Extenuating Circumstances

During your studies, you might face a serious situation which has a significant impact on your ability to attend or complete assessments. Such situations are referred to as ‘extenuating circumstances’ (ECs). The Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedure describes how we can support you by taking such situations into account.

What is an extenuating circumstance?

Extenuating Circumstances are circumstances which:

  • have a significant impact on your ability to attend or complete assessment(s), and
  • are exceptional, and
  • are outside your control, and
  • occurred during or shortly before the assessment in question.

If you wish to claim extenuating circumstances, please complete this form.

Examples of extenuating circumstances that are likely to be deemed invalid:

  • You slept in or your alarm clock did not go off 
  • Car broke down, train/bus delayed or cancelled, other public transport problems (unless the student can demonstrate that he or she had allowed adequate time to compensate for such problems as might reasonably have been anticipated)
  • Childcare problems, or problems with similar caring responsibilities which could have been anticipated 
  • Accidents or illness affecting relatives or friends (unless serious, or you are a sole carer)
  • Unspecified short-term anxiety, mild depression or examination stress
  • Cough, cold, upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, minor viral infection, unless the illness was at its peak at the time of an examination, end-of-module test or in-class test and the corroborating evidence refers to the impact on your performance
  • Financial problems (other than cases of exceptional hardship or significant changes in financial circumstances since enrolment)
  • Holidays, house moves, family celebrations or other events where you either have control over the date or may choose not to participate
  • Computer problems, corrupt data, disk or printer failure, poor internet connectivity, e-submission of an assessment file in an incorrect format or similar
  • Problems with postal delivery of work (unless recorded delivery or registered mail)
  • Misreading timetables of any kind, or time management problems, such as assessment deadlines close to each other
  • Appointments of any kind, including legal or medical appointments, which could be rearranged
  • Sporting, recreational or voluntary commitments (unless you are representing UCSD at national level or your country at international level, or participating in an event that is of benefit to UCSD’s national or international reputation)
  • Debt sanctions imposed by UCSD
  • Atypical performance
  • For full-time students, normal pressures of employment, because, by enrolling as a student, you have made a commitment to make time available to study

Examples of circumstances that might be considered valid extenuating circumstances:

  • Hospitalisation, including operations
  • Health problems
  • Personal or psychological problems for which you are undergoing counselling or have been referred to a counsellor or other qualified practitioner
  • Pregnancy-related conditions and childbirth (including a partner in labour)
  • Bereavement causing significant impact/effect
  • Major accident or injury, acute ailments or conditions which coincide with an assessment deadline or an examination or test, or are sufficiently long-lasting to impact on a significant part of a term
  • Clinical depression or other mental health problem
  • Recent burglary/theft/serious car accident
  • Jury service which cannot be deferred (if a student on a clinical education programme, please seek guidance from the clinical education team)
  • Representing UCSD at national level or your country at international level, or participation in an event that is of benefit to UCSD’s national or international reputation
  • For part-time students in full-time employment, exceptional pressure of work or permanent change of employment circumstances. You must submit corroborating documentary evidence (e.g. a letter from your employer) which confirms the particular circumstances, explains why they are exceptional and outside your control and formally supports your claim. If you are self-employed, you must provide independent evidence to support the claim that the pressures are exceptional and outside your control
  • Late diagnosis of, for example, dyslexia, resulting in no support or examination provision
  • Separation or divorce – student or parental (provided the facts and the effects are independently corroborated)
  • Unavailability of the student portal prior to the deadline for an assignment or examination where it has been confirmed by the module lead that this would have had a material effect on the preparation for an assessment
  • Examination disruption (e.g. fire alarm going off; excessive noise from building works)
  • A significant change to your financial circumstances after enrolment (e.g. a withdrawal of Student Finance England (SFE) funding mid-year)
  • Interviews for placements, only in cases where you have asked the employer or provider to reschedule, but this has not been possible. Such claims should be evidenced by a letter from the employer or provider

Self-certification of short-lived circumstances, affecting you for five working days or fewer:

You may self-certify extenuating circumstances that affect you for five working days or fewer. This time frame means that you consider yourself ‘fit-to-sit’ and complete or attend assessments within five working days of the start of the circumstances. Self-certifying means that you must state what your extenuating circumstances are, but you do not need to provide further evidence of the circumstances themselves. If considered valid, your self-certified extenuating circumstances claim is likely to result in you having an extension of no more than five working days for coursework assessment.

Extenuating circumstances that affect you for more than five working days:

Claims for extenuating circumstances that affect you for more than five working days must be supported by independent, reliable documentary evidence that confirms the nature and timing of the circumstances. We will also ask you to tell us, in your claim, how the circumstances have impacted your ability to attend or complete assessments. If considered valid, your extenuating circumstances, supported by independent corroborating evidence, claim is likely to result in you having an extension of no more than ten working days for coursework assessment. 

Submission of information on extenuating circumstances  

  • Please submit your extenuating circumstances application as soon as possible. For all assessments other than exams, your application must be submitted no later than ten working days after the deadline for submission of the assessment or, the date of the time-specific assessment, such as presentation, practical or in-class test
  • Extenuating circumstances claims for formal examinations should be submitted no later than the Monday after the end of the formal examination weeks, in the appropriate semester
  • All applications will be kept strictly confidential and will be managed by the Secretary of the Panel

For more information, you can find the relevant Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedures on our essential information for students web page.