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Deferral & extensions

The University recognises that sometimes students are unable to meet assessment deadlines due to unforeseen circumstances, or have significant personal or medical issues.

The university offers several options for students in such situations, which are outlined in this section. Decisions on students’ options should be taken in discussion with the relevant academic staff or personal tutors, and requests for deferrals or extensions will usually require supporting evidence.

Where do I go for more information?

General regulations and procedures affecting students: dmu.ac.uk/student-regulations.

glossary is available should you need an explanation of the terminology used within this document.

Need help? 

For advice and guidance about extensions or deferrals, please contact your module or programme leader, Student Advice Centre, personal tutor, or Associate Dean (Academic) or nominee. 

Some programmes may have different requirements from those outlined in this section. 

Information covered in this section: 

Deferral of assessments

The deferral of assessments is for addressing sudden and unexpected extenuating circumstances that may affect a student’s ability to undertake assessments. Before applying for a deferral of assessment, students should seek advice from their Faculty’s Student Advice Centre Associate Dean (Academic) or Personal Tutor. 

Deferring removed text assessments may impact on your academic progression, so it is important for you to discuss your situation with your personal tutor prior to submitting any deferral requests. 

Students with prolonged chronic illnesses or disabilities should contact the Disability Support and Advice team in Student and Academic Services or their personal tutor for personalised advice, which might include individual arrangements in examinations. Please note, the deferral of assessments is not an appropriate nor standard measure in respect of permanent or long-term conditions.

Detailed information can be found in Chapter 5 of the General Regulations and Procedures Affecting Students

What are extenuating circumstances?

The regulations define extenuating circumstances as 'genuine circumstances beyond a student's control, or ability to foresee, and which seriously impair his or her assessed work', for example:

  • Acute illness or injury that is serious and debilitating and occurs at the time of the assessments concerned 
  • Flare-up of chronic conditions, examples of such conditions may include asthma, allergies, depression or migraines
  • The death of a member of your immediate family or a very close friend 
  • Being a victim of a serious crime

It does not include circumstances that:

  • Arise from minor accidents or injuries, ailments (e.g. a cold) or conditions that you should normally be able to control (e.g. hay fever, headaches)
  • Are symptoms relating to normal exam stress and anxiety. You should develop strategies to cope with this. Guidance and leaflets are available from Student and Academic Services
  • Are not related to the time of the assessment
  • Arise from your failure to manage your time effectively
  • Arise from your own negligence or carelessness (e.g. not getting up on time, going to the wrong room)
  • Arise as a result of bad planning (e.g. booking a holiday or making travel arrangements). It is your responsibility to ensure you arrive at the examination room before the start of the examination

Will I be able to get a deferral for coursework or exams because of DMU Global?

No – undertaking a DMU Global experience cannot be cited as a reason for requesting deferrals. We recommend that you check your course and exam schedules before accepting your place on a DMU Global trip.

Coursework deadlines

If you are unable to submit coursework by a particular deadline because of extenuating circumstances you should contact the relevant module leader before the deadline date to request an extension.

Module leaders may be able to grant a short extension of up to 14 days or they can, if appropriate or practical, make alternative arrangements for the assessment. Remember it may not always be possible to make alternative arrangements.

Students may request an extension to an assessment deadline using the extension to coursework application form. The request should be made to the module leader in advance of the deadline. Guidance on granting extensions and supporting evidence can be found in Appendix 3 of the Academic Regulations 2020/21.

If a deadline extension is approved the module leader will sign the completed extension form and confirm the revised deadline date. The student should submit this form with their assessment. 

If your circumstances are such that an extension of 14 days would not be sufficient, or if you feel that, despite being granted an extension of up to 14 days, your performance in a piece of coursework has been seriously impaired, The Associate Dean (Academic) or nominee may exceptionally approve longer extensions.  If this is not sufficient for your circumstances you may apply formally to your faculty panel for a deferral of assessment of coursework. You will have to fill in the coursework deferral form below and supply supporting evidence, forms should be submitted to your faculty office.

Remote examinations

If you are prevented by extenuating circumstances from attending a formal examination or you feel that your performance would be (or has been) seriously impaired by extenuating circumstances, you may submit a deferral request for the affected examination(s) as follows:

The request must be made on the form below. The form asks you to describe the extenuating circumstances and how they have or would impair your examination performance. You must include all relevant information and you must complete the form as close as possible to the timing of the circumstances you describe. 

Supporting evidence should be attached (please see section below on supporting evidence)

Completed forms must be submitted to your Faculty Student Advice Centre.

Deferral Request Form 

Please download the and complete the deferral form. This can then be submitted to the Student Advice Centre by email.

Arts, Design and Humanities: adhadvice@dmu.ac.uk
Business and Law: baldeferralrequest@dmu.ac.uk
Computing, Engineering and Media: cemadvicecentre@dmu.ac.uk
Health and Life Sciences: hls.advice.centre@dmu.ac.uk

Please ensure that you keep a copy of the form for your reference.

What will happen if the panel accepts my deferral request? 

The only course of action open to the panel if it accepts your case is to grant deferral of the affected assessment.

Examination and coursework deferrals are time-limited. You will be required to take the deferral at the next opportunity offered by the university, please contact your Faculty Student Advice Centre for further details. If you do not do this, the deferral will be withdrawn and you will be failed in the deferred assessment with a mark of zero.

If you have already taken the examination or submitted work for assessment it will not be marked. If a mark or grade has been awarded it will be declared void. 

The mark/grade awarded when you retake the assessment is the only one that will be entered on your record.

Once you have applied for a deferral and it has been accepted there is no going back, you cannot at a later date retract your request.

What will happen if the panel rejects my deferral request? 

The decision of the Panel shall be final, except that a student has the right of appeal on the following grounds only:

  • That there is new and relevant evidence which the student was demonstrably and for the most exceptional reason unable to provide in the first instance.
  • That the Panel did not comply with its own procedures as set out above. 

Any student wishing to appeal must do so in writing, stating clearly the specific grounds on which the appeal is based, to the Student Appeals and Conduct Officer within 10 working days of the Panel decision.

On receipt of such an appeal the Student Appeals and Conduct Officer will:

  • In relation to coursework; convene the Academic Board Panel who will consider the case.
  • In relation to an examination; consult with the Executive Director of Student and Academic Services who will consider the case.

This decision shall be final and not subject to review by any other University Body.

Coursework Extension Decisions 

The decision of the Module Leader (or nominee) is final and not subject to review by any other University Body.

Supporting evidence

The request form (whether for coursework or examination deferral) should be accompanied by supporting evidence, normally from an independent third party. It is your responsibility to provide all the required documentary evidence; the University will not make enquiries on your behalf. You are advised to keep a copy of any evidence you submit.

Retrospective medical certificates or doctors' notes will normally only be accepted if you consulted the doctor at the time of the illness. They should be from your own doctor and contain a clear medical opinion that you were unfit to attend the examination on the day. A note stating only that you claim to have been unwell or that you told your doctor you were unwell at the time of your examination will normally be disregarded. 

If it is impossible to include third party evidence when handing in your form requesting deferral of examinations, forms must be submitted before the deadline date with a note to say that supporting evidence will follow. The evidence must be submitted before the examination and/or assessment results are published, evidence submitted after the release of examination results will not be accepted as the deferral process will be closed.

Examples of other third party evidence that might be acceptable are:

  • A letter from a doctor concerning bereavement
  • A police report and crime reference number as evidence of theft, break-in or other serious crime
  • A letter from a counsellor whom you have been seeing

You may also wish to attach a letter of support from your personal tutor or mentor if they know your circumstances well.

Student Self-certification 

The University recognises that it is not always possible or appropriate to seek an appointment, or consult with your GP for short-term illnesses.  In such circumstances, self-certification is appropriate.  Note you may only self-certify once for examination deferrals and once for coursework deferrals in any registration period (normally 3 years). 

Self-certification should only be used where you have missed, or will imminently miss an examination, coursework or an assignment deadline due to an unforeseen short-term illness. The onus is on you to formally declare the reason for being absent from your examination or for not submitting your assignment. No additional evidence needs to be submitted, provided that the deferral request or extension request is correctly completed and submitted by the applicable deadline.  It is important that you provide as much detail as possible, to allow a decision to be made.

By submitting an application for a deferral/extension on the basis of self-certification, you will be declaring that the information provided is true and complete. Students who submit fabricated or falsified information to the University will be subject to investigation under the Disciplinary Procedures found in the General Regulations.

What can I self-certify for? 

Self-certification is not for everything, and should only be used in cases of short-term illness for which you are unable, or it is not appropriate, to seek medical attention. Examples* of short-term illnesses for which it would be acceptable to use the self-certification option are:

  • Migraine
  • Noro-virus
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Acute period pain
  • Flu
  • Food poisoning
  • Diarrhoea
  • Acute or sudden flare up of a long term condition

*This list is not exhaustive.

Self-certification should only be used where absolutely necessary, and the University expects you to manage minor ailments yourself e.g. coughs or colds.

What is not appropriate for self-certifying? 

You should not use the self-certification option for an illness which lasts longer than 7 days. Neither should you use the self-certification option for an illness for which it would be reasonable to seek medical attention. In such circumstances, medical certification must be obtained, to support any application for a deferral request. 

As self-certification is an option for deferral/extension requests, you should not normally self-certify for any of the reasons outlined below:

  • Temporary self-induced medical conditions e.g. hangover, drug taking (except prescribed medication)
  • Minor ailments e.g. coughs, colds, sprains, minor fractures (unless in the writing hand/arm)
  • Long-term life circumstances such as a disability or a chronic or on-going medical condition (where you have registered with Disability Services). 

Please complete the self-certification form found here and provide details of your absence.

  • Remember to include weekends and days on which you were not timetabled to attend in the dates of absence
  • Reason for absence
  • Try to give as many details as possible
  • Words like "unwell" or "illness" are not acceptable 

Remember:

Confidential evidence

It is normally in your own interests for your extenuating circumstances to be discussed by the full panel; however, if your supporting evidence is of an exceptionally sensitive or personal nature it can, at your request, be seen only by the chair of the panel. To do this you must place the evidence in a sealed envelope marked 'confidential: from (your name)' and addressed to the chair of the panel. You must then attach the envelope to the form.

Only the chair of the panel will read confidential evidence. He or she will inform the panel that confidential evidence has been submitted and will give an opinion on its seriousness and relevance.

Extension Deadlines 

Requests should be made on the coursework extensions request form in as timely a manner as possible. Requests received later than 24 hours before the date and time that the work is due to be submitted will not be considered.

Deferral deadlines

For information on deadlines for requests for deferrals for coursework, you should contact your faculty office.

The Academic Board panel that considers requests for deferral of examinations meets three times per session. The deadlines for the receipt of deferral forms by the Student Advice Centre are detailed below. These deadlines will be rigorously enforced; forms will not be accepted after these dates.

There is no such thing as a 'retrospective deferral'. Deferral requests must be submitted no later than 14 calendar days’ from the date of the assessment or examination.

End of session examinations (May)

All requests must be received by 28th May 2021.

Other examinations

For postgraduate examinations and undergraduate examinations that fall outside the main examination periods (May/August), the deadline for requests will be 14 calendar days from the date of the exam concerned. Please contact your Student Advice Centre if you need further information.

Remember, extenuating circumstances do not in themselves excuse poor performance.

If your request for a deferral in formal examinations is granted, you will have to sit the examination again the next time it is scheduled.

There is no provision to adjust marks; you can only apply to have the assessment deferred.

Late applications will not be considered. Deadlines will be strictly enforced.

In assessing the significance of extenuating circumstances the panel will take into account:

  • The severity of the problem
  • The length of time it has lasted
  • The supporting evidence (remember to include it)
  • The closeness in time of the circumstances to the relevant assessment
  • Whether all assessments might have been equally affected

Student support

The university has a wealth of support services available to students; further information can be obtained from Student Gateway, Faculty Student  Advice Centres, Library and Learning Services and, most importantly, your personal tutor. If you are struggling with your assessments and/or deadlines please do seek help as soon as possible so that appropriate support and guidance can be identified and put in place for you. More information can be found on the Healthy DMU pages.

The DSU Advice team are available to offer advice and support to all students.

Contact details

For further advice on the deferral process email acasupportoffice@dmu.ac.uk

For further information on extensions please contact your faculty Student Advice Centre.

Form links

Deferral form for assessments and remote examinations
Coursework extension form
Student self-certification form