academic advice

Extenuating Circumstances and Extensions

Sometimes your studies may be affected by unexpected events or illness. These might affect your studies so much that you cannot complete an assignment on time. If you only need a few extra days to submit some coursework, you can apply for an automatic 7-day extension by filling in the form found here before the assignment deadline. You have one of these per term, and you will automatically qualify if your assignment is not exempt.

However, sometimes a 7-day extension simply isn’t enough. In this case, we advise you to apply for extenuation so that you are not unfairly disadvantaged.

What are extenuating circumstances?

Extenuating circumstances are rare. The University requires them to be all three of the following:

  • Unforeseeable – something that you couldn’t possibly have predicted.
  • Unpreventable – something that you couldn’t reasonably have stopped from happening.
  • Serious – significant enough to have a major impact on your performance.

The University will expect you to make plans to prevent certain common issues, such as transport or technology issues, so these are generally not considered to be extenuating circumstances. If you are still unsure whether your circumstances would count, there are some examples of claims that we have seen accepted before here.

What can I get if I have extenuating circumstances?

If your extenuation claim is accepted by the University, you will be able to submit your work during the resit period without your mark being capped.

If extenuation is granted at your second attempt, then the University does not guarantee an additional attempt. However, your progression board will take your extenuation into account, so you may receive a better progression decision. More information about progressions can be found on our Progression Decision page.

Your module grade is only uncapped if you have had extenuation granted on every attempt.

How do I apply?

To apply for extenuation, you need to fill in this online form. For each affected assessment, you will need to explain in detail how your circumstances were unforeseeable, unpreventable, and serious.

You will also need to provide evidence – anything which proves the claims you are making – alongside your application. Examples of what could work as evidence can be found here.

When do I apply?

You should apply as soon as you realise that you won’t be able to submit your work on time. Make sure that you don’t apply too early, because you won’t know for certain whether the specific assessment will be impacted yet.

You can apply for extenuation after the assessment deadline. The extenuation team has its own deadlines for each semester. These are the deadlines for 2023/24:

Term 1 (and Term 3 Resits)

Mon 22 January

Term 2 (and Term 1 Resits)

Mon 27 May

Term 2 Resits

Mon 29 July

Term 3 (Undergraduate)

Mon 12 August

Term 3 (Postgraduate)

Mon 16 September

The next extenuation deadline is Monday 27 May 2024. Any extenuation requests covering term 1 and term 3 resits submitted after this date will have to go through the Late Extenuation Appeals process.

What if I missed the deadline?

If possible, you should do your best to apply for extenuation on time. You can still apply for extenuation late, but you will have to submit through the Late Extenuation Appeals process. It is more difficult to get extenuation through this process because you will be expected to provide evidence for why you were unable to apply on time.


Different situations can affect your claim for extenuation. Find out more below.

I am pregnant

Generally, pregnancy does not fall under the criteria for extenuating circumstances, as a pregnant student or expectant parent should have completed a Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Support Plan to minimise the impact of a student’s pregnancy on their studies. However, if you are suffering from a pregnancy-related illness which has impacted on your studies this could count as extenuation. You should say this in your application, along with how this has impacted on your studies. Your evidence should confirm that you have been experiencing this illness and not simply confirm that you are pregnant.

My extenuating circumstances are connected to a long-term illness or disability

Ongoing illnesses or disabilities are not normally considered for extenuation as the University considers them to be foreseeable. If you expect your illness or disability to impact your performance regularly, you should seek appropriate support from the Disability & Dyslexia Team (DDT. The DDT may be able to grant you a TLSR (Teaching and Learning Support Requirement), which may give you extra-time in exams, additional support in class, or more time to complete assessments.
If you need more time as a disabled student, you can still apply for anextension once a term. This will give you an additional 7 days, even if your TLSR already grants you a later deadline. For example, if your TLSR gives you an extra 7 days for every assignment, an extension will give you 14 days on top of the standard deadline.
If you find that the automatic extension isn’t enough, if you are experiencing an unexpected ‘flare-up’ of your condition, or if you have symptoms which are seriously impacting your ability to do your work, we would advise you to apply for extenuation.

I want to apply for extenuation for my dissertation/thesis

The University consider it to be 'unusual' for a student to submit an extenuation for a dissertation or thesis. They say that this is because a dissertation/thesis is “planned and written over a long period of time”. If you do submit extenuation for a thesis or dissertation you must supply evidence from your supervisor showing that you were making “satisfactory progress” with the work before your circumstances occurred, and if it were not for the circumstances taking place you would have submitted on time. You could also submit examples of your feedback on drafts or supervision records to show you were on track until the circumstances occurred.

Where do I find my component code and module code for my extenuation application?

The component code is a three-digit code in the form of 001, 002, 003 etc which relates to a specific component on each of your modules. They typically follow the order that the assessments take place in the module. So, the first assessment scheduled is 001, the second is 002 and so on. You can find the component code on the Turnitin link for that assessment or in your assessment guide.

The module code is the specific code related to your module at UEL, for example HR7006 or LA4001. They can be found in your module and course guide, on Moodle, UEL Direct and Track My Future.

I have not received an outcome for my extenuation claim and my deadline is coming up. What should I do?

Extenuation outcomes can take 3-4 weeks to be finalised. If you have not received an outcome in time for your assessment deadline, there are a few options available:
1. If you think your work is good enough, even if it is below your usual standard, you can choose to submit it by the deadline. If you pass, this mark will automatically stand even if extenuation is granted, unless you specifically request to engage with the resit. If you fail, you will move onto the next opportunity. If extenuation is granted, this will be uncapped. If not, this will be capped and your progression may be affected.
2. You can choose to submit within 24 hours of the deadline. If you do this, your work will be accepted and marked, but you will receive a 5% deduction as a penalty for submitting late. Please note that if you submit after 24 hours, your work will not be marked.
3. You can apply for an extension before the assessment deadline. You will then be given an additional 7 days to submit the assignment without penalty. Please note that if extenuation has already been granted before you apply for an extension, the extension will not be accepted.
4. If you do not submit the assignment at all, you will be given a mark of 0 for this attempt. If your extenuation claim is accepted, you will move onto your next assessment opportunity uncapped. However, if your claim is not accepted, your next opportunity will be capped at the pass mark, and your progression decision may be affected.
Each of these options has certain risks attached to them. You will need to consider which is best given your circumstances. Think about how good you think the piece of work is, how much of an impact the affected assignment will have on your overall average, and how strong you think your extenuation claim is.
If you are unsure of what to do, you can get specific advice from one of our advisors by filling in a contact form.