Mitigating circumstances and extension requests

If personal circumstances affect your exams or assessments, or your attendance at teaching activities, you can make a request for mitigating circumstances. This includes extension requests on assessment deadlines. A panel will assess each request, and where necessary take action to mitigate for any impact on your performance.

Mitigating circumstances might include a significant short-term illness or injury, a long-term or recurring medical or mental health condition, the death or illness of a close family member, acute stress from personal or financial issues, absence for public service (e.g. jury service), or technical issues during an online exam or assessment. If you are going through any of these circumstances, remember that there is support available and always somebody to talk to. As well as applying for mitigating circumstances, be sure to seek additional support if you need it. 

Our mitigating circumstances policy gives further examples of what are and are not considered mitigating circumstances.

When can I request mitigating circumstances?

If the issue affects you for seven days or less, and does not affect an exam or assessment, you do not need to request mitigating circumstances. You should instead complete the student self-certification of absence form and send this to your School support team.

If the issue continues for more than seven days, or affects an exam or assessment, you can request mitigating circumstances. You can do this either before or shortly after an assessment deadline or exam.

You can request an extension – please do this as far in advance as possible to give us time to process your extension request. Individual arrangements for automatic extensions through the Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) will all remain in place.

Your School will have a cut-off date for how long after an assessment deadline or exam you may submit a mitigating circumstances request. This information will be available from either your programme handbook, your School student intranet, or your School Support Office.

You can submit a request after the published deadline, but this will only be considered if you provide strong evidence* to explain why it is late. Once the Exam Board has sat you can no longer make a mitigating circumstances request, though you may be able to submit an academic appeal.

*As evidence of your request, you will need to provide credible and compelling reasons. If you didn't tell your School about your mitigating circumstances at the time they happened, you must explain your reasons for this. Setting out your reasons can help to demonstrate what has happened. You will have to show it was understandable that you didn't submit mitigating circumstances before or around the assessment date. The University could reject reasons such as not knowing about the procedure, personal feelings of embarrassment or pride, or having concerns about confidentiality. These reasons may only be accepted if they can be supported with evidence.

What evidence do I need?

You should provide as much supporting information as possible with your mitigating circumstances request. This helps us to understand the severity of the situation and assess the best solution. All evidence will be treated confidentially.

You may include any evidence that supports your request, such as:

  • Extracts from your medical notes (you can request these from your GP practice)
  • Copy of prescription or photo of name label on prescribed medication
  • Photo of labelled positive COVID-19 test result (if available)
  • Appointment cards from medical unit or hospital admissions letter
  • Confirmation text of medical appointment
  • Communications from a school or care facility confirming that they are closed or the person you care for is unable to attend
  • An obituary or letter from a family member, in the case of bereavement
  • Police, security or insurance report
  • Press or media report
  • Internal confirmation of existing engagement with our counselling / Advice and Response service

For medical conditions we do not require a specific letter from your GP or healthcare provider, and in cases of bereavement we do not require a death certificate. However you can still include either of these as supporting evidence if you wish.

If you are registered with DASS, they will confirm with your School directly - you do not have to seek this evidence from them.

What mitigation will be applied?

Where the panel grants a request, they have a choice of several mitigation options – they will recommend the one they feel is most appropriate for each individual case. This could include granting an extension, offering a resit, excluding a mark from a unit average, or directing you to further support inside or outside the University.

Our mitigating circumstances procedures explains the full process and possible mitigation outcomes.

How do I make a request?

You should make your mitigating circumstances request to your School. Each has their own process – details are available from either your School student intranet or your School Support Office.

Long-term or recurring conditions

If you have a long-term or recurring medical or mental health condition that affects your studies, you should strongly consider registering with our Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS). This will allow you to access a variety of support that is appropriate to your needs.

Students who are registered with DASS will not normally have to provide medical evidence for mitigating circumstances requests that are related to your DASS support plan.

Even if you're not registered with DASS, we will only ask for medical evidence once for mitigating circumstances relating to a long-term or recurring medical or mental health condition, with the exception of cases where there are accreditation or fitness-to-practise requirements.