The Bartlett


Understanding Extenuating Circumstances at The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment

by Tom McMahon

Student with a mask sitting in a library typing on a computer
Did you know that UCL has a robust set of Extenuating Circumstances policies to ensure that you are not unfairly disadvantaged by unexpected and disruptive circumstances beyond your control?


If you’re considering making an Extenuating Circumstance claim

Extenuating Circumstances (EC) submissions are intended to help students deal with sudden and unexpected problems and should not be used as a way of managing your workload through the academic year. If you are struggling with workload and academic pressure, you may want to contact your Personal Tutor or the Departmental Tutor in your section of The Bartlett.

Students with a disability or significant longer-term health problems, including long-term mental health conditions, should consider applying for a Statement of Reasonable Adjustment (SORA). Through Reasonable Adjustments, UCL can provide support in a range of ways including workload planning, physical access and additional tuition or library access.

If you are planning to make an Extenuating Circumstance claim, you should first check that your circumstances match those typically accepted as Extenuating Circumstances at UCL. The Academic Manual includes a helpful overview which explains:

  • The circumstances which would normally be considered;
  • Circumstances that may be considered where there is evidence of impact on your studies;
  • Circumstances that would not normally be considered.

Please take a look at this guide and assess the eligibility of your EC claim before making an Extenuating Circumstances application.

Principles for Extenuating Circumstances claims

Bartlett students should adhere to the following principles when they need to submit Extenuating Circumstances:

  • If you think you need to make an EC claim, do it at the time of the circumstance - Students’ academic work is likely to be less disrupted if they request an extension to assessment deadlines immediately they are impacted by a circumstance, rather than retrospectively asking for a retry which is far less likely to be granted (perhaps a link to late EC policy).
  • Evidence must be genuine - There have been occasional cases where students have created counterfeit evidence to support Extenuating Circumstances claims, or copied evidence from a fellow student. UCL takes this misconduct very seriously, and disciplinary action will be taken in cases where this is proven.
  • Self-certification does not mean EC requests will be granted without valid reasons - While UCL allows some self-certification of EC claims, particularly to help students who are isolating due to COVID-19 exposure, self-certified claims are not a “free pass” and the application should explain your circumstances in detail. Please continue to provide as much relevant evidence as you can in any EC claim. Staff are likely to reject EC claims without clear reasoning and / or evidence.

How to make a claim

After checking the validity of their circumstances, students can download and fill in the UCL Extenuating Circumstances form to make their claim. You will need to submit your form to your academic department or faculty office. Your Student Handbook or Moodle site will have details of how to submit a claim. 

After checking the validity of their circumstances, students can submit their claim via Portico, as detailed in the Academic Manual’s Quick Guide.

You should receive a response as soon as possible and no more than ten working days after submitting your application (unless you are submitting your evidence late). There may be good reasons why a decision cannot be made within this timeframe – for example if your case needs to be escalated to your Faculty EC Panel. If this is the case, the panel will let you know, within ten working days of receiving your application, that more time is needed to process your claim.

About the author

Tom McMahon is the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment's Student Experience Manager.