What are mitigating circumstances?

Mitigating circumstances are significant and exceptional factors outside your control which have adversely affected your performance on your course. These factors may have prevented you from attending examinations, caused you to miss assessment submission dates or even prevented you from attending timetabled academic hours.

If you feel that your performance in your examinations or assessments have been affected by mitigating circumstances and you want the matter to be considered formally by the board of examiners then you should submit a ‘Mitigating Circumstances Form’ to your department

Mitigating Circumstances forms can be found on the Student Based Services website

I have been accused of plagiarism – what should I do?


If you are accused of plagiarism, you should seek support from a Student Advisor who will be able to discuss the accusation with you and explain what will happen next and the penalties you may face. A student advisor can also attend any meetings with the university and represent you. It is important that you are honest with the adviser and tell them all the relevant information. They are not there to judge you and they cannot advise you about your best course of action if they do not have all the information.

Can I defer my exams/coursework to a later date?

In some exceptional circumstances it is possible for students to defer assessments to a later day if there are significant mitigating circumstances i.e. illness, family bereavement or other grave cause.


If you want to defer an assessment you will need to complete a ‘Deferral of Assessments’ form to your department. In your form you will need to provide a statement as to why the university should consider your request for deferral and attach any evidence in support of this e.g. doctors note, death certificate, letter from University Counselling service etc.


Deferral of Assessment forms can be found on the Student Based Services website.


What can I make an appeal against?


Providing you meet the eligibility requirements, you can appeal a decision relating to your progress, assessment, and awards; by providing evidence to support at least one of the following grounds:


  • Material administrative error or irregularity in the conduct of assessment which adversely affected a students performance and results;
  • Significant extenuating circumstances which adversely affected the students performance and results;
  • Unfair treatment or discrimination, outwith the exercise of academic judgement; which, for good reason could not be brought to the attention of boards of examiners at the relevant time and which could have influenced their recommendations had the information been available at that time.

You cannot appeal:

  • Because you think you worked hard and the mark awarded doesn’t reflect this.
  • If you are considering making an appeal then make sure you refer to the University Academic Appeals Guidelines and speak to a Student Advisor who will be able to guide you through the process.

I am not happy on my course and am considering leaving. Who should I speak to?


If you are considering leaving Lancaster, or wanting to transfer to another university, you should speak to an advisor in The Base, as soon as possible before you make any decisions.


They will be able to ensure you have all the necessary information to enable you to make an informed decision and will be able to advise you on your tuition fee liability and other important factors which could affect your decision. Don’t forget, if you are in receipt of loans and bursaries all the issuing organisations will need to be informed, and if you are in student accommodation (both on and off campus) you are likely to still have liability for the rent for a period of time.

I want to make a complaint about my course/department. How should I do this?


You should always aim to resolve complaints informally with those that you are aggrieved with in the first instance; however the University understands that under some circumstances that the informal route is not always possible.

A student guide to the University Formal Complaints procedure can be found here - http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/complaints-procedure/

For further advice on how to submit a complaint come and speak to one of our Student Advisors.