What are ECs, and what is the UCL Extenuating Circumstances procedure?

Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) are events which are sudden, unexpected, disruptive and, importantly, beyond your control. This could be, for example, the death of a close relative, a serious illness or accident, or being the victim of a violent crime.

The Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) Procedure is UCL's formal process for you to quickly let your department know about any of these events which might affect your performance at assessment, so they can consider your claim and how best to support you. You can submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim to request mitigation such as an extension or deferring an assessment to a later date.

Should I put in an EC request ‘just in case’?

The Extenuating Circumstances process is in place to make sure that there are ways to support students who are experiencing serious and disruptive situations around the time of their assessments.

It is important that EC claims meet the criteria in the UCL Academic Manual – students who submit fraudulent claims may be subject to UCL’s Academic Misconduct Procedures.

You can only submit two self-certified claims in an academic year – after you have used these two opportunities, any further extenuating circumstances you are experiencing will have to be supported with substantial evidence to be accepted.

Do I have to have extensive evidence for all EC requests?

No, you can ‘self certify’ in some situations (this means you do not have to provide any evidence with your EC request). You are permitted to self certify an EC claim on two separate occasions in an academic year – this can be for a period up to two weeks, and will cover all assessments in that period. It’s only possible to submit a self-certified EC claim before the due date of your assessment - any claims submitted after the assessment due date must be accompanied by evidence. Remember, approval is not necessarily automatic – the decision and the mitigation offered are still at the discretion of UCL.

Can I wait until after my exams to submit my EC request?

No, you should submit your EC request as soon as possible, and normally no more than one week after your assessment, unless there are exceptional compelling reasons for doing so. EC claims cannot be considered once your formal results have been published (though you can use the Academic Appeal process to appeal your results).

If I need medical evidence, is an appointment confirmation text or my doctor’s note from 2021 enough?

No, this won’t be sufficient - any evidence you supply will need to be current (within the last three months), and from a registered medical practitioner. The evidence will need to explain what the main symptoms of your condition are and how they might affect your academic performance, as well as any prognosis and treatment plan.

Your medical evidence doesn’t have to be from a practitioner in the UK, but it will need to be in English, or translated by an accredited translator. You can find more information about what types of evidence you are able to use here.

If I’m waiting on the outcome of my EC request, should I stop working on my assignment or studying for my exam?

After you submit your EC request, you should keep working as if there is no mitigation. If you have not received an outcome by the time of your deadline, you should still submit your work, if possible. This is because there is no guarantee your claim will be accepted

If your EC is then approved, the mitigation will be applied retrospectively and you will be able to submit an updated piece of work by your new deadline. If your EC claim is rejected, your marks will be taken from the assessment you submitted.

Can I submit an EC if I already have a SORA?

A SORA should be in place as a proactive means of support for long-term or ongoing conditions, while ECs are designed to support sudden and unexpected events which may impact your performance. However, if you have a SORA, and you are experiencing something which is causing a sudden flare up or complication of your existing condition, you are entitled to submit an EC request to address this.