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Exceptional Circumstances - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions in relation to submitting an exceptional circumstances request

What is an exceptional circumstances request? 

If you feel your circumstances are affecting your performance, you can put in a request to defer the submission of your assessment without penalty to the next available opportunity. This may involve a different piece of assessment and you should always talk to your module or programme leader about the implications for your studies.  


How does an exceptional circumstances request work? 

You will be required to complete an online form and submit supporting evidence. You can only apply for an exceptional circumstances request in certain situations as indicated in the supporting evidence document.

By completing a request for exceptional circumstances, you are seeking to delay submission of your assessment until the next appropriate assessment period. 


How do I submit an exceptional circumstances request? 

Click here for a step by step  guidance for students. 


What is the deadline to submit an exceptional circumstances request? 

Exceptional Circumstances requests must be submitted no more than fifteen (15) working days after the assessment submission date and at least five (5) working days before the Board of Examiners. 

For information on Exam Boards, please see Board dates 

For term and semester dates, please see Term and semester dates 


What evidence am I required to submit in support of my exceptional circumstances request?  

You need to provide evidence to support your request for exceptional circumstances. All evidence must clearly relate to the assessment date for which the request is being made.  

In certain circumstances you can self-certificate to support your exceptional circumstances request. 

Students should be aware that making a fraudulent request for exceptional circumstances is an academic misconduct offence UPR AS14 Appendix III and may result in a referral being made under the UH Student Academic Misconduct policy and/or Fitness to Practise policy.  

Please be aware thatcertain situationsare not suitable for an exceptional circumstances request. 


Who can advise me about my exceptional circumstances request and the impact on my studies? 

Please speak to your Personal Tutor, an Academic Support Advisor, WASS Advisor or Module/Programme Leader who can advise on module requirements and what support might be available.  

The Students’ Union Advice and Support centre advisors can help you through the process for submitting an Exceptional Circumstances request. 

If you are a University debtor, please contact us on exceptional and we will be able to discuss with you how you can proceed with an exceptional circumstances request.


Where can I get support and advice about my wellbeing? 

If you need support, please contact the Student Wellbeing service 

Students can also email Hertfordshire Student’s Union Advice and Support Centre on They provide practical, impartial, free advice and support to students. 


If I need a  coursework extension, what should I do? 

You should apply to your School for an extension. A coursework extension is permission to hand in an assessment after the published hand-in date without either incurring a penalty or waiting to re-take an alternative assessment as a referred or deferred student.

Find out the details of who to ask for an extension in your module/programme information. For more information, please see  Coursework Extension. 


Will my exceptional circumstances form and the details of my personal circumstances remain confidential? 

Please be assured that the information you have provided will be processed under strict confidentiality protocols as per the University’s Data Protection policies IM16-Data-Management-Policy & IM08-Data-Protection 


What happens following the submission of my exceptional circumstances request? 

You will receive an email confirming the submission of your request. You can also view this in your Student Record. 


What happens following the submission of my evidence supporting my exceptional circumstances request? 

You will receive an automatic reply to confirm that we have received your email. We will match your evidence up with your exceptional circumstances request and then process your request accordingly. 


What is the position if  I submit an exceptional circumstances request  when I have already submitted my assessment? 

The University operates a  fit to sit policy, so if you decide to sit/submit an assessment, the University will not normally accept a request that you had exceptional circumstances regarding the assessment.

Should you fail to inform us in your exceptional circumstances request that you have submitted the assessment, you should be aware that the Module Board of Examiners will disregard the recommendation for deferral. 


How will I know that my exceptional circumstances request has been accepted? 

You may assume that your exceptional circumstances request will be accepted by the relevant module board once you have received confirmation of acceptance from the exceptional circumstances team. However the module board will overturn the decision of the exceptional circumstances team:

  • if acceptance of an exceptional circumstances request is contrary to 
    programme specific assessment regulations; or 
  • where you have provided incorrect information e.g. you have not 
    indicated to the exceptional circumstances team that you had sat /submitted the relevant assessment, or the assessment hand-in dates you gave the team are incorrect and do not align with the dates on evidence you provided. 

Please note that the exceptional circumstances team will not contact you again with the results of the Exam Board’s decision.  


What if I have already been given a referral or deferral by the exam board for a particular assessment, if I am still unable to complete the assessment, can I submit another request for exceptional circumstances?

Yes, that is OK – you can submit another exceptional circumstances request for the next assessment period via your Student Record. 


Will submitting exceptional circumstances request and being granted a deferral affect my overall grade/degree classification? 

NO, your overall mark will NOT be affected, you will not incur a penalty and your assessment will be marked as a first attempt.  


I require a visa to study – can I still apply for an exceptional circumstances? 

If you are a student who requires a visa to study, any changes to  your  studies may have implications please ensure that you contact the Student Immigration Team for advice: 


I am having difficulties accessing my student record, what do I do? 

Please contact who will be able to support you with this. 

I have no access to my student record as I am a student debtor and would like to submit an exceptional circumstances request.

Please contact us at

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