that you could do nothing reasonably in your power to prevent such an event, and expected to have a serious impact on performance.

    If you are in doubt think of it in this way:

    • Could I have anticipated what happened?
    • Was I in control of what happened?
    • Did it have a serious impact on my performance?


    If you answer 'no' to all three questions and you believe that your performance was significantly affected or you were unable to submit an assessment or attend an exam as a result of what happened, then it is worthwhile submitting a claim.

  • What types of extenuating circumstances might I have?

    Extenuating Circumstances normally fall under one of three types:

    • impaired performance - circumstances which have affected your performance in assessment or reassessment (coursework or exam).
    • late submission - circumstances which prevent you from submitting assessed or reassessed work by the deadline date.
    • non-submission/non-attendance - circumstances which prevent you from submitting/attending for assessment or reassessment.
  • What is impaired performance?

    If you make a claim based on impaired performance, what you are saying is: "I got my work in by the extenuating circumstances deadline date, but it isn't the best I could do because of my extenuating circumstances" or "I sat my examination but my performance was not the best because I was unwell" etc.

  • What is meant by late submission?

    If you make a claim for late submission, what you are saying is: "I need a small amount of extra time to be able to hand my work in". Remember that you can submit no later than 10 working days after the assessment deadline (a working day is Monday to Friday excluding public holidays).

    You can submit your work late and also claim for impaired performance – just make sure you tick the category within the online submission system that states "Up to 10 working days with impaired performance OR non-submission OR non-attendance?" when making your claim.
  • What is meant by a serious impact on performance?

    Many things could have an impact on performance – a poor night's sleep, a minor illness (such as a cough or cold), a minor injury, financial worries etc. These will often impact on performance but would not be expected to have a serious impact and so would be unlikely to be accepted as extenuating circumstances.

    Most students experience a certain amount of stress at periods of formal assessment and, whilst there are times during which your stress levels will likely be higher, you are generally expected to develop the ability to deal with this and to produce satisfactory work whilst meeting deadlines. "Examination stress" or stress in a practice placement will not, in and of itself, be considered as an extenuating circumstance.

  • What can I submit extenuating circumstances for?

    It is impossible to provide a complete list, but the following examples would commonly be regarded by the University as 'extenuating circumstances', and if supported by appropriate evidence would be likely to lead to a successful claim:

    • Serious short-term illness/accident/hospitalisation
    • Family illness
    • Bereavement due to the loss of a close family member or significant other (claims relating to extended family members will not normally be accepted).
    • Unexpected pregnancy complications
    • Significant adverse personal/family circumstances
    • Other significant exceptional factors for which there is evidence of stress caused e.g. victim of crime, domestic disruption
    • Jury Service (only if your attendance is compulsory and cannot be deferred)
    • Court attendance
    • Significant exacerbation of a disability or long-term health condition
  • What are not considered as extenuating circumstances?

    Once again, it is impossible to provide a complete list, but here are some examples which are unlikely to be acceptable extenuating circumstances. Generally, these are circumstances which could reasonably have been avoided, or where you could have made arrangements to address the problem or taken action to limit the impact of the circumstances, as these circumstances would be deemed to be within your control.

    • Family events i.e. weddings and holidays
    • Accommodation disturbances
    • Paid employment or voluntary work
    • Exam stress
    • IT issues
    • Foreseeable or preventable circumstances
    • Assessment deadlines being too close together
    • Criminal conviction
    • Medical circumstances without supporting medical documentation or retrospective medical evidence (i.e. a doctor's note stating that the student was seen after the illness occurred).
    • Medical circumstances which do not relate to the assessment period in question.
    • Normal work, life or study pressures
    • Childcare issues (unless exceptional and unexpected)
    • Minor ailments e.g. cough, cold or headache
    • Hangover
    • Oversleeping
    • Misreading assessment deadline or examination timetable
    • Academic workload pressure: including multiple deadlines within a short period of time
    • Difficulties in accessing resources or computing accounts due to outstanding University debt
    • Unexceptional transportation difficulties including delayed public transport or car breakdown
  • What do I do if my circumstances are ongoing?

    An existing long-term condition will not be treated as extenuating circumstances unless it can be shown that the condition was made worse by circumstances occurring during or close to the assessment period.

    It is your responsibility to seek advice as early as possible and use the support services available through the university to ensure you can study and undergo formal assessments in the way which meets your needs.

    If you have been newly diagnosed with a long-term condition which you have been unable to tell us about before, you should submit your extenuating circumstance claim with evidence of your diagnosis and contact the Wellbeing Team for further advice regarding managing and supporting your condition.
  • Is there a deadline to submit my extenuating circumstances claim?

    Please contact your Faculty to discuss the deadline for submitting a claim.

  • Do I need to include evidence with my extenuating circumstances form?

    You will need to provide supporting evidence with your extenuating circumstances claim when completing the online form.  You are responsible for getting and submitting this evidence. Please refer to our evidence guide for further details. 

    You will also be asked to give a clear and concise explanation about how your circumstances have impacted on your study, which has led to your claim for extenuating circumstances.

  • What sort of evidence do I need to provide?

    Evidence will normally be a medical certificate or letter from an appropriate medical or professional person related to the reasons for your claim.  A list of evidence can be found in our evidence guide.

    Evidence must be independently verifiable and therefore letters from family members or friends will not be accepted. 

    Evidence must be in English or must be accompanied by a translation.
  • Can I submit evidence after I have submitted my claim?

    You can submit your evidence after you have submitted your claim as long as it is by the deadline date given on your acknowledgement email. 

    You will need to go back into the online system and upload your evidence by the deadline given in your acknowledgement email.

  • What happens after I submit my claim?

    As soon as you have submitted your claim, you will receive an automatic email acknowledging that your claim has been received. It may also contain information and deadlines regarding missing evidence etc. 

    Make sure you read all emails thoroughly and respond by given deadlines as they may be asking for additional information or evidence to support your claim.

    Your extenuating circumstances claim will then be looked at by an Extenuation Panel in your Faculty. The Panel will look at whether your form is complete, whether you meet the criteria, and if the evidence supporting your case is strong enough. You will be notified by email of the outcome of your claim, confirming whether your claim has been rejected or accepted.

  • What are the possible outcomes of an extenuating circumstances claim?

    If your application for Extenuating Circumstances is accepted, the Extenuation Panel will make a recommendation to the Progression and Award Board. 

    The Progression and Award Board may offer one of a number of possible recommendations to allow for the impact of the circumstances depending on your overall profile of results - the level of failed credits on your module profile for the year will decide the timing of any opportunities to retrieve assessments.

    It's important to note that the Panel cannot increase your assessment marks on the basis of an extenuating circumstances claim.

    Typical outcomes may include:

    For non-submission of coursework or missed examinations

    The opportunity to undertake a 'deferred' retrieval of the item of assessment. This may be at the next available opportunity in the academic year or may be in the next academic year as part of a repeat year. The grade that you achieve from this retrieval opportunity will be without penalty i.e. the grade achieved will be recorded.

    For submitted coursework with no claim for impairment

    Your work will be marked and no capping will be imposed i.e. the grade achieved will be recorded.

    For submitted coursework with impairment

    Your work will be marked with no capping imposed.

    • If you have not passed the assessment, you will be given the opportunity to undertake a 'deferred' resubmission in the same way as you would for a non-submission.
    • ­If you have passed, you may be offered the opportunity to improve your grade by undertaking a 'deferred' resubmission in the same way as you would for a non-submission. It is important to understand that if you accept this offer, your new grade will be recorded even if it is lower than the original grade that you achieved. If you do not wish to take up the offer (or don't respond by the deadline) your original grade will be recorded.
  • What happens if my extenuating circumstances are rejected?

    If your application for Extenuating Circumstances is not accepted, the Progression and Award Board will decide, based on the level of failed credits on your module profile for the year, the timing of any opportunity to retrieve the failed assessment(s).

    Outcomes may include:

    For non-submission of coursework or missed examinations

    A grade of 0% will be recorded against the item of assessment. You may be offered the opportunity to retrieve the item of assessment, which could be at the next available opportunity in the academic year or may be in the next academic year as part of a repeat year. The grade that you achieve from this retrieval opportunity will be capped at the minimum pass mark for the module.

    For first coursework submissions

    Your work will be marked and, if you have passed the item of assessment, the grade that you achieve will be capped at the minimum pass mark for the module.

    For resit (within the same academic year) submissions

    • If you submit by the resit assessment deadline, your work will be marked and, if you have passed the item of assessment, the grade that you achieve will be capped at the minimum pass mark for the module. 
    • If you submit up to 10 working days after the resit assessment deadline, a non-submission and a grade of 0% will be recorded against the item of assessment.
  • My tutor knows about my extenuating circumstances. Do I still need to make a claim?

    Yes. The Extenuation Panel can only consider claims that have been submitted via the online system.

  • If I don’t want to submit an extenuating circumstances claim, are there any other options available?

    If you don't think that extenuating circumstances are appropriate, there are alternative routes. You can interrupt from your studies - more information on this can be found on our Withdrawal & Interruption of Study Policy

    If you are struggling with your studies or have an issue which is affecting your studies, you can visit the university's Wellbeing Hub or visit the Students' Union advice team.

  • I am studying overseas, can I still submit a claim?

    Yes, you submit claims in the same way as students studying in the UK.
  • What happens if I submit a false claim?

    If you knowingly submit a false claim, this may be considered a disciplinary offence and you could be taken to a Disciplinary Panel.

  • Who can help me complete my extenuating circumstances claim?

    If you are struggling to complete your application, the Students' Union advice team or your personal tutor will be able to help.

  • Can I appeal against the outcome of my extenuating circumstances claim?

    There is no right to appeal the decision of an Extenuation Panel in relation to whether your extenuating circumstances were accepted or not. However, you do have the right to appeal the decision of the Progression and Award Board who considered your academic profile and made a decision about your progression or award if you think that your circumstances meet the grounds for appeal. 

    The Academic Appeals Procedure sets out the process of academic appeals, including time-frames and the applicable grounds that appeals must be made on. 

    You can also use this procedure if you have valid reasons (that you can evidence) for not submitting your extenuating circumstances claim within the deadline - although you will have to wait until you have received your Progression and Award Board outcome letter before you can appeal.