Have you missed an assessment because you were sick or had a misadventure?

Special Consideration

You can apply for special consideration if you are unable to complete an assessment because you, or someone you are the primary carer for, are affected by short term illness (mental or physical) or misadventure, or an exacerbation of a disability, provided that it is outside of your control, unexpected, and affects you “severely”. Long term illness (more than four weeks) is considered a disability and should be addressed through the University’s Disability Service.

You must submit your application within three working days of the assessment, together with documentation to support your claim. This might be a Professional Practitioner’s Certificate (PPC) from a doctor, psychologist or another health care professional; police report; death notice; etc. While a Statutory or Student Declaration might support your other documents, it may not be considered sufficient as a document on its own. If you cannot think of what documents you might be able to supply, talk to an SRC Caseworker about what options you might have.

Don’t focus on the event itself, but rather the severity of the impact that you experienced. So, for something like the death of a family member, you will need to show that the person died (e.g., funeral service leaflet), as well as a PPC to show that you were severely affected by grief. Be aware that in most cases the University’s Counselling and Psychology Service will not give you a PPC, and you will need to gain a PPC from another treating psychologist or doctor.

If you are successful in your application you might be given an extension, a supplementary exam (finals usually occur in week 18), or in some limited cases, a re-weighting of assessments. They cannot give you extra marks. If you continue to be affected by illness or misadventure, you can apply for special consideration for these alternative assessments. For example, you can ask for special consideration for a supplementary exam. If the faculty is unable to provide an additional supplementary assessment, you will be given a Discontinue Not Fail (DC) grade.

Something less severe

A Unit of Study Coordinator is able to grant a two-working day “simple extension” for a non-examination task. Note that this does not change any conditions for special consideration.

Late applications

The University will consider late special consideration applications only if you can provide evidence that it was absolutely not possible for you to submit your application within the three working days. Not knowing about the process is not considered enough of a reason.

Supporting documentation

A PPC should be dated on or before the date of the assessment, with the range of dates you are affected including the date of the assessment. It is likely that you will need to be “very severely affected” or “totally unable to study”. If you are the primary carer for someone who is sick, get a PPC to show that they were sick, and that you were very severely affected by having to care for them. It will need to be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation. If you are too unwell to go to the doctor, search the internet for a home visit GP. If you submit a false medical certificate, or a certificate that you have altered, you risk severe penalties, including being excluded from university.

Special arrangements

If your study is affected by an event that is not sickness or misadventure, you can apply for ‘special arrangements’. This includes, but is not limited to, jury duty, court summons, armed service, birth or adoption of a child, an essential religious commitment, sporting or cultural commitments where you are representing the University, state or country, and in some cases essential employment. This does not include attending a wedding. You will need to provide supporting documentation and apply using the Special Consideration portal. For final exams, this must be lodged no more than 14 days after the exam timetable is published.

Disability

If you have a long term (more than four weeks) or pre-existing medical condition, you can apply for disability support. Disability Services can help you to create an academic plan to successfully complete your degree with any reasonable accommodations, so contact them as soon as possible.

You can appeal a rejected special consideration application. Address the issues they have raised, and submit it within 15 working days of the original decision. It may help to get additional medical documentation to support your claim.

Need help?

For help with special consideration applications email an SRC Caseworker at help@src.usyd.edu.au. We are happy to give you advice.