Special consideration due to unexpected circumstances - Section contents

If your studies are affected by sudden illness, bereavement or trauma, you may be eligible for support.

If your circumstance is expected to last more than six weeks, you must register for ongoing support.

Special consideration due to unexpected circumstances is available when something that you couldn’t plan for or control:

  • has an impact on your ability to meet your academic requirements (e.g. an exam or assessment), and
  • has an expected duration of less than six weeks.

Every situation is unique, and eligibility for special consideration is determined on a case-by-case basis based on the supporting documents you provide.

Circumstances which may be eligible Circumstances which are not eligible
  • Sudden illness of short duration
  • Sudden exacerbation of an ongoing circumstance or illness
  • Sudden hardship or trauma
  • Bereavement
  • Family violence
  • Sexual assault.
  • Computer failure
  • Public transport delays
  • Misreading your timetable
  • Personal events (such as weddings or birthdays)
  • Travel plans.

Not everyone who applies for special consideration will receive it. If you decide not to sit your examination and your application is not successful, you will receive a fail grade. Because of this, you should continue to work on your assessment or sit your original exam if possible.

Consider an extension

For some subjects and circumstances, the best option is to contact your subject coordinator or faculty about an extension. Before applying for special consideration, see the FAQ on applying for an extension.

You should also check your subject in the Learning Management System (LMS), as you may need to apply directly to your faculty or subject coordinator for some assessments.

Possible study adjustments

If your special consideration application is successful, you may be offered a study adjustment.

Study adjustments can include:

  • A deferral, extension or resubmission of assessment
  • An approval of special arrangements for assessment
  • An additional assessment
  • A re-weighting of the assessment, where this does not affect learning outcomes or academic standards (applies to shorter assessments only)
  • An option to redo one or more assessment tasks
  • Authorisation for late withdrawal from a subject.

How to apply

To ensure your submission is processed smoothly, remember to include as much information as possible in your application.

All applications for special consideration require supporting documentation to verify your circumstances, which we use to assess your application.

All documentation must clearly outline the:

  • Date of your appointment or consultation
  • Impact of the circumstance on your ability to prepare for or complete the specific assessment
  • Dates or duration of the impact on you.

Where documentation is not clear or is suspected as being altered, the University will seek to verify with the issuer. Documentation which has been fraudulently obtained or altered will be dealt with under the Student Academic Integrity Policy and may result in termination of enrolment.

Applying on medical or mental health grounds

  • A Health Professional Report form (PDF 223.0 KB) is our preferred document for applications made on medical or psychological grounds. It can be completed by a range of healthcare and allied professionals (such as medical doctors and psychologists).
  • A medical certificate or supporting letter on official letterhead from a treating health practitioner is also acceptable.

If your supporting documentation is provided by an overseas practitioner and not available in English, you'll need to provide a NAATI-accredited translated copy.

The following forms of documentation will not be accepted:

  • Medical test results
  • Photos of your medication or injury
  • Letters of reference or support from University or College staff (other than Health Service or Counselling and Psychological Services staff).

Applying due to other circumstances

You will need to provide any documents that verify your circumstances and address the impact on your assessment tasks.

Accepted forms of documentation include:

  • Signed police reports or court orders
  • A death certificate or death notice, along with a statutory declaration attesting to your relationship with the deceased
  • Confirmation of cultural or religious observances, signed by a senior cleric or community leader on official letterhead.

You must submit your application and supporting documentation no longer than four working days after the examination/assessment due date or tutorial date.

If you’re unable to supply your supporting documentation at the time of your application, you may apply online and advise in your application when you expect to be able to supply it. We can hold your application for up to five working days while we await your supporting documentation. If you do not provide the required documentation within the given time, your application may be rejected.

Late applications

If you submit a late application, you must explain why you could not submit the application by the due date and provide documentation which substantiates your explanation. The Academic Registrar or a 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.

You may only apply after your results are released in exceptional circumstances (e.g. hospitalisation).

For more information on late applications, please see the Assessment and Results Policy.

Fill out the online application form and submit your application with supporting documentation.

Apply now


Check your email account regularly for the outcome of your special consideration application.

Outcomes can include:

  • Application approved by the faculty
  • Application to be negotiated with the faculty
  • Application not approved by the faculty.

If you disagree with the outcome of your application, you can seek a review.

Processing times

Most applicants will be advised of the outcome within five working days of the date we receive the application and supporting documentation.

For applications which relate to the final assessment, the outcome will be received on or within five working days of the release of final subject results.

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


The University of Melbourne respects the privacy of your personal information. Information 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.