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.

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

Applying for 10 working days extension from the original deadline

Your circumstances may be valid for an extension of no more than 10 working days for coursework assessments. If valid, you may submit your assessment within 10 days of the original deadline without penalty.

For any other type of assessment, such as an exam, an opportunity for re-assessment at the next opportunity, without penalty, depending on the decision of the Award Assessment Board. Please refer to the ‘Applying for non submission’ FAQ below.

Applying for non submission

If your circumstances means you are unable to submit within 10 working days of the original deadline for coursework assessments, or you are applying for ECs for any other type of assessment, you can apply for a non-submission.

Non submission means you could submit at the next available opportunity (usually the Referral period following the Award Assessment Board relevant to your programme) without penalty, depending on the decision of the Award Assessment Board. There is a limit to the amount of reassessment allowed in the referral period; a module that is not achieved because of extenuating circumstances will count towards this limit.

If your application is valid, you could be eligible to resubmit over the referral period as the same attempt. Where you are given a re-assessment opportunity as a result of valid extenuating circumstances, this will include all components of an element of assessment and any previous component marks will be overwritten.

Important information when submitting an extenuating circumstances claim

You must submit a claim for extenuating circumstances by completing the online form linked below using your UCSD student login details. Please note: if you commenced your programme ‘in-year’ in January or April 2021, there is an alternative form linked below. On the claim form you will need to describe the extenuating circumstances and their impact on your ability to attend or complete assessments. Once submitted, please inform your module leader that you have submitted an EC claim.  

If you need to submit a claim for extenuating circumstances due to either a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.  You must firstly inform us by reporting it through the absence process on the SDConnect App and also, emailing your tutor. You must then also submit an extenuating circumstances claim form.  

  • 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.

Extenuating Circumstances for non-September starts

If you commenced the first or second year of your programme outside of September (in most cases this will be in January, March or April), please note that you may continue to submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim in line with the 20/21 Safety Net. This means that you may submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim form if you wish to apply for a ten day extension or non-submission, until your marks are confirmed at an Award Assessment Board. You will then be subject to the referral period procedures (if applicable).

To submit an extenuating circumstances claim form (non-September starts only) please follow this link.