Special Consideration - Section contents

As a student, you may experience unexpected circumstances that significantly affect your studies, or have ongoing health circumstances or official commitments that require study adjustments. The University has policies in place if you need support.

What is Special Consideration?

Special Consideration is an adjustment made to your current study or assessment plan in order to allow for exceptional circumstances. The University's Special Consideration policy supports you if your studies are genuinely and significantly impacted by:

  • Exceptional or extenuating circumstances outside of your control that have a demonstrated impact on your ability to meet your academic requirements. This could be a one-off situation or ongoing circumstances.
  • Events or circumstances of national or state significance within cultural, sporting, military, emergency service or legal domains that require your participation.

There are two types of support categories available and it’s important to understand the difference between them.

  1. Special Consideration (unexpected circumstances) is available where the expected duration of impact is less than six weeks. Circumstances might include sudden illness or bereavement. All students have the right to apply throughout the duration of their studies.
  2. Special Consideration (ongoing support) is available where the expected duration of impact is six weeks or more. Circumstances might include a chronic or permanent health condition or an official commitment. Students register and attend an interview to discuss study adjustments and support needs.

Before you apply, consider an extension

For some subjects and circumstances, the best option is to speak with your subject coordinator or faculty about an extension. Before applying for Special Consideration, see the FAQ on applying for an extension.

Assessment of applications

The University will assess your application for Special Consideration based on the official supporting documents you provide. Successful applications are then forwarded to the relevant faculty to determine the outcome for each piece of assessment.

Unexpected circumstances

If you are experiencing an unexpected situation that is significantly impacting your ability to study, you may be able to receive Special Consideration.

Potential circumstances Not valid for Special Consideration Possible study adjustments
  • Sudden illness of short duration (excluding minor ailments)
  • Sudden hardship or trauma
  • Bereavement
  • Computer failure
  • Public transport delays
  • Misreading your timetable
  • Personal events such as weddings or birthdays
  • Minor ailments or illness such as a headache or period pain, where you are still capable of completing the assessment
  • Travel plans
  • A written (special) exam
  • An oral exam
  • A take-home exam
  • Exam sat externally
  • Additional written exercise
  • An extension
  • Re-weighting of other assessments

Please note that not everyone who applies for Special Consideration will receive it. If you decide not to sit your examination and your Special Consideration application is not successful, you will receive a fail grade.

  1. Apply online
  2. Select ‘Application for unexpected circumstances’
  3. Submit relevant supporting documentation at the time of lodging your online application. See ‘Supporting Documentation’ below for more information.

When you submit your Special Consideration application you will be given an application number in the acknowledgement email. If you haven't received an outcome by the time your subject results have been finalised, please contact Stop 1.

Medical or mental health grounds

A Health Professional Report (HPR) form is the preferred document for applications made on medical or psychological grounds. A range of healthcare and allied professionals (such as medical doctors and psychologists) can complete this form and assess the extent to which your studies have been impacted by your circumstances. A HPR does not guarantee that you will be given Special Consideration.

Other personal circumstances

A third party or independently verified document (such as a letter from a relevant authority) is required when the Special Consideration application is not based on medical or mental health grounds. NAATI-accredited translated documents can be accepted.

You will also need to provide any additional documents that verify your circumstances and address the impact on your assessment tasks. An appropriate supporting document could be a police report or a death notice/certificate.

Submit your application with supporting documentation:

  • within 4 working days of the examination/assessment due date or tutorial date

If you do not provide required documentation, your application will be denied. Please note you can only apply after your results release date in exceptional circumstances (i.e. hospitalisation).

If you submit a late application for Special Consideration, you must explain why you could not submit the application by the due date. The Academic Registrar or nominee will determine whether the late application will be accepted, based on the explanation you provide. The same documentation that would be required for a timely application must be submitted with the late application. For more detailed information, please see the policy outlining Special Consideration.

You will be advised via your University student email of the outcome of your Special Consideration application.

Outcomes may include:

If you choose to decline your offer for Special Consideration and submit or attend your assessment as normal, login to your Special Consideration application and select ‘withdraw’. For more information see the FAQ on Special Consideration outcomes.

Ongoing support

If your studies are significantly impacted by ongoing circumstances, you may be considered for Special Consideration (ongoing support). This means that you won’t have to reapply for Special Consideration every study period.

Potential circumstances Possible study adjustments
  • Chronic or permanent physical or mental health condition
  • Disability
  • Students with carer status
  • Elite athletes
  • Elite performers
  • Army Reservists
  • Religious or cultural observance
  • Emergency volunteers
  • Reduced study load
  • Leave of absence
  • Extra leave
  • Extension
  • Alternative exam arrangements
  • Support, such as note-takers
  • Specialist equipment
  • Assistive Library technology
  • Accessible teaching spaces
  1. Visit Student Equity and Disability Support to see whether ongoing support is appropriate for your circumstances and find out how to register.
  2. Submit all relevant supporting documentation at the time of lodging your online application.
  3. Book an appointment with a Student Equity Adviser.

You will receive an application number in the acknowledgement email following submission.

For health-related circumstances, a Health Professional Report (HPR) form is preferred. A registered health professional (such as a doctor, psychologist or social worker) can complete this form, and they will need to assess the extent to which your studies have been impacted by your circumstances. Alternatively, you can submit a letter from a treating practitioner that outlines the impact on studies and recommended adjustments.

For non-medical or non-health related circumstances, we require an official letter (on letterhead) signed by a relevant authority. Elite athletes are required to provide an Elite Athlete Recognition Form from Melbourne University Sport.

If you have ongoing circumstances, we encourage you to lodge an online registration at the start of your course, or as soon as your circumstances become known.

While there are no official deadlines to register (you are welcome to register at any time during your studies), we recommend that you register early to ensure you receive support in a timely manner.

You will receive an outcome via your University student email.

If your registration for ongoing support is successful, you will be invited to meet with a Student Equity Advisor to determine appropriate adjustments for your study and assessments.

Academic Adjustment Plan

Following a discussion with a Student Equity Advisor, the University may provide you with an Academic Adjustment Plan (AAP), outlining the study adjustments negotiated between yourself and the University. This is your official study adjustment document.

Your AAP will:

  • outline the impact of your circumstances
  • outline reasonable study adjustments to assist with your studies
  • support you when negotiating study adjustments with academic staff
  • remain confidential - academic staff can view a class list identifying students with an AAP but they cannot view the content unless you show them your plan.

Privacy statement

The University of Melbourne respects the privacy of your personal information. Information that you provide as part of a Special Consideration application is strictly confidential and subject to the protections of relevant privacy laws.

Any person who contacts the University can expect that their personal or health information will be treated in accordance with the University of Melbourne’s Privacy Policy (MPF1104). You can access your personal information, subject to any relevant laws, by contacting us.

Need Advice?

The Student Union Advocacy Service can assist with reviews, grievances and appeals in relation to special consideration outcomes.

Health Services

The University's Health Service and Counselling and Psychological Services are available to all students.

Justice of the Peace

The Student Union's Justice of the Peace offers appointments to have documents certified, including witnessing of Statutory Declarations.