Quality Manual

Taught Masters Degrees, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate courses wef 2016-17

These regulations take effect from 2016-17 for students admitted during or after September 2016. Students admitted after September 2006 and before September 2016 are subject to the former Regulations for Taught Masters Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates.

In addition to the regulations below, students will be subject to the supplementary regulations for their individual courses, which can be found at http://programmespec.nottingham.ac.uk/ and some programmes will be subject to Fitness to Practice regulations, details of which are included in relevant course handbooks.

Assessment regulations can be found online.  

Guidance on managing students with extenuating circumstances can be found online.

Information about requirements for programme-specifications can be found on the UNQF pages and Programme Specification Guidance.

Schools can obtain guidance on these regulations by emailing: pg-regulations@nottingham.ac.uk.  Students seeking advice on these regulations should contact their School/Department.

Approved Courses of Study

1. To qualify for an award a student must:

(a) pursue an approved course of study as prescribed by a programme specification

(b) pass the assessments specified in these Regulations and in the relevant programme specification.

(c) successfully complete any additional components that are required as specified in the relevant programme specification.

2. Students must select their modules in accordance with the relevant programme specification and the University’s Qualifications Framework. This selection should be undertaken in consultation with their academic tutors and shall be subject to the approval of their Head of School. A School offering a module has the right to refuse admission to that module.

3. In making their selection of modules, students must satisfy any prerequisites, corequisites or other requirements set out in the relevant module or programme specification.

4. Students may not select taught modules worth more than 80 credits in any one semester.

5. The work presented for assessment for an award of a taught postgraduate qualification must be the result of work done mainly while the candidate is registered as a student of this University.

Award of Credit

6. The pass mark for a module comprising part of a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme is 50%.

7. The module specification states how the components of the module will be combined to form a module mark and whether a particular mark must be gained in individual components of the module in order for the module as a whole to be passed. A student who passes the module will be awarded the credit for that module.

8. A student who fails to pass a module may nevertheless be awarded the credit for that module in the circumstances set out in Regulations 10 and 11 below.

9. Credit may also be awarded under the University’s policy on Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

Completion of a stage

10. Students will normally proceed directly from the taught stage of their course to the dissertation/project stage.  Where a student is undertaking assessment in August/September, they may request a deferral of the dissertation/project stage enabling them to undertake this in the next academic year.  Where Schools require students to pass pre-requisite modules or demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes before proceeding to the dissertation stage, this will be explicitly stated in the relevant programme specification.

11. A student who fails one or more modules for the taught stage of the course will still complete that stage and so be awarded the total credit for that stage provided that:

  • they have passed modules worth at least two-thirds of credits, and
  • they have a weighted average for the taught stage of at least 50% with no module marks of less than 40%

Notwithstanding the above, module marks below 40% for up to 20 credits will be compensated if the student has passed modules worth at least 80 credits and has a weighted average of at least 50%.

12. A course may only have progression requirements more stringent than those stated in Regulation 11 above if there is a demonstrable requirement from a professional or accrediting external body. Students who fail to satisfy the requirements of such a course but who nonetheless satisfy the progression criteria as stated in Regulations 10 and 11 will be eligible for the award of a named non-accredited degree.

13. Regulation 11 will not apply to any module which is listed in the relevant programme specification as not compensatable. A student who fails such a module will not complete that stage without successfully undertaking re-assessment in that module. The Masters dissertation/project stage will always be non-compensatable.


14. A student who, at the first attempt, has not satisfactorily completed the taught stage or dissertation/project stage of the course has a right to one reassessment in each failed module where this might enable a student to satisfy programme requirements.  All reassessments will take place in August/September immediately following the first assessment, except:

  • where a School agrees to a written request from the student to take the reassessment at a later date (such requests must be made before the August/September reassessment period);
  • where a School arranges an earlier reassessment;
  • where this is not possible owing to external constraints;
  • where different arrangements are made for distance learning or part-time students.

At the discretion of the School delivering the module, the form of the reassessment may be different from the first attempt for taught modules, provided that it tests the same learning outcomes and to the same standard. The full marks gained on re-assessment will be used for determining whether compensation can occur under the provision of Regulation 11 above.

15. Where a student has pass marks in one or more components of the module, but has failed the module overall, the School delivering the module may limit the re-assessment to the components which have been failed. The re-assessment mark for the module will then be a combination (on the same basis as in Regulation 7 above) of the marks from the components passed first time and the components which have been re-assessed.


16. A student may request to be allowed to repeat their enrolment in failed modules (which will include attendance at all scheduled classes and submission of all coursework) before taking the re-assessments. Requests should be submitted to the student’s School who must consult other relevant Schools when making the decision.  A School should (if possible) agree to such a request, but there may be circumstances where this is not possible (e.g. where the module is no longer running).  If a student opts to take any one reassessment with attendance, they must then take all due reassessments with attendance (except for modules where a repeat enrolment is not available). 

A module specification may stipulate that, in order for a student to be re-assessed in a particular module, the student must repeat their enrolment in that module. In such circumstances, the student will not be compelled to take all reassessments in attendance and may take all other reassessments either in August/September or during the session when they are attending for the purose of the module(s) that require attendance. 

17. Students may not be re-assessed in modules they have already passed.

18. A student who, after re-assessment, has not passed assessments as specified in these regulations and the relevant programme specification may be permitted one further re-assessment in up to one-third of taught stage credits provided:

(a) a mark of at least 40% has been obtained in either first or second sitting, and

(b) the student has an overall credit-weighted average of 50%.

If, after this one further re-assessment, the student has still not passed assessments as specified in these regulations and the relevant programme specification, they will have no further re-assessment opportunities.


19. A student will only receive a Masters award if they have successfully completed both the taught and dissertation/project stages of their course. A student who does not successfully complete the dissertation/project stage will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate if they have gained a pass mark of 50% or more in modules worth 120 credits (60 credits for the Postgraduate Certificate), or satisfy the requirements of Regulations 10 and 11 above unless PSRB or local government regulations preclude this. For the purposes of the award of the Postgraduate Diploma the dissertation mark will count.  Students on a 2 year taught masters programme who achieve 180 credits may also be eligible for a Masters award, whether a named fallback award specified in the programme specification or, where such does not exist, the generic Master of Combined Studies, subject to meeting the criteria for those awards.  

20. Postgraduate Diplomas or Certificates awarded under Regulation 19 above will have the same subject title as the Masters course on which the student was registered, unless the programme specification states an alternative subject title for those being awarded Diplomas or Certificates.

21. The provisions of Regulations 19 and 20 above also apply to the award of Postgraduate Certificates to students registered on a Postgraduate Diploma course.


22. Postgraduate Masters, Diploma and Certificates will be awarded with Merit to students who achieve a final credit-weighted mark of at least 60% and with Distinction to students who achieve a final credit-weighted mark of at least 70%. 

23. Marks awarded on re-assessment do not contribute to the final mark for the purpose of awarding Merits and Distinctions in Regulation 22 above; instead the mark gained on the first attempt at the module will be used. Marks awarded on re-assessment will, however, count towards attaining a Pass in the course overall.

24. Boards of Examiners have only two areas where they may apply discretion in determining classification:

(a) when a final mark falls within a borderline. In such cases the Examiners will apply the algorithm stated in the relevant programme specification to determine if the classification may be raised to the next highest classification.

(b) When a student has an approved personal extenuating circumstances claim relating to the taught stage of their programme of study, but it has not been possible for the student to undertake a further attempt at the affected assessment(s) before the meeting of the relevant Examination Board), Examinations Boards may consider recommendations from Extenuating Circumstances Panels to exclude marks for affected module(s) to a maximum of 40 taught credits from the overall average mark for degree classification.

25. There is no discretion to lower the classification below that indicated by the final mark.

26. Any of the above regulations may be varied as stated in the relevant programme specification where an exception has been formally approved.  If such a variation is applied and results in the termination of a student's registration on that programme, the student must be offered the opportunity to transfer to a non-accredited programme providing that they satisfy the above regulations.  Notwithstanding the above, where no suitable non-accredited programme can exist or where local government requirements prohibit the award of a different qualification from that which the student was studying, students will receive the relevant non-accredited qualification equivalent to the number of credits they have already accrued unless local requirements prohibit fallback awards.  Where this is the case it must be stated in the relevant programme specification.


Supplementary regulations for courses running in the UK: http://winster.nottingham.ac.uk/studentcoursestructures/asp/course_search.asp


For information about courses running at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China:


For information about courses running at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus:


Assessment regulations

Extenuating Circumstances Procedures and Guidance

Flow charts covering application of progression, compensation and reassessment regulations for programmes at Masters level are available: a chart including a progression point can be found here and without a progression point can be found here.

A flow chart covering application of progression, compensation and reassessment regulations for Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma programmes is available here.

Schools can obtain guidance on these regulations by emailing:


Students seeking advice on these regulations should contact Student Services.

Last updated 1 September 2017






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