Extenuating Circumstances and Extensions.

What are Extenuating Circumstances and extensions

Extenuating Circumstances are circumstances that are outside of your control as they’re unforeseeable and unpreventable. Extenuating Circumstances (ECs)  impact your ability to carry out any assignments or exams to the standard normally expected. The university can make allowances through the ECs process when such circumstances happen. You can apply for ECs for work you’ve attempted/submitted (whether it’s an exam or assignment) and for work that you were not able to attempt/submit. 

If you have ECs at any point during the academic year and are struggling to hand in your work on time, you can apply for an extension. Extensions are there for any short-term circumstances which mean you cannot meet a deadline.  You are allowed two 2-working day and two 5-working day extensions per academic year, and you don’t need to supply evidence for these, but once you have used your allowance you cannot get further extensions.  

It’s best that you contact your department as soon as possible when you start experiencing difficulties so that they can assist you where they can, however, the application is online. You can also speak to staff from student support services or SU Advice Centre and we can let you know what steps you need to take. 

How to apply for Extensions and ecs

We have separate pages on our Academic Rights Hub that outline the process for applying for ECs and extensions:

There is also lots of information available on the Student Intranet. We would encourage you to take a look at the Extensions Policy and Extenuating Circumstances Policy, and the guidance for students if you require more information.

  • Stort-term illness (coughs, colds, sore throats etc.)
  • Computer/tech headache
  • Transport issues
  • 'Exam stress'

Should I apply for ECs or an Extension?

Extensions are there for short-term circumstances which affect your ability to meet assessment deadlines. You may also wish to apply for ECs if one or more of the following applies:

  • You are able to meet a deadline but feel that your work has been substantially affected by circumstances out of your control.  

  • If you are not able to make a deadline whether extended or not due to your circumstances 

  • You have reached the maximum number of extensions permitted per academic year but still have assessments affected by further personal circumstances  

  • Exams and coursework which is exempt from extensions are affected by your circumstances  

Where to get help

If you’re struggling to understand whether you should apply for an extension, ECs or both, we can help. Contact us to speak to an advisor about your situation and we can guide you on the best next steps. You may also wish to speak to your personal tutor, or another staff member in your department who will also be able to advise.

want to speak to an advisor?

If you've already looked through our web pages and can't find the information you're after, and would like to discuss something face-to-face, it's easy to see an Advisor.


We hold weekly drop-in sessions on Zoom during term time. Check out our Events Calendar here to find out when the next drop-in is- just use the "Advice" filter on the left hand side of the page.


Email us at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk.