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 circumstances that are likely to be deemed invalid

Your own time management:

  • You slept in or your alarm clock did not go off 
  • Car broke down, train/bus delayed or cancelled, other public transport problems (unless you can show that you’d made reasonable allowance for such disruption)
  • Misreading timetables of any kind, or time management problems, such as assessment deadlines close to each other

Life events:

  • Holidays, house moves, family celebrations or other events where you either have control over the date or may choose not to participate
  • Appointments of any kind, including legal or medical appointments, which could be rearranged
  • Minor accidents or illness affecting relatives or friends unless serious you are a sole carer
  • Childcare problems, or problems with similar caring responsibilities which could have been anticipated 
  • Financial problems, other than cases of exceptional hardship or significant changes in financial circumstances since enrolment
  • 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)
  • 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

Computer problems:

  • Corrupt data or media, printer failure, poor internet connectivity
  • E-submission of an assessment file in an incorrect format or similar, or re-submission of an assessment accidentally after the deadline

Other:

  • Unspecified short-term anxiety, mild depression or examination stress
  • Problems with postal delivery of work (unless recorded delivery or registered mail)
  • Debt sanctions imposed by UCSD

Examples of circumstances that might be considered valid extenuating circumstances

Your own health problems:

  • Mental health issues
  • Major accident or injury
  • Acute conditions
  • Hospitalisation, including operations or those affecting a significant period of study
  • Personal or psychological problems for which you are receiving counselling, or have been referred to a counsellor or similarly qualified practitioner
  • Cough/cold/sore throats or other minor illness, such as minor viral infection, only if it is incapacitating and at its peak at the time of a time-specific assessment, such as an exam, test, performance or presentation

Significant life events:

  • Pregnancy-related conditions, childbirth (including a partner or surrogate in labour) or adoption
  • Bereavement causing significant impact
  • Separation or divorce of yourself or your parents
  • Weddings or civil partnership ceremonies of close family members
  • 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

Unexpected disruption or events:

  • Recent burglary, theft or serious car accident
  • Jury service that cannot be deferred
  • For part-time students in full-time employment, exceptional pressure of work or permanent change of employment circumstances
  • Emergency or temporary measures enacted by the government such as lockdowns, limitations on movement or travel
  • Serious accidents or illness affecting family/friends

Assessment issues:

  • Unavailability of the VLE prior to the deadline for an assignment or examination where it has been confirmed by the module lead that this would have a significant impact on the preparation for an assessment or exam
  • Late diagnosis of, for example, dyslexia, resulting in no support or examination provision
  • Examination disruption (e.g. fire alarm going off; excessive noise from building works)

If you are affected by extenuating circumstances, we want to support you and can take these circumstances into account by allowing you to, for example:

  • Submit your assessment slightly later than the published deadline, or
  • Not submit your assessment at the usual time, but have an opportunity to be assessed at a later date, or
  • Not attend a time-specific assessment (for example, an examination, a test, a presentation) but have an opportunity to be assessed at a later date

Submitting a claim for extenuating circumstances

To make a claim for extenuating circumstances, you must complete a claim form (linked below).

It is important that you fill in the form accurately and completely – we can take your circumstances into account only if you give us the right information, including the dates that the circumstances occurred and of the assessments affected.

You should submit a claim for extenuating circumstances no later than ten working days after the original deadline for submission of coursework or ten working days after the date of your examination, practical assessment or test.

All applications will be kept strictly confidential and will be managed by the Secretary of the Panel.

Please note: if you need to submit a claim for extenuating circumstances due to either a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, you must also inform us by reporting it through the absence process on the SDConnect App and via email to your personal tutor.

Applying for 5 working days extension from the original deadline

If you are experiencing circumstances that affect you for up to 5 working days, you only need to submit an extenuating circumstances claim form, you do not need to submit any evidence with it. This is referred to as a ‘self-certified’ claim.

You should clearly explain in your claim form what is the issue and how it is affecting your ability to attend or complete the assessment(s).

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 10 working days extension from the original deadline

If you are experiencing circumstances that affect you for more than 5 working days, you must submit evidence with your claim form, unless you have submitted a valid Long Term Health Conditions notification form for the 21/22 academic year.

You should clearly explain in your claim form what is the issue and how it is affecting your ability to attend or complete the assessment(s). The evidence submitted with your claim form should:

  • be independent and written by appropriately qualified professionals
  • confirm the nature and timing of the circumstances, and that the circumstances were witnessed on the relevant date and not reported retrospectively
  • be on headed paper, signed and dated by the author

Examples of evidence likely to be acceptable include:

  • A medical note confirming a mental or physical health condition, provided at the time when you were suffering from that condition
  • A letter from a counsellor confirming a personal, psychological or emotional problem for which you have been receiving counselling
  • An official document such as a police report including a police reference number, court summons or other legal document
  • A letter from a solicitor, social worker or other official agency
  • An insurance claim document supported by a letter from the insurance company
  • For part-time students in full-time employment, wishing to make a claim based on exceptional pressures in their employer, a letter from your employer that confirms the particular circumstances, explains why they are exceptional and outside your control and formally supports your claim.

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.

Applying for extenuating circumstances for referrals

If you have been given the opportunity to complete module/s as a ‘referral’ (details of any referral work required accompanies your transcript) you may apply for extenuating circumstances using the application form below. During the referral period, if valid, an extension will be no more than five working days.

Please note: if you commenced your current level of study before September 2021, 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 please follow this link.

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