OU blog

Personal Blogs

light skinned mixed heritage woman writing letters.

How to ask for an extension

Visible to anyone in the world

Open University students usually have lives with many responsibilities, and we recognise that in creating a more flexible assessment system. Our assignments are graduated rather than coming in one lump at the end of a term/year. You can also usually negotiate an extension on assignment deadlines if you experience difficulties which impact on your studies. 

NB - there is NOT usually any extension offered on the final piece of work on a module, often called the End of Module Assessment. Plan your studies to make sure you can work on this in a timely fashion. If you are experiencing difficulties as you come to the end of a module, make sure that you contact your Student Support Team for advice, and put in a claim for Mitigating Circumstances. 

Your tutor will be able to talk to you about extensions on your Tutor Marked Assignments (TMAs). We are of course keen to make sure you don't fall behind in your studies, so you should not assume you can just have one for the asking. 

You can contact your tutor via a link on StudentHome, or just drop them an email. Explain why you want the extension and how long you think you may need. Be realistic and reasonable about this. A day or two is very acceptable, a week is fine. If you are going to need more than a week, you will need to have a serious and good reason. (Anxiety about deadlines is a serious and good reason, however you should also make sure you have got good support so this doesn't become an ongoing problem if you suffer anxiety - your Student Support Team can help with this.) 

You won't need supporting documentation for an extension on a TMA, but you will if you apply for Mitigating Circumstances for an EMA. 

Try to let us tutors know in good time. You can ask for an extension just in case, you don't have to use it. 

These are the suggested reasons given when we enter your extension in the system. 

Screenshot of list of reasons for extension on automated system

Here are some examples of how I would input information provided to me with a request for an extension. Depending on your tutor, you may like to translate for them into appropriate terminology. For example, 'Can I have a week's extension as I have to travel to France during the week of the TMA deadline', rather than 'Yippee! my whole extended family and I are going on a WiFi-free trip through the Loire Valley, so my TMA is going to be late.' (Actually if you are going on holiday, your tutor may suggest you try and plan to get the TMA in early thoughtful)

DISABILITY - your additional learning need means that you require a little longer to prepare your assignment (anxiety would fit here). 

FAMILY RELATED - your children had chicken pox, there was a major family event which disrupted your studies, the family guinea pig had to be rushed to the vet and nursed through the night. 

MEDICAL - you had chicken pox, or flu. 

TRAVEL RELATED - your family holiday coincided with the TMA submission date. (And you are going to have to shop, pack and make your partner sort out their passport so you can't plan to do the TMA early.) 

VARIOUS - your favourite aunt had to go into hospital, the children all had chicken pox, you had a job interview, your laptop died on you and it is coming up to Christmas, you have to do the shopping - all at once. And the family guinea pig needs to be taken to the vet. 

WORK RELATED - there is a big project just coming to fruition and your manager has asked everyone to stay on late to help out (offering you double pay to do so of course thoughtful

The main message is - if you are struggling, don't suffer alone. Go on your module Forums and get some emotional support from fellow students, contact your Student Support Team, check the Student Union website - you never know what help may be available to you. Let your tutor know, so we can bear your circumstances in mind and tell you about any tips or support we know of smile

Permalink Add your comment
Share post


Jean H Pless

New comment

What a reassuring message.

light skinned mixed heritage woman writing letters.

Thank you

Thank you, Jean smile 

Returning to study as an adult can be quite scary, we know - we do our best to support you to achieve at the OU. 

light skinned mixed heritage woman writing letters.

Penalty for extension?

There is no penalty on any modules I teach on for submitting an assignment with an agreed extension smile You will get the same mark as you would have done if you had submitted on time. Ask your tutor if you're not sure how it works on your module. 

There can sometimes be a penalty for late submission of End of Module Assignments, though. Make sure you have read the Assessment Guidance for your module so you are clear about all the rules on submitting assignments cool 


I am supposed to hand an assignment in at midnight tonight my son has severe special needs and has had melt down all day smashing things, screaming and crying all day. I keep crying it's been a nightmare day. I am not going to get it finished in time. I would onky need tomorrow to finish it but I have have had extensions for some other modules 1 because I was deactivated for 2 months due to loan not coming through in time and once because of my mental illness. I can't ask tutor for an extension as she said before she can't give me more than 2 the whole year so I am say here feeling helpless because I can't get it done and no chance of extension only have 3 tmas left and now I will have to give up because I have no other option.
light skinned mixed heritage woman writing letters.

Joe - call Student Support

Joe I'm so sorry to hear about your difficulties. We know our students have a lot of responsibilities in your lives. Student Support are there to advise you on how you can navigate your studies while juggling all of these. At the OU we have what we call the 'revolving door', where you may end up deferring but you can always come back to us. We have to manage this carefully to make sure you don't end up incurring costs because of the rules for the funding bodies, however we will do what we can to get you through. 

I do hope things settle down for you. Call Student Support as soon as you are able, they will be able to advise and support you. 

Vincent Uher

This is Not True!

I have autism and my grandma died which meant my entire family needed to go to Germany for a week to attend a funeral. My instructor Dr. Stobbart, refused to give an extension stating that if he did this for me then he would have to do this for everyone and it would be 'chaos'. He then said 2 other students had losses that month. In other words they were getting on okay so I should to. 

This isn't right.  

Sarah Garden

extension needed (but OU closed for hols)


I needed to extend an extension by another week. I had illness, then a home move (and all that entails) in the lead up to Christmas. I sent my tutor an email for an extension, without realising the OU would actually be shut!  So my tutor didn't see the email, and still hasn't. I did submit the assignment, but for all the effort made, it was incomplete! What might happen next? Might the tutor still say I could send another copy and it would be accepted? 

Thanks in advance,


Deferrals or extensions to ema

This info is useful however there is no mention of what to do when needing an extension or postponement of ema, I'm am aware there is a likelihood the ema won't be extended however due to circumstances out of my own control I need to postpone my ema and cannot find a single shred of info on who or how to access this request.
light skinned mixed heritage woman writing letters.

No extension for EMA

Hullo Leighton

I am sorry but there is no way to get an extension for an EMA. In very difficult circumstances, you can get what's called a Discretionary Postponement. You will need to talk to Student Support Team about this - as it will only be allowed in very exceptional circumstances. Their number is available on your StudentHome page. 

You can also put in a Special Circumstances form up to 4 days after submitting the EMA. 

You can put in something for the EMA, and a Special Circs form, and that way you may get to pass the module at least. On many modules, if you have put something in, you will be allowed to rewrite and resubmit it (with a tutor's help), if it doesn't pass. 

Good luck - and remember, Student Support Team have all these answers, they are there at the end of a phone.  

Contact tutor form not working

The contact form for my tutor is not currently working to request an extension.