Extensions and Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating circumstances

are circumstances beyond a student’s control, which affect his/her ability to attend classes, study or complete assessments by the set deadlines. Students must inform the Institute’s Administration Office (students@mihe.ac.uk) as soon as they are faced with any such circumstances. These circumstances:

  • Must be out of the student’s control – the student could not have prevented them.
  • Must have had an impact – they must have had a demonstrably negative impact on the student’s ability to study or to undertake an assessment.

Extenuating circumstances which may result in late submissions or where the student feel their work may be of a lower quality due to their health must be reported to the Administration Office prior to the submission date. If a student is ill, he/she may request an extension on his/her coursework.  Although most Extenuating Circumstances involve the student directly (illness or injury), serious illness of a close relative may also be taken into account. All extenuating circumstances, however, must be supported by evidence e.g. medical evidence in the case of illness.

How to Apply for Extenuating Circumstances

Apply by filling in the form (Extenuating Circumstances form available on Moodle under ‘Further Information for Students). Apply on or before the date the coursework assessment is due / examination is scheduled.

Attach the independent evidence which supports the claim, and submit this to the administration at students@mihe.ac.uk

If an extension on examination is agreed, attend the examination the next available time.  This will normally be in the re-assessment examination period.

A request for an extension and/or evidence does not, in itself, guarantee that approval will be given.  If approval is given, the Board of Examiners will make a record of it. If students require further advice on this, they can contact the Office or their Course Leader. Students should check that their circumstances meet the criteria specified in the detailed definition. 

If the extenuating circumstances are of a long-term or complex nature, which will affect a student’s ability to study for a period longer than three weeks, the administration staff will normally ask the concerned student to consult with the Head of Academic Operations.  The Head of Academic Operations will advise Course Leaders (or other staff who can offer support) of your circumstances and, with them, work out the best course of action.  They will co-ordinate the support you need and review your case at intervals, to ensure you are making reasonable progress. It may be recommended in exceptional cases, that you suspend your studies.

The processes for supporting students with extenuating circumstances are not the same as the procedures for disabled students. The procedures for disability also apply to students with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia. A disabled student may have (for instance) an automatic extension on written coursework to take into account their disability upon receiving their form well in advance of the assessment dates; however, they could request a further extension as a result of (for instance) an illness which is unrelated to their disability. However, a student cannot claim an extenuating circumstances extension on the grounds of their disability.  If their disability warrants an automatic extension, this must be arranged via the procedures for disabled students.

The following points are important to note: 

  • Throughout the semester, students will be required to demonstrate their engagement with the coursework which will be taken into consideration by the members of extenuating circumstances panel when making a decision. Those students who, for instance, did not show satisfactory level of engagement with their written coursework during the semester and apply for mitigation before or on the day of deadline, their application for extension may be rejected. The decision will be made at the discretion of the panel.


  • In view of the above point, students who have an emergency situation and cannot meet the assessment deadlines ( for course work only) might be asked to submit their draft work to make sure they have made sufficient progress and that they could not complete due to the emergency situation. As a guideline, the Institute might ask students to submit the following percentage of completed work with their emergency extenuating circumstance application:

3 days prior to assessment deadline (70% of completed work)

2 days prior to assessment deadline (80% of completed work)

1 day prior to assessment deadline (90% of completed work)

The above only applies to course work and not for examinations, class presentations or time-constrained assignments.

Under no circumstances should a student approach individual admin, staff or module tutors/course leaders for extensions to deadlines.

Criteria for Extenuating Circumstances

Factors which affect a student’s ability to complete an assessment to the normal schedule may be defined as Extenuating Circumstances. What does and does not constitute ‘Extenuating Circumstances can be found below:

What does not constitute Extenuating Circumstances (see below)

  • Holidays
  • Accommodation disturbances
  • Misreading the assessment deadline / examination timetable
  • Paid employment or voluntary work
  • Exam stress: Feeling ‘below par’, stressed and anxious leading up to and during an assessment(s) is a common experience of many students. It is not considered to be an acceptable extenuating circumstance unless a medical diagnosis of illness has been made.
  • IT and/or computer failure, or withdrawal of IT facilities or suspension for reason of debt: Loss or corruption of files is not an acceptable extenuating circumstance. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all work which is electronically stored, generated and/or submitted is sufficiently backed up.
  • Criminal conviction: If a student is convicted of a criminal offence any disruption caused by the investigation or sentence is not an acceptable extenuating circumstance.
  • Unforeseen and unavoidable work pressures sufficiently serious so as to interfere significantly with the ability to meet an assessment deadline or physically preventing you from sitting an examination.

Any difficulties which might have been predicted, such as the strain of a long commute, or the tiredness resulting from the combination of a job or raising a family with a course of study, do not constitute extenuating circumstances.  There are a few exceptions in relation to foreseen absence during examinations.

Failure of computer equipment, computer breakdown, no back up of work and printer failure or similar reasons will not constitute legitimate grounds for late submission of the course work. The following are additional examples of unacceptable circumstances for the Institute to give extensions to assessment deadlines. These examples are given for general guidance and are not exhaustive, definitive or prescriptive.  All cases will be considered on an individual basis.

Transport issues: However, transport difficulties of an unpredictable and uncontrollable nature, where alternative arrangements could not be made within reasonable time and where independent evidence (such as accident report) can be provided.  Only applies to examinations, presentations or time-constrained assignments.


What does constitute Extenuating Circumstances (see below)

  • Hospitalisation
  • Family illness: A medical certificate/letter from an independent medical professional confirming the nature and severity of the family circumstances and the likely impact it is having on the student’s ability to undertake formal assessment and/or study.
  • Bereavement: A death certificate or a letter confirming the death from an independent person (usually not a family member) with their contact details provided and including a view on the closeness of the relationship.
  • Domestic disruption: Where significant and unforeseen domestic disruption has occurred very close to a timetabled examination a letter from an appropriate independent individual/authority detailing the relevant circumstances and an indication of the likely impact with their contact details provided. This applies only in relation to examinations unless the circumstances are exceptionally severe and extended. Disturbances caused by housemates would generally be considered to be normal and therefore not acceptable as an extenuating circumstance.
  • Jury Service (UK)
  • Court Attendance (UK): Where a student is required to attend a tribunal or court as a witness, defendant or plaintiff the student should provide official correspondence from the tribunal/court confirming attendance or a solicitor’s letter detailing the nature and dates of the legal proceedings and the requirement for the student to attend.
  • Other: The list of circumstances cannot be exhaustive and it is possible that other circumstances will arise that should be considered as acceptable.

What to remember.  The examples of circumstances above are likely to be acceptable as they fall under ‘unavoidable’. These examples are given for general guidance and are not exhaustive, definitive or prescriptive.  All cases will be considered on an individual basis.

They are evidenced. A claim of extenuating circumstances can only be accepted if independent evidence is submitted.  This must be one of the following, and must include contact details for verification:

  • Medical certificate
  • Police report or similar professional report
  • Letter from third party confirming death of a relative, or death certificate
  • Other—if the student cannot provide the above, they must have agreement on alternative form of evidence from the Office.

The form is submitted on or before the coursework deadline / date of the examination and the evidence is provided on that date or as soon as possible thereafter; evidence presented after the end of the relevant semester will not usually be accepted.

Claims which do not meet all the above criteria will not be accepted.