Extenuating Circumstances 

What are Extenuating Circumstances?

Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) are, according to the University's Regulations, circumstances that make it 'temporarily impossible' for a student to:

  • meet a deadline for the submission of assessment 

  • attend an examination, in-semester test, performance or other assessment-related event 

  • complete an examination, in-semester test, performance or other assessment related event 

  • perform as well in an assessment as might have been reasonably expected 

  • attend and/or submit documents for a postgraduate research student progress review or confirmation review meeting 

  • meet a deadline for the submission of information for processes and/or panel hearings held under the various sections of the Student regulations


So your ECs could be a physical illness or a mental health problem. They could be a bereavement or a complex personal issue.

Some issues are not considered extenuating circumstances unless combined with one of the above e.g. financial issues are not ECs on their own but if you are suffering high levels of stress and anxiety for any reason and can get evidence from a doctor or a counsellor to confirm this then this would be likely to be considered as valid ECs.

Computer issues are not usually accepted for ECs unless there is a fault with a University system or service.  

Important: ECs should be applied for BEFORE the deadline. If you have missed a deadline or exam, you have 5 working days to apply.

If you have to leave an exam due to extenuating circumstances, you need to complete the 'unfit to continue' form in the exam and then have 5 working days to apply for extenuating circumstances.​

Applications submitted after the deadline or event

Applications made AFTER the deadline or event must also explain (and provide evidence to support) why you were not able to apply before, or at the time of, the event.

These are:

  • that you were awaiting a diagnosis of their illness or its confirmation and you submitted a request at the appropriate time whilst awaiting receipt of the evidence 
  • that the nature of your illness affected the your capacity to report it 
  • that you did not have access at the time to their medical practitioner (including GP or clinical specialist) or registered counsellor, their minister of religion, or solicitor, to provide support and the required independent evidence 

What do I need to do first?

Read the University's regulations for Extenuating Circumstances. In here you will find a list of what is considered to be extenuating circumstances and what evidence the University will accept.

These can be found on the web-site of the Office of Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulations (OSCAR) - https://www.surrey.ac.uk/office-student-complaints-appeals-and-regulation

What Next?

Write your statement – make sure you clearly explain what your circumstances are, how they are impacting your ability to study and the outcome you are seeking.

If your application is AFTER the deadline or event, you will need to explain why you were not able to apply beforehand or at the time.

Gather your evidence. The burden of proof is on you as the student applying so it is vital that you have evidence to support your case. e.g. doctor's letter, death certificate, counsellor's letter, police report. You will need this in electronic format e.g. a photo or a scanned copy as you will need to upload this with your EC application

Submit the online form. This can be accessed via student self-service. A video explaining the form can be found on the OSCAR website.​

Please read our FAQs below


Important information for August Late Summer Assessment period:

If you successfully apply for ECs for an exam during the August assessment period, you will defer this exam and become 'course suspended'.

This means that you must return next academic year to sit the assessment that you have deferred and cannot progress into the next level in your degree until the following academic year.

Students can contact their faculty assessments team on the email addresses below if they have questions about physically submitting a form or if you have questions about the exam you are attending:





Q. How do I submit an application?

A. Online, via your Surrey Self-Service account. Under the 'Modules' tab along the top of the welcome page, click on Extenuating Circumstances and this will take you to the application form.


Q. What do I need to include in my application?

A. You will need to include a statement, explaining your situation and how it is/has been affecting your academic ability, as well as relevant evidence to support your statement. Please see page 4 of the university's regulations for extenuating circumstances for more details on evidence needed.

Please make sure you are also very clear on the outcome you are hoping for.


Q. How long will it take to get a response?

A. After submission you should receive an immediate confirmation of receipt via email to your Surrey account.

Applications usually take around 5 working days to receive an outcome.


Q. What do I do if I have not had an outcome before my exam or coursework deadline?

A. In this instance, we would advise that you attempt the assessment if you can, as there is no guarantee that your application will be successful. Make sure the invigilator records that you have submitted an ECs application. If you need to, you can fill in an 'unfit to sit' form during the exam.


Q. What do I do if I cannot get my evidence before the deadline?

A. In this instance, we would advise that you submit your application before the deadline anyway, and indicate in your application that you are still waiting to obtain the evidence. As soon as you receive it, you can log back in to your application and add it. At least this way you have ensured that you have reported the matter ahead of the assessment. It is important to note, however, that your application won't be looked at until your evidence is uploaded.


Q. What do I do if I am unwell in an exam?

A. You can ask an invigilator for an 'unfit to continue' form, and then you can leave if needed. This ensures your exam will NOT be marked as a non‑attempt and will serve as part of your evidence in your extenuating circumstances application.

You must follow this up with a full ECs application.


Q. What will happen to the exam paper or coursework if I submit but then my EC is upheld?

A. Any attempts you have made will be void if your EC application is upheld.


Q. What will happen to the exam paper or coursework if I submit but then my EC is NOT upheld?

A. Your work will be marked as normal.

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I need further advice:​

You can make an appointment with one of our Academic Advice team. Appointments are for a maximum of 30 minutes, Monday - Friday 10-4pm.

Please email ussu.advice@surrey.ac.uk with the following information:

Name​, Course, Year of study, Details of your case, including what your circumstances are, What you need advice on, Submission deadline or date of exam

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