Student Administration

Special circumstances

Students who experience illness, accidents, or other uncontrollable circumstances that affect their assessment performance can apply for special consideration. The Boards of Examiners, supported by the Extensions and Special Circumstances (ESC) team, and Special Circumstances Committees will decide on appropriate outcomes for each applicant.

 Assessments you can get support with 

If you've encountered an unforeseen situation beyond your control that negatively affected your academic performance, you might be eligible for special circumstances consideration.

Coursework support

 Support is available for coursework where: 

  • an extension is not available, e.g., class quizzes, field trips or lab tests 

  • you are unable to meet an extension deadline 

  • you have missed a deadline 

  • you have completed a piece of coursework, but your situation has impacted your performance. 

An extension might be a more suitable option if you need additional time for an assessment.


Exam support

Support is also available for examinations if: 

  • you are not able to attend online or in-person 

  • you have missed the exam 

  • you have taken an exam, but your situation has impacted your performance.  


Speak to someone

Before applying for support, discuss your situation with your Student Support Team. They will be able to advise you on your application and help you access any additional support you might need. 


 Apply for special circumstances 


Situations that qualify for special circumstances 

A special circumstance is something unexpected and beyond your control. Below are some examples of situations that qualify as special circumstances. 

Situations affecting you or your family's wellbeing

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • significant short-term physical illness or injury 

  • significant short-term mental ill-health 

  • long-term or chronic physical/mental health condition that has recently worsened temporarily or permanently 

  • death or serious illness of someone with whom you have a close relationship 

  • breakdown of a relationship 

  • exceptional (i.e., non-routine) caring responsibilities

Situations where you experience a crime

Examples include, but are not limited to:  

  • experience of sexual harassment or assault 

  • experience of other types of harassment 

  • victim of a crime which is likely to have a significant emotional impact 

Situations that affect your home life or your finances

Examples include, but are not limited to:  

  • military conflict, natural disaster, or extreme weather conditions 

  • severe financial difficulties  

  • prolonged exposure to a difficult/challenging home environment  

  • exceptional and significant change in employment commitments, where this is beyond your control 

Situations that affect your access to information or technology

Examples include, but are not limited to:  

  • significant and prolonged problems with access to teaching and learning materials, e.g., due to connectivity, power, or equipment issues  

  • catastrophic technical failure preventing submission of an online assessment by the relevant deadline  

  • lack of access to library resources where there are no viable alternatives.  

Support for long-term chronic health conditions 

If you have a long-term or chronic mental or physical health condition, the University can support you by implementing a ‘Learning Profile’. This includes details of the reasonable adjustments to be made to support your study and assessment, meaning you don't need to apply for special circumstances unless your condition has significantly worsened.  If you think this applies to you, please contact the Disability and Learning Support Service to discuss any necessary adjustments. 

Contact Disability and Learning Support Service 


Possible application outcomes 

During your application you have the option to choose a preferred outcome. The Board of Examiners will take your choice into consideration, but ultimately, they will make a decision that is in your best interest.  

If your application is successful, you may be able to: 

  • repeat assessed work, or a whole course 

  • have late penalties disregarded for a piece of work 

  • receive an extension of more than 7 days 

  • have a particular mark disregarded from the calculation for a course, or for a progression or classification decision. 

Before applying discuss the implications of these possible outcomes with your Student Support Team or the staff at The Advice Place. 

The Board of Examiners can make an outcome decision for individual assessments and for your course. Course-level decisions are made if it is felt that your situation could impact your degree classification or your ability to progress in your studies. 


Application process 

When to apply 

You should apply no earlier than 4 weeks before the coursework deadline or examination. Applications received earlier are unlikely to be accepted. 

Each school has final deadlines for applications. Applications after those dates may be considered in exceptional situations. Learn more about special circumstances deadlines

Completing the application 

The application is split into four sections. All sections of the application must be completed. The required steps are:  

  1. Tell us what happened 

  1. Select your assessments  

  1. Impact statement 

  1. Evidence and submission 

Collect your evidence 

You should provide corroborating evidence from a third party, during or immediately after the event or situation. For example, 

  • a certificate, or letter from a medical practitioner 

  • evidence from another professional service, e.g., Student Counselling 

  • documentary evidence from other sources, e.g., police reports, legal documents, notary. 

You can ask your Student Support Team, or someone who has directly witnessed the impact the situation has had on you to provide a supporting statement. It needs to include the following information: 

  • Date/time period: State when the situation occurred and/or when it was brought to your attention. If the situation is ongoing, please include this. 

  • Direct witness: Please state this and describe what happened. 

  • Indirect witness: Please describe what you know of the situation to the best of your ability. 

  • Impact: Describe your experience of how the situation has impacted the student and their studies. 

Your evidence should be signed and dated, legible, and in English if possible. If your evidence is in a different language, please provide a translation or description of what the document says. You can provide your own translation; we don't require official or paid services.

No evidence is needed if you have experienced bereavement. 

Medical evidence 

If you're unable to supply medical evidence for special circumstances, you can use the form below to self-certify your ill health. This form allows you to certify both physical and/or mental ill-health.  

You should not use this form to certify the ill health of another person, such as a seriously ill loved one. Using the form for this purpose will not be accepted as evidence. 

Please do not upload graphic photographs such as pictures of illnesses or injuries in support of your application. These are not acceptable evidence - please use the self-certification form below if you do not have any other medical evidence to upload.

Section 6 of the Special Circumstances Policy provides more details on evidence 

Getting a decision 

The ESC Team will review your application and evidence. They will respond within 5 working days, letting you know whether your request has been accepted. 

The Board of Examiners makes the outcome decision for an approved special circumstance after the end of a semester:   

  • Semester one courses: January   

  • Semester two courses: June. 

You can track the ESC team decision and the Board of Examiners outcome decision in your application dashboard. 

Unsure what you qualify for? Tell us what happened 

If you are unsure whether your situation qualifies for an extension or special circumstances, you can notify us by completing the first steps of the application process, telling us what happened and when it occurred. 

 The available decisions are:  

  • Extensions only (CE); 

  • Special circumstances only (SC);  

  • Both extensions and special circumstances (Both); 

  • Not eligible for support (None). 

We will respond within 2 working days with a decision. 

You do not need to wait for our decision to complete the application—you can move on to the next steps anytime. 

Next steps

Check your school’s application deadlines 

Read our instructions on making your application


Apply for special circumstances 


Frequently asked questions