Making an extenuating circumstances claim

What are extenuating circumstances?

Extenuating circumstances are circumstances beyond your control which have had an impact on your assessed work. Generally, they are circumstances of a medical or personal nature which cause you to perform less well in the assessment, to miss an assessment event (eg. an exam) or not to submit an assessment.

It is important to realise that only the most serious extenuating circumstances will have any significant impact on your overall performance, particularly when degree classifications are being considered.

You must formally submit a claim

Even if you have discussed your difficulties with staff, you must formally submit an extenuating circumstances form by the published deadline, even if you are still awaiting evidence. Informal notification will not be considered.

Forms submitted after this date may not be considered and you cannot appeal a decision if you could have been expected to declare your extenuating circumstance before the deadline.

You must also fully explain the impact of extenuating circumstances on your work. If you do not sufficiently explain their impact then you cannot subsequently appeal and ask for additional information to be considered.

Your claim will be considered by an Extenuating Circumstances Committee who will then make recommendations to the Board of Examiners regarding the effect your circumstances have had on your performance (including non-submission of assessment). Find out more about how your claim is considered.

How to submit a claim

1) Read the Extenuating Circumstances Policy

In general, extenuating circumstances will be of a medical or personal nature affecting you for any significant period of time and/or on the day of the assessment event, or immediately preceding the time of the deadline.

It is important to realise that only the most serious extenuating circumstances will have any significant impact on your overall performance, particularly when degree classifications are being considered. Therefore, the Board of Examiners is unlikely to take any action unless it is believed that the extenuating circumstances have had a material effect.

Judgements can only be made about the impact of extenuating circumstances in light of the evidence of your academic ability demonstrated in non-affected work. Judgement cannot be made about your potential to have gained a higher mark if there is no evidence in the rest of your performance to support this. Unless it appears that the extenuating circumstances have had a material effect on your results, it is unlikely any action will be taken. You should therefore consider carefully before submitting a form (see also how extenuating circumstances claims are assessed).

2) Check what is not a claim

It is not possible to list every circumstance that would not be accepted or taken into account. However, some of the more obvious examples are listed below:

  • general pressure of work is not taken to be circumstances beyond your control, as you are expected to plan your work schedule. This includes claims related to increased workloads due to trailing failed modules from the previous Academic Year. This is because you had an opportunity to undertake reassessment prior to continuing into your next year
  • a short-term problem or illness which has occurred during the year and which is not deemed to have had an overall effect on your performance
  • personal disruptions or events which could have been anticipated; such as holidays, weddings, changing address or employment, religious holidays or festivals which are usually known in advance
  • excessive demands on time or pressure of one’s employment, which could have been anticipated
  • financial constraints commonly experienced by students
  • missing an online examination because you misread the timetable or overslept
  • having more than one deadline on the same day or on consecutive days (unless you were already suffering from illness or injury)
  • problems with the teaching timetable where you have not taken the necessary action to ensure that appropriate module choices are made
  • where extenuating circumstances have affected you throughout your time at University, making it difficult to determine what your marks might have been like otherwise. In such cases, it is unlikely that any action will be taken

3) Check the deadlines

You need to apply by the published deadline below. We cannot guarantee that forms submitted after this date will be considered.

It is essential to formally declare any extenuating circumstances by the deadline because you cannot subsequently appeal against any decision of the Board of Examiners on the grounds of extenuating circumstances if you could reasonably have been expected to declare them prior to the deadline.

Undergraduate students

Please ensure that you submit your claim before the relevant deadline (below) even in the event that you are still awaiting evidence so that your claim can be considered. It is important that you press submit on your claim.

If you are still awaiting evidence, please note this in your claim, the type of evidence expected, and when your evidence is likely to be ready for upload.

If you submit your claim after the deadline – please contact your department to see whether it is too late to be considered.

Exam period Deadline 
Main summer exam period Monday 10 June 2024
Psychology January exams (non-reassessment)Monday 22 January 2024
January reassessment, coursework, and exams Monday 10 June 2024
September reassessment period Thursday 12 September 2024

Incoming Study Abroad Students

Exam period  Deadline 

Autumn only incoming students

All other Study Abroad students follow the main undergraduate students' deadline above

Friday 2 February 2024

East 15 (Loughton and Southend) students

Year of Study Deadline 
Final Year Monday 10 June 2024
Non-Final Year Wednesday 10 July 2024

Edge Hotel School students

Course Type Deadline
Non-Accelerated Courses Monday 10 June 2024
Accelerated Courses Within seven days of the published assignment submission deadline

Health and Social Care

Deadlines for the submission of Extenuating Circumstances forms have been set based on the date of the Board of Examiners meeting for each course/CPD module.

Please note that claims for courses with in-year reassessment, and for CPD modules, should be submitted within seven calendar days of the published assignment submission deadline.

Extenuating Circumstances applications received outside of the above timescale will only be considered by the School's Extenuating Circumstances Committee if you have provided a valid reason why you were not able to submit your claim on time. Where possible, you should also provide evidence of this reason.

 Course Deadline Date of Board
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, MaCE, HCP finalists 13/10/2023 20/10/2023
Mixed mop-up board - BSc Nursing (AN & MH), NDA (AN & MH), FdSc OHS, BSc OHS, PWP and MA SW 23/10/2023 03/11/2023
MSc Global Public Health (Final Board) and CPD  06/11/2024  14/11/2024

MSc Advanced Periodontal Practice and MSc Periodontology - Final year

 20/11/2023 28/11/2023 
BSc Oral Health Science - Final year
MSc Global Public Health (reassessment students)
 12/01/2024 19/01/2024 
PG Certificate and Graduate Certificate Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (Low intensity) (all variants) January 2023 cohorts - Final year  19/02/2024 23/02/2024 
MSc Global Public Health (October cohorts) - Year One
 10/05/2024 12/06/2024 
MA Social Work (COL) and BA Social Work (SOU) - Final year MA: 17/05/2024
BA: 10/05/2024
BA Social Work (COL/SOU) - Years One and Two
MA Social Work (COL) - Year One
CPD - HS919 and HS918
BA Yr 1: 05/06/2024
BA Yr 2: 31/05/2024
MA Yr 1: 03/05/2024
CPD: 28/05/2024
BSc Speech and Language Therapy - Years One and Two Yr 1: 28/05/2024
Yr 2: 07/06/2024
BSc Speech and Language Therapy - Final year
BSc Nursing and Degree Apprenticeship (Adult/Mental Health) SOU/COL - students requiring additional reassessment or withdrawal only
 28/06/2024 19/07/2024 
FdSc Health Science (COL) October cohort - Year Two (HS179 HAP OT module/HS235 SLT module)
BSc Occupational Therapy - all years
MSc and PG Diploma Leadership in Health and Care - Year One
Cert HE Health and Social Care
CPD - HS768-7-SU
BSc OT Yr 1: 04/07/2024
BSc OT Yr 2 & Yr 3: 02/07/2024
MSc/PG Dip Leadership: 28/06/2024
Cert HE HSC: 03/07/2024
CPD: 03/07/2024
MSc Advanced Periodontal Practice and MSc Periodontology - Years One and Two
MSc Speech and Language Therapy (pre-reg) - Years One and Two
MSc Adv Perio/Perio: 25/07/2024
MSc SLT: 20/08/2024
FdSc Assistant Practitioner (COL) October cohort - Year One
BSc Speech and Language Therapy - all years (reassessment students)
BSc Occupational Therapy - all years (reassessment students)
FdSc Oral Health Science - all years
BSc Oral Health Science - January 2023 cohort
PG Diploma Leadership in Health and Care - Year One (reassessment students)
BSc SLT Yrs 1 & 2, BSc OT all years, FdSc/BSc OHS and PG Dip Leadership: 20/08/2024
BSc SLT Yr 3: 22/08/2024  

BSc Speech and Language Therapy (Degree Apprenticeship) - Year One (Level 5)
Graduate Diploma and PG Certificate Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner - September 2023 Level 6 and January 2024 Levels 6 and 7 cohorts
MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-reg) - Years One and Two
BSc Occupational Therapy (Degree Apprenticeship) - Years One and Two

BSC SLT App: 02/09/2024
PWP: 08/08/2024
MSc OT: 06/09/2024
BSc OT DA Yr 1: 27/08/2024
BSc OT DA Yr 2: 19/08/2024
BSc Nursing (Adult/Mental Health) SOU/COL - Year One
FdSc Nursing Associate (Apprenticeship) SOU/COL - Year One
 19/08/2024 18/09/2024 
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology - Years One and Two
Professional Doctorates - all years (taught modules)
BA and MA Social Work (COL/SOU) - all years (reassessment students)
MSc Global Public Health - January 2024 cohort
 06/09/2024 19/09/2024 
BSc Nursing (Adult/Mental Health) SOU/COL - Year Two
BSc Nursing Degree Apprenticeship (Adult/Mental Health) COL/SOU - Year Two
FdSc Nursing Associate (Apprenticeship) SOU - Year Two
 19/08/2024 19/09/2024 
BSc Nursing (Adult/Mental Health) SOU/COL - Final Year
MSci Nursing (Dual Award) SOU/COL - all years
BSc Nursing Degree Apprenticeship (Adult/Mental Health) COL/SOU - Final year
 19/08/2024 20/09/2024 

Postgraduate taught and research students

Postgraduate taught

Contact your department for information on the deadline for submitting your claim.

Postgraduate research

Postgraduate Research students should follow the extenuating circumstances procedures for postgraduate research students.

If you are enrolled on the first year of an Integrated PhD course, you should follow the procedure for postgraduate taught students.

If you are registered on a Professional Doctorate course and your extenuating circumstances impacted a taught module, you should also follow the postgraduate taught students' procedure.

4) Check you have the evidence you need to include

You should include on the form details of specific assessments or online exams affected by your extenuating circumstances. Make sure you explain the impact these circumstances had on your performance. It is not the role of the Board of Examiners or Extenuating Circumstances Committees to try to work this out or to seek further information on your behalf. Make your submission clear and concise.

Remember that Extenuating Circumstances Committees and Boards of Examiners are trying to determine whether the circumstances are likely to have significantly affected your academic performance.


Where you are able, it is in your interest to submit independent and reliable supporting evidence as part of your extenuating circumstances application. Supporting evidence should be relevant to the circumstances described in both nature and timeframe. Without supporting evidence, the Extenuating Circumstances Committee/Board of Examiners may not be able to take action on your claim.

  1. It is your responsibility to obtain evidence to support your claim and to ensure that it is submitted within the deadlines set by the University. All evidence should be submitted along with the relevant Extenuating Circumstances form.
  2. All evidence provided must align with or support the dates that you have outlined as part of your claim.
  3. Evidence should be presented appropriately, please see our guidance on the types of documentary evidence required (.pdf).
  4. For cases of a medical nature, the University has an agreement with the Health Centre on the Colchester Campus that their staff will use the medical evidence proforma. However, please note that other health centres and GPs may operate differently and may charge for supplying evidence.
  5. The University reserves the right to ask to see original copies of supporting evidence and/or check on the validity of the document(s) you submit.
  6. All supporting evidence must be provided in English. It is your responsibility to arrange for documents to be translated and to incur any costs associated if they are not written in English. Translation should be undertaken by an accredited translator, e.g. by a member of the Association of Translation Companies.
  7. The University appreciates that, in some situations, there may be legitimate reasons which make it impossible to provide documentary evidence. If this is the case, you should explain why in your application.
  8. We ask that you are mindful of uploading pictures which staff reviewing your claim may find distressing. We would also like to emphasise that relevant evidence will normally be in a written format, rather than images.


The policy on Self-Certification for Extenuating Circumstances recognises that in the case of medical extenuating circumstances for minor illnesses or COVID-19, you may not need, or be able to seek, medical attention and therefore will be unable to provide supporting evidence. In such cases, you may self-certify on the following basis:

  • you are only able to self-certify on two separate occasions each year (the dates for the two separate occasions should not be sequential)
  • you are only able to self-certify for up to five days per claim
  • you may self-certify for any form of assessment (coursework or exam)
  • self-certification should only cover illness for which medical help would not normally be sought

We ask that you do not upload supporting evidence which includes images that staff reviewing your claim may find distressing. We would normally only need to receive documentary evidence to support a claim. You can always write that further evidence is available if we wish to request it.

5) Seek advice if needed

Seek advice from the Student Service Hub or SU Advice if necessary.

Additional information

There is further information that you need to consider:

False claims

You should note that submitting a false claim or false documentation is a serious matter and would be regarded as an attempt to gain unfair advantage. This would be a breach of student conduct and would be dealt with under the Code of Student Conduct. The University reserves the right to check on the validity of the document(s) you submit by contacting the third party directly.

Data protection

The University is committed to a fair and confidential process for handling extenuating circumstances and recognises that this process may involve the disclosure and handling of sensitive personal information. Information will be processed in line with the UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018. For further details about how the University processes your personal data please see our Privacy Statement.

Equality Act 2010 and information for disabled students

If you find that you are unable to submit an electronic copy of the Extenuating Circumstances Form, you can contact your department or Student Services Hub to ask for the form to be emailed to you. The form should be submitted to your department and please note that you should still submit any relevant evidence alongside the form.

If you have any queries about a claim which has been rejected, please email the Assessment Team at or your department to request further information. You can also discuss this feedback with staff in the Student Services Hub if you believe that your individual needs have not been understood or adequately taken into account.

If you are providing information about your disability on your extenuating circumstances form, please note that this does not count as disclosure to the University as these forms are intended for use only by the Board of Examiners. We strongly urge you to disclose any persistent medical condition, specific learning difficulty or disability to the Student Services Hub.

Professional suitability and fitness to practice

Important - information about you that may affect professional suitability:

The University is committed to a fair and confidential process for handling extenuating circumstances and recognises that this process may involve the disclosure and handling of sensitive personal information.

All University students are required to comply with the University’s Code of Student Conduct Regulations and other regulations of the University regarding conduct. Students enrolled on courses where a practical professional placement is required have additional responsibilities placed upon them regarding their professional suitability. Failure to meet these responsibilities can lead to the Breach of Professional Conduct, Fitness to Practise and Termination of Training Procedure being invoked. You will have been informed when you registered as a student if your degree scheme is subject to this Procedure

Breaches of professional standards by students may involve a range of actions or omissions but may include:

  • actions that are harmful to service users, other members of the public or service provides
  • actions that are likely to constitute an unacceptable risk to students or others
  • failure to disclose information about previous matters relating to professional suitability prior to enrolment on the course
  • contravention of the relevant professional code of conduct
  • actions that are prejudicial to the development or standing of professional practice

In addition, for students studying law, the University has an obligation to report relevant information related to professional suitability to the Law Society.

Any information that is provided on any extenuating circumstances form that raises issues of professional suitability, whether it has been disclosed by you and about you or by another student on another form but relates to you will be disclosed as necessary to the relevant internal or external authorities. Information will only ever be disclosed on a need to know basis to ensure the University is able to comply with its obligations related to professional suitability. These authorities may include the Professional Practice and Conduct Committee, your employer if your registration as a student relates to Continuing Professional Development or any relevant Professional or Regulatory Body.

What happens next

Extenuating circumstances will normally be considered by a pre-board or small designated group within each department; the Extenuating Circumstances Committee. 

Find out more about how your extenuating circumstances are evaluated.

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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub or SU Advice who will be happy to assist you.