Personal Mitigating Circumstances
If you have suffered from serious personal mitigating circumstances that are beyond your control and that have affected your ability to complete assessments, you can use the Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) procedure to advise the University of your circumstances.
PMCs should be used as a last resort. Please make sure you have engaged with our academic support services and guides on the Student Hub, which can help you avoid using the PMC Procedure and help you to stay on track for progression and/or graduation. Please read the FAQs below before submitting a PMC request.
You can self-certify for some circumstances, but please note that you can only self-certify once per academic year. Only use this option if you really must.
Assessments and submission
Each of your modules will require you to complete one or more assessments. The purpose of assessment is to test your knowledge, understanding and skills and to provide you with feedback to enable you to understand the mark or grade you have achieved and to explain how you can improve going forward. It is therefore very important that wherever possible you try to submit each assessment on time.
What if I am struggling with an assessment?
If you find that you are struggling with an assessment, it is very important that you speak to someone at the earliest opportunity to access support and guidance. There is lots of support available to help you complete your assessments on time. You should contact a member of your programme team, the Library or askUS for advice and guidance or visit the Assessment module within Blackboard. You should not feel worried or anxious about doing so – we are all here to help you succeed.
What if personal circumstances are affecting my assessment?
If personal mitigating circumstances are affecting your assessment, you should seek support and do all that you can to complete your assessment on time. If your work is late or you do not submit, this may have consequences and may result in the requirement to repeat or resit your assessment at a later point and maybe for a capped mark. It also means you miss out on the chance to gain feedback on your performance that may be useful for your learning and support later assessments.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it may not be possible to complete an assessment on time, in which case you do have the option to tell the University about personal mitigating circumstances through the Personal Mitigating Circumstances Procedure.
What are personal mitigating circumstances (PMC)?
PMCs are circumstances such as medical or personal issues which have seriously affected your ability to complete an assessment, over which you have no control, and which you could not have predicted. These should be one off circumstances and not ongoing events or situations.
Circumstances or situations must have affected:
- Your attendance at a timed assessment such as an exam or presentation (absence) OR
- Your ability to submit an assessment (non-submission) or
- Your ability to submit an assessment by the submission date BUT you can submit within the late submission period which is 7 days after the submission date (late submission).
What circumstances can be considered through the PMC process?
Here are some examples of what we would usually consider valid PMC requests:
- Serious short-term illness or injury affecting your ability to study
- Death or significant illness of a close family member or friend
- Unexpected caring responsibilities affecting your ability to study
- Worsening of an ongoing illness or disability, including mental health conditions
- An emergency or crisis that prevents you from attending an exam, presentation or accessing an online assessment
- An unexpected accommodation crisis such as eviction or a home becoming uninhabitable
- A crime which has had a substantial impact on your ability to study
- Significant and unanticipated increases in your workload (e.g. as a result of paid employment) which had not been planned for (this only applies to part time/distance learning students and DOES NOT apply to Apprentices)
- Being called for jury service
- A shortcoming or failure in the support arrangements if you are a disabled student.
Here are some examples of what we would not usually consider to be valid PMC requests:
- Missing a coursework deadline or exam because you got the time or date mixed up
- Minor ailments of a short-term nature such as colds, headaches, stomach upsets, except where the ailment prevented attendance at, or occurred during, an exam or similar timed assessment;
- House moves, holidays or celebrations where you either have control over the date, reasonable prior notice or could choose not to attend.
- Circumstances where individual arrangements have already been put in place e.g. through a Reasonable Adjustment Plan or Carer Support Plan).
- Circumstances to which all or most students are subject (e.g. financial difficulties, “bunching” of examinations or coursework deadlines or exam stress).
- Circumstances where individual arrangements have already been put in place (e.g. through a Reasonable Adjustment Plan or Carer Support Plan).
- Circumstances arising from poor time management or personal organisation (e.g. failure to plan for foreseeable last-minute emergencies such as computer crashes, printing problems, work not backed up, misreading/lack of awareness of examination timetables or submission deadlines).
- Travel problems arising from minor delays or in cases where normal traffic congestion has not been taken into account.
- Issues that the University is responsible for, for example, with timetables, equipment or teaching/supervision provision. There is a different process for this so please speak to your tutor.
- Being subject to Procedures such as Academic Misconduct, Student Misconduct or Fitness to Practise.
Information for Apprentices
Work related commitments/deadlines cannot be used as a reason for a PMC request.
I am an apprentice, what do I need to know about PMCs?
If you meet all of the following criteria then you are classed as an apprenticeship student:
- My employer is funding my academic programme
- I have signed a commitment statement and apprenticeship agreement at the outset of my programme
- I spend 20% of my time on off-the-job and log this via timesheets / OneFile
- I attend regular progress review meetings with my employer and the university to manage my progress through the programme
As an apprentice, PMC requests made on the basis of work-related commitments / deadlines will not be accepted. This is because when Apprentices and Employers sign up for an Apprenticeship programme, both parties agree that a percentage of time will be spent on 'off the job training'.
If you have personal mitigating circumstances affecting the final 60 credit module of your programme (usually a project or dissertation), where a PMC request meets the relevant criteria, this can be used to request an extension of six weeks for submission of the assessment. The reason for the PMC must be agreed with the School, the Apprenticeship Services Unit and the Employer. PMCs must not be processed without approval from all parties. During the six-week extension apprentices must complete off-the-job training and have evidence for this (timesheet etc.).
Submitting a PMC request: the process and evidence
Which assessments can I submit a PMC request for?
You can submit a PMC request for any assessment attempt except In-Year Retrieval attempts. This means you can use the PMC system for a first attempt, a resit attempt or a retake attempt.
How do I submit a PMC request?
To make a PMC request, you should complete the online form.
- State if your request is a self-certification request (no need for evidence if you meet specific criteria) or a request accompanied by evidence.
- Explain the circumstances which have affected you and the impact of these.
- State the period of time you have been affected.
- State which assessments have been affected.
- State if your request relates to late submission of your assessment, non-submission of your assessment or absence from your assessment.
- Provide evidence (where appropriate).
If you do not provide sufficient information your request may not be accepted, so instead of saying ‘I was ill’, you need to explain the nature of your illness, the length of time you were ill and the impact on you.
When should I submit a PMC request?
Your PMC request must be submitted within 10 working days of your assessment or submission date. If you have a Reasonable Adjustment Plan or Carer Support Plan which permits an extended submission date, your PMC request must be submitted no later than 10 working days after your individual extended submission date.
Your request may be submitted in advance of the assessment date if you know you will be unable to attend or submit, for example you have a hospital appointment or treatment scheduled on the date of an assessment. You should seek guidance from a tutor or other support service first to see if there is a way that you can meet the submission deadline before opting to submit a PMC request. We would recommend that you submit your request close to the point of your assessment deadline so you know if you will be able to submit or not.
I am undertaking the final stage of my Masters degree, can I submit a PMC request?
If you are a student on the final stage of a taught Masters programme, you can submit a PMC for the following:
- Late submission of your project/dissertation – if your PMC is accepted this means that any late submission penalties applied will be removed.
- Non submission of your project/dissertation – if your PMC is accepted this means a new standard submission date will be set:
- 6 weeks for students on a full time Masters programme (from the original submission date);
- 12 weeks for students on a part time Masters programme (from the original submission date).
Do I need evidence to support my PMC request and self certification requests?
Wherever you can, it is best to provide evidence to support your PMC request, but we recognise that this is not always possible. There are two types of PMC request: a self-certification request and an evidence-based request.
Self-certification is a way of reporting personal mitigating circumstances of up to seven consecutive days arising from unanticipated circumstances where it is not reasonably possible to obtain independent third-party evidence such as
- you have experienced a period of short-term acute illness for which attendance at a doctor is not advised or possible;
- you have had unexpected caring responsibilities;
- you have been affected by a bereavement;
- experiencing a traumatic incident as a result of a protected characteristic, for example the stress or weather effect brought about as a result of racial discrimination or harassment.
You can only use a self certification PMC once during an academic year, so you need to think very carefully about when you use this. Where you have evidence to support your request, you may wish to consider submitting an evidence based PMC request so that you leave the option of a self-certification request open to use, if needed, at a later stage and where it is not possible to obtain evidence.
If you need to submit an evidence-based PMC, the following types of evidence may support your circumstances:
Letter from a GP or other medical practitioner
Hospital discharge note
The evidence should confirm your condition or the nature of your illness and confirm the length of your illness
Illness - hospital
Hospital discharge note
If you are being treated in hospital, we would expect a hospital discharge note or appointment letter
Letter from counsellor
The evidence should confirm that you have been seeing a counsellor and the period of time involved
Funeral order of service
Travel documents (if you have needed to travel abroad to attend a funeral)
Screen shots of social media pages
Letter from GP or counsellor
You may qualify for a self-certification if you meet the criteria for self-certification. If you do not, we understand that it can be difficult to obtain a death certificate so alternative types of evidence may be provided.
Victim of crime
Letter or report from police or solicitor
Confirmation of a crime number in communication from the Police
Technical issues affecting your submission
Written confirmation from the University’s Development Team (+44 (0)161 295 2444).
Photographs are not normally considered as appropriate evidence; however, a photograph of a document generated by a third party will normally be reviewed and considered. Please do not submit photographs which may be disturbing such as photographs of injuries or similar.
If concerns arise regarding the authenticity of evidence provided to support a PMC request, the University reserves the right to check the authenticity of such evidence with the identified originating source. Action may be taken through the Student Misconduct Procedure or Fitness to Practice Procedure if evidence is found to be fraudulent.
Submitting a PMC request: Outcomes
What are the possible outcomes of an accepted PMC request?
Each coursework assessment has a submission date by which you are required to submit your work. If you are unable to submit by this date, the University has a late submission period of 7 days following the submission date. You can submit in the late submission period BUT your mark will be capped at the pass mark (40% for undergraduates and 50% for postgraduates). An accepted PMC request for late submission means that a capped mark will not apply for your first submission attempt and you will receive the actual mark awarded for the assessment.
If you are absent from an assessment such as am exam or presentation an accepted PMC will give you a replacement assessment attempt at the next available opportunity.
If you are unable to submit your assessment, an accepted PMC will give you a replacement assessment attempt at the next available opportunity.
How long will it take to receive a decision about my request and how does this happen?
The University aims to review PMCs normally within 3 working days of receipt. This does not include weekends or days when the University is officially closed. You will be informed of the decision through your University of Salford email address.
Your PMC request will be seen by staff in your School who have been appointed as PMC reviewers. You should be aware that the information you provide may be shared with staff linked to your course and relevant support services for the purpose of providing you with appropriate support and guidance.
Can I request a review of my PMC decision if it is rejected?
Where PMC requests are rejected due to insufficient or lack of evidence, you have the option to submit further evidence or information you can you submit further evidence to support your case within 5 working days. Details of the process to follow will be provided to you in the email communication which confirms the outcome.
Following conclusion of the PMC process and where a PMC request remains rejected, you may subsequently submit an academic appeal against the decision of the Assessment Board when ratified/confirmed results are available. You will need to establish a good reason to explain why all relevant information could not be provided through the PMC process. Not knowing about the University's PMC Procedure would not be considered good reason for non-submission of a PMC request.
The following would be considered as acceptable reasons to explain why a PMC request was not submitted in line the PMC Procedure:
- You were in hospital or severely ill and unable to submit a PMC request (evidence will be required to support this);
- relevant evidence to support a PMC request became available after the PMC submission deadline.
What if I have ongoing circumstances?
You cannot use the PMC process to submit repeated PMC requests for the same circumstances. If you experience ongoing issues which are affecting your studies, you need to speak to someone in your School (a tutor, your programme administrator or your Student Progression Administrator) with the details at the bottom of this page or askUS for advice.
What if I can’t submit in the late submission period and I need more time?
Each coursework assessment has a submission date by which you are required to submit your work. If you are unable to submit by this date, the University has a late submission period of 7 days following the submission date. You can submit in the late submission period BUT your mark will be capped at the pass mark (40% for undergraduates and 50% for postgraduates). An accepted PMC request for late submission means that a capped mark will not apply for your first submission attempt.
You can only submit one PMC request for late submission for each assessment each time. So, for example, if your assessment is due on 1 November you should aim to submit by that date. You can submit in the late submission period (in this instance until 8 November). An accepted PMC will remove the late penalty. You cannot submit a further PMC request for this assessment to extend the late submission period beyond 8 November. You would be better placed submitting a PMC for non-submission.
Additional information, help and advice
To receive additional information, help or advice, we recommend you speak to a member of staff in your School (a tutor, your programme administrator or your Student Progression Administrator) or email:
- Salford Business School: email@example.com
- School of Arts, Media & Creative Technology: firstname.lastname@example.org
- School of Health & Society: email@example.com
- School of Science, Engineering & Environment: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Salford Languages: email@example.com
You can also take a look at our assessment and academic support on the Student Hub. If you need independent advice, please speak to the Students’ Union Advice Centre.