Special consideration

If your ability to undertake an assessment is affected by illness, bereavement or trauma, you may be eligible for support via Special consideration.

Special consideration is guided by the Assessment and Results Policy and is assessed on a case-by-case basis for circumstances that:

  • Have an expected duration of less than six weeks, and
  • Adversely impact your ability to undertake, prepare for, and/or complete an assessment task (e.g. an exam or assessment).

Possible outcomes of special consideration can include an extension, resubmission of an assessment, or an alternative assessment. Please note: if you have submitted a special consideration application, you are required to meet all assessment obligations while awaiting an outcome, however, do not attempt assessment tasks, including attendance at examinations, if in doing so you would further compromise your health or the health of other people.

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

If you are applying for special consideration due to major technical disruptions or failures in an online exam, visit special consideration (technical) for information on supporting documentation required and how to apply.

Eligibility

Every situation is unique and eligibility for special consideration is determined on a case-by-case basis related to your circumstances and the relevant supporting documents you provide.

Circumstances that may be eligible Circumstances which are not eligible
  • Illness of short duration
  • Exacerbation of an ongoing circumstance or illness
  • Hardship or trauma
  • Bereavement
  • Family violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Computer failure or technical issues - visit special consideration (technical)
  • Elite athletes, performers, defence reservists, or emergency volunteers who have registered for ongoing support and are required to participate in their field
  • Students who have registered for ongoing support and have caring responsibilities, or are required to participate in cultural or religious observances.
  • Public transport delays
  • Misreading your timetable
  • Personal events (such as weddings or birthdays)
  • Travel plans.

Before applying for Special consideration

Consider an extension. For some subjects and circumstances, the best option is to contact your Subject Coordinator or faculty about an extension. This is a local arrangement with your faculty that does not require you to go through the formal Special consideration process. See the FAQ on applying for an extension. You should also check your subject in the LMS, as you may need to apply directly to your faculty or Subject Coordinator for some assessments.

Possible study adjustments

If your application for Special consideration is successful, you may be offered an assessment adjustment.

Assessment adjustments can include:

  • A deferral, extension or resubmission of assessment
  • An approval of alternate 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.

Students should note the following limitations on assessment adjustments:

  • Adjustment of a mark for any assessment task, or the overall subject mark will not be granted (except where a re-weighting is permitted under policy).
  • Where a student is offered, accepts and undertakes an alternate assessment/examination, the mark from the alternate assessment/examination replaces the mark from the first assessment/examination, regardless of which is the higher.

How to apply

To ensure your submission is processed smoothly, remember to include as much information as possible in your application and follow the advice below.

  • Step 1: Gather your supporting documents

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

    All documentation must clearly outline the:

    • Date of your medical or health practitioner appointment or consultation
    • Impact of the circumstance on your ability to prepare for, or complete, or attempt the specific assessment task
    • 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 misrepresents your past and/or present circumstances may constitute academic misconduct in accordance with 5.65 of the Student Academic Integrity Policy and under the Academic Board Regulation 42 (a).

    Applications on medical or health grounds

    Our preferred supporting document

    If you cannot provide an HPR form

    The following documents can be provided:

    • A medical certificate or supporting letter on official letterhead from a treating health practitioner is also acceptable but it 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 and/or civil unrest, the special consideration student declaration (students outside Australia) (PDF 176.4 KB) can be completed and uploaded to your application. The student declaration will be used along with the additional information provided to assess your application. Eligibility is not automatic and student declarations will not be automatically accepted.

    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 (with the exception of COVID-19 test results)
    • Photos of your medication or injury
    • Statutory declarations (for medical or health related grounds)
    • Letters of reference or support from University or College staff (other than Health Service or Counselling and Psychological Services staff if there is an existing service provision present).

    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.
    • A statutory declaration (however this cannot be for applications on medical or health grounds)
    • The special consideration student declaration (students outside Australia) (PDF 176.4 KB) can be used if you are overseas and you are unable to access other accepted forms of supporting evidence due to extenuating circumstances that mean you are at personal physical risk, for example due to political and/or civil unrest. The student declaration will be used along with the information provided to assess your application. Eligibility is not automatic.

    For more information supporting documents relating to COVID-19, please visit the COVID-19 section below.

  • Step 2: Know the deadlines

    Applications must be submitted within four business days after the examination or assessment due date (see Assessments and Results policy, section 4.129).

    If you cannot supply your supporting documentation at the time of your application, you can apply online and include a note in your application when you expect to be able to supply your documents.

    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.

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

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

  • Step 3: Apply online

    Submit an online application form with supporting documentation:

    Apply now

While you are awaiting an outcome of Special consideration

If you have an exam or test, you must sit your examination or test if you have a medical condition that does not prevent you from doing so. However, you should not attempt assessment tasks, including attendance at examinations, if in doing so you would further compromise your health or the health of other people. You may still be eligible for Special consideration after the examination or test is completed.

Advice for students affected by COVID-19

There are two circumstances for which you will be considered for Special consideration on the grounds of COVID-19. These are:

  • You are awaiting a COVID-19 test result,
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19 and are either required to isolate or are hospitalised.

  • Required documents for COVID-19 related applications

    If you are awaiting a COVID-19 test result you will need to provide proof of taking a test, and any other relevant supporting documents as outlined in the How to apply section.

    If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will need:

    1. confirmation of test results
    2. a medical certificate
    3. a Health Professional Report setting out the impacts on your ability to undertake, prepare for, and/or complete an assessment task.

    If you are studying outside Australia and the required documentation can’t be obtained in your country, you can submit a special consideration student declaration (students outside Australia) (PDF 176.4 KB) with your application verifying your circumstances, the impact on your studies and provide a reason why testing documentation may not be available. The University may reject the use of a student declaration for students outside Australia where the circumstances in the student’s home country allow students to access medical services without personal risk.

  • On campus activities

    Do not come to campus if you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result and are self-isolating or have tested positive as you will be considered for Special consideration on receipt of supporting documentation.

  • Follow COVIDSafe guidelines on campus

    Do not come to campus if you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result and are self-isolating or have tested positive as you will be considered for Special consideration on receipt of supporting documentation. For more information visit coming to campus.

  • Online studies

    If you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result or have tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not well enough to continue classes for a period, you will be considered for Special consideration on receipt of supporting documentation.

Outcomes

Processing times

You should check your student email account regularly for the outcome of your special consideration application.

Most applicants will be advised of their outcome within five business days of the date the application and supporting documentation is received.

For applications which relate to the final assessment, the outcome will be received on or within five business 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.

Seeking a review

If your special consideration application has been deemed ‘ineligible’ for consideration, you may seek a review of that decision, if:

  • The decision was made without appropriate consideration of facts, evidence or circumstances.
  • There was failure to adhere to appropriate or relevant published policies and procedures.
  • You experienced unfair treatment, prejudice or bias.
  • How to seek a review
    1. Log into my.unimelb and select 'Apply for Special consideration'.
    2. Click 'View' to access your Special consideration application, and select 'Review' to request a review of the outcome.
    3. Submit the Special consideration outcome review request within 5 business days of receiving your outcome notification.
    4. Specify your grounds for seeking a review.
    5. Attach and upload supporting evidence (if applicable).

    To find the 'Review' button, please ensure your screen is not enlarged and only request a review once. The 'Review' button will disappear after your first request.

  • I've submitted a request for a review. What happens next?

    You will be contacted via your student email (within five business days) with one of the following outcomes:

    • Successful review (original 'ineligible' decision overturned): your application for review was successful, your application is now eligible for consideration and an appropriate outcome will be decided by your Faculty.
    • Unsuccessful review (original decision upheld): your application for review was not successful and the original special consideration decision of ‘ineligible’ is unchanged. Should you have grounds for submitting a complaint or raising a grievance in relation to this decision, you may do so in accordance with the Student Complaints and Grievances Policy.

Confidentiality

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.

Need help with special consideration?

Submit an online enquiry to Stop 1 and we'll get back to you within 3–5 business days.

Submit an enquiry