2024 Admissions

Extenuating circumstances

What is a letter of extenuating circumstances?

If you have experienced any serious medical or personal difficulty(ies) that have had an impact on your academic performance as demonstrated in your official transcripts, for a defined period of time (including the manner in which you have completed your degree requirements), you may submit a letter of extenuating circumstances to support your application.

The purpose of the letter

Applicants who choose to submit a letter of extenuating circumstances should understand that the review of these requests is guided by the following factors: 

  1. The credibility of the circumstances, including supporting official or objective documentation provided;
  2. The time-frame of the circumstances (defined start and end dates);
  3. The connection between the described circumstances and the applicant’s academic performance (specific courses which were affected).

Where an applicant’s circumstances are determined to be credible, circumscribed in time, and having had an impact on academic performance, the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Office will determine what, if any, adjustments can be made to the overall academic evaluation in light of the circumstances.  The standard adjustment could be (but is not limited to) conducting the academic evaluation on the basis of the records in question, excluding those elements affected by the extenuating circumstances. Whether and to what extent adjustments will be made is at the discretion of the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Office and its decisions in this regard are final.

How to submit a letter of extenuating circumstances

IMPORTANT ► Before you complete your application forms and pay the application fee (Step 1), you must indicate YES to the extenuating circumstances question in your application in order for your request to be considered.

Checking this box does two things: (1) it allows the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Office to promptly identify applications requiring extenuating circumstance requests and treat them in a timely manner, and (2) it triggers a 'Checklist Item' in your web application, permitting you to upload a PDF document to the checklist item.

IMPORTANT ► MDCM applicants: You must also fill out the EXTC page in the academic workbook to indicate which specific courses were affected for your EXTC to be considered. Med-P applicants, indicate affected courses in the text of your EXTC letter.


The extenuating circumstances letter should be no more than one page in length.  The letter should explain clearly what happened, why it happened, what the outcomes were, and, if applicable, what precautions or measures the applicant has taken or will take to ensure that the issue will have no further impact on the applicant's academic performance.  Include any supporting documentation such as medical notes, accident reports, etc., to better support your case. The applicant's full name and McGill ID number must appear in the top right corner of each page (including appendices).

The entire submission (letter + supporting documents) should be submitted as one PDF file and uploaded via the online application system.

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