The deferral process allows you to postpone an assessment to the next appropriate assessment opportunity

You are required to sit all assessments in the academic year in which you received tuition. If you are absent from an exam or fail to submit an assessment you will receive a mark of zero (i.e a fail) for that course, which will count as an attempt.

However, under certain circumstances you might be allowed to postpone one or more assessments to the next appropriate assessment opportunity. This is called deferral. 

Deferring Assessments

Please click on the link below for the student guidance on the changes to these procedures:

Student Guidance

*This guidance has been updated in December 2021

The deferral form can be accessed here.

Please note that it may take a few days for Student Services to process your form after you have submitted it - please do not worry about this.  As long as your deferral was approved by your department before the relevant deadline, it will be processed. 

Please note that your exam timetable will not be updated to remove deferred exams - this is normal, so if you have received confirmation that a deferral has been processed, you can ignore the entry on your exam timetable


Under what circumstances can I request a deferral?

We have a “fit to sit” policy that applies to all students. If you submit an assessment, or sit an exam, you to have declared yourself well enough to do so.

However, you may experience circumstances which are sudden, unforeseen, outside of your control and proximate to an assessment. They may have a significant impact on your academic performance in an exam or other form of summative assessment. 

Exams: if you are not able to sit an exam, i.e. you are not fit to sit, you should request a deferral in advance of the exam start time. 

Non-exam assessments: if your assessment has not yet been released, you should first consider whether you are capable of completing the work, or if deferring would be more appropriate. 

Where an assessment has been released, it is still possible for you to meet the deadline and you unexpectedly require more time to submit the work as a result of your circumstances, you may either:

  • Apply for a deferral if you are not fit enough to complete the work even with an extension; or,
  • Apply for an extension. Please see the Extension Policy web page for further guidance.

What is a deferral?

An approved deferral allows you to postpone an attempt at an assessment to the next appropriate opportunity without being marked as absent.

Please note that:

  • Deferral of assessment is not a right.   You must seek permission from your home department.  Permission will only be given in exceptional and unforeseen circumstances that are proximate to the period of assessment. 
  • You must give a reason and supporting evidence for you request, and approval must be granted by the chair of the Sub-Board of Examiners from your home department.  
  • Deferrals will not be granted after a scheduled assessment has taken place.
  • If you do not have an approved deferral, and you do not submit an assessment or sit an exam for that assessment, you will be marked as absent. Please see the Exceptional Circumstances guidance for guidance on what to do if an assessment has taken place.
  • You may request to defer any assessment appropriate to your individual circumstance. You must list each component of assessment you are seeking to defer on the deferral form. 
  • If you do not defer all components of assessment within a course, you will be expected to attempt and complete all non-deferred components in accordance with published deadlines.
  • Repeat Teaching will only be granted for deferred assessments if you can demonstrate that your ability to engage with and benefit from teaching during the academic year was also affected by extenuating circumstances.

You can find further information about the deferral procedure in the sections below.

How can I defer an assessment?

1. Complete the Deferral Form. You must indicate your reason(s) for applying for a deferral and attach supporting evidence in accordance with the Standards of Evidence.

If you are on a Student visa and you plan to defer all of your assessments, you must seek immigration advice from the Student Advice and Engagement Team. Deferring all of your assessments will have an impact on your visa.

2. Submit the completed form to your programme's Chair of the Sub-Board of Examiners for approval. The Chair must sign the form. Deferral requests by other means, including a verbal request to a course leader, will not be processed or authorised.

3. Submit the completed deferral request form, including the Chair of the Sub-Board's approval and the supporting evidence, to the Student Services Centre via this enquiry form.

You will be sent an e-mail to your LSE email address confirming our decision once we have processed your completed form.

General Course students: you will need to get approval from both the General Course Dean and your home institution. Please speak to the Dean for further advice.

PhD students: please speak to your department directly about deferring assessed courses.


What is the deadline to defer?

For on-campus invigilated exams, by entering the exam room you are declaring yourself fit to sit the exam. If you have experienced disruption to your studies prior to the exam (from personal difficulties e.g. bereavement or illness etc.) you must think carefully about whether you should attempt the exam or whether you should discuss deferring the exam with your academic department.

If you are unable to attend on the day of the exam, you may request a deferral at any point up to the start of the exam. Deferral is not guaranteed. Rather, your academic department will consider the merits of your request so it is advisable to request to defer in advance of the day of the exam in question.

For other assessment types, you must submit your deferral request in advance of the assessment submission deadline.  Please be aware that for some short, timed assessments, the department may not grant permission to defer if you have accessed the assessment. This does not usually apply to longer coursework.  Please contact the department responsible for the assessment if you are unsure of your eligibility to defer. 

In some cases it may be possible to provide evidence after the deadline, as long as you have made your intention to defer known in advance.

What happens if my deferral request is rejected?

If your deferral request is rejected, you may try to obtain further evidence and resubmit your request if the assessment deadline has not passed, or if an exam has not yet ended.

If the assessment deadline has passed or exam has ended, you may try to obtain further evidence to submit with an Exceptional Circumstances (ECs) form within the normal ECs deadline. The Exam Board will then consider whether there are grounds to discount the absent mark.

What happens after submitting a deferral?

You will receive an email to your LSE address confirming the decision about your deferral application.  We aim to process deferral forms and send you this email within three working days of receipt. Please note that it may take us longer to process requests during busy periods, but you do not need to worry - as long as it was approved by your department, it will be processed eventually.

When will the deferred assessment take place?

Deferral is to the next suitable opportunity to attempt the assessments

At present, this means:

For Undergraduate Students:

  • This will be the In-Year Resit and Deferred Assessment Period in August 2023.

For Postgraduate Students:

  • For centrally timetabled exams, if you are deferring from RDAP 2022, you will sit in the Summer Term.
  • For centrally timetabled exams, if you are entered for an assessment for the first time in 2021/22, you will defer to RDAP in January 2023. 
  • For non-centrally scheduled exams and assessments such as essays, coursework, dissertations etc. students should check with the Department responsible for assessment.  The final deadline should be by the end of the relevant RDAP period.

What support is available to me from LSE?

If you are facing difficulties with your studies, whether for academic or personal reasons, there are many sources of support that may be able to help. 

Most departments remove material from Moodle in the summer to prepare the pages for the next academic year. If your deferral request is approved please ensure that you save any material from Moodle before the end of the academic year. If you have any queries please contact the Department which runs the course(s). 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have to pay any fees when I come back to sit my deferred exam/s?

There are no tuition fees to pay as you would have paid for, and received, all tuition in the previous academic year.

If you are sitting a deferred first attempt at your courses, then there are also no re-entry fees due. However, if you have deferred a resit, you will have to pay the re-entry fees of £60 per full unit and £35 per half unit.

Will I be entitled to tuition/supervision?

You will not be entitled to tuition or supervision for deferred exams or assessments (including your dissertation).

Can I have access to the Library even if my student ID card has expired?

Yes, if your card is due to expire you can you can request a new one.

What syllabus will I be examined in when I come back to sit the deferred exam/s?

You will sit assessments based on the syllabus in which you were taught. If you deferred an exam from 2021/22 to 2022/23 you would sit the paper based on the 2021/22 syllabus.

How do I register for my deferred assessment(s)?

You will automatically be re-entered for your deferred assessments by the Student Records Team. Visit re-entry for more details. 

Can I defer part of a course, for instance, complete assessed course work and just defer the exam?

You should request to defer the specific assessment (or assessments) affected by your exceptional circumstances. The marks for any assessments (exams or other) taken before or after this affected period will be banked and combined with the marks you achieve for deferred assessments the following year.

For example, if you defer January exams from 2020 but still have summer exams to take for the same courses that year, then you would still be expected to sit your summer exams in Summer 2020. The marks achieved for these summer exams would be combined with the marks you achieve for the deferred assessments in 2021.

Are there limits on how many times I can defer?

Deferral is a permission and not always granted. 

The School would not normally approve deferral if it would result in the student exceeding the maximum period of registration.

The normal maximum period of registration is stated in the General Academic Regulations for your programme. Failure to achieve an award within the maximum period of registration allowed will result in deregistration.

Every taught programme has a maximum period of registration: this is five years for a three-year undergraduate programme, six years for a four-year undergraduate programme, and two years for a Masters programme. If by deferring an assessment you will extend your studies beyond the maximum period, you may not be permitted to continue with your studies, irrespective of any outstanding assessment opportunities. If you are unsure whether you are likely to exceed your maximum period of registration or require any further advice on this, please contact the Student Services Centre in plenty of time before your deferral deadline.

Can I change my mind after I have deferred?

You may be able to withdraw your deferral if the assessment has not yet been released - please speak to your department if you have queries of the status and your eligibility to sit. 

To cancel a deferral, please submit an enquiry form to the Student Records Team stating clearly "I would like to withdraw my deferral of..." and list all the courses and components that you now intend to sit.  We will then amend your record so that we can receive the mark accordingly. 

I have a student visa. If I defer, can I remain in the UK?

Your visa status may change as a result of your deferral. The School is required to report to  UK Visas and Immigration any changes in the registration status of Student visa holders. This means that your Student visa may be amended or curtailed (cancelled).

Please contact the Student Advice and Engagement Teamfor more details and advice.

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