The deferral process allows you to postpone an assessment to a following year if you experience exceptional circumstances

You are required to sit sit all assessments in the academic year in which you received tuition. If you are absent from an exam or fail to submit a dissertation 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 academic year.

What is a deferral?

If you have received full tuition in all of your courses, but circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, prevent you from being able to sit your exams or submit your dissertation, you may apply to defer these assessments to the next academic year. 

You would return the following academic year to sit your exams, or submit your dissertation. If you have not received full tuition, please refer to the interruption webpages.

Please bear in mind the following:

  • 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 normally only be permitted for one or all assessments.
  • All deferral requests must be supported by adequate evidence.
  • Please refer to the standards of evidence table for a list of the types of evidence the school would expect. 
  • Students who apply for deferrals are not eligible, as a rule, to then apply for repeat teaching.
  • Re-entry students must defer all courses and will not be permitted to split re-entry.

How can I defer an assessment?

The deferral process

  1. Complete the deferral form. You should include your reasons for wanting a deferral and attach any supporting evidence in with the standards of evidence table.
  2. Obtain the approval of the Chair of the Sub-Board of Examiners for your degree programme. Please check with your department if you do not know who this is.
  3. Submit the completed form, including the Chair of the Sub-Board's approval, to the Results Team within the Student Services Centre. 

General Course students need to get approval from both the General Course Dean and their home institutions. You are advised to speak to the Dean for further advice.

PhD students are advised to speak to their departments directly about deferring assessed courses.

Deferral requests will not be considered without the approval of the relevant Sub-Board Chair

Undergraduate students wishing to defer more than one assessment but less than all and postgraduate students wishing to defer the same course(s) for the second time or more will require additional School approval. The Results Team will arrange for this additional approval on your behalf; you do not need to obtain the additional approval prior to submitting your completed form to Registry.

When can I request a deferral?


You can seek permission to defer an exam after you have received all tuition and by no later than the day before an exam.

In certain exceptional circumstances, 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 know 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.

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. 

Dissertations and other coursework

You can also seek permission to defer a dissertation or other coursework to the following academic year.

You can request this no later than seven days prior to your submission deadline. In the case of unforeseen and exceptional circumstances a deferral request may be accepted beyond this deadline but this is at the discretion of the Chair of your Sub-Board of Examiners

January Exams

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

Please do not expect an immediate response from your Department, but be assured that any requests will be considered immediately after the Christmas break and before your exam(s). You will receive a response from your Department as soon as a decision has been made. 

By completing the form you will only be deferring January exam(s). If you subsequently need to defer summer exam(s) for the same course(s), you would need to complete another form later in the year. 

If you need advice about the deferral process, then you can email This inbox will be checked occasionally throughout the closure period and members of the Advice Team will respond to any emails they consider urgent. 

What happens if my deferral request is rejected?

If your deferral request is rejected, then you can still try to obtain further evidence and submit this with an exceptional circumstances form.

What happens after I've submitted a deferral?

An email confirming the School's decision on your deferral application will be sent to your LSE email account.  We aim to process deferral forms within three working days of receipt. Please note that it may take us longer to process requests during busy periods.

Students who defer exams are automatically re-entered in the next academic session. Please see re-entry for more information. 

No fees are charged if you are taking a deferred exam/ assessment as a first attempt. If the deferred assessment is a second attempt at a paper, then the standard assessment re-entry fees apply: £60 per full unit paper and £35 per half unit paper. 

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.

When will I be assessed if I defer an exam(s)?

The School has two exam sessions each year, one in January and one in the Summer. You can only defer by one academic year at a time and must defer to the equivalent exam session the following year. Therefore, if you defer a summer exam in 2018, you must sit it in summer 2019; if you defer a January exam in 2018, you must sit it in January 2019. 

Please note that if you intend to defer your exams for a second year, you will need to complete another deferral form, and attach any supporting documentation - your original application to defer will not be sufficient.

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 2018 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 2018, The marks achieved for these summer exams would be combined with the marks you achieve for the deferred assessments in 2018. 

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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