academic advice

Apply for extenuating circumstances

Sometimes your studies will be affected by unexpected events or illness. This could include bereavements, accidents, flares up of long-term health conditions, difficult family or personal circumstances or major household incidents such as fires or flooding. 

As a result, you may need more time to complete an assignment which is when we recommend applying for extenuating circumstances.

How do I apply?

You apply for extenuating circumstances via an online form. You will need to provide information on each assessment you are applying for and provide a detailed explanation of your circumstances and how they have prevented you from submitting or negatively impacted your performance during the assessment.

You will also need to provide evidence in support of your claim. This might be in the form of a doctor’s letter, hospital discharge papers, an eviction notice or a death certificate. Generally, anything which can support the circumstances you talk about in your application. Documents such as prescriptions or appointment letters will not be accepted by the University. You can find examples of acceptable evidence to give in your claim here. We have also written a guide for medical professionals writing support letters for extenuation claims.


When do I apply?

Generally, you should apply as soon as you realise that your ability to submit your work on time is being impacted, however we find that applications that are submitted too far in advance of submission deadlines are more likely to be rejected. Sending in the application around 2-3 weeks beforehand should be fine. You can also submit a claim after your assessment deadline has passed. 

There are deadlines each academic semester/year by which you need to submit your extenuating circumstances applications. These vary depending on your year level. Please see below for the deadlines for 2020/21.

Levels 4, 5 & 7 (New academic framework)
Semester A assessments – 25 January 2021
Semester A resits – 7 June 2021
Semester B assessments – 7 June 2021
Semester B resits – 9 August 2021
Semester C assessments and dissertation – 27 September 2021

Level 6 (Old academic framework)
Assessments – 7 June 2021
Resits – 9 August 2021

There are a small number of cohort-specific exceptions to the above deadlines. Please check here if your cohort falls under these exceptions. 

If you miss these deadlines but still need to apply for extenuation for an assessment you can do so via the appeals process. However, it is harder to have extenuation granted via that process, so it is strongly recommended that you try and meet the above deadlines as much as possible.

What does extenuation get me?

If your extenuation claim is accepted by the University, you will be allowed to submit your work up to seven days passed your initial deadline without being penalised. If you are unable to submit by this time, or you submit your assessment, but it fails, you will also be able to submit your assessment at your resit deadline and your mark will not be capped.

If you are submitting an application for your resit deadline you will also get an additional seven days if your claim is successful. If you fail at your resit, then you will likely be asked to repeat the module. If you have had extenuation granted on both your initial and resit submissions, then your repeat module will be uncapped.

Different situations can affect your claim for extenuating circumstances. Find out more below.

I am pregnant

Generally, pregnancy does not fall under the criteria for extenuating circumstances, as a pregnant student or expectant parent should have completed a Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Support Plan to minimise the impact of a student’s pregnancy on their studies. However, if you are suffering from a pregnancy-related illness which has impacted on your studies this could count as extenuation. You should say this in your application, along with how this has impacted on your studies. Your evidence should confirm that you have been experiencing this illness and not simply confirm that you are pregnant.

My extenuating circumstances are connected to a long-term illness or disability

On-going medical circumstances and disabilities are not normally considered for extenuation as the impact of those is often foreseeable and the University expects you to seek appropriate support from the Disability and Dyslexia Team (DDT). However, students in such situations can apply for extenuating circumstances if they can demonstrate that they have experienced a ‘flare-up’ of their condition or symptoms that has had a serious impact on their ability to do their work.

I want to apply for extenuation for my dissertation/thesis

The University consider it to be 'unusual' for a student to submit an extenuation for a dissertation or thesis. They say that this is because a dissertation/thesis is “planned and written over a long period of time”. If you do submit extenuation for a thesis or dissertation you must supply evidence from your supervisor showing that you were making “satisfactory progress” with the work before your circumstances occurred, and if it were not for the circumstances taking place you would have submitted on time. You could also submit examples of your feedback on drafts or supervision records to show you were on track until the circumstances occurred.

My extenuation claim has been rejected

If your claim has been rejected, please complete our contact form to let us know. We can get in contact with the Extenuation Panel to find out why exactly your claim was rejected. We can then provide advice on what you can do to strengthen or claim or what additional evidence you may need to provide in order to increase your chances of a successful claim. Please do not book an appointment with us as we will need to look at your form before we can provide you with advice.

Where do I find my component code and module code for my extenuation application?

The component code is a three-digit code in the form of 001, 002, 003 etc which relates to a specific component on each of your modules. They typically follow the order that the assessments take place in the module. So, the first assessment scheduled is 001, the second is 002 and so on. You can find the component code on the Turnitin link for that assessment or in your assessment guide.

The module code is the specific code related to your module at UEL, for example HR7006 or LA4001. They can be found in your module and course guide, on Moodle, UEL Direct and Track My Future.

I have not had an outcome for my extenuation claim and my deadline is coming up. What should I do?

If you have not received an outcome for your extenuation claim by your assessment deadline there are several options available to you;

  1. If your work has reached a point where you believe it is of an acceptable quality to submit, you could submit your work by your assessment deadline. Please note, however, that if your work achieves a pass mark, then this is the mark that will be recorded for you for this assessment. You will not be allowed another attempt to submit your work and improve your mark, even if your extenuation claim is successful and the mark you received is less than what you would usually achieve.
  2. You could also choose to submit your work within 24 hours of the initial assessment deadline, and it will be accepted and marked, although it will incur a 5% deduction to the mark, regardless of whether or not your extenuation claim is accepted.
  3. Your third option is to submit your work within seven days of your assessment deadline. A successful extenuation claim gives you an additional seven days within which to submit and have your work marked without penalty. You can submit your work within this period via the ‘extenuation’ or ‘seven day’ (or similarly-worded) link on Turnitin in your Moodle account on the assumption that your extenuation claim will be accepted (If this link is not appearing on Moodle, contact your module leader immediately to let them know).

    If your claim ends up being successful, then your work will be accepted and marked. If your extenuation claim is not accepted, then your work will record a ‘NS’ (non-submission), you will receive a mark of zero and you will move to your next assessment opportunity (your mark will be capped at the resit).

    If your extenuation claim related to your initial submission deadline, then this will mean your resit attempt. If it related to your resit submission, then the next assessment opportunity will likely need to be accessed by repeating the module.

All of the above options have certain risks to them and you will need to consider which is the best one for you given your circumstances, taking into account how ready you are to submit your work, how much of an impact a lower mark might have on your overall average and how strong you believe your extenuation claim to be.

All students are given a second opportunity to submit their work if they are not able to submit (or submit but fail) at their initial attempt (up to a limit of four attempts).

You do not need your extenuation application accepted to access this; however, your mark will be capped at the pass mark if you do not have extenuation granted.