Extenuating circumstances


While you study with Sheffield Hallam University you may experience some of the difficulties of life that affect most people, such as ill health or personal issues.  Normally, you will be able to overcome these without any impact on your studies.  Occasionally, you might experience circumstances that impact on your ability to complete your assessments on time because they occur suddenly, unexpectedly and are severe in nature. In these cases, you can explain your extenuating circumstances to us and if they meet our definition, we can support you in your studies.  For further information see coping with difficult circumstances.

Definition of extenuating circumstances

Extenuating circumstances are life circumstances that are impacting on your performance in assessment in a way you could not reasonably have anticipated at the beginning of an academic year because:

  1. Something has occurred, or been diagnosed, suddenly and unexpectedly during the academic year, or;
  2. Pre-existing difficult and complex life circumstances have intensified during the academic year.

Please see the Extenuating Circumstances Policy & Procedures for further information.

The following list indicates the type of situations which do not meet our definition of extenuating circumstances because we believe they can be avoided or that you can act to limit the impact. The list is not exhaustive.


  • long-standing medical conditions (as these should be covered by a Learning Contract);
  • planned health appointments;
  • minor ailments such as a cold.


  • the break-up of a short-term relationship;
  • financial difficulties;
  • attending or taking part in sporting events;
  • holidays or travel;
  • moving house;
  • normal domestic issues;
  • work commitments for fulltime students reducing time available for study and coursework;
  • voluntary work;
  • weddings.

Study related;

  • completing coursework too late and missing deadlines;
  • losing coursework;
  • not following the examination timetable;
  • refusal to return for assessments scheduled for the July reassessment period;
  • transport difficulties which could have reasonably been avoided;
  • withdrawal of IT facilities as a result of being in debt to the University;
  • circumstances that affect another individual in relation to group work;
  • English being a second language.

Request to Extend a Submission Deadline (RESD)

Requests to Extend a Submission Deadline are used when unexpected and unanticipated difficulties adversely impact on your studies and your ability to complete assessments. Guidance can be found in points 11-18 of the Extenuating Circumstances Policy & Procedures. Please refer to the How to submit a Request to Extend a Submission Deadline guidance on how to submit a request.

Request to Repeat an Assessment Attempt Process (RRAA)

If you are experiencing difficulties which are having a significant impact on your ability to complete your assessments you may want to consider submitting a request to repeat an assessment attempt (RRAA).  You are strongly recommended to speak with Student Support Services prior to submitting your request. Clear guidelines on ‘requesting to repeat an attempt at an assessment task’ can be found in points 21-36 of the Extenuating Circumstances Policy & Procedures.  Please refer to the How can I request to repeat an assessment attempt (RRAA)? (guidance) guidance along with the following video guidance;

Guidance on how to request to repeat an assessment attempt

Guidance on how to request to amend a request to repeat an assessment attempt

Extending deadlines / resitting exams for disability-related reasons

Extending deadlines for disability-related reasons

If your learning contract allows you to request extended coursework deadlines, you must contact Student Support Services as soon as you are sure that you will not be able to submit your work before the original deadline date, and with at least 24 hour’s notice. For further advice visit negotiating extended coursework deadlines for disability-related reasons.

Resitting exams for disability-related reasons

Please note that these guidelines only apply if you have a learning contract that allows for another exam sit for disability-related reasons. Check your learning contract. For further advice visit requesting another exam sit for disability-related reasons.