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Extenuating Circumstances is the term that the University uses to describe situations outside of your control that may have had an impact on your study (for example, an illness or family bereavement). Extenuating circumstances are also known as mitigating circumstances. 

  • If you are affected by extenuating circumstances let your department know as soon as possible  
  • Your first point of contact should be your academic adviser(personal tutor) who can give you advice on the process of submitting extenuating circumstances and talk through your options with you  
  • Apply for extenuating circumstances as early as possible (i.e. before you sit an exam or assessment that is likely to be affected and within five working days after your circumstances) and before the deadline. You should speak to your departmental office to find out when the deadline for submitting extenuating circumstances will be.   
  • Get help. There are plenty of support services available for you to access at the University and locally. For a full list and contact details see the University Support Services section of the Universities website.  
  • Visit a Guild Adviser to talk through your situation and get help in preparing a strong application to be considered by the Extenuating Circumstances Committee 

Extenuating circumstances might include:  

  • Illness affecting the student  
  • Bereavement  
  • Serious illness affecting a close family member  
  • Unforeseeable or unpreventable events. 

Independent evidence must be provided to support your extenuating circumstance.

Clinical Professional Programmes 

If you are registered on a clinical professional programme, and you are aware of a pre-existing extenuating circumstance that may affect your performance, you should not undertake any clinical assessments as you will be declaring yourself fit-to-sit.   

If you become unwell during a clinical assessment, the assessment should end and the normal extenuating circumstances procedure can be followed.  

If you are unsure whether an assessment is considered ‘clinical’ by your department, you should request clarification in writing from the department. 

Please also be aware that submitting extenuating circumstances retrospectively (after the clinical assessment has taken place) may be considered a Fitness to Practice matter. Please see our guide to this procedure for more information. 

How to apply for extenuating circumstances 

You can get an extenuating circumstances form from your departmental office or online using this link

When filling in the form make sure you include full details of all assessed work that has been affected. You will also need to submit supporting documentation, for example, if you have been ill you will need to provide a hospital letter or doctor’s note. Before submitting your application, you should seek guidance from the Guild Advice Team or your department on what the University considers to be acceptable evidence to ensure you have included everything you need to.  

You should also prepare a statement to attach to the form including as much information as possible on the extenuating circumstances and how they have affected your ability to study. A Guild Adviser can help you in preparing this statement so that the Extenuating Circumstances Committee will have all the information they need to make a decision.  

Possible Outcomes 

Your extenuating circumstances application will be consideration by the Extenuating Circumstances Committee.  

In the first instance, the Committee will decide whether or not your claim will be accepted.  

If your claim is accepted they will then make a recommendation to the Board of Examiner’s.  

The recommendations can include the following; 

If you are not in your final year: 

  • You can re-sit failed modules/assessments as a first attempt (i.e. uncapped). It is important to note that the mark you get in the re-sit will replace any earlier mark, even when the earlier mark is higher.
  • If your marks were affected but have not caused you to fail then you will have the choice to either re-sit the assessment as a first attempt or keep the original mark but the Board of Examiners will take account of the fact that the mark was affected by extenuating circumstances when they determine your degree classification at the end of your final year.

If you are in your final year:  

  • The Committee will decide whether there is enough assessed work to award you a classified degree (you will normally have had to complete 60 credits in your final year).  
  • If there is enough work, then the Committee will recommend the award to be made. You will then get to choose if you want to accept the award or have the opportunity to re-sit as a first attempt at the next available sitting (this will normally delay graduation) 
  • If there is not enough work, then you will have the opportunity to re-sit as a first attempt at the next available sitting (this will normally delay graduation) 

If your claim is not accepted you can appeal this decision through an Assessment Appeal once you have your confirmed results from the Board of Examiners.  

You have the right to appeal the Extenuating Circumstances Committee and/or a Board of Examiners decision but only on the following grounds: 

Those extenuating circumstances were divulged but: 

  • There was a procedural error in the decision taken by an Extenuating Circumstances Committee or Board of Examiners when considering the circumstances; or 
  • You have new or additional material evidence, which, for a valid reason, you were unable to provide at the time of submitting the extenuating circumstances claim. 

You can review our guide on Assessment Appeals here

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