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Section 20: Extenuating Circumstances and Reasonable Adjustments

20.Extenuating Circumstances and Reasonable Adjustments

20.1.Reasonable adjustments

Information about Reasonable Adjustments for teaching and assessment (Centrally Provided.)

UCL will make Reasonable Adjustments to learning, teaching and assessment to ensure that students with a disability are not put at a disadvantage. UCL also provides Reasonable Adjustments for students who might not consider themselves to have a ‘disability’ but who nevertheless would benefit from additional support due to an ongoing medical or mental health condition. It is the responsibility of the student to request Reasonable Adjustments, and students are encouraged to make a request as early as possible.

Further information:


20.2.Special examination arrangements

Information on Special Examination Arrangements (SEAs) (Centrally Provided.)

20.2.1.About special examination arrangements

Special Examination Arrangements (SEAs) are adjustments to central or departmental written examinations which can be made as a Reasonable Adjustment for students with a disability or longer-term condition or as a form of mitigation for students with shorter-term medical Extenuating Circumstances. This may include, but is not limited to extra time, a separate room, rest breaks and specialist equipment. Students must make an application to use the special examination facilities.

Further information:


20.2.2.Applying for special examination arrangements

Students can make applications for Special Examination Arrangements from the start of the academic year. These should be submitted, with appropriate supporting evidence, to Student Disability Services as soon as possible and, where practicable, at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the examination/ test in question.

In the event of sudden illness, applications made at least 7 days prior to the examination may be considered. If an application cannot be submitted in time, students should make an application via the Extenuating Circumstances Procedure.

Students who would like further advice about special arrangements should contact Student Disability Services (disability@ucl.ac.uk) or their Personal Tutor.

Further information:


20.3.Extenuating Circumstances

Information about when, where and how to submit a claim for Extenuating Circumstances (Centrally Provided.)

20.3.1.Illness and other Extenuating Circumstances

UCL recognises that some students can experience serious difficulties and personal problems which affect their ability to complete an assessment such as a sudden, serious illness or the death of a close relative. Students need to make sure that they notify UCL of any circumstances which are unexpected, significantly disruptive and beyond their control, and which might have a significant impact on their performance at assessment. UCL can then put in place alternative arrangements, such as an extension or a deferral of assessment to a later date. The Extenuating Circumstances Panel will determine the nature and timing of the deferral, which may be offered with or without tuition/ attendance.


20.3.2.Longer-term conditions

The Extenuating Circumstances regulations are designed to cover unexpected emergencies; they are not always the best way to help students who might have a longer-term medical or mental health condition or a disability. Although there may be times when it is necessary for such students to use the Extenuating Circumstances regulations, students should make sure they are aware of, and take advantage of, all the other support mechanisms provided by UCL such as:

Further information:


20.3.3.Support and fitness to study

Information on support to study and fitness to study policies and procedures (Centrally Provided.)

Students with physical or mental health concerns are encouraged to make contact with the available support services as early as possible so that UCL can put in place reasonable adjustments to support them throughout their studies. However there may be occasions when a student’s physical or mental health, wellbeing or behaviour is having a detrimental effect on their ability to meet the requirements of their programme, or is impacting on the wellbeing, rights, safety and security of other students and staff. In such cases UCL may need to take action under the Fitness to Study Procedure.

Further information:


20.4Key contacts for support arrangements and Extenuating Circumstances

Key contacts in the department for assistance with reasonable adjustments, special examination arrangements, fitness and support to study and Extenuating Circumstances.

The department has an experienced team who provide pastoral support can also advise students on the range of support services and facilities available to them throughout their studies, both within the department and across the university.

In the first instance, students are encouraged to approach their Personal Tutor, who can provide guidance on physical, mental and emotional welfare and can also act as a point of referral to avert crisis.

Programme Directors can also advise students on the support that is available within the department and faculty, and specifically in relation to their programme of study (i.e. where students’ needs relate to programme specific issues.) Students are welcome to contact their Programme Director in relation to academic and non-academic issues.

Departmental Equal Opportunities Liaison Officers (DEOLOs) can provide students with general information and advice, as well as specialist advice in relation to equal opportunities matters. The department has two DEOLOs:

The Secretary to the Extenuating Circumstances Panel can provide advice on the process of applying for Extenuating Circumstances, acceptable grounds for doing so, evidentiary requirements, and the timeframes involved:

If a student is unsure of the best source of support, then they should contact the Programme Administrator (based in MPEB 5.22.) Usually students would speak to the administrator for their programme, but they can seek advice from any member of the team.

Further information:


Updated: 29-09-2017