Extenuating circumstances

If a serious event in your life has affected your work, it could be taken into account in your assessments.

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As a student, you are expected to stick to your assessment schedule.

Sometimes, however, circumstances beyond your control can affect your ability to submit work, attend an exam or affect your performance in an assessment.

When this happens, you can follow our Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedure (PDF).

What Goldsmiths consider extenuating circumstances

Extenuating circumstances are normally short term, unforeseen and unpreventable events that significantly impact on your ability to study.

Types of extenuating circumstances include serious medical conditions, trauma, bereavement, court attendance and caring responsibilities.

In light of the evolving situation concerning Covid-19, Goldsmiths’ have introduced immediate changes to its existing categories for extenuating circumstances. With effect from 10 March and for the remainder of the academic year (2019/20) the following are considered as acceptable categories:

  • Caring Responsibilities – additional caring responsibilities for children and/or other dependants
  • Key Workers – students who fall under the ‘key worker’ category outlined by the government and are required to work additional hours
  • IT Failure/Unreliability – as teaching and assessment has moved to online platforms, the reliability of IT has become critical. Students should ensure they contact their department if they have ongoing IT and accessibility issues so that these might be resolved in advance.  Students who experience IT failure or unreliability that might impact their ability to submit assessments can submit an EC request on this basis

Students need to provide self-certification for any category and do so by including a statement within their application confirming their details and how this has impacted their assessment(s). No further evidence is required when submitting an EC request for the remainder of the current academic year (2019-20).

See the categories of acceptable and unacceptable Extenuating Circumstances and evidence.

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and self-isolation

In light of Covid-19, Goldsmiths' aim is to support students as best as it can to ensure they’re able to complete their studies and feel safe.

Academic Board have agreed a number of amendments to policy which will continue for the remainder of this academic year (2019/20). Changes to the current acceptable categories of extenuating circumstances are detailed above. The following has also been approved:


Students who have been advised to self-isolate by the NHS and are therefore unable to submit assessments can self-certify. Use the following statement in your application “I have been advised by the NHS to self-isolate. This advice was issued on the (enter date) and the period of self-isolation ends on (enter date)”.


Where a student is unable to provide independent evidence to substantiate their extenuating circumstances due to Covid-19, e.g. unable to get medical evidence from their GP, students can self-certify. Students must provide a statement within their application confirming their details and how this has impacted their assessment(s).

More information on Covid-19 in relation to Goldsmiths.

What the outcomes might be

By having an accepted application for extenuating circumstances, your department can provide you with different routes of support.

Options your department may choose to apply are:

  • Adjusted Deadline – a minimum extension of 15 days should be applied wherever possible, students who are able can submit earlier than the extended deadline. It is important to note that departments will make the decision on the most appropriate outcome for students
  • Deferral of assessment to the next available opportunity: eg deferred assessment to late summer or the following academic year
  • Assessment performance consideration: where a student has passed, and it is not appropriate for the assessment to be retaken, the Board of Examiners can review the mark in line with the student's profile and consider if an uplift is appropriate. Where the mark recorded is a fail, the Board of Examiners can offer a further attempt without penalty (unless the assessment has been failed previously and is therefore already penalised)

The department will advise you which is most appropriate in your circumstances.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible and, unless there are exceptional reasons, no later than seven days after the assessment deadline or date of examination.

Go to My Goldsmiths to apply

Select 'Request Extenuating Circumstances' from the menu on the right.


Applications for extenuating circumstances won’t normally be considered without supporting independent documentary evidence.

See the types of evidence required.

Relevant documents should normally be submitted at the same time but no later than 7 days after submission of the form.

Evidence must be provided in English and you have the responsibility to provide a translation of any non-English documentation.


Your application will be considered by your home department. They will provide a timeframe for considering your application.

Where necessary, your home department will liaise with the module teaching department to ensure the appropriate outcome is arranged.

Your department will establish whether your application meets the criteria and make a decision which they will communicate to you. These decisions are ratified by the Board of Examiners.


Your home department will inform you of the outcome and what steps you can take next.

If you are not satisfied you can talk to your department who can explain the decision. Once the mark for your assessment is ratified by the Board of Examiners, you can appeal the decision.