This page contains information about ECs for the 22/23 academic year, starting 19th September 2022. For information the changes to the EC regulations click here
During May/June exams, our team will be providing additional support to students with EC queries:
- Online Quick Query appointments: Every day from 10am – 12pm, from 15th May. Book for a 15 minute appointment here. You can only book 7 days in advance and are for students who need same or next day advice. You are likely to get a quicker response by emailing us.
- Emailing us: Email email@example.com with as much detail as possible and we will always get back to you within 2 working days, but normally can provide advice the same day you email.
- Drop ins in the MySurrey Hive: Come and chat to us in person! We are running drop-ins every Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm – 3pm, from 16th May onwards
Need help now? Have a look at our videos on the main EC page, which will tell you more about what is an EC, what counts as evidence, how to submit an EC and, what the difference is between a self-certified EC and an EC with evidence.
What are self-certified Extenuating Circumstances (ECs)?
An application for self-certified ECs does not require you to provide evidence to support your application for your ECs to be accepted, but you will still need to provide a reason and add a statement of your circumstances and how you have been impacted. Similar to reporting in sick to work, the University allows you to self-certify that you require extenuating circumstances for up to 5 University working days* without evidence, so long as you have grounds to do so. If you require more than 5 University working days, you will need to provide evidence for your ECs.
You will either be offered an extension of 5 University working days, or a deferral (see ‘outcomes’ below).
*University working days do not include weekends, bank holiday’s or University closure dates over winter and spring vacations.
Important Change to self-certified ECs for the 22/23 academic year:Students no longer have three self-certs in one year.
Instead, students have one per semester:
- One self-cert in Semester 1
- One self-cert in Semester 2
- One self-cert in the LSA (Late Summer Assessment Period in August)
All other ECs will need to be evidenced.
What can you self-certify?
Students that are eligible to self-certify their ECs will need to meet these criteria:
- Have not yet used their self-certified EC for that semester (students get 1x EC in Semester one, 1x EC in Semester two and, 1x EC in the Late summer)
- Experiencing valid Extenuating Circumstances impacting your academic ability (see below)
- Unable to obtain evidence for those valid ECs to support a standard EC application
- For coursework: requiring ECs for a maximum 7 calendar day extension
- For exams: requiring a deferral of selected exams within a 7 calendar day period
- Unable to obtain evidence to support an application for ECs
- Applying for ECs before a deadline or the start of an assessment. (Any coursework submitted before the coursework deadline will be voided if subsequent EC request is accepted)
Important change to self-certs for the 22/23 academic year: All Self-certified ECs will now be approved by the University within 5 working days
It is important to note that even though you do not need evidence, University still reserves the right to reject an application for ECs that is self-certified if you do not meet the criteria above, or if you do not have valid grounds to request ECs. It is a serious disciplinary offence to misuse this process and mislead the University and could result in major disciplinary penalties.
When should self-certification be used?
Self-certified ECs should only be used for short-term circumstances affecting your academic performance when you’re unable to provide evidence for a standard Extenuating Circumstances application. If you can provide evidence, then standard ECs would be best for you to apply for. Self-certifying should ideally be a last resort – only to be used if you have valid ECs that you cannot evidence.
Remember, you only have one self-cert per semester this year, so you must be sure you need it at that time.
To outline the two types of ECs, read below:
|Evidenced Extenuating Circumstances||Self-Certified Extenuating Circumstances|
|1 application can be used to cover any/all chosen assessment(s) within evidenced time period||1 application can be used to cover any/all chosen assessment(s) within a 5 University working day period|
|For all types of coursework: the outcome will be a 10 University working day extension on your coursework||For all types of coursework: the outcome will be a 5 University working day extension on your coursework|
|For exams: deferral of exam to next suitable assessment period||For exams: deferral of exam to next suitable assessment period|
|Applicable for any unit of assessment e.g. exam, coursework, class-test, group project, presentation, performance||Applicable for any unit of assessment e.g. exam, coursework, class-test, group project, presentation, performance|
|Requires valid evidence||Doesn’t require evidence|
|Requires a supporting statement outlining valid grounds for ECs and desired outcome||Requires a supporting statement outlining valid grounds for ECs and desired outcome|
|Expected to submit before exam/deadline where possible, but may be submitted up to 5 University working days after exam/deadline||Only valid when completed before a deadline or before the start of an exam (therefore an application made at 11.01am for an 11am exam will not be accepted and will require evidence)|
|Unlimited evidenced applications (though continued applications which demonstrate a need for additional support may be referred to Support to Study)||Limited to one self-cert in semester 1, one self-cert in Semester 2, one self-cert in the LSA (Late Summer Assessment period)|
|Apply online through Surrey Self-Serve by selecting “I have provided evidence” or “I will upload evidence later” in the evidence section of the application||Apply online through Surrey Self-Serve by selecting “I am eligible to self-certify” in the evidence section of the application|
|Can be used in the August Late Summer Assessment Period (though deferring in August will interrupt your course flow, so it is strongly advised that you seek advice before applying for ECs in August)||One self-cert be used in the August Late Summer Assessment Period (though deferring in August will interrupt your course flow, so it is strongly advised that you seek advice before applying for ECs in August)|
Extenuating Circumstances are not a replacement for getting the support you need to study at University. If you think you are experiencing recurring circumstances that are impacting your study, please speak to your Personal Tutor as soon as possible, or visit your Faculty Hive.
What are valid grounds for ECs?
There are several valid “grounds” for applying for extenuating circumstances, and unless you are self-certifying your application, you must demonstrate, with evidence, how the grounds have affected you and your ability to do your work to the best of your ability. The grounds considered by the University include:
- Bereavement through the death of a close relative or significant other
- For yourself, or someone within your care (child, parent, partner etc), who experiences:
- Short term illness
- Long-term chronic health problem, or other disability as defined by the Equality Act (2010) suddenly worsening
- Flare-up of a chronic health problem, or other disability as defined by the Equality Act (2010)
- Late diagnosis of additional learning requirements
- For part time and distance learning students, an increase in workload beyond your control
- Other exceptional circumstances
Technical difficulties are sometimes considered by the University as a valid ground, but you must ensure that you are following the right steps to get your EC – have a look at the information below for help with technical difficulties.
Unless you are applying for self-certified Extenuating Circumstances, you will need evidence to prove the nature of your ECs. The exception to this is a flare-up of a chronic health problem where you only need to provide evidence once explaining the nature of your flare-ups.
outcomes of an Extenuating circumstance
There are several different outcomes when applying for an EC, depending on the type of EC you are applying under, and what the assessment is.
For exams: The exam will automatically defer to the next assessment period, which is normally the late summer assessment period in August. If you are unsure when your next assessment period is, then we would suggest talking to your module leader/personal tutor.
- If you are self-certifying then you will be given a 5 university working day* extension only from the original deadline.
- If you are submitting a normal EC with evidence, then you will be given a 10 university working day* extension only. Anything over 10 University working days will be deferred to the next assessment period, which is normally the late summer assessment period in August.
The University will only consider longer than 10 University working days for coursework for students who have significant evidence and where it would lead to substantial unfairness. Deferring to the LSA is not considered substantial unfairness.
*University working days do not include weekends, bank holidays or University holiday closure dates
For group work: If you need to EC group work then you may be removed from the group project and you are likely to be given an individual assessment or coursework to submit at a later date. Sometimes this may mean completing the group work project on your own, or submitting a different assessment. You should check with your module leader what the alternative assessment may be and when it will be submitted – some might be deferred to the next available assessment period (usually August)
For dissertations/final projects: As these are individual projects, ECs are likely to extend the deadline. Normally this will be in line with coursework deadlines, as mentioned above. With the right evidence, you can have more than a 3 week extension on dissertations and final projects if you need it – up to a year or more in some cases.
For other assessments: We would suggest talking to your module leader if you are unsure on the outcome.
If you have to leave an in-person exam due to extenuating circumstances, you need to complete the ‘unfit to continue’ form in the exam and then have 5 University working days to apply for extenuating circumstances. If this is an online exam, then you should email your faculty assessments team, and your module leader to let them know.
Submitting an EC: What do I need to do?
Read the University’s
Regulations for Extenuating Circumstances. In here you will find a list of what is considered to be extenuating circumstances and what evidence the University will accept.
These can be found on the web-site of the Office of Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulations (OSCAR) – https://www.surrey.ac.uk/office-student-complaints-appeals-and-regulation
Write your statement – make sure you clearly explain what your circumstances are, how they are impacting your ability to study and the outcome you are seeking.
If your application is AFTER the deadline or event, you will need to explain why you were not able to apply beforehand or at the time.
If possible, gather your evidence. The burden of proof is on you as the student applying so it is vital that you have evidence to support your case. e.g. doctor’s letter, death certificate, counsellor’s letter, police report. You will need this in electronic format e.g. a photo or a scanned copy as you will need to upload this with your EC application
Submit the online form. This can be accessed via student self-service. A video explaining the form can be found on the OSCAR website.
Waiting for an outcome?
For some evidenced ECs you might not hear about your EC application before your deadline. If this is the case with you then please try not to worry, we would advise you to do the following:
For coursework: We would advise that you submit what you have already by your current deadline. If your EC is later accepted, then your submission attempt will be voided and you will be given a new deadline (so we would suggest you continue to work on your coursework) or your assessment will move to August.
For exams: We would suggest that you email your lecturer/module lead and assessment team (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org) and let them know that you do not plan on sitting the exam. This essentially tells the University that you are “not fit to sit” the exam and this will support your EC. If you are worried you don’t have valid grounds for an EC, then you can attempt your exam. If your EC is later accepted then your attempt will be voided and your exam will be deferred.
If your EC application is rejected following the event or deadline then please contact us and we can discuss your case in more detail. You can always apply for another EC – up until the board of examiners meet. Additionally, the appeals process is there to support you later down the line.
Frequently asked Questions
what happens if i no longer want my EC?
If you decide that you no longer want your EC, and you believe you can complete your assessment, then you can ask the University to remove your EC however, it would depend on when your exam or assessment takes place:
- Accepted self-certified ECs: can be revoked up until the deadline or start time of an assessment. Once the assessment has started or deadline passed, you can no longer withdraw your request for an EC
- Accepted evidenced ECs: can be revoked up until the deadline or start time of an assessment. Once the assessment has started or deadline passed, you can no longer withdraw your request for an EC
- Pending evidenced ECs (where you dont yet have the outcome): Can be revoked after an exam, assessment or deadline if the EC has not yet been accepted. However, students will need to provide good reasons why they were unable to revoke their EC before the start time or deadline.
If you revoke a self-certified EC and it no longer is used for any assessments, then you will get your self-certified EC back, to use again in the same semester.
Need more help or advice? Can’t find the answer to your question?