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Late submission of coursework

There is a single policy across the University for the late submission of coursework for all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

You should familiarise yourself with the primary submission of coursework method of each department that you are taking a module with. Each piece of coursework must be submitted by the deadline published in order to gain a mark. However, there may be occasions when you are unable to undertake, complete or hand in a piece of coursework due to circumstances beyond your control. The University has put in place policies for dealing with such extenuating circumstances.

These guidance notes cover extenuating circumstances which affect your ability to submit coursework by the deadline. There are separate policies and guidance on extenuating circumstances concerning performance in coursework or exams, circumstances affecting ability to submit coursework at all and circumstances causing absence from an exam.

Policies

  • Late submission policy and guidance

    There is a single policy across the University for the late submission of coursework for both undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes of study. The policy is designed to help you develop your study skills and, importantly, to prevent you from suffering a work overload because, through no fault of your own, you are unable to complete a piece of coursework within the time given.

    The policy states that all assessment submitted after the deadline will receive a mark of zero, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

    You should familiarise yourself with the primary submission of coursework method of each department that you are taking a module with. Each piece of coursework must be submitted by the deadline published in order to gain a mark. No extensions will be granted in advance so you should familiarise yourself with the policy and arrangements for late submission of work.

    However, there may be occasions when you are unable to undertake, complete or hand in a piece of coursework due to circumstances beyond your control. The University has put in place policies for dealing with such late submissions. This means that you can still submit work late if you have evidence of extenuating circumstances in relation to the late submission of coursework. Extenuating circumstances are defined as the inability to submit work by the deadline due to reasons beyond your control, of a medical, practical or personal nature which affects you in the period immediately preceding the time of the deadline. Genuine emergencies which could not reasonably have been expected will be accepted as extenuating.

    This guidance covers extenuating circumstances which affect your ability to submit coursework by the deadline, but no later than seven days after the original assessment was due. There are separate policies and guidance on extenuating circumstances concerning performance in coursework or exams; circumstances causing absence from an exam; and circumstances affecting ability to submit coursework within seven days from the original assessment deadline or to submit coursework at all.

    Late submission requests for coursework will be accepted for consideration by the relevant departmental Extenuating Circumstances Committee up to seven days after the relevant deadline, including weekends and/or bank holidays, unless model answers have been released. It is at the discretion of the department to comment on work submitted later than seven days for formative feedback only (that is, no formal marks will be awarded).

    If you have a disability which is preventing you from meeting deadlines, please contact a member of the Student Wellbeing and Inclusion Service in the Student Services Hub to discuss this issue in advance of your submission dates.

  • Postgraduate dissertations

    Postgraduate taught dissertations or equivalent are not counted as coursework and are therefore not covered by the policy on the late submission of coursework. Students can request an extension for their postgraduate dissertation if they find that, due to extenuating circumstances, they will be unable to submit the dissertation by the published deadline.

    Students can request an informal extension of up to four weeks from the department/school. Where a longer extension is required, an application for an extension to a postgraduate taught dissertation can be completed via MyEssex for consideration by the relevant Deputy Dean (Education).

    If you have a disability which is preventing you from meeting deadlines, please contact a member of the Student Wellbeing and Inclusion Service in the Student Services Hub to discuss this issue in advance of your submission dates.

  • Absence from in-class tests, practical assignment and presentations

    If you have been unable to attend a coursework test, such as a timed in-class test, a presentation or a practical class, you should inform your department as soon as possible.

    Some types of assessment, such as certain in-class tests, practical assignments or presentations, may not be covered by this policy. Where it is deemed impossible to accept a late submission request due to the nature of the assessment, this information will be available from the school/department (e.g. in the module outline or departmental handbook). In such cases, a student who is unable to undertake the assessment by the deadline due to extenuating circumstances should submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form which will be considered by the next Board of Examiners meeting.

Making a late submission request

If you miss your coursework deadline and believe that you have extenuating circumstances, then you should submit an extenuating circumstances form within seven calendar days (including weekends and/or holidays) detailing those circumstances and any relevant evidence. It is your responsibility to inform the department of the circumstances.

Each department has an Extenuating Circumstances Committee which will normally meet at least twice during the year. The Committee will decide whether your work should be marked and whether that mark will count towards your formal assessment (which means the mark will be instated). The department will advise you of the outcome.

Students on professional courses in the School of Health and Human Sciences should note that committees will meet more frequently. Please see the School of Health and Human Science's late submission information.

  • Longer term extenuating circumstances or non-submission of work

    If you have experienced significant (longer term) extenuating circumstances that prevent you from submitting your work at all, or within seven days of the deadline, you should submit an extenuating circumstances form for the Board of Examiners to consider when it meets at the end of the year, which should clearly explain how your extenuating circumstances affected your ability to submit your work.

  • Circumstances not taken into account

    You should note that extenuating circumstances claims for marks instatement will only be considered in cases where you were unable to hand coursework in or attend coursework tests/presentations due to a circumstance or event that could not reasonably have been anticipated.

    The following are examples of circumstances which are not considered to be relevant for the instatement of marks due to failure to meet a deadline:

    • minor ailments and illnesses on the day of coursework submission, such as colds, coughs, sprains, headache)
    • personal disruptions or events which could have been anticipated, such as holidays, weddings, changing address or employment, religious holidays or festivals which are usually known in advance
    • study-related circumstances, such as computer failure, printing problems, unavailability of books, photocopying problems, as these problems should be factored into the organisation of your work load (in cases where there are serious failures of relevant computing resources, the department may schedule a general change in the deadline for all students affected)
    • general pressure of work is not taken to be circumstances beyond your control, as you are expected to plan your work schedule
    • excessive demands on time or pressure of employment which could have been anticipated
    • financial constraints, as these are commonly experienced by students
    • misreading/confusing the coursework deadline
    • oversleeping on the day of the deadline
    • transport problems, such as car breaking down or delayed public transport

    It is not appropriate, nor possible, to list all of the potential extenuating circumstances that a student may encounter which would be accepted by the Extenuating Circumstances Committee. The list above should give you an indication of the types of circumstance that are not accepted by the Committee.

    The message is… don’t leave handing in your work until the last possible day!

  • What to include on your extenuating circumstances form

    You should include on the form details of the specific piece(s) of coursework affected by the circumstances that prevented timely submission of the work. Make sure you explain the impact these circumstances had on your ability to submit your coursework by the deadline. It is not the role of the Extenuating Circumstances Committee to try to work this out or to seek further information on your behalf.

    Make your submission clear and concise. Extenuating Circumstances Committees are trying to determine whether the circumstances have significantly and legitimately affected your ability to submit work by the deadline.

  • Documentary evidence you need to provide

    This will depend on the type of problems that you have experienced. Whilst documentary evidence is not always required, nor possible to obtain, the Extenuating Circumstances Committee reserves the right to reject cases where evidence is not provided.

    See our guidance on documentary evidence.

  • Planning your work during term-time

    You have a responsibility to manage your own working schedules throughout the term. In order to avoid problems with deadlines it is important that you realise that a deadline is a time by which work is to be completed and handed in. You should always aim to submit work prior to the deadline as this will ensure that you should never have any problems with a late submission. A simple tactic is to set your own deadline, perhaps several days in advance of the last possible date for submission, and to organise your work around that.

    If you have difficulty in managing your workload, you can seek advice from a number of sources, including the advising support system in your department, SU Advice and your Student Services Hub.

  • False claims

    You should note that submitting a false claim or false documentation is a serious matter and would be regarded as an attempt to gain unfair advantage. This would be an academic offence and would be dealt with under the Academic Offences Procedures. The University reserves the right to check on the validity of the document(s) you submit by contacting the third party directly.

  • Data Protection Act 1998

    By submitting an extenuating circumstances form you are agreeing to the University holding this personal data for the purposes of processing your claim. The University will hold this data in accordance with its notification under the 1998 Data Protection Act.

  • Equality Act 2010 and Guidance for Disabled Students

    If you have a disability which is preventing you from meeting published deadlines, please contact a member of the Disability Service in the Student Services Hub to discuss this issue in advance of your submission dates.

    If you find that you are unable to submit a hard copy of a Late Submission Form, you can submit it electronically. Please contact your department who will tell you the email address to use.

    If you have any queries about a claim which has been rejected, please contact your department to request further information. You can also discuss this feedback with staff in the Student Services Hub if you believe that your individual needs have not been understood or adequately taken into account.

    If you are providing information about your disability on your Late Submission of Coursework Form or your Extenuating Circumstances Form, please note that this does not count as disclosure to the University as these forms are intended for use only by the Late Submissions Committee or the Board of Examiners. We strongly urge you to disclose any persistent medical condition, specific learning difficulty or disability to your Student Services Hub.