Mitigating Circumstances - Introduction

The Mitigating Circumstances Form should be completed by any student who experiences unpreventable or unforeseeable circumstances that could have a significant adverse effect on their academic performance.

If you are based within the School of Mathematics but your mitigation relates to a course unit from another School, please bear in mind that we must let the other School know about your application and its outcome.

We strongly recommend that you read through the advice below carefully before submitting your form. You may also wish to refer to the University's policy on Mitigating Circumstances (updated June 2014).

The form should be submitted online, and there is a link at the bottom of this page.

What are 'mitigating' circumstances?

Grounds for mitigation are unpreventable or unforeseeable circumstances that could have, or did have, a significant adverse effect on the academic performance of a student. Possible mitigating circumstances include:

    • significant illness or injury
    • the death or critical/significant illness of a close family member/dependant
    • significant family crises or major financial problems leading to acute stress
    • absence for public service, e.g., jury service

Circumstances that will not normally be regarded as grounds for mitigation include:

    • holidays, moving house and events that were planned or could reasonably have been expected
    • assessments that are scheduled close together
    • misreading the timetable or misunderstanding the requirements for assessments
    • inadequate planning and time management
    • failure, loss or theft of a computer or printer that prevents submission of work on time (students should back up work regularly and not leave completion so late that they cannot find another computer or printer)
    • consequences of paid employment (except in some special cases for part-time students)
    • exam stress or panic attacks not diagnosed as illness or supported by medical evidence
    • disruption in an examination room during the course of an assessment which has not been recorded by the invigilators

Events may arise during pregnancy that may constitute mitigating circumstances, and these need to be judged on an individual basis.

If your problems are chronic and/or ongoing and relate to an illness or disability, you should register with the University's Disability Support Office rather than submitting mitigating circumstances applications. Bear in mind that if your problems are continuing, the panel will look for reassurance that you are able to manage them in the future.

What if I am absent from lectures/supervisions?

  • Absence from the University due to illness for a period of no more than five consecutive working days where you have not missed any assessments will not normally be regarded as grounds for mitigation. You should complete the self-certification form instead.

  • If attendance contributes to your final assessed mark (i.e. in your first year, or at an assessed class test) then you should submit a mitigating circumstances form along with a self certification form for each period of absence. Each case will be judged individually.

Do I need to submit supporting evidence?

Yes! All mitigating circumstances applications must be supported by independent evidence.

The nature of this documentation will vary according to the nature of the circumstances, but it must be sufficiently independent to confirm the case you are making. Examples of evidence include a doctor's or other health professional’s note or a counsellor’s letter.

For illnesses of 7 days and under that affect an assessment constituting no more than 20% of the final mark for that unit (e.g. a coursework test) we will accept a Self Certification form as evidence.

    • Because of the importance of independent evidence, it is strongly recommended that you register with a local GP when you arrive in Manchester, even if you are an international student and plan to return home for treatment. It is vitally important that you submit your application as early as possible, and it must be supported by evidence. Guidance on finding and registering with a GP can be found on the online crucial guide.

    • If your evidence is in a language other than English, it is your responsibility to include certified translation(s).

    • If you are unsure about the type of evidence to provide, please contact the Student Support Administrator, Sebastian Rees.

If supporting evidence has not been received within 2 weeks of the submission of your form, your application will not be processed further. Please tell us if you are waiting for evidence and expect it to take longer than 2 weeks. You should hand in your supporting evidence to the School of Mathematics reception desk. If needed, we can photocopy evidence and return the original to you. If the evidence is confidential, please put it in an envelope and mark it confidential.

Students who have a disability

This year there were some changes to the assessment of applications for mitigating circumstances from students who have a disability in order to improve the support we provide.

If you need to apply for mitigating circumstances due to issues directly related to your disability, you do not need to provide any additional supporting evidence if you are registered with the DSO, but you must provide a detailed explanation of how your disability is currently affecting your studies. It is not sufficient to indicate only that you are registered with the DSO. A Disability Advisor from the DSO will be part of the committee that will consider your application.

If you need to apply for mitigating circumstances for an issue that is not directly related to your disability, or you have a disability but are not registered with the DSO, you must provide supporting evidence (see above for details).

When should I submit my form?

  1. If you have missed a coursework test or assessment deadline, or your performance has been affected, you should submit your mitigating circumstances application before the test or deadline or exceptionally, within 5 working days.

  2. If your problems are ongoing or you feel that circumstances have affected your performance in examinations, or caused you to miss any examinations, you should submit your mitigating circumstances form by the following deadlines:

    For 2015/16 academic year:

    • Resit period: 5th September 2016
    • MSc Dissertations: 16th September 2016

    For 2016/17 academic year: Please note that mitigating circumstances must be submitted as soon as possible. Any pre-existing or known issues should be submitted prior to the early deadline for each assessment period. The late deadline is for the submission of issues that have arisen during the examination period only.

    • Semester one - early deadline for pre-existing or long term issues: 4pm on Friday 13th January 2017.
    • Semester one - late deadline for issues arising during the examination period: 4pm on Tuesday 31st January 2017.

    • Semester two - early deadline for pre-existing or long term issues: 4pm on Tuesday 16th May 2017.
    • Semester two - late deadline for issues arising during the examination period: 4pm on Friday 9th June 2017.

    • Resit period - early deadline for pre-existing or long term issues: 4pm on Friday 18th August 2017.
    • Resit period - late deadline for issues arising during the examination period: 4pm on Monday 4th September 2017.

Late requests for mitigation will not be considered without a credible and compelling explanation as to why the application was not made at the appropriate time.

Requests made after the above deadlines will be treated as appeals under Regulation XIX, but again, there should be a credible and compelling explanation why you did not bring the circumstances to the attention of your School at an earlier stage.

Academic and professional support staff are here to help you. We understand that students may be reluctant to discuss personal problems, but please bear in mind that whatever you disclose to us will be treated confidentially. For this reason, reluctance to disclose problems cannot be considered as sufficient justification for submitting a late application for mitigating circumstances.

Always submit your mitigating circumstances form as soon as you can. Do not wait for evidence before you submit your form.

Your case cannot be considered until you have submitted supporting evidence or a self certification form where appropriate.

  • If you have missed a coursework test or assessment deadline, your application may be considered within 10 working days of receipt and you will be informed of the outcome by email. Remember to check your University email account regularly.

  • If your case is more serious or you feel it has affected a significant period of time or your examination performance, it will be considered at the Mitigating Circumstances panel held at the end of the examination period. You will be informed of the outcome by email within 5 working days of publication of results for that examination period. Remember to check your University email account regularly.

The decision of the panel is provisional and is reviewed by the Board of Examiners at their meeting in June or September.

What support is available to help me complete my application?

There are two main sources of support outside of the School of Maths for completion of Mitigating Circumstances applications.

Staff within The Atrium can help you complete your application, as can the Student Union Advice Centre.

The Student Union Advice Centre has produced a booklet to guide you through the process which is available to download here.

We strongly advise all students to speak to their academic advisor before submitting a mitigating circumstances application. Your advisor may wish to add a supporting statement to your application.

How do I submit my form?

Undergraduate students should submit the online form here.

Postgraduate students (including PhD) should submit the online form here.

The form will reach our Teaching and Learning team who will aim to send a confirmation of receipt within 3 working days.

You should then bring supporting evidence to the School of Maths reception desk as soon as possible after submission of the form.

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