Disrupted Studies


If you've applied to study an undergraduate or postgraduate taught course and have experienced issues of a personal, social or domestic nature that have affected your studies, or your ability to meet our published entry requirements, we'd encourage you to let us know by completing our Disrupted Studies form.

We realise there are some issues that can't be discussed fully within the personal statement in your application. These are often things of a sensitive nature. The Disrupted Studies form gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how your situation has affected your post-16/undergraduate studies, or any GCSE subjects that are needed as part of our course entry requirements. These should be circumstances that haven't already been mitigated by an examination board, or taken into account prior to awarding marks for formal assessments, such as coursework.

Examples of circumstances that disrupt studies

We don't have a list of qualifying criteria for the Disrupted Studies scheme. Examples of circumstances that we may consider are provided below, but all we ask is that you use the form to tell us about circumstances that have affected you and which have been outside your immediate control.

  • Undertaking the role of main carer in the home for a parent or guardian, sibling or other immediate family member
  • A period of ill-health affecting performance in examinations or other pieces of assessed work
  • Bereavement of an immediate family member
  • A period of teacher absence in subjects that are material to you meeting your offer conditions
  • You're from a care background, or have spent a period of more than three months in looked-after care
  • Other personal, social or domestic circumstances, such as a relationship breakdown at home
  • A disability or long-standing medical condition

Information that sets your application in its educational or socio-economic context, for example if you live in an area with low participation in higher education, isn't considered via the Disrupted Studies scheme. For undergraduate applicants this information will be handled in accordance with our Contextual Data Policy Statement.

If you're an undergraduate applicant and have been in care, are estranged from your family or are a carer, we may be able to make you an alternative offer equivalent to one A Level grade below the standard entry requirements for your course. You'll need to complete our eligibility declaration form to be considered. See our Access Sheffield guidance to find out more.

Disrupted Studies and non-mature (U21) students applying for courses in the Department for Lifelong Learning

Courses at the Department for Lifelong Learning are designed specifically for mature learners (aged 21 or over) who have been out of education for some time and haven't previously accessed higher education. The requirements for entry are different from those for students wishing to enter directly onto a degree course. However, applications from non-mature students can be considered if they've experienced extenuating circumstances which have had a demonstrable impact on their Level 3 achievements.

Non-mature applicants will still be expected to demonstrate that they:

  • Have the potential to succeed on their chosen degree course, evidenced by a combination of work, life and prior educational experience
  • Have an understanding of and commitment to the subject-area of their chosen degree course
  • Are prepared for the demands of full-time undergraduate degree-level study

In order to demonstrate how they meet these eligibility criteria, all non-mature applicants are expected to notify the Department for Lifelong Learning of their disrupted studies by completing the department's bespoke DLL Disrupted Studies form (doc, 63KB).

Notifying us of Disrupted Studies

The Disrupted Studies process can be initiated by yourself or by your referee. In some instances we may contact an applicant's academic referee directly to suggest they encourage an applicant to complete the form.

Your notification of Disrupted Studies should:

  • Arrive via the correct Disrupted Studies form, which should be completed in full
  • Be supported by your academic referee or appropriate third party (for example an employer, doctor, social worker or police officer)
  • Where possible, arrive at the same time as your application to study at the University
  • Be corroborated with an item of third-party evidence, such as a letter from your doctor

You can download a copy of the appropriate Disrupted Studies form via the following links:

Undergraduate Disrupted Studies form (doc, 61KB)

U21 Applicant to DLL Disrupted Studies form (doc, 62KB)

Postgraduate Taught Disrupted Studies form (doc, 64KB)

Completing the Disrupted Studies form

Part 1: The applicant

Part 1 of the Disrupted Studies form should be completed, signed and dated by the applicant, including the following information:

  • Specific information about any extended absences from your studies that were caused by these circumstances (for example dates/times)
  • A demonstration of how these circumstances have affected, or may go on to affect, your ability to meet our standard requirements for admission to your chosen course(s)

Part 2: The referee

Part 2 of the form is for the academic or appropriate third-party referee to complete, and should be a statement confirming the details supplied by the applicant in Part 1, and providing information about the applicant's academic trajectory and any barriers to their progression to/in higher education.

While every effort has been made to minimise the burden on both applicants and referees wishing to notify us of Disrupted Studies, we ask referees to complete one form for each applicant.

Part 3: Declarations

Both the applicant and the referee should sign the declarations in Part 3.

Applicants should normally provide supporting evidence with their Disrupted Studies form (for example a doctor's letter), but we understand that in some situations this may not be possible. Where such third-party evidence isn't available we may go back to your referee for further corroboration.

All sections of the form must be completed in full before it's returned to us.


Where possible, Disrupted Studies forms should reach us at the same time as the application. We can't guarantee to consider any information received after this point when we make decisions about which applicants to invite to interview or to receive offers.

Forms supporting applications for undergraduate degree courses or Department for Lifelong Learning foundation years should reach us by 31 July in the year of entry. Forms supporting applications for postgraduate taught courses should reach us before your final grades/transcripts are supplied.

All Disrupted Studies forms are subject to further review when your exam results are released/supplied to the University.

What happens to the information you provide?

The information will be passed to the academic selector(s) for the course(s) you've applied for, who will assess it in accordance with the University's Student Admissions Policy. This will help our selectors to make a holistic academic judgment at each of the three decision-making moments: selection for interview (where relevant); offer-making; and Confirmation (confirming places following the release of exam results).

Information submitted via the Disrupted Studies form will be recorded on your applicant record. This will enable us both to assess the results of the scheme and to provide you with any relevant pre-entry support. All data is held in accordance with data protection legislation and will not be shared beyond the University of Sheffield.

If you are accepted under the Disrupted Studies scheme and go on to register as a student at the University, we'll pass your details to our Disability and Dyslexia Support Service or Student Experience, Diversity and Inclusion team, as appropriate.

Please note:

  • Information provided via the Disrupted Studies form doesn't guarantee an invitation to interview or the offer of a place.
  • We don't normally issue Disrupted Studies candidates with lower offers than indicated in our published course entry requirements.
  • Information received via the Disrupted Studies scheme won't be used in support of an application for financial support.

Applicants with disabilities

We welcome applications from disabled students and invite them to use the Disrupted Studies form where relevant, but also to declare their circumstances in their UCAS application. More information about support is available via the University of Sheffield's Disability and Dyslexia Support Service.

Disability and Dyslexia Support Service

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Disrupted Studies scheme, please contact the Admissions Service's Access team:


0114 222 1410

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