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Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMCs)

A student guide to IMC procedures including help to understand if this is the correct route for you and how a claim may affect your academic outcome


Individual Mitigating Circumstance (IMCs) are conditions which temporarily prevent you from undertaking an assessment or significantly impair your performance in that assessment.

IMCs may be related to your own circumstances (such as ill health, a serious accommodation crisis or prolonged technical problems) or circumstances involving others that have a significant impact on your ability to undertake assessments (such as the illness of a close family member or friend). They are normally unexpected and unavoidable circumstances.

Further information on IMCs can be found on the following pages:

Is an IMC acceptable for my circumstances?

The IMC process is just one way we support students experiencing disruption to their studies. An IMC claim may be appropriate for your situation if your assessment has been impacted, though there are also other supports in place. Please review the guide to reasons normally considered acceptable for an IMC.

Should I submit an IMC for my coursework?

If you are struggling to complete your coursework assessment in time, and the deadline has not passed, you should first apply for a coursework extension, unless your department has confirmed that extension is not suitable for that particular assessment.

A coursework extension does not prevent you from submitting an IMC claim for that assessment, but it is important to consider at the time of your assessment whether asking an extension would help to resolve the potential impact of your circumstances on your work.

To request a coursework extension, you should use the relevant Department/Faculty/School procedure to do this but please speak to the Unit Convenor in the first instance if you are unsure what to do. If you are having difficulties with your dissertation or project deadline you should raise this as soon as possible.

Making a claim

You should submit your IMC claim as soon as you can after an affected assessment/exam and by no later than the following deadlines:

  • if you are submitting an IMC claim for a single/individual assessment, you must submit your claim no later than three working days after the deadline for the affected work
  • if circumstances affect more than one of your assessments during the formal exam period, you must submit your claim for all affected assessments, no later than three working days after the end of the exam period.

Where you know an assessment will be disrupted in advance (for example, due to a funeral or essential medical procedure), you should first talk to your Director of Studies, and if appropriate, you can submit an IMC claim in advance.

Find instructions on Submitting an Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMC) claim

Advice and support to make a claim

You can speak to your Director of Studies, Student Experience Officer (School of Management), Personal Tutor, the Disability Service, the Wellbeing Service and SU Advice & Support. They are there to help you, and the earlier you seek advice the more options may be available to support you.

What happens after I submit a claim?

Your assessment (if you have attempted it) will be marked as normal, and whether or not your IMC claim has been accepted, you will receive a mark based on the work you submitted.

An IMC Panel for your department/Faculty/School reviews your claim form and evidence. They do this before the exam boards at the end of each semester. If your circumstances fit the definition of valid IMCs and demonstrate there was a significant impact on your performance, your IMC claim will normally be accepted.

You will find out the outcome of your claim and what it means when your unit results are released on SAMIS. If your IMC is not accepted, you will be given a reason. You may also hear from your Director of Studies or department admin team.

How do IMCs work?

Specific rules of IMCs are outlined in our assessment regulations or in the Individual Mitigating Circumstances and Assessment document, depending on which is relevant for your course. Details of the IMC procedures that apply to your course are available here. It is important to note that there are reasonable limits upon the powers of IMCs in order to ensure all students are treated fairly (past, present and future) and to maintain our academic standards. If you are unsure, your Director of Studies can help you understand which rules may apply in your academic circumstances.

If you have an IMC for an assessment, we flag that your assessment was affected using an 'M' in your record of assessment (the 'M' does not show on your transcript). The mark you achieved for the assessment does not change as a result of an accepted IMC; your record shows what you actually achieved in the assessment at the time (this includes a 0 for a non-submission).

An accepted IMC enables an exam board to exercise some discretion and to take decisions about your outcomes beyond the normal ones in the assessment regulations. The exam board will use its academic judgement and what is allowed for your course when it considers exercising any discretion it has within the rules. Decisions will be made using the evidence provided by your results in both IMC-affected and unaffected units. You can read more about how we make academic decisions on our webpage Understanding your results.

What IMCs can do

There is a range of possible decisions an exam board may take and some simplified examples of what may be possible are listed below.

Please bear in mind that these examples do not supersede or replace the IMC regulations, which always take precedence. As simplified examples they may also not be possible in your specific academic circumstances. Your Director of Studies will be your best source of advice for questions about what might be possible in your individual academic situation.

IMCs may, within limits and depending on your academic outcomes:

  • Allow you to make a new assessment attempt that will replace your old attempt, subject to the rules around reassessment eligibility (this is not always possible, as your eligibility is highly dependent on your specific academic outcomes for the unit and the course overall). For example, if you have failed a unit overall at your first attempts at assessment, an IMC may give you further first attempts to pass. If you have passed a unit overall, you would not be eligible for reassessment even if you had an IMC accepted.
  • Allow you to progress into the next year of your undergraduate course rather than needing to suspend for reassessment - however, a Board cannot allow you progress into the next year if you have more than 15 credits requiring re-assessment or where you have not yet passed a Designated Essential Unit (DEU) / Must Pass Unit (MPU).
  • Allow normal progression thresholds to be disregarded - some courses have averages that need to be met to stay on the course, or progress into the next year. The IMC rules allow the Board to consider whether they should exceptionally disregard these if you have not otherwise met the criteria.
  • Allow more reassessment of failure than would normally be allowed - there are limits to how much reassessment is allowed for you to try to pass failed units. The IMC rules mean the Board can allow you to take further re-assessment in units you have failed to try to meet progression/award requirements.
  • Allow you to repeat an entire undergraduate year, as for the first time - sometimes the disruption you experienced was so extensive the Board may decide it is best for you to redo the stage of your course. This would void your previous results and you would keep only your new results.
  • Allow the Board to recommend you receive the next higher degree classification from the one you would normally be awarded - for example, if the Board judges that the evidence base of results from your non-IMC affected units demonstrates that your academic performance overall is in line with the next higher degree class, it may decide to recommend that you are awarded that higher class.

What IMCs can’t do

There are several decisions that an exam board cannot take even with an accepted IMC. Please bear in mind this is not an exhaustive list.

An IMC cannot:

  • Change your mark(s) - within our regulations we only mark based on your actual performance and would not allocate a mark based on what your performance might have been in other circumstances. Having an accepted IMC means that the outcomes and consequences from your marks may be changed, but the mark would stay the same.
  • Allow (or require) you to take further assessment where you have already passed the unit - if you have passed the unit with an IMC you will not be able to take the affected (or missed) assessment again to try and improve the assessment or unit mark. Instead, the impact of that IMC-affected unit will be considered by the Board when making important decisions about your progression, award, or classification.
  • Change your outcomes more than the rules for your course allow - sometimes the design of your course means that some options are not available in your academic circumstances even with an IMC. For example, if the unit in question is a Designated Essential Unit (a DEU) / Must Pass Unit (a MPU) then you must always pass it in your current stage/year before you can progress and/or receive your award.
  • Remove a late submission penalty for a remote Inspera exam, replace files already submitted, or permit any unsubmitted part of an exam attempt to be accepted.

Seeking help

Consider speaking to your Director of Studies, Student Experience Officer (School of Management), personal tutor, the Disability Service, the Wellbeing Service or The SU Advice & Support Centre. They are there to help you, and the earlier you seek advice the more options may be available to support you.

Seek academic skills support from the Skills Centre - this includes the Mathematics Resources Centre (MASH)

Seek support for circumstances related to a long-term health condition There is support available from the Disability Service and support options that can be put in place, such as measures agreed through a Disability Access Plan (DAP). You may also wish to seek support from the Wellbeing Service.

Consider if a coursework extension request will help. This is often the most appropriate option if you are worried about an upcoming coursework submission deadline. An extension is intended to give you the additional time you may need.

Consider if suspending your studies might be helpful. This may be suitable if the circumstances you are facing are unlikely to end soon or be helped by any of these other measures, and should be discussed with your Director of Studies, following the guide to suspending your studies. The Student Money Advice team are also available to discuss any concerns you may have about financial implications and direct you to support available.

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