Special Consideration - Section contents

As a student, you may experience extraordinary short-term circumstances that adversely affect your academic performance, or have ongoing circumstances that require adjustments. The University has policies in place to support you if you're experiencing academic disadvantage.

What is Special Consideration?

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 complete academic requirements. These could be short-term or ongoing.
  • Events or circumstances of national or state significance within cultural, sporting, military, emergency service or legal domains that require your participation.

Before you apply, consider an extension

For some subjects the fastest path to an academic adjustment is to speak with your subject coordinator or teaching department about an extension. Before applying for Special Consideration, see the FAQ on applying for an extension.

Assessment of applications

Stop 1 staff assess your eligibility for Special Consideration, based on the independently verified supporting documentation provided. Eligible applications are then forwarded to the relevant faculty to determine the outcome for each piece of assessment.

Short-term or one-off circumstances

If you are experiencing a short-term or one-off situation that is significantly impacting your ability to study, you may be eligible to receive Special Consideration.

Example circumstances Ineligible circumstances Type of study adjustments
  • Short-term illness
  • Hardship or trauma
  • Religious observance
  • Emergency services volunteers
  • Computer failure
  • Public transport delays
  • Personal events such as weddings or birthdays
  • Minor ailments or illness, 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
  • Late withdrawal

Please note that not everyone who applies for Special Consideration will receive it. If you decide not to sit your examination and are subsequently deemed ineligible for Special Consideration, 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 online application for Special Consideration 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 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.

For a list of suitable health professionals, check AHPRA's Professions & Divisions page, or the Health Workforce Regulation in Victoria.

Non-medical or mental health grounds

A statutory declaration with supporting documentation is required where the Special Consideration application is not based on medical or mental health grounds.

A statutory declaration is a written statement that you sign and declare to be true and correct before an authorised witness. You can be charged with perjury if the information is false. Statutory Declarations must be witnessed by an authorised person (e.g. a Pharmacist, Police Officer or Justice of the Peace). You may wish to make an appointment with the UMSU Justice of the Peace

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

Submit your application with supporting documentation by:

  • No later than 5.00pm on the fourth working day after the examination date or assessment/tutorial due date

If you do not provide required documentation, your application will be denied.

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.

Special Consideration usually alters the circumstances for you to complete assessment tasks.

Outcomes may include:

In some circumstances, an outcome of Special Consideration might be:

  • Late withdrawal from a subject.

For more information see the FAQ on Special Consideration outcomes.

Ongoing or long-term circumstances

You may be eligible if your studies are significantly impacted by ongoing or episodic circumstances. For students with recognised long-term circumstances, study adjustments will usually be applied for a longer duration. This means that you will not have to reapply for Special Consideration every study period.

Example circumstance Type of study adjustments
  • Chronic illness
  • Disability
  • Students with carer status
  • Elite Athletes
  • Army Reservists
  • Elite Performers
  • 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. Apply online
  2. Select “Registration for Ongoing Assistance”
  3. Submit relevant supporting documentation at the time of lodging your online application.

When you submit your online application for Special Consideration you will be given an application number in the acknowledgement email

A Health Professional Report (HPR) form is preferred. A range of healthcare and allied professionals can complete this form, who will assess the extent to which your studies have been impacted by your circumstances.

For a list of suitable health professionals, check AHPRA's Professions & Divisions page, or the Health Workforce Regulation in Victoria.

Alternatively, you can submit a letter from a treating practitioner that outlines the impact on studies and recommended adjustments.

If you have ongoing circumstances that may impact you over the longer term, you are encouraged to lodge the online application to register at the beginning of your course, or as soon as your circumstances become known.

While there are no official deadlines for registering, register early to ensure you receive optimal support and adjustments.

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

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

Academic Adjustment Plan

An Academic Adjustment Plan (AAP) may be developed in discussion with you during your appointment.

Your AAP will:

  • Be confidential. Academic staff can view a class list that identifies which students have an AAP but they cannot view the content unless you show them your plan.
  • Take into account the impacts of your circumstances.
  • Outline reasonable adjustments that can assist with your studies.
  • Enable you to negotiate educational adjustments with academic staff to minimise the impact of your circumstances on your studies.

Privacy statement

The University of Melbourne respects the privacy of your personal information. We collect personal information in order to assess your eligibility for Special Consideration. Documentation that you provide as part of a Special Consideration application is strictly confidential and is subject to the protections of relevant privacy laws. Your confidential information is only made available to authorised staff as part of the Special Consideration process. Lecturers are able to view a class list that identifies which students have an Academic Adjustment Plan (AAP), but they cannot view the content until a student shows them a copy. It is your responsibility to show a copy of your AAP to your lecturers every semester.  You may be able to access your personal information, subject to any relevant laws, by contacting us.

Need Advice?

The Student Advocacy Service can provide help and discuss the options that might be available if you need to apply, or have applied for, Special Consideration.

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.