Support During your Studies

If your studies or assessments are affected by unforeseen circumstances, there are options available to support you.

We know things don't always go as planned, but it can be difficult to know what to do when your ability to attend teaching, sit examinations or submit assessments is affected by challenging personal circumstances that are outside of your control. In all circumstances, it's best to forewarn your Programme Team about any potential problems that may affect your studies, by getting in touch with them or arranging a meeting. However, the following options are also available to students:

Coursework Extensions

A coursework extension is permission to hand in an assessment after the published deadline without either incurring a penalty or waiting to retake  an alternative assessment as a referred or deferred student. Students must follow the process identitied within their programme information to apply for a coursework extension and, if accepted, an extension could be granted of up to 7 calendar days. It's not always possible for extensions to be granted, so it's always best to speak directly with your Programme Team.

Exceptional Circumstances

Exceptional Circumstances can be applied for if circumstances outside of your control are impacting your ability to perform in assessments or submissions by the given deadline. An exceptional circumstances request, if approved, delays a submission until the next assessment period and is likely to require you to submit a different piece of work from the one you are working on. Exceptional circumstances requests must be submitted no more than fifteen (15) working days after the assessment submission date and at least five (5) working days before the Board of Examiners. Exceptional Circumstances submissions are made via your Student Record and full guidance is provided about the process on Ask Herts.

NOTE -?You can only submit an exceptional circumstances request if you have not already submitted your assessment or sat your exam. If you have submitted/sat your assessment, please see the guidance about the University's Fit to Sit Policy here. 

Fit to Sit Exemption

A "Fit to Sit" exemption request can support a student who was affected by challenging medical or health-related circumstances at the time of an assessment but was not able to submit exceptional circumstances or to apply for a coursework extension; or they had sat or submitted the assessment but, based upon medical opinion, were not well enough to do so. The University operates a ‘fit to sit’ policy so if you decide to sit or submit an assessment, the University will not normally accept a claim that you had Exceptional Circumstances with regard to the assessment (SeeUPR AS14Section C.3.8.4). However, the following two circumstances are considered to be exceptions to C3.8.4: 

  • (i)  where, at the time of sitting or submitting the assessment concerned, the student was not capable of understanding that their performance was likely to be affected seriously by ill health and/or its treatment and this view has the written support from a psychiatrist or mental health practitioner who has been treating the student over a period of time. A GP may also give support if they are aware of (a) treatment or referrals to such specialists (b) an incident close to the assessment date that may have temporarily affected the student’s capacity to take decisions.  
  • Requests based on exception (i), must be made by a student via their Student Portal using the submit request function within fifteen (15) working days of the assessment submission date.   
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  • (ii) where a student suddenly becomes unwell during an examination or in-class test and elects to leave without completing the assessment. Where the assessment is invigilated, before leaving the examination room, the student must notify the Invigilator or Proctor of the Exceptional Circumstances which have necessitated their leaving the examination or test.   
  • Requests based on exception (ii), must be made by a student via their Student Portal by midnight on the calendar day after the on-line assessment. By submitting a request based on exception (ii), a student renders their original attempt null and void.   

A student would need to make arrangements for a medical practitioner to complete the Exemption from Fit-to-Sit form, for submission to fittosit@herts.ac.uk within 30 calendar days.  

Academic Appeals

An academic appeal is the submission of a request for a review of an academic decision due to concerns over potential bias, procedural or administrative irregularities or errors occurring within an assessment process. It's only appropriate to submit an academic appeal if a student's case fulfils specific grounds and is supported by evidence. We strongly suggest that students approach our team for impartial advice and support if they're considering submitting an academic appeal.

Since we're a separate organisation to the University (Hertfordshire Students' Union is a registered charity), we are the only place you can receive truly independent and impartial advice and information about the university's academic procedures and regulations. We're available from Monday to Friday (10:00-16:00) all year round with the exception of bank holidays and University/SU close days. If you'd like to chat to a member of the team about your options, please request an appointment by submitting our online request form or email advice@hertssu.com. We can offer advice on campus, by email, over the phone or on a video call.