Deferral Requests

The School requires you to sit all assessments in the academic year in which you received tuition. 

If you are absent from an examination 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, under certain circumstances the School will allow students to postpone one or more assessments to the next academic year. This is known as deferral

By applying for a deferral you are acknowledging you have received all the required teaching but something exceptional has happened which is preventing you from taking the assessment as scheduled.

  • Deferral of assessment is not a right and permission will only be given in exceptional circumstances.
  • Deferrals will not be granted after a scheduled assessment has taken place.
  • Students who apply for deferrals are not eligible, as a rule, to then apply for repeat teaching. 
  • Re-entry students who wish to defer must defer all  courses and will not be permitted to split re-entry.

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 (e.g. if a student suddenly falls ill and is not fit to sit). These requests must be supported by valid evidence of extenuating circumstances. Retrospective deferral requests (i.e. requests made after an affected examination 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. 

You can also seek permission to defer a dissertation submission to the following academic year. You can request this by no later than 7 days prior to your submission deadline, except in the case of unforeseen and exceptional circumstances. As with the deferral of exams, you should provide evidence of valid extenuating circumstances to support your request.

If you wish to defer an assessment you must do the following:

  1. Complete the Deferral form. You should include your reasons for wanting a deferral and attach any supporting evidence.
  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 Registry team within the Student Services Centre. 

*General Course students need to get approval from both the GC 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.

All 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 Registry 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.

Deferral of 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 your Department for consideration as soon as possible.  If you are not sure who to email, you should visit your Department's web pages. 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. 

Please note that by completing the form you would 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 School closure period and members of the Advice Team will respond to any emails they consider urgent. All other emails will be answered as soon as possible when the School reopens. Telephone calls will not be answered while the Centre is closed.

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. Please refer to the guidance online for further information and a copy of the form. Any evidence submitted via the exceptional circumstances procedure will be considered by the relevant exam boards.

Following the request

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 to five working days of receipt. Please note that it may take us longer to process requests during busy periods.

Students who defer examinations are automatically re-entered in the next academic session. Please see the Re-entry webpages for full details. 

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. 

Student support

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

In particular, consider contacting the Teaching and Learning Centre for guidance on learning development, writing, access to counselling and support for disability concerns. 

If you are having difficulties with studying in English contact the Language Centre for advice and support.

Please see the Deferral FAQs if you have any further queries regarding deferrals.

If you have missed tuition  and have not been able to sit exams or hand in assessments, you should consider interrupting your studies instead. Please see the  Interruption web pages for details. 

Please note that 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 you have been given permission to defer.