Exceptional Progression

into your next year of studies

In very rare cases you may be permitted to progress without having met the progression requirements. This is called Exceptional Progression.



What is Exceptional Progression?

In order to progress between years in an undergraduate programme you need to meet the progression rules:

  • To progress from your first year to your second year you must pass three out of four units.
  • To progress from your second year to your third year you must pass seven out of eight units from your first and second year. 
  • LLB students must pass all papers to be able to progress to the next year. 

In very rare cases you may be permitted to progress without having met these requirements. This is called Exceptional Progression. Exceptional Progression is only ever granted to students with a maximum of two outstanding units.

Applications for Exceptional Progression will only be considered if you can provide evidence of a serious, unexpected event that took place during your assessments and resulted in their failure. If you experienced exceptional circumstances which have affected your studies on a long term basis your application will not be considered. 

Please note that Exceptional Progression is very rarely approved because of the impact the extra workload will have on your exam performance in the next session. 


Why do the progression rules exist?

LSE programmes are structured with each year building on the knowledge gained in the previous year of study. It is therefore essential that you have the required knowledge before progressing to the next year of study.

Being granted Exceptional Progression has a substantial impact in terms of the extra workload created in the following academic year, which may lead to a detrimental impact on your exam performance.

In addition, students carrying extra papers into their final year will not usually be given an opportunity to resit these if failed, but they've managed to meet the degree classification requirement. Unless students fail more than three whole units at the classification stage, they will be awarded a degree in their final year. Penalties are applied for failed papers. Full details about classification can be found here.  

Our research has shown that students progressing against the regulations very often fail the following year, or at best pass with marks well below what they would otherwise have achieved because of the extra pressure of studying for their resit assessments.

How many students are granted Exceptional Progression?

The panel only ever approve Exceptional Progression in extremely extenuating circumstances. On average only two or three applications are approved each year. All applications are considered on a case by case basis.

If you have experienced difficulties (medical, personal, academic) during the year which contributed to your exam under performance then an application for Repeat Teaching is far more likely to be considered favourably by your department and may be the better option in terms of your overall degree outcome. 

How can I apply for Exceptional Progression?

Applications for Exceptional Progression are considered by the Repeat Teaching Panel and administered by the Student Advice and Engagement Team within the Student Services Centre.

If you wish to apply for Exceptional Progression you must, at the very least, demonstrate that you have studied successfully throughout the year and that your courses were failed was entirely due to extenuating circumstances during the assessment period.

Some of the factors that will be considered when the Panel are assessing your application are:

  • Excellent performance throughout the previous academic year which is evidenced in both your LSE For You class registers and departmental recommendation.
  • Good attendance and coursework submission record of at least 80% in the failed courses.
  • Strong performance in past examination papers. This includes any papers that were passed in the previous academic year. The panel are aware that achieving good marks in some courses is not always a useful indicator of performance in courses that require a very different approach. This is particularly true on joint degree programmes where some students find the quantitative courses very challenging.
  • Having no more than two failed units to carry forward to the next year. The Panel never approves progression in cases where more than two units remain outstanding.
  • Evidence that you will be able to cope with an additional assessment load in the next academic year.
  • Support from your department.

These are the minimum requirements that you would be expected to be able to demonstrate in your application, so if you fail to meet these requirements you are advised not to submit an Exceptional Progression application. 

You should also note that meeting the criteria is not a guarantee that the Panel will decide that progression is in your best academic interest.

Please also be aware that requests for Exceptional Progression will not be considered if you have two or more irredeemable fails at the point of application.

If you wish to proceed with an application you can download the form here. Please ensure you complete all sections as applicable. 

Once you have completed the application form, send this and any supporting evidence to your Departmental Tutor for their consideration. The Departmental Tutor will then pass the application on to the Panel directly.

Can I also apply for Repeat Teaching?

No, if you submit an application for Exceptional Progression you will not be permitted to then submit an application for Repeat Teaching.

By applying for Exceptional Progression you are confirming that you fully benefited from the teaching you received last year and so do not need Repeat Teaching.

When should I apply for Exceptional Progression?

Undergraduate students can only apply for Exceptional Progression following the release of results for the In-Year Resit and Deferred Assessment Period (UG RDAP), as this will determine whether you are eligible to progress to the next year of your studies.

The deadline to apply for Exceptional Progression for 2023/4 is Thursday 21 September 2023 at noon. You are advised to submit your application as soon as possible once IRDAP results have been released because of the proximity to the start of term.   

Late applications will not be considered.