Special consideration

We’re sorry if you’re going through a difficult time or other commitments are affecting your ability to complete your assessment(s). Let us know your situation so we can assess if you‘re eligible for special consideration such as an extension, special assessment or opportunity to resubmit a task.

Before you apply

Special consideration provides one-off adjustments to specific assessments or exams and is applied close to or shortly after the assessment. There are other processes that offer study adjustments that you may want to consider.

Apply for an extension

If you need more time to complete an assessment, your faculty or school may be able to grant an extension of up to 10 business days without requiring you to go through the formal special consideration process.

Register for ongoing support

If your studies are affected by ongoing circumstances such as a disability and or health condition or eligible commitments, registering for ongoing support can provide access to a plan that will determine potential study adjustments.

Ongoing support can be applied to your subjects in advance of assessments. You can still apply for special consideration while registered if you have experienced additional or exacerbated circumstances that have impacted your ability to complete your assessment.

When to apply

Applications must be submitted no later than four business days after the examination or assessment due date. You can apply before your assessment due date if you know in advance that your assessment will be impacted.

If something prevents you from meeting the deadline, you can still apply but:

  • You will be prompted to provide a late reason and
  • Your documentation will need to include additional detail to explain what impacted your ability to apply on time.

Applications submitted after release of results in the subject will only be considered in exceptional circumstances (eg prolonged hospitalisation).

1. Check your eligibility

Eligibility for special consideration is assessed on a case-by-case basis, guided by the Assessment and Results Policy.

While we can’t guarantee your eligibility until we’ve assessed your application, we encourage you to apply if:

  1. Your ability to undertake, prepare for, and/or complete an assessment task or exam has been impacted by one of the following circumstances:
    • Illness of short duration
    • You are registered for ongoing support and there is an exacerbation of your medical condition or disability
    • Hardship or trauma
    • Bereavement
    • Family violence
    • Sexual assault
    • Computer failure or technical issues - apply for special consideration (technical)
    • You are registered for ongoing support as an elite athlete, performers defense reservists, or emergency volunteer and are required to participate in your field
    • You are registered for ongoing support and have caring responsibilities, or are required to participate in cultural or religious observances.
    • Examples of circumstances that are not eligible:

    • Public transport delays
    • Misreading your timetable
    • Personal celebratory events such as weddings or birthdays
    • Work commitments
    • Travel plans.
  2. You can verify your circumstances and the impact on your studies through recent supporting documentation.
  3. You can apply in a timely manner to meet the deadlines outlined under ‘When to apply’.

2. Prepare your supporting documentation

You need to attach your supporting documentation when you submit your application. If your documents aren't ready in time, attach a Word document explaining the delay and we can hold your application for up to five business days (see 'How to add documents after applying').

Documentation is essential to help us understand the impact of your situation. It must clearly outline:

  • Dates of your medical or health practitioner appointments or consultations
  • Impacts of the circumstance on your ability to complete or prepare for the specific assessment task
  • Dates or duration of the impact.

If your supporting documentation is not available in English, you'll need to provide a NAATI-accredited translated copy.

Accepted types of documents

  • Health or medical circumstances (including COVID-19)

    A Health Professional Report (HPR) form (PDF 161.6 KB) is our preferred document for applications made on medical or psychological grounds.

    It can be completed by a range of accredited health care professionals who are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or Australian Association of Social Workers (such as medical doctors and psychologists).

    If you cannot provide an HPR form, please provide:

    • A medical certificate or supporting letter on official letterhead from an accredited treating health practitioner which must include the impact on your ability to prepare for and/or undertake the assessment task, including duration.
    • If you are overseas and are unable to access medical services due to extenuating circumstances and are at personal physical risk, for example due to political or civil unrest, the special consideration student declaration (students outside Australia) (PDF 176.4 KB) can be completed and uploaded to your application.

    Forms of documentation that will not be accepted:

    • Medical test results
    • Medical certificates if you have not been seen in person or seen via telehealth by a Medical Practitioner
    • Photos of your medication or injury
    • Statutory declarations for health or medical circumstances
    • Letters of reference or support from University or College staff (unless from the Health Service or Counselling and Psychological Services where you have an existing client relationship).

    If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please see the FAQs for students for more information.

  • Bereavement

    We are deeply sorry for your loss. The University recognises that bereavement can impact all areas of life including academic performance, and is committed to supporting students that are experiencing grief and loss.

    In order for your application to be assessed the follow documents are required:

    • A death notice/newspaper obituary, or death certificate and
    • A Statutory Declaration stating your relationship with the deceased person


    • A Health Professional Report (HPR) form (PDF 161.6 KB) (PDF 161.6 KB) or medical certificate or supporting letter in your name, acknowledging relationship and impact. This document must be completed by an accredited health care professional, registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or accredited Australian Association of Social Workers (such as a medical doctor, psychologist or social worker).
  • Defense/emergency services, elite athlete/performer, carer or religious observance

    If you’re registered for ongoing support and your assessment(s) is impacted by eligible commitments, you can provide one of the following documents:

    • Carer responsibilities
      An official Centrelink document or a letter from a GP to verify carer responsibilities and the impact on your assessment(s).
    • Defense reservist or emergency services volunteer
      A signed letter on official letterhead from relevant organisations outlining your duties and obligations.
    • Elite athletes and performers
      A letter of support from your eligible sporting or performance organisation outlining your professional obligations and confirming the impact on your assessment(s).
    • Religious/cultural observance
      A signed letter on the official letterhead of your religious congregation or cultural authority outlining the nature of your observances and impact on your assessment(s).
  • Computer failure or major technical disruptions

    Refer to special consideration (technical) for more information.

  • Hardship and other circumstances

    We understand that the documentation you can provide may depend on your situation. You can provide multiple documents if needed.

    Here are some examples of accepted documents:

    • Signed police reports or court orders or court documents
    • A Statutory Declaration (however this cannot be for applications on medical or health grounds)
    • Documentation from the Safer Community Program
    • Notification from emergency services organisations such as Country Fire Authority (CFA).
  • How to add documents after applying

    If your application status is 'Awaiting Documents', you can provide your documents through the special consideration portal by clicking into the application.

    If your application is at any other stage and you wish to add more documentation or provide further information, you can email Student Equity and Disability Services.

    In your email, please provide your:

    • Full name
    • Student number
    • Application reference number and any additional documents or information

3. Submit an application

You will be directed to an application form where you can fill in your details and attach your supporting documentation.

Apply now

4. Complete your assessment

Your welfare is more important than your studies. Only complete your assessment or sit your exam where you can do so without further compromising your health or the health of other people.

Submitting your assessment or sitting your exam while you’re waiting on your special consideration outcome won’t impact your application, but it will allow your work to be assessed.

When will I receive an outcome?

Current turnaround times

We aim to process your application within five business days, but there may be a delay when we receive a high volume of applications.

As of Monday 25 September, the turnaround times from receipt of a complete application including supporting documentation are:

  • 10-11 business days to complete an eligibility assessment
  • Within 3 business days to receive an outcome, depending on volume of applications received by your faculty and the type of alternative assessment outcome required.

There are two stages of processing your application:

  1. Eligibility assessment. Your application is initially assessed by Student Equity and Disability Services to determine eligibility based on the criteria outlined in the assessments and results policy. If eligible, your application will continue to the next stage.
  2. Determine appropriate outcome. Your faculty or school will make this decision; the turnaround time for this stage can vary.

You will be given an application number in the acknowledgement email when you submit your application.

We will notify you:

  • When your application has been assessed for eligibility
  • To confirm once your application outcome has been finalised.

We may also contact you if we need more information or documentation to assess your application.

Possible outcomes

If your application for special consideration is successful, you may be offered an assessment adjustment, such as:

  • A deferred assessment
  • An extended period for assessment
  • Special arrangements for assessment
  • Additional assessment
  • Resubmission of assessment
  • Adjusted relative weighting assigned to components of assessment where this does not affect learning outcomes or academic standards (applies to shorter assessments only, ie up to 25% weighting)
  • An authorised late withdrawal from the subject.

There are some things Special consideration can't offer:

  • Adjustment of a mark for an assessment task, or the overall subject mark will not be granted (except where a re-weighting is permitted under policy).
  • If you take an alternate assessment or exam, the mark from the alternate assessment replaces the mark from the original assessment. We are not able to revert to the original assessment mark, even if it is higher.


  • Why we collect your personal information

    SEDS is collecting and processing your personal information for one or more of the following:

    • To determine eligibility for Special consideration and/or Registration for ongoing supports
    • Inform available outcomes available for Special consideration
    • Develop and implement Academic Adjustment Plans (AAPs) when registering for ongoing support including alternative exam arrangements and accessibility supports
    • Inform reporting and planning activities including for government funding reporting requirements, and to improve student services in relation to Special consideration and Registration for ongoing supports (non-identifying information only).
  • How we process your personal information

    We will process your personal information as necessary for our legitimate interests, in accordance with applicable privacy laws, and only under the following circumstances:

    • For the purpose for which it was collected; or
    • A related purpose which you might reasonably expect; or
    • Where you have consented to the processing; or
    • If we are required or permitted to do so by law.

    We collect your personal information directly from you. In some cases, we source some information (e.g., your subject enrolment details and results) from the University’s student database, and if required we will validate curriculum and assessment details with the relevant faculty.

    We will only share your personal information with the University of Melbourne staff members who are directly involved in the assessment of your application and in determining the appropriate outcomes. The information may also be made available to authorised staff in your Faculty to aid in determining special consideration outcomes, and also with the centrally organised exams team when it involves alternative exam arrangements (AEAs) including accessibility adjustments when registered for ongoing support.

    Where relevant, sharing of your Academic Adjustment Plan (AAP) with others such as academic staff will be done with your consent. If you choose not to share your AAP, this may limit what adjustments can be made.

    There may be some instances where your personal information may be transferred outside of Victoria or Australia (for example, where providers are located internationally or use a cloud-based system with servers based in international jurisdictions). We take all reasonable steps to ensure that the interstate or overseas transfer of personal information is in accordance with our privacy obligations as outlined in the University’s General Privacy Statement.

    If you choose not to provide requested information, it may mean that your application is deemed ineligible and/or cannot be approved and implemented by SEDS, Academic  Divisions or other services or programs at the University.

  • Further privacy information

    Refer to the University’s General Privacy Statement or other privacy statements for general information about how we process and protect personal information, including:

    • Our lawful basis for processing personal information;
    • Collection, use and disclosure of personal information;
    • Accuracy, security and storage of personal information;
    • Retention and disposal of personal information;
    • Your individual rights; and
    • Applicable privacy laws.

    Your rights

    You may request access to, or correction of, your personal information we hold, or exercise your individual rights as applicable under relevant privacy laws, unless this would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others or would contravene the University’s other legislative obligations.

    If the lawful collection of your personal information is based on your consent, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of our processing of your information prior to you withdrawing your consent.

    Privacy contacts

    For further information you can contact us at Equity and Disability Support equity-disability@unimelb.edu.au.

    For further information about how the University manages personal information, and for details of how to make an enquiry, lodge a complaint, or to contact the University’s Privacy and Data Protection Officer, please refer to our Privacy webpage, view the University's Privacy Policy or contact privacy-officer@unimelb.edu.au.

    Last updated:  Wednesday 16 August 2023

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