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

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, we consider 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. 

If your assessment has not yet taken place, you should first seek an Extension Request. This may be appropriate for a summative essay, project or dissertation.

If you require more time to submit the work than an extension would normally allow, or the assessment in question has a static deadline e.g. an exam or take home assessment, you may apply for a deferral.

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 and permission will only be given in exceptional and unforeseen circumstances that are proximate to the period of assessment. 
  • Deferrals will not be granted after a scheduled assessment has taken place.
  • Deferrals will not be granted after you have entered an examination room and therefore declared yourself fit to sit.
  • If you do not submit an assessment or sit an exam for which you do not have an approved deferral you will be marked as absent. Please refer to the Exceptional Circumstances guidance for information regarding what to do if an assessment has taken place.
  • All deferral requests must be supported by adequate evidence. Please refer to the Standards of Evidence Table for the types of evidence required.
  • You may request to defer any assessment appropriate to your individual circumstance and must state on the deferral form each component of assessment you are seeking to defer.
  • If less than all components of assessment within a course are deferred, you will be expected to attempt and complete all other components in accordance with published deadlines.
  • If you apply for a deferral you are not, as a rule, eligible to then apply for repeat teaching.

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

You can also read the full deferral policy online:

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 table.

2. Discuss your completed application form with your Academic Mentor, then gain the approval of your programme's Chair of the Sub-Board of Examiners. 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 either in person or via email to

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

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.

When can I request a deferral?

Summer Exams

You should request a deferral no later than the day before the exam.

January Exams

If your circumstances change over the Christmas closure period and you no longer feel fit to sit your January exam(s), you should complete the deferral form and email it to the relevant Sub-Board contact for consideration as soon as possible.

It may not be possible to receive a response straight away, but any requests will be considered immediately after the Christmas break and before the affected exam(s). You will receive a response from your department as soon as a decision has been made.

You can email for advice about the deferral process. This inbox is checked occasionally throughout the closure period and members of the Advice Team will respond to any emails they consider urgent.  

Other assessment types

You must submit your deferral request in advance of the assessment submission deadline.

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

Deferral requests on the day of an exam

Requests to defer may be considered on the day of an exam (for example if you suddenly fall ill and are not fit to sit) but you must make your intention to defer known before the end time of the exam and must not enter the exam room.

If you need to defer on the day of the exam, you must call +44(0)20 7955 6167 (between 9am and 5pm) to discuss your case with the Advice Team. You must then complete the form and provide corroborating evidence in a timely manner.

Retrospective exam deferral requests

Retrospective deferral requests (i.e. requests made after an affected exam has ended) will not be approved.

If you miss an exam due to unforeseen difficulties and have not requested a deferral in advance, you should instead follow the Exceptional Circumstances procedure.  

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 or exam has not yet taken place.

If the assessment deadline has passed or exam has taken place 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 confirming our decision about your deferral application to your LSE email address.  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.

When will the deferred assessment take place?

We are introducing an In-Year Resit and Deferral Assessment Period in August 2019. You will be able to attempt deferred exams or assessments during the August 2019 if you are:

  • A first year Undergraduate student who started in September 2018
  • A first year Undergraduate student who received Repeat Teaching during the 2018/19 academic year

If you started your undergraduate programme in September 2017 but did not progress into your second year of study in September 2018 you will take your deferred or re-sit assessments in the equivalent assessment period to last year. However if you subsequently defer your assessment(s) again, you will sit them in August 2019.

All other students:

If you defer any assessments during the 2018/19 academic year, you will defer to the equivalent assessment period in the 2019/20 academic year.

For example, a deferred January exam in 2019, will be sat during the January 2020 exam period; a deferred summer 2019 exam will be sat during the Summer 2020 exam period; an essay due in week 8 of MT 2018 will be due in week 8 of MT 2019.

What support is available to me from LSE?

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

If you have missed tuition  and have not been able to sit exams or hand in assessments, you should consider interrupting your studies instead. 

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 who runs the course(s). 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an interruption of studies and deferral?

A deferral is usually granted if you have received tuition in all your courses, but are unable to sit your exams or submit your dissertation due to extenuating circumstances.

An Interruption of Studies is usually granted if, due to medical or other exceptional circumstances, you have missed a significant amount of teaching and would like to interrupt your studies for one academic year, e.g. if you interrupt your studies in the Lent term, you will resume your studies in the following Lent term. You would therefore continue your programme in the subsequent year and pay the Lent and Summer term fees at that year's rate.

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 on the syllabus in which you were taught. If you deferred an exam from 2017/18 to 2018/19, you would sit the paper based on the 2017/18 syllabus.

Can I sit my deferred exam/s overseas?

All exams should be sat at the School in London, except in very exceptional circumstances. For more information about the overseas exams application process please visit overseas exams.

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

You will automatically be re-entered for your deferred assessments by the Results and Graduation 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 2019 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 2019. The marks achieved for these summer exams would be combined with the marks you achieve for the deferred assessments in 2020. 

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 the UK Border Agency any changes in the registration status of Tier 4 students. This means that your Tier 4 visa may be amended or curtailed.

Please contact the International Student Visa Advice Team or more details and advice. If you require individual advice, please contact the International Student Immigration Service via the ISVAT web query form.


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Contact us


Telephone +44 (0) 20 7955 6167


For advice about deferrals:

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Student Services Centre, (Ground Floor) Old Building, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE