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Extenuating circumstances

Extenuating circumstances means significant personal difficulties or circumstances which may impact on your ability to complete, submit or attend a specific assessment, and are significantly disruptive matters outside of your control.

If you have any questions about extenuating circumstances please contact an Information Point.

How can the extenuating circumstances process support you?

Depending on the programme of study you are on, the extenuating circumstances process can support you in the following ways:

  • Allow you to resit/retake a module that has been referred or failed where the regulations would not normally permit it. If a retake is permitted a module fee will apply and you will need to do all assessments again, as no marks can be carried over between attempts.
  • Permit the mark from a resit or retake to be uncapped (unless previously capped, as defined in the glossary of terms.
  • The Exam Board may accept failure to pass a module when recommending you for an award.

Please note: If you have extenuating circumstances accepted for a missed assessment, but still pass the module, the mark you have achieved will stand and you cannot retake the module or have your mark adjusted.

What are the grounds for making an extenuating circumstances application?

An extenuating circumstances application may be submitted if something happens to you that impacts on your ability to complete, submit or attend a specific assessment and is significantly disruptive and outside of your control.

An application may be made only in the following circumstances:

a. Where a student has been prevented from submitting an assessment.

b. Where a student has been prevented from attending an examination or other controlled conditions assessment such as a presentation.

c. Where a student attended an examination or other controlled conditions assessment but was taken ill during the event. In such cases an application must still be made by the student, but corroboration may be provided by the examination invigilator or academic staff responsible for the assessment.

d. Where a student has submitted an assessment or attended an examination or controlled conditions assessment but, due to having a certified condition or circumstance (or is subsequently diagnosed), which would have meant they were unable to exercise the judgement necessary at the time to deem themselves well enough to take an assessment eg mental health difficulties, bereavement or chronic medical conditions, such as those that:

  • Are persistent, often lasting for more than three months, and are often life-long.
  • Are of long duration and generally slow progression. 
  • Cannot be solved in a short time, will recur regardless of action, or need to be managed on a long-term basis.
  • Often result in some type of disability, which may require an individual to seek help with some activities;
  • Can be managed but can also flare up.
  • May include cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma), musculoskeletal diseases (like arthritis) and diabetes.

Please note: If you submit your application before the deadline for the assessment or prior to the exam date, the implication will be that you have decided not to take the assessment at that time and you will be recorded as a ‘non-submission’.

If you are registered on an attempt at a module/s which commenced before 1 September 2015, it will fall under the 2014/15 regulations and you will still be able to apply for extenuating circumstances for submitted work, but only for the remainder of the attempt. If you do not pass the module/s and are then required to register for a retake which begins on or after the 1 September 2015, the new regulations will come into effect and you will no longer be able to apply for extenuating circumstances if you submit an assessment or attend an exam.

How can I apply?

Extenuating circumstances will only be processed with appropriate evidence. Any extenuating circumstances application received without evidence will not be considered and you are advised to submit your form only once you have your evidence ready.

Visit the extenuating circumstances eligibility pages  for details of the submission process.

On the form you should:

  • Describe the difficulty you have had, including the dates of relevant events.
  • Describe the impact on your studies.
  • Provide supporting evidence of the problem you are describing, such as a medical certificate (translated into English if necessary).
  • Make sure you have entered the correct module code, name and element of assessment.

What evidence is required?

See our extenuating circumstances evidence guidance for details of what is required depending on your situation.

In all cases, applications for extenuating circumstances must be accompanied by original, independent documentary evidence. This must be an official document, eg a letter on official headed paper, and must include the dates during which the circumstances applied.

For an application to be accepted, all of the following conditions must be met:

A student must produce independent documentary evidence to show that the circumstances:

  • Were out of their control and could not be prevented.
  • Correlated directly with the period affected.
  • Met the relevant specific conditions relating to documentary evidence (see below).

All medical certificates or statements should be:

  • Written by appropriately qualified professionals who are independent to the student*.
  • Original and on headed paper and signed and dated by the author. Evidence presented by email may be acceptable if the email has been sent by the author from the official address of the relevant organization.
  • Dated, with the date of the illness correlating with the dates of assessment.
  • In English with any translation of supporting documentation organised and financed by the student and undertaken by an authorised translator.

*students are reminded that we have our own University Health Centre.

Please note: If there is a charge for providing copies of supporting evidence and you are facing financial hardship, contact the Money Advice and Funds Service.

If your evidence is not in English, you may be able to use a local authority translation service such as the one provided by Bristol City Council.

Where applicable, you may need to provide the same evidence of your circumstances to Student Finance to secure additional years’ of funding. Contact the Money Advice and Funds Service for advice about the Student Finance extenuating circumstances process.

Are there any exceptions to this process?

  • Hartpury students should contact the Hartpury student advice team to check local arrangements.
  • For students studying at international partner institutions where UWE Bristol regulations apply, your local administration office will be able to provide the final deadline information prior to each examining board period.
  • Students studying on the PG Diploma Law programmes (BPTC, GDL or LPC) should refer to their relevant Blackboard pages.

When to submit your application

Submitting an extenuating circumstances application before the assessment deadline is highly recommended  because the outcome of the claim is more likely to be known before the submission date. If you cannot do this, please submit your form as soon as you can afterwards.

Final deadlines for applications

There are also final deadlines for making extenuating circumstances applications once module teaching and assessment has been completed. These are:

  • PG Dissertation modules – 14:00 on 16 October 2015.
  • Health and Applied Sciences (November 2015 exam boards) – 14:00 on 20 November 2015.
  • Modules completed by the end of assessment period 1 – 14:00 on 5 February 2016.
  • Health and Applied Sciences (March 2016 exam boards) – 14:00 on 11 March 2016.
  • Modules completed by the end of assessment period 2 – 14:00 on 3 June 2016.
  • Modules completed by the end of assessment period 3 – 14:00 on 29 July 2016.
  • Modules completed by the end of assessment period 4 – 14:00 on 19 August 2016.

Please note: these deadlines do not apply to students studying BPTC/GDL/LPC Law programmes.

Late extenuating circumstances - is it possible to make an extenuating circumstances application after the final deadline?

Applications for extenuating circumstances received after the relevant final deadline will only be considered if you give a valid and acceptable reason (with evidence) for submitting the application late.

Please see our late extenuating circumstances guidance for details of what is required depending on your situation.

Late claims for extenuating circumstances must be received no later than ten working days after the formal notification of the examining board’s decision. In exceptional circumstances, a claim which has been submitted beyond this time frame may be reviewed.

Do I need to make additional applications if my circumstances continue?

If you make an application and other assessments or examinations are subsequently affected by the same problem, you will need to complete a new extenuating circumstances form (EC1). 

You will also need to apply again for any resits even if you made an application at the first sit. The reason for having to complete new forms is because the University does not assume that you are still affected.

My academic studies are affected, but I am not sure which is the best support process to use

You can find an overview of the support processes we offers in our Options if academic studies are affected document.

If you need to apply for an adjustment to a coursework deadline due to a disability/medical condition, please use the online Reasonable Adjustment to Deadline Request form. Please note you will need to meet the eligibility criteria set out on the form.

Frequently asked questions

If you have a question which is not answered above, please view the extenuating circumstances FAQs.

Alternative assessment arrangements

If you have a disability, temporary disability, severe illness or are in a period of pregnancy or maternity which has a substantial effect on your capacity to study and/or take assessments, contact Disability Services to find out how we can help.

Find out more about our assessment regulations

Further details about our academic regulations and procedures.

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