COVID-19 Assessment Support Measures [academic session 2020-21]

These measures apply to undergraduate and postgraduate taught students



The usual position is that students can request an extension to an assessment submission deadline of up to five working days.

For the remainder of this academic session, students may request an extension of 10 working days.

  • You can do this by contacting the course coodinator (or other staff member, as advised by the School).
  • You should explain your difficulty – whether related to the pandemic or to other circumstances – and provide a copy of any relevant evidence that is readily available.

Staff will be as flexible as possible in granting these extensions within the constraints of the particular assessment and programme.

Most of you will be required to complete a number of different pieces of coursework across the semester. You should already have details of the deadlines. As far as possible you should aim to meet these deadlines in order to give yourself enough time to complete subsequent work and then prepare for exams. Keeping to the schedule also means that you will receive feedback at the appropriate point in order to help you with other assessment.

However, if there are particular circumstances that make this difficult, you should contact your School/RI as soon as possible. You should try to submit your work as close to the original deadline as possible so as to keep on track with your overall workload.

In some areas there will be limits on the length of extension that can be offered. For example, it would not be possible to offer a ten-day extension for weekly exercises that are marked quickly with feedback returned to you before the next exercise.



Good Cause

Good Cause is the process that students should use to advise the University if their ability to complete assessment has been disrupted by ill health or other adverse personal circumstances.

Examples of relevant personal circumstances include:

  • a student’s ill health
  • additional caring responsibilities
  • severely disrupted access to study facilities

Usually a successful claim will result in students being required to complete the affected assessment(s) at a later date.

For Honours and Integrated Masters students due to complete their degree this year, there are special arrangements:

Supporting evidence

The process normally requires independent documentary evidence to support Good Cause claims.

Further information about evidence requirements is covered in the Good Cause - Key FAQs for Students.

During the pandemic, we understand that it can sometimes be difficult to produce independent supporting evidence. So, in some cases, a supporting statement from a member of University staff with whom you have been in contact in relation to the relevant circumstances may be enough. 

Students should make reasonable efforts to support their claims with evidence, but a lack of evidence will not be a barrier to bringing adverse circumstances to the University’s attention. In your claim you should explain if you have difficulty obtaining evidence.

Staff have been asked to be flexible, and if it is clear that it would be difficult for you to have obtained evidence, staff should accept the claim without.




Submission of dissertations/projects due to be submitted by April 2021

This concerns:

  • the dissertation/project worth at least 20 credits required to be completed by Honours and Integrated Masters students
  • the dissertation/project worth at least 60 credits required to be completed by PGT Masters students.

Projects have been designed to be achievable within the particular restrictions associated with the pandemic. However, some students will have experienced further challenges as the project progressed either because of their personal circumstances or because of unanticipated difficulties associated with the research itself.

Schools/RIs will offer additional flexibility in relation to the submission date, where possible.

This may mean:

  • the submission date is extended for a whole class


  • flexibility is offered for students individually to ask for more time where they need it. This includes asking for an extension of 10 working days in the same way as for coursework.

Some areas may be able to offer more flexibility than others. For example, if the submission date is already late in the semester, longer extensions may not be possible without the risk that marking will not be completed in time to allow the degree to be awarded in the summer.

Deferring submission of dissertation/project until Summer

For students who have experienced particularly severe or long-lasting disruption to the work on their dissertation/project, it may be possible to defer submission until the summer.

However, this will result in the award being delayed until November/December.

If you think this may be necessary for you because of disruption to your work, you should contact your School/RI to discuss further.

Marking of dissertations/projects

Although projects this year have been designed with pandemic restrictions in mind, for some students it will not have been possible for their research to be taken forward as intended. For example, due to:

  • the unanticipated closure of libraries, archives or labs
  • lack of access to interviewees

Marking will reflect what it was reasonably possible to have achieved in the context of research restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

You will probably have already discussed any such disruption with your supervisor, but you should let them know if there have been any unanticipated additional restrictions on your research.

Requirement to achieve a grade D3 in the dissertation/project for the award of an Honours or Integrated Masters degree

Normally, an Honours/Integrated Masters degree can only be awarded where a grade of at least D3 is achieved in the dissertation or project.

This requirement will not be applied for students completing in 2020-21.

However, the grade awarded for the dissertation/project will still be included in the calculation of the final GPA. This applies to all dissertations/projects, including those already submitted in the current session.

You will probably have already discussed any such disruption with your supervisor, but you should let them know if there have been any unanticipated additional restrictions on your research.

On some professional/accredited programmes a D3 in the dissertation/project is required for the degree to be accredited by the relevant body. You will be advised if this applies to your degree. 

PGT Masters students who will be progressing to the dissertation/project over the summer

The way that this work is scheduled varies greatly between different programmes. Students may currently be working on their proposals or be in the early stages of research. For some students, work does not start on the dissertation/project until the taught courses have finished.

Whatever the timeline, Schools/RIs will continue to help guide students as to what research will be possible. Information will be issued later in the spring if further measures are required.



Amended requirements for degree awards

For PGT students completing their programme of study in 2020-21:

There has been some amendment to the normal requirements, particularly in relation to the award of Merit and Distinction.

Different rules apply depending on the length of the programme and when the various different parts of the programme have been studied.

Honours/Integrated Masters students:



Why are COVID-19 assessment support measures in place?

This has been an academic session like no other, with teaching largely delivered remotely and your lives as students very different from the norm. You have all been experiencing significant constraints and anxieties, and some of you have faced extremely challenging personal circumstances. For some of you these challenges have come at particular times and for others there have been difficulties lasting throughout the session.

In response to these continuing challenging circumstances, there are special measures to be applied to assessment taken during 2020-21.

The measures are being put in place because we want to support you to achieve your best possible performance in your assessments.

At the same time we will ensure that your degree meets the high academic standards associated with an award from the University.