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Special circumstances

Sometimes life gets in the way of your studies. Depending on what your circumstances are and what you are seeking, you can apply for:

  1. An assignment extension
  2. Special consideration
  3. A deferred exam
  4. A supplementary assessment
  5. Withdrawal without academic and/or financial penalty

1. Assignment Extension

Automatic 48-Hour Extension

* Extension requests will open 48 hours before the assignment due date and close 48 hours after the due date.

Some units may not be eligible, please check your unit outline. 

If you have already applied for a Formal Extension, you cannot receive another 48-hour extension on top, however; if you apply for the 48-hour extension you can then apply for the formal extension if required. 

The 48-hour is included in your requested extension time (for example a student applies for a 7-day extension during their 48-hour (2 days) extension they will be granted an extra 5 days. 

Longer Extension 

Consider this option if you cannot submit your assignment on time due to special circumstances and need extra time to work on your assignment. Special circumstances include:

  • Health conditions
  • Family or personal circumstances
  • Employment-related circumstances 
  • Unavoidable commitments

You must apply for an extension on or before the assignment due date and provide supporting documentation to support your claim.

Consider this option if you cannot submit your assignment on time due to special circumstances and need extra time to work on your assignment. Special circumstances include:

  • Health conditions
  • Family or personal circumstances
  • Employment-related circumstances 
  • Unavoidable commitments

You must apply for an extension on or before the assignment due date.

Late Extension 

If you need more time to submit an assignment and it’s already past the 48-hour late period, your request will only be considered if you can provide proof of an exceptional situation that stopped you from turning it in on time. This is done through the extension portal.

This proof needs to clearly show what the exceptional situation was and how it prevented you from submitting the assignment.

For instance, just having a note from a doctor saying you were sick isn’t enough. The note must also explain how serious your illness was and how it affected your ability to submit the assignment.

2. Special Consideration

Consider applying for special consideration if you have submitted – or plan to submit – your assignment on the due date but feel that your special circumstances reduced the quality of your work. If approved, QUT can choose to:

  • reconsider the final unit grade. But be careful, reconsideration of you grade does not guarantee an increase of your grade. QUT may choose to leave your grade unaltered after reconsidering it.  
  • issue an alternative or additional assessment item.
  • re-weigh your assessment. Let’s say you have a 20% assignment, 20% quiz and a 60% exam, but special circumstances impacted your performance in the assignment. QUT may reduce the weight of the assignment to 0% and increase the quiz to 40%.
  • give you a late assignment extension. This outcome is only relied on where a student fails to submit an extension application on time due to extenuating circumstances.

Unlike assignment extensions, special consideration only applies to students who are experiencing:

  • Health issues, except for minor illnesses that only lasted 1-2 weeks and occurred a week (or more) before the assessment due date; and
  • Personal/family circumstances.

You must apply on or within 3 days of the assessment due date.


Please note that Special Consideration is a significant concession that requires either a major health condition or a personal/familial circumstance that occurred before the due date for an assignment/exam, and which have adversely impacted upon your ability to complete assessment items to your usual standard.

This application will need to be supported with appropriate documentation detailing the special circumstances that impacted your performance. You must apply on or within 3 working days of the assessment due date.

Available outcomes are determined by the appropriateness to address the special circumstances, and include the following:

  1. No change to the assessment item or final grade;
  2. Completion of an alternative or additional assessment of a similar academic level;
  3. Reweighting of an assessment item, taking into account:
    1. The ability of the student to demonstrate the unit learning outcomes;
    1. Whether this reweighting is equitable;
    1. Any inherent requirements of the course.
  4. Final grade adjustment, taking into account:
    1. Academic concessions applied for and granted in the relevant teaching period
    1. The duration and extent of special consideration with reference to the assessment item/s
    1. The student’s level of achievement in all assessment items in the unit with reference to the learning outcomes.

The full policy can be found in Manual of Policies and Procedures, Student Academic Concessions Policy, Section 9.

Review the decision:

If you are dissatisfied with QUT’s decision for the type of special consideration that may be applied , or the decision to reject your application, you will need to submit a Review of Academic Ruling (embed link for Review of Academic Ruling below) to dispute this. 

3. Deferred Exam

Consider applying for a deferred exam if you are physically unable to attend your exam due to special circumstances and would like to sit your exam at a later date. You must apply on or within 3 days of your exam.

Also keep in mind that:

  1. You cannot defer an already deferred exam. If you extenuating circumstance are present the day of your deferred exam, attempt your exam where you are able to and apply for special consideration.
  2. You cannot defer your exam if you attended it, regardless if you left early or not. The most you can do in this scenario is apply for special consideration.

4. Supplementary Assessment

Consider applying for supplementary assessment (’supps’) if:

  1. You failed a unit with a grade of 3; and
  2. You would like a second chance at passing the unit; and
  3. This unit is not a designated unit; and
  4. This unit is:
    1. one of your final 96 credit points (for students in a degree that is 3 years or more fulltime); or
    2. one of your final 48 credit points (for students in a degree that is less than 3 years fulltime.

Students may be granted supplementary assessment in a limited number of cases where a grade of 3 has been achieved. This limit is such that the maximum number overall in a course is:

  1. two in the final 96 cp in coursework programs of three or more years full-time duration or equivalent, or
  2. one in the final 48 cp in coursework programs of less than three years full-time duration or equivalent.

5. Withdrawal Without Academic and/or Financial Penalty

Consider applying for withdrawal without academic and/or financial penalty if your special circumstances

  1. caused you to fail a unit; or
  2. forced you to withdraw from a unit after the census date; and you would like QUT to
  3. wipe the fail grade from my academic record; and/or
  4. waive any obligations to pay the unit’s tuition fees.

You must provide independent supporting documentation to prove to QUT that:

  1. you failed the unit/s because of special circumstances that begun / worsened on or after the relevant census date. 
    • These circumstances must have:
    • made its full impact on your academic performance or after the relevant census date for that teaching period;
    • made it impracticable for you to complete the unit that semester
    • been beyond your control; and
    • been severe, uncommon and abnormal for you.
  2. your performance in the unit up until your special circumstances began / worsened was satisfactory.
    • You have 12 months to submit this application, counting from day you completed or withdrew from the unit.

Download and read our Withdrawal Without Penalty Checklist and Student Guide to determine your eligibility to apply for special circumstances.