What is the Extenuating Circumstances procedure for?
If you are ill or your studies have been affected by other serious events, you can submit an Extenuating Circumstances form. ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ are events that are sudden, significantly disruptive and beyond your control.
Extenuating Circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Bereavement: For a child, sibling, spouse or partner
- Shorter-term medical conditions: Serious personal injury, medical condition or mental health condition
- Longer-term medical conditions: Serious worsening or acute episode of an ongoing disability, medical condition or mental health condition
- Victim of violent crime: Assault, mugging
More information on what is considered an Extenuating Circumstance can be found in the Academic Manual.
How does the Extenuating Circumstances procedure work?
You need to ensure that your submission for extenuating circumstances is made within one week (five working days) of the circumstance taking place. If you miss the deadline, you will need to prove that your circumstances made it impossible for you to submit earlier. Self-certified EC claims must be submitted before the assessment deadline/date.
If you cannot submit a self-certified EC claim, you will also need to provide the relevant evidence. You can find further guidance on what your evidence should include in UCL's Academic Manual.
Can I self-certify?
UCL have a Self-Certification Policy in place for the 2022/23 academic year. This means that students can self-certify without providing evidence for up to two separate periods within the 2022-23 academic session. If a programme includes teaching after Term 3, students can also self-certify on a third separate occasion.
Where students can self-certify, mitigation is limited to:
- Coursework extensions up to one week
- Dissertation/research project extensions up to two weeks
- Deferral without Tuition to the next normal occasion (typically the Late Summer Assessment Period) for controlled condition exams
- Extension of 2 hours per 24-hour period for take-home papers (including 24-hour assessments)
- Deferral without Tuition to the next normal occasion (timing determined by the department) for quizzes and in-class tests
- Deferral without Tuition (timing determined by the department) for practical exams
Self-certified claims can be submitted no more than two weeks in advance of the affected assessments, and can only be submitted before an assessment takes place. Any claims submitted after the assessment has started must be accompanied by evidence.
You can find further details in UCL's Self-Certification Policy.
What evidence will I need?
If the mitigation you are applying for is not included in the Self-Certification Policy, you will need to provide evidence with your EC claim. Evidence should be from the appropriate independent authority (doctor, police officer, court officer etc.) and must cover the full period for which you are requesting mitigation.
Short term illness / injury / hospitalisation: Medical certificate or letter from your doctor. This must be specific, it cannot just say that you were ill, or that you told your doctor you had been ill.
The evidence must have (if applicable to your situation):
- Name of the health condition or impairment
- Date of diagnosis
- Period of time that you have been seeing the practitioner for this condition / impairment
- Length of time that the practitioner expects the condition / impairment to last
- Main symptoms of this condition which could impact on studies (e.g. mobility impairment, loss of concentration) and living in a university environment
- Current treatment and / or medication being undertaken
- Side effects of any treatments or medication
Non-medical evidence: Needs to come from an appropriate, independent and verifiable authority such as a solicitor, a registrar of births, marriages and deaths, a police or fire officer or a court or tribunal officer.
Non-medical evidence needs to be:
- In English - evidence in another language must be accompanied by a certified translation
- Recent - produced within the last three months
- Independent - evidence from relatives not accepted, even if they are professionally qualified
- On letterheaded paper or stamped with an official stamp or seal
- Cover the full period of time of the EC claim
Non-medical evidence can include existing documents, such as an appointment letter, crime report or court document, or it can be specifically written for you in a letter or statement. Your non-medical evidence should cover the following points:
- Your full name
- The evidence provider's full name, role, organisation and signature
- A description of the nature and severity of your circumstances
- A professional evaluation of how the circumstance affects you
- Precise dates of when the circumstance started and ended/is expected to end
Disability and long term illness: Disability, including ongoing, long term illness and recurring and diagnosed illness would not usually be considered under the Extenuating Circumstances procedure, with the exception where there has been a particular worsening, serious episode or mental health crisis and documentary evidence can be provided. There can also be an exception where it is a new condition or there has not been time to put reasonable adjustments in place. They will not normally be considered because where you have disclosed a disability, your department should already have put in place Reasonable Adjustments to support your studies. It is only where there has been additional unexpected disruption to your studies that extenuating circumstances would be considered.
We would encourage you to disclose disability and mental health conditions to UCL, with the support or UCL's Student Disability Services or Student Psychological and Counselling Services, to ensure that UCL makes the required reasonable adjustments throughout your studies, and that you are supported when you need it.
UCL has a legal duty to ensure that you are not treated any less favourable, and that you have fair access to your education and all of UCL's services and support.
What happens after submitting an Extenuating Circumstances form?
Your department will decide whether your claim meets the criteria and which mitigation is suitable for your circumstances. Your department may also need to seek approval from your faculty or from the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Experience) for some types of mitigation.
You should receive a response as soon as possible and no more than ten working days after submitting your application (unless you are submitting your evidence late). There may be good reasons why a decision cannot be made within this timeframe – for example if your case needs to be escalated to your Faculty EC Panel. If this is the case, the panel will let you know, within ten working days of receiving your application, that more time is needed to process your claim.
You cannot appeal against an academic or professional judgement that has been reached through due process by an Extenuating Circumstances Panel. However, if you feel that there has been a procedural error in the handling of their request, or that the type of mitigation offered is unsuitable, you can appeal via UCL's Academic Appeals Procedure.
Appeals should be submitted within 10 working days of receiving your outcome.
If you have any concerns or questions about the Extenuating Circumstances process, contact the Advice Service as soon as possible to make sure you have all the information you need to make your decision.