University regulations for First Degrees for full-time students
Includes: overview; definitions
The following University Regulations apply to all first degrees awarded by the University (except those offered by affiliated Institutions and the BEd, BPhil(Ed), BArch, BMedSci, BMBS degrees). Candidates for the award of a degree of the University must satisfy both the University Regulations and the Supplementary Regulations which govern the relevant degree as approved by the Board of the appropriate Faculty or equivalent.
In these Regulations, and in the Supplementary Regulations, the following definitions shall apply:
- A Course of study is a set of modules satisfying the requirements for a particular degree and attracting 320 credits for an Ordinary Bachelor’s degree, 360 for an Honours Bachelor’s degree and 480 for Master of Science (MSci), Master in Mathematics (MMath), Master in Engineering (MEng) or Master of Pharmacy (MPharm).
- A Module is a specified programme of study which is self-contained and which attracts a specified number of credits.
- Credits indicate a quantity of assessed learning and contribute to a cumulative indication of the modules which a student has completed as specified by Supplementary Regulations. Credits are gained by satisfying the Board of Examiners as specified in Regulation 12 (of the Assessment section below).
- A Semester is a division of the academic year consisting of twelve weeks of teaching, coursework and revision and two (Autumn semester) or four (Spring semester) weeks of assessment and consultation.
- A Year is a period of study consisting of an Autumn Semester followed by a Spring Semester. Except where Supplementary Regulations provide otherwise, an academic session spent in study abroad does not constitute a “year” for the purpose of these Regulations.
- An Examination comprises the totality of assessment applicable to modules taken at a particular stage of a course of study, as determined by Regulation 5(a), upon which progression and/or degree classification are based. Assessment may be by means of written examination papers, coursework or otherwise.
- A Mark is a numerical indication of the quality of the assessed work completed by a student in each module as approved by the Board of Examiners concerned.
Level provides an indication of the standard of the module content:
0 - Foundation Year Modules designed principally for 1st year students
1 - Modules designed principally for 1st year students
A - Modules designed principally for 1st or 2nd year students
2 - Modules designed principally for 2nd year students
B - Modules designed principally for 2nd or 3rd year students
3 - Modules designed principally for 3rd year students
C - Modules designed principally for 3rd or 4th year students
4 - Modules designed principally for 4th year students
D - Modules designed principally for those students who already hold a first degree in an appropriate subject at a suitable standard.
Includes: refusal of admission
1. All candidates for first degrees must before beginning a course of study have satisfied the requirements for degrees under Ordinances and the relevant Supplementary Regulations, which may require evidence of qualifications in a particular subject or subjects as a condition of entry upon a course of study.
2. The right to refuse admission to particular courses of study shall be reserved to the Heads of the Schools concerned.
Approved courses of study
Includes: attendance and progress; module selection; candidates for Single Honours Bachelor’s degrees
3. To qualify for a degree a candidate must:
(a) Pursue an approved course of study
(b) Pass the assessments specified in these Regulations and in the relevant Supplementary Regulations.
4. Approved courses of study under these Regulations shall be those prescribed by Supplementary Regulations and such other courses as may be specially approved by the Boards of the appropriate Faculties or equivalent.
(a) The first year of an approved course of study shall constitute the Qualifying stage of the course in question, the second year Part I, the third year Part II and the fourth year, where applicable, Part III.
(b) Approved courses of study may include such additional components, including periods of study abroad, as Supplementary Regulations may specify.
6. Candidates shall not be deemed to have pursued an approved course of study unless their attendance and progress in the approved modules is certified as satisfactory by the Heads of the Schools concerned.
(a) Candidates shall in each semester select and study a number of modules normally attracting an accumulated total of 60 credits, and in no case fewer than 50 or more than 70 credits. The modules selected at each of the Qualifying, Part I, Part II and, where appropriate, Part III stages shall in all cases attract an accumulated total of 120 credits.
This paragraph shall, however, be read subject to the specific exceptions provided for in Regulations 7(c) and 17.
(b) In the case of an Honours Bachelor’s degree the selection at the Part II stage shall include at least 100 credits in modules at levels B, 3 or C.
In the case of the degrees of MSci, MEng, MMath or MPharm, the selection at the Part II stage shall include at least 100 credits in modules at levels B, 3 or C and at the Part III stage at least 100 credits in modules at levels 3, C or 4.
(c) Candidates for Ordinary Bachelor’s degrees shall select a number of modules sufficient to enable them to acquire an accumulated total of at least 320 credits over their entire course of study, in accordance with any relevant Supplementary Regulations governing such degrees.
(a) Candidates shall select their modules in accordance with the regulations governing the degrees for which they are registered. This selection shall be undertaken in consultation with their academic tutors and shall be subject to the approval of their Head of School.
(b) In making their selection of modules, candidates must satisfy any prerequisites, corequisites or other requirements specified in Supplementary Regulations as applicable.
(c) Where a particular module is specified as a prerequisite, candidates will be regarded as satisfying that prerequisite by having passed the assessments applicable to the module concerned. The requirement for passing the assessments may, however, be waived by the Head of School concerned if appropriate. Furthermore, candidates shall normally be permitted to take a module in the Spring semester even though they may have failed a prerequisite in the immediately preceding Autumn semester.
(d) Where a particular module is specified as a corequisite, candidates will be regarded as satisfying that corequisite by registering for, and maintaining satisfactory attendance throughout, the module concerned.
(e) The right to refuse admission to a particular module shall be reserved to the Head of the School offering that module.
9. Except as specified in Supplementary Regulations relating to externally accredited degree courses, candidates for Single Honours Bachelor’s degrees shall normally be permitted to acquire at least 60 of their total 360 credits from modules taught by departments other than their Honours department.
Includes: Supplementary Regulations; coursework and examination; attendance and performance
10. Assessment for each module shall be as specified by the relevant Supplementary Regulations. The conditions under which candidates may be exempted from any element of such assessment shall also be determined by the provisions of Ordinance XX and by the relevant Supplementary Regulations.
11. Candidates must enter for the examinations at the times and in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the Regulations for Examinations, and must submit coursework as specified by Supplementary Regulations and in accordance with the times and conditions determined by the Heads of Schools concerned.
(a) Candidates whose attendance and performance have been assessed as satisfactory shall be awarded the appropriate number of credits.
Satisfactory performance shall be achieved by
(i) satisfying the Board of Examiners with respect to individual modules; or
(ii) satisfying the Board of Examiners with respect to the Qualifying, Part I or, in the case of the MSci, MMath, MEng and MPharm degrees, Part II Examinations as a whole, notwithstanding failure in individual modules, by virtue of the compensation provisions of Regulation 16(a) and 16(b); or
(iii) satisfying the degree conventions appropriate to particular courses, as agreed by the Board of Examiners, notwithstanding failure in individual modules taken in Part I, Part II or, where appropriate, Part III.
(b) In the case of the award of credits for the purposes of an Ordinary degree, the provisions of Regulations 12(a) shall be applied subject to such modifications as may be specified in Supplementary Regulations governing such degrees.
(a) The assessment of each module, as determined in accordance with Regulation 10, will lead to the award of a mark for each candidate registered for each module.
(b) The pass mark in each module shall be 40%.
Includes: failure to satisfy requirements; re-assessment; additional components
(a) The progression of candidates within their course of study shall be determined in accordance with Regulations 15-20. In the case of MSci, MMath, MEng, MPharm and BPharm degrees, however, the provisions of Regulations 15-20 shall be applied subject to such additional requirements relating to the level of performance to be achieved as may be specified in Supplementary Regulations.
(b) The progression of candidates for the purposes of an Ordinary degree shall be as determined in accordance with Supplementary Regulations governing such degrees.
15. Candidates who achieve the pass mark in each of the modules taken in the Qualifying, Part I or, in the case of the MSci, MMath, MEng and MPharm degrees, Part II Examination shall be permitted to proceed to the following year of the course of study.
(a) Candidates who fail to satisfy the requirements of Regulation 15 shall nevertheless be permitted to proceed to the following year provided that they have achieved:
(i) an overall average mark of at least 40% (where the individual marks contributing to that average are weighted according to the number of credits attributed to each module); and
(ii) pass marks in modules attracting in total at least 80 credits; and
(iii) a mark of at least 30% in each of the failed modules. And
(b) Candidates who fail to satisfy the requirements of Regulation 16 (a)
(iii) may nevertheless at the discretion of the Faculty or equivalent Board concerned be permitted to proceed to the following year provided that they have achieved:
(i) an overall average mark of at least 50% (where the individual marks contributing to that average are weighted according to the number of credits attributed to each module); and
(ii) pass marks in modules attracting in total at least 100 credits.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of Regulation 16(a) and 16(b), Supplementary Regulations for particular courses of study may provide that, in the case of candidates registered for those courses, fail marks gained in certain specified modules may not be compensated. Where such candidates fail to achieve pass marks in the modules in question, they may not proceed without reassessment in accordance with Regulations 18 and 19.
(d) Regulation 16 (b) will not apply to any candidate who has a mark below 30% for a module and whose attendance on that module is demonstrated to be unsatisfactory.
17. Exceptionally, candidates who have not been permitted to proceed to the following year under either Regulation 15 or 16 may, at the discretion of the Faculty or equivalent Board concerned, be permitted to proceed to the following year provided that they have achieved pass marks in modules attracting at least 100 credits in the relevant Examination and, in the case of progression to Part II, have achieved at least 220 credits in total. All candidates permitted to proceed under this regulation shall be required in the following year to select modules attracting up to 20 credits in addition to those provided for in Regulation 7, subject to such conditions as the Faculty or equivalent Board may impose, and to obtain such marks in those additional modules as, when aggregated with the marks previously obtained in the modules passed in the relevant Examination, will satisfy the requirements of Regulation 15 or 16.
18. Candidates who have not been permitted to proceed to the following year under any of the preceding regulations shall normally have the right to one further opportunity to satisfy the examiners either by September or in the next academic year (with or without residence). The form of the assessment shall be determined by the Faculty or equivalent Board concerned, in accordance with any relevant Supplementary Regulations. Any further opportunity to satisfy the examiners after the second attempt shall be at the discretion of the Faculty or equivalent Board, and shall be accorded only in exceptional circumstances.
(a) Candidates to whom Regulation 18 is applicable shall be reassessed in all the modules which they have failed, except that
(i) those who have been prevented from proceeding to the following year solely by virtue of failing to satisfy the requirement of Regulation 16(a)(iii) shall normally be reassessed only in those modules in which they have failed to gain a mark of at least 30%;
(ii) those who have been prevented from proceeding solely by virtue of Regulation 16(c) shall be reassessed only in the modules specified under the provisions of that Regulation.
(b) Candidates may not normally offer themselves for reassessment in any modules which they have passed.
(c) For progression purposes, the higher or highest of the marks obtained by each candidate in each module (whether at first attempt or upon reassessment) shall be considered and the provisions of Regulations 15, 16, and 17 applied accordingly.
20. Candidates whose course of study contains an additional component as provided by Regulation 5 (b) (of the Approved courses of study section above) may be required to achieve such a standard of performance in that additional component as Supplementary Regulations may specify, before being permitted to proceed to the following year.
Includes: final classifications; Honours; undergraduate certificate; undergraduate diploma
(a) Marks awarded for modules completed in the Qualifying stage shall not count towards the final classification of degrees. Marks awarded for modules completed subsequently will contribute to the final classification, weighted as provided for in Regulation 22.
(b) For the purposes of final classification for an Honours degree, the mark to be used for each candidate in each module shall be that obtained at the first attempt, but any marks obtained upon reassessment shall also be made available to Examining Boards.
(a) In arriving at final classification of Bachelor’s degrees, Examining Boards shall attribute to Part I marks a weighting of not less than 20% and not more than 50% as specified in Supplementary Regulations. In arriving at final classification of the degrees of MSci, MMath, MEng and MPharm the respective weightings of Parts I, II and III shall be as specified in Supplementary Regulations. Final classification shall be determined by Examining Boards, who shall have discretion to consider any other relevant information (including marks obtained upon reassessment) in addition to Examination marks.
(b) The degree of Bachelor may be awarded with Honours in the first class, second class Division I or II, or third class. Candidates whose performance does not merit the award of an Honours degree may be awarded an Ordinary degree, or may be allowed to present themselves for re-assessment for an Ordinary degree on such terms and conditions as Senate may think fit.The names in each class or division shall be published alphabetically.
(c) The classification of the degrees of MSci, MEng and MPharm shall be in accordance with Supplementary Regulations.
(d) The degree of Bachelor may be awarded to candidates studying for an Ordinary degree in accordance with Supplementary Regulations governing such degrees.
23. To qualify for the award of Bachelor’s degrees, candidates shall follow approved courses for at least three years (subject to the provisions of Ordinance XX) resulting in the award of credits as follows:
- Honours degrees: 360 credits
- Ordinary degrees: 320 credits
24. To qualify for the award of the degrees of MSci, MEng or MPharm candidates shall follow approved courses for at least four years (subject to the provisions of Ordinance XX) resulting in the award of 480 credits, subject to any additional requirements relating to the level of performance achieved as may be specified in Supplementary Regulations.
25. To qualify for the award of an Undergraduate Diploma, candidates shall have followed an approved degree course, gained 240 credits at the appropriate level with an overall course average of 40, and completed their registration without satisfying the requirements for the award of a degree.
26. To qualify for the award of an Undergraduate Certificate, candidates shall have followed an approved degree or diploma course, gained 120 credits at the appropriate level with an overall course average of 40%, and completed their registration without satisfying the requirements for the award of a degree or diploma.
27. The qualifications of Undergraduate Certificate or Diploma may be awarded under Regulations 25 and 26 even where candidates have compensated fails in modules in accordance with the terms of Regulation 16(a) and 16(b) (of the Progression section above).
28. In regulations 23 and 24 above, calculation of the total number of credits leading to the award of a degree shall include any credits for work previously carried out in another institution and for which exemption from the requirements of the University of Nottingham has already been granted under the provisions of Ordinance XX.
Commentary to the University Regulations for First Degrees for Full-time Students
Includes: unforseen circumstances
The objective has been to keep the new regulations as brief, simple and intelligible as possible. However, the intricate and technical nature of the issues to be regulated, the diverse requirements of the various Faculties or equivalent and Schools across the University and the need to establish a sound, formal basis to govern the relationship between the University and its students has meant that a degree of complexity has been unavoidable. The following commentary is intended as an aid to the interpretation and implementation of the new regulations, particularly in the early stages.
IT IS FOR GUIDANCE ONLY, AND CANNOT PREVAIL OVER THE TEXT OF THE REGULATIONS THEMSELVES
It is to be expected, indeed inevitable, that circumstances will arise that were not foreseen at the time the regulations were drafted and which may ultimately require appropriate amendments to be made. It will be important for all Faculties or equivalent to inform the Registrar’s School of any such difficulties which come to their attention. The regulations deal for the most part only with standard cases: where medical or other extenuating circumstances are present it will continue to be possible, as now, to accord special consideration and treatment.
It has been possible for the first time to introduce a uniform set of regulations governing all full-time undergraduate degrees within the University, with the few specified exceptions. These regulations deal only with the broader issues; detailed questions of course structure etc. will be covered in Faculty or equivalent, School or Course Regulations, which are collectively referred to in the text as Supplementary Regulations.These will be available in Faculty or equivalent Handbooks and will cross-refer to the Catalogue of Modules where appropriate.
The concepts of course of study, module and credit will by now be familiar to all. It may be useful to recall that a single credit is notionally intended to represent 7.5 hours of student input, whether in the form of teaching contact or private study. The definition of ‘mark’ indicates that the regulations are concerned only with the ultimate mark approved by the Board of Examiners, i.e. after any process of double marking, external validation, standardisation etc. has occurred.
The term Examination (with a capital E) has also been defined and will cover all assessments, whether taken in the Autumn or Spring semester, and whatever their form, which are specified in Supplementary Regulations or in the Catalogue of Modules as applicable at any stage (ie Qualifying/Part I/II/III) of a particular student’s programme of study. Any assessments which occur outside these stages (eg. as part of a year abroad or in relation to some other ‘additional component’) or which are not used for the purposes of progression and/or degree classification (eg. coursework utilised solely as part of the teaching and learning process) do not form part of an Examination, however.
The first two regulations are concerned with the process of admission to the University and involve no substantial change from previous regulations, except that a reference to Faculty or equivalent Boards was deleted from Regulation 2, since it was unclear that such Boards in fact exercise any function in this regard.
Approved courses of study
Regulations 3-9 make provision for the basic structure of degree programmes and for the selection of modules by students.
Regulations 3 and 4 establish the necessity of following an approved course of study and indicate that the detailed content of such courses will be found in Supplementary Regulations. They reflect the broad purport of previous regulations, subject to some minor changes of wording.
Regulation 5(a) establishes a uniform Qualifying/Part I/Part II structure for all degrees, with a Part III for the four-year MSci, MEng, MMath and MPharm programmes.
Regulation 5(b) provides for the possibility of incorporating into degree programmes ‘additional components’, such as the year abroad in the growing number of four-year Bachelor’s degree courses or the Foundation Year in Engineering (at least where ‘home students are concerned). Even though these may be compulsory elements of the degrees in question, it has been decided that they should not attract credits, though they may of course be the subject of assessment (see Regulation 20.).The non-award of credits for these elements arose from the decision that a Bachelor’s degree should consist of 360 credits and that 480 credits should be reserved for Masters degrees such as MSci, MEng, MMath MPharm. Other examples of activities which are compulsory but do not attract credits and therefore constitute ‘additional components’ for this purpose, include certain tutorials and the general essay in certain Schools and Faculties or equivalent and industrial experience placements in Mining Engineering.These are rather different from ‘year abroad’ components in that they occur within the normal three years of the undergraduate course. They have been permitted as exceptions to the general principle that all work which forms a necessary part of the standard three year undergraduate programme should attract a number of credits calculated by reference to the quantity of student input.
Regulation 6 as a matter of practical reality, students will, as now, be presumed to have attended/progressed satisfactorily unless certified as unsatisfactory in either respect by their Head of School.
Regulation 7(a) 120 credits is established as the standard diet for each year of study normally to be divided evenly between the two semesters.A 65/55 or 70/50 division will also be regarded as acceptable, however, in order to provide an element of flexibility.
The first exception referred to in the final sentence of the regulation relates to Ordinary degrees (see Regulation 7(c)), for which fewer credits are necessary. The second deals with the situation, familiar to certain Faculties or equivalent under the existing regulations and now provided for in Regulation 17, where a student who has not passed in all modules in one year is nevertheless permitted to proceed to the following year provided the deficiency is made up by taking additional modules at that stage. Such a student would in fact have to secure between 125 and 140 credits, rather than the usual 120.
Regulation 7(b) establishes that all students will have to take in their final year (or in each of the final two years in the case of MSci/MEng/MMath/MPharm students) at least 100 credits in modules at an appropriate level.This is the only context in which the regulations attribute significance to the ‘level’ of modules.The reason for this is that degree programmes will in fact be structured by detailed Supplementary Regulations, and therefore more extensive control over student choice by means of University regulations is unnecessary.
Regulation 7(c) makes separate provision for Ordinary degrees, transfer to which may occur after the Qualifying year or after Part I. Students who have passed that Examination, either outright or with the benefit of compensation, may not be compulsorily transferred to an Ordinary degree, but departments may find it desirable to counsel weaker students to transfer if there is doubt as to their ability to cope with the demands of the final year. Such students would accordingly have to acquire only 80 credits in that final year, 60 of which would have to be at levels B/3/C.Any student who has failed the Examination, perhaps acquiring only 100 credits, could be required to transfer to an Ordinary degree. Such a student would need to acquire a further 100 credits at Part II, 60 of which would have to be at levels B/3/C. If the option of transfer to an Ordinary degree at the end of the Qualifying year were used, it would simply be necessary to construct a programme whereby the student ultimately acquired 320 credits overall, with at least 60 at an appropriate level in the final year.
It is expected that students on an Ordinary degree will make a selection of modules from within those on the Honours programme but formal modular course submission documents may be required at the appropriate time. In the meantime the whole process of transfer to an Ordinary degree should be carefully monitored both by Faculty or equivalent Boards.
Regulation 8(a) makes the obvious point that the student’s choice of modules must be consistent with the appropriate degree regulations, which may in practice mean that there is little or no “choice” as such for certain students in certain semesters, on account of compulsory elements of the course structure.The importance of counselling will, however, be considerable in all cases where a relatively wide choice is available. Ultimately each selection will require the formal approval of the Head of School.
IT IS NOT INTENDED HOWEVER THAT HEADS SHOULD REFUSE CONSENT OTHER THAN FOR COMPELLING ACADEMIC REASONS.
A case for refusal might be where a student had selected a number of modules of broadly similar content–e.g. basic modules on statistics where essentially similar material was examined from slightly different disciplinary perspectives.
Regulation 8(b) imposes the requirement that student selections comply with any prerequisites, corequisites or other requirements specified as applicable to the modules selected. “Other requirements” would include cases where departments have already detected inappropriate combinations of modules, and have sought to preclude them in their course catalogue entries. It might also indicate that a particular module constituted the first part of a project and that students would be expected also to choose the second part.
Regulation 8(c) The basic expectation is that students will have demonstrated an acceptable level of competence in any subject area which forms the basis of further study, and it will normally be necessary, therefore, for them to have passed, rather than merely studied, any module specified as a prerequisite. This may not in all cases be judged necessary, however, and departments will be free to waive this requirement where appropriate. Indeed, in accordance with ordinary principles, it would be open to departments to waive a prerequisite entirely, though this is not spelled out in the regulations themselves and is probably a power that should be exercised sparingly. The final sentence provides that students cannot be prevented from selecting a module in the Spring semester merely because they failed a prerequisite in the immediately preceding Autumn semester. This caters for the purely practical point that no resit opportunity will yet have arisen, and therefore the competence of the student in the prerequisite cannot be said to have been finally determined. (Of course there may be every reason to counsel a student not to take the Spring semester module, but ultimately this is a matter of student choice.)
Regulation 8(d) It will not be possible for a student to claim to have satisfied a corequisite merely by registering for it in the first instance; satisfactory attendance throughout the module will be required. Students will need to be made aware of the fact that if they seek to transfer out of a module which is specified as a corequisite to other modules in their programme, they will cease to be qualified to study those other modules. As indicated under Regulation 6 above, candidates will be deemed to have maintained satisfactory attendance unless the Head of School certifies otherwise.
Regulation 8(e) It is to be hoped that departments will not place unnecessary obstacles in the way of students who wish to study their modules and are equipped to do so in terms of pre-requisites etc. Inevitably, however, space and safety considerations and the availability of teaching resources will make it necessary to limit numbers attending certain modules. It will be necessary for the University closely to monitor the operation of this process in order to ensure that the viability of the modular system is not compromised. In cases where the module is organised on a Faculty or equivalent basis, the Head of School will be the Dean (who may delegate this responsibility if he wishes).
Regulation 9 indicates the degree of flexibility to go outside the confines of their Honours discipline that students are entitled to expect. Joint Honours degrees are excluded from the ambit of this regulation because the need to study two disciplines inevitably limits the scope for choice. Certain courses, even though not formally classified as Joint Honours, may need to be treated as such for this purpose if they are managed by an interdepartmental board (eg. Mathematical Physics). Accredited courses are also excluded, for obvious reasons.
Regulations 10-14 make provision for the assessment process and the acquisition of credits.
Regulation 10 establishes that the mode of assessment for each module will be laid down in Supplementary Regulations. Ordinance XX is concerned, inter alia, with the recognition of prior study in other institutions.
Regulation 11 reflects the content of previous regulations, but with some modification to take account of the growing importance of coursework in the assessment process.
Regulation 12 provides the link between the process of assessment and that of credit acquisition. Credits are obtained in a variety of ways. First, students who pass in individual modules will get the appropriate number of credits -- normally 60 per semester if they pass every module. Equally, students who do not succeed in every module but pass a particular Examination (Qualifying, Part I, or, where appropriate Part II) as a whole (by virtue of compensation) will get the full number of credits for that Examination, as will those who, in their final Examination, satisfy the conventions applied by particular departments to determine degree awards. Such conventions commonly provide for degrees to be awarded to students even though they have not necessarily passed every individual paper. Although the regulation refers to satisfactory attendance, as well as performance, as a precondition for the acquisition of credits, it would not seem appropriate to deny credits to a student who has actually passed the Examination, on account of previous poor attendance. Poor attendance should have been dealt with at an earlier juncture, either by means of remedial work required in accordance with Supplementary Regulations or, in an extreme case, through exclusion from the Examination.
Regulation 13 establishes that one mark (see definitions) will appear for each student in each module and that 40% will be the uniform standard for a pass.
Regulations 14-19 deal with the complex issue of progression from one stage of the course to the next.
Regulation 14 indicates that the progression rules set out in the Regulations 15-19 may be subject to stricter requirements in the case of MSci, MMath, MEng, MPharm and BPharm degrees.
Regulation 15 provides for the automatic progression of students who pass in every module.
For ease of use in practice, the flowchart (at the end of this commentary) has been organised from the top downwards, in terms of the increasing number of credits that may be compensated in order to progress. Thus, the second line indicates that 20 credits may be freely compensated, provided that the overall average is at least 50% and any supplementary departmental regulations are satisfied.The lines correspond, in effect, to Regulations 15, 16(b), 16(a) and 19(a)(i) respectively. Note that also Regulations 16(c) and 19(a)(ii) may apply in any of the first three cases also. Regulation 16(a) establishes a uniform system of compensation which will apply across the University at both Qualifying and Part I stages. Candidates must satisfy all three conditions, namely an overall average of at least 40%, pass marks in at least 80 credits worth of modules and a mark of at least 30% in each of the failed modules.Where candidates do not achieve an overall average of at least 40%, they will fail all modules with marks under 40%.Where candidates achieve an overall average of 40%, but have not passed modules attracting 80 credits, they will fail all modules with marks less than 40%. Where students achieve the first two conditions, but have a fail mark of less than 30% in a module or modules, they will fail this module or modules.
Regulation 16(b) establishes a discretionary system of compensation, for certain candidates with marks below 30%, which will apply across the University at both Qualifying and Part I stages. Candidates must satisfy both conditions, namely an overall average of at least 50% and pass marks in at least 100 credits worth of modules.
Regulations 16(c) recognises, however, that there may be certain ‘core’ modules in particular degree programmes which are so central to the discipline as a whole that compensation would be inappropriate. Faculty or equivalent Boards do not have the discretion to allow a student to proceed who has failed one of these ‘core’ modules. In particular it would obviously be incongruous for a student repeatedly to compensate failure in the Honours discipline by the use of marks in non-Honours modules. It is therefore necessary for each department to specify in supplementary regulations those modules in which marks may not be compensated for students registered for particular degrees. It follows that a particular module may be subject to compensation in the case of certain (eg non-Honours) students but not others. It is also intended that Schools may be able to limit compensation to groups of modules, eg marks in any one of four Sanskrit modules may be compensated by marks in other Sanskrit modules but not by marks in Mongolian. Where a student has satisfied the numerical requirements of Regulations 16(a) or 16(b) but has been prevented from proceeding to the following year because the marks in one or more of the failed modules may not be compensated, re-examination should only be necessary in those particular modules, rather than in all those failed. However there may be cases where Faculty or equivalent Boards are in a position to take a broader view and to recommend transfer to another degree programme under whose Supplementary Regulations the candidate is allowed to proceed.
Regulation 16(d) provides an opportunity for Schools to deny progression by providing the relevant Faculty with evidence demonstrating that the candidate’s attendance on that module was not satisfactory. If Schools wish to prescribe and enforce a minimum level of attendance that they regard as satisfactory this must be made explicit to students at the start of a module and Schools must have a means of monitoring and demonstrating poor attendance.
Regulation 17 provides a further route by which students may progress. Like the compensation procedures established in Regulations 16(b), it is not automatic but dependent on the discretion of the Faculty or equivalent Board. It is intended to cater for the student who, though falling short of the standard required for compensation, nevertheless, merits some special consideration. It is included so as not to inhibit students from attempting modules in disciplines distinct from their Honours subject, through fear of failure which might prevent their progression. Such a student might, for example, have obtained an overall average mark of 50% by achieving high marks in modules attracting 100 credits, but have a mark of 5 for a module worth 20 credits. Faculty or equivalent Board might not exercise its discretion to allow this student to progress, given that the mark of 5 is so very low. In many cases the appropriate course of action would undoubtedly be to require a resit in the failed module (see Regulation 18) but there may be cases where a candidate has displayed so little grasp of the particular subject that a resit would be pointless. In such a case the better course of action might be to permit the student to proceed and to take on an additional load the following year. The Faculty or equivalent Board might well wish to impose a condition that the same module should not be repeated and perhaps to indicate further restrictions on the student’s choice. In other cases, however, it might be appropriate to require that the same module be taken again, eg, if it appears that the deficiencies in the student’s approach to the subject could be remedied by a further semester of study, or if the student seems to have deliberately avoided studying the module in order to concentrate on achieving higher marks in other modules. It is entirely at the Board’s discretion whether any conditions are imposed. This procedure is less likely to be appropriate in the case of students who have been denied compensation through failing to average 40% overall, since such students are probably weak in general and therefore less likely to cope with an additional burden the following year. Transfer to an Ordinary degree may be a more suitable course of action. It is to be emphasised that the Regulation 17 procedure will also be available after resits have occurred, and is much more likely to be appropriate at that stage. It should also be noted that a student must have achieved pass marks in at least 100 credits in order to be considered under this procedure, and that it cannot be applied cumulatively in successive years so as to permit eventual carryover of an extra 40 credits into Part II. The final point to note in this context is that it will be necessary in all cases dealt with under this regulation for the Faculty or equivalent Board to identify specifically the modules which constitute the “additional” 5-20 credits-worth in the student’s selection for the following year, since the marks obtained in those modules will be treated differently from the others obtained in that year. They will in fact be aggregated with those from the previous year in order to determine retrospectively whether the student has obtained the full 120 credits for that year.
Regulation 18 establishes an automatic right to a resit for any student who has not been permitted to proceed from the Qualifying or Part I stage. The form of reassessment shall be determined by the Faculty or equivalent Board on the advice of the School offering the module. Reassessment may take the form of remedial or other work where Supplementary Regulations so provide. This will probably be the norm where the failure involved a project, dissertation or practical work, or was previously assessed by coursework. It is also permissible even where the module was originally assessed by examination, following current practice in the Faculty or equivalent of Engineering. In all such cases the timing of the remedial work and all other relevant details will also be governed by Supplementary Regulations (which will be proposed by the School offering the module). Resit examinations will take place in September or during the following academic session. It is not intended to organise resits in February or June but candidates may be allowed to take normal examinations being set at those times. Exceptionally, Faculty or equivalent Boards may at their discretion accord further opportunities to satisfy the Board of Examiners in the event of failure at the first reassessment. The relevant Faculty or equivalent Board for this purpose will be that concerned with the course for which the student is registered.
Regulation 19(a)(i) establishes that, candidates shall normally be required to be reassessed in all modules failed with a mark of less than 30%. (This is in contrast to the current procedure where students are required to retake all modules with a mark of less then 40%).This change will lighten the load on the student and reduce the number of reassessments. However, circumstances may occasionally arise where it might be to the candidate’s advantage to be reassessed, not only in a module or modules in which they achieve a mark of less than 30%, but also in modules in which their mark is between 30% and 40%. For example, with passes in 90 credits, an average close to or over 50%, marks in one module below 30% and in the other two between 30% and 40%, improving one of the latter two, in addition to resitting the module with the mark below 30%, could be sufficient (and perhaps more easily achievable) to qualify for consideration under Regulation 16(b). Such a course of action should be the consequence of a decision by the student (not the department), although consultation with and counselling by the student’s tutor would be a part of the decision-making.
Regulation 19(a)(ii) establishes that students who have been denied compensation of certain “core” modules by virtue of Supplementary Regulations, will resit only those modules which have been specified by their Schools under the provisions of 16(c).
Regulation 19(b) establishes that, candidates who have qualified to progress may not retake any modules. Notwithstanding these regulations, there may occasionally be candidates with particular educational, medical or personal circumstances for whom a retake (with residence) of all modules in a complete semester or academic year would be the most appropriate course of action. Faculty or equivalent Boards must make clear when exercising this discretion whether such a retake will be a first attempt (ie wiping the slate clean) or whether it will be a reassessment of all modules.
Regulation 19(c) provides that for the purposes of progression, resit marks will be aggregated with the other marks previously obtained by the student in the Examination, and both compensation and the Regulation 17 procedure (see above) will be applicable. Where a student has had to resit a Part I module in order to progress to Part II the Board of Examiners for Part II will have available both the original and the resit mark. In calculating the student’s total mark for classification purposes (see Regulation 22), the original mark only will be used.
Regulation 20 provides for the assessment of student performance in the “additional components” referred to in Regulation 5(b). This matter is to be governed entirely by Supplementary Regulations. These may or may not provide the opportunity for reassessment–in the case of years abroad this may sometimes not be possible. A student who does not achieve a satisfactory standard during a year abroad may in some cases still qualify to proceed to the next year of a different degree–ie one that does not contain the year abroad component.
Degree awards (Regulations 21-28)
Regulations 21-28 deal with the question of degree awards and are largely Self-explanatory. Marks obtained at the Qualifying stage will not count towards the final classification and provision is made for the respective weighting to be accorded to marks obtained subsequently. Boards of Examiners will also have discretion, through the operation of their own degree conventions, as to how they deal with failures in individual papers (see under Regulation 12 above). It would be inappropriate, however, for a student to be denied a degree solely on account of failures which had already been compensated at a previous stage. It should be noted that the recommendation that the original mark be used is because the substitution of the mark obtained upon reassessment, for the original mark, risks unfairness to those other candidates who progress without being required to undertake reassessment and who are not permitted to be reassessed in any module they have passed. Good practice in this area would be as follows:
(i) If calculating or using averages, the original mark(s) should be used in cases where the resulting weighted overall average is greater than 40%, but where the original mark(s) would produce an average less than 40% and the mark(s) obtained upon reassessment would produce one greater than 40%, the weighted overall average used should be 40%;
(ii) If using “profiles”, based on degree class for individual modules, then a failed module which is successfully retaken should be credited with a ‘pass’ only. (Modules which have been compensated under the progression rules should perhaps be credited in the same way, as ‘passes’).
The discretion to take account of additional information is expressly preserved. Provision is also made for the recognition in the process of degree awards of credits obtained at other institutions.
When considering award of an Ordinary degree the following ways of making that award should be noted:
(i) An Ordinary degree or Ordinary degree ‘with Merit’ may be awarded to students who successfully complete a departmental Ordinary degree programme (as specified by Supplementary Regulations) which they have been following.
(ii) Leaving aside exceptional cases where a student is required to carry forward extra credits under Regulation 17, every student who progresses into the final year of an Honours programme will already have amassed 240 credits. Any student who passes in 80 or more final year credits, therefore, will be entitled to an Ordinary degree as of right, by virtue of satisfying Regulation 23. In this case the degree to be awarded would be the named degree relevant to the Honours course e.g. LLB (Ordinary) degree.
(iii) Alternatively, an Ordinary degree may be awarded to students who, at completion of their Honours course, fail to meet the criteria for award of an Honours degree, but achieve the criteria required for award of the departmental Ordinary degree.
University regulations for First Degrees for part-time students
The University Regulations for First Degrees are currently under review. Therefore, the following regulations are applicable for 2004/05 only. Students will be issued with regulations for 2005/06 onwards at a later date.
The University Regulations applicable to first degrees awarded by the University to full-time students (other than those registered with affiliated institutions or for the BEd, BPhil (Ed), BArch, BMedSci or BMBS degrees) shall apply equally to part-time students subject to the following modifications:
1. Regulation 4 shall apply subject to the requirement that the maximum duration of a course of study for a part-time degree shall be seven years in the case of a Bachelor’s degree, and eight years in the case of the MSci/MEng/MMath degree.
2. Regulation 5(a) shall be replaced by the following:
The Qualifying, Part I, Part II and, where applicable, Part III stages of the course in question shall each comprise approved combinations of modules attracting a total of 120 credits.
3. Regulation 7(a) shall be replaced by the following:
Candidates shall select and study a number of modules attracting an accumulated total of no more than 70 credits in any semester, and no more than 80 in any year. In each of the first two years, furthermore, the modules selected shall normally attract an accumulated total of no fewer than 40 credits. When selecting modules candidates must specify which modules will contribute, as appropriate, to the Qualifying, Part I, Part II or Part III Examinations.
4. Regulations 15-20, which govern the progression of candidates through the various stages of their courses of study, shall be applied subject to the following modifications:
(a) The progression of candidates for part-time degrees shall be considered by the Faculty or equivalent Board each year, irrespective of whether they have studied sufficient modules to constitute a particular stage of their course of study, as defined in Regulation 2 above.
(b) Candidates who have failed particular modules within a stage of their course shall normally be permitted to submit themselves for reexamination in those modules at the first available opportunity.
(c) Candidates shall be permitted to proceed to the following year within the Qualifying stage of their course of study notwithstanding failure in individual modules, even after re-assessment, provided that they have achieved pass marks in modules attracting at least 30 credits by the end of the first year, and at least 60 by the end of the second.
(d) Candidates must complete the Qualifying stage of their course of study within three years of initial registration.
(e) Candidates shall be permitted to proceed to the following year within subsequent stages (ie Part I, Part II or, where appropriate, Part III) of their course of study notwithstanding failure in individual modules, even after reassessment, provided that the Faculty of equivalent Board is satisfied that the candidates shall have a reasonable expectation of being able to complete the requirements for a part-time degree.
(f) When the progression of candidates from one stage of their course of study to another is being determined, the compensation provisions of Regulation 16 shall be applied at the discretion of the Faculty or equivalent Board, and in the light of any further opportunities to satisfy the examiners which candidates have already been afforded, rather than automatically.
Commentary to the University regulations for First Degrees for part-time students
The vast majority of the regulations governing full-time students (e.g. those concerning admission, assessment and degree awards and most of those relating to approved courses of study) are in fact equally applicable to part-time candidates, and it has therefore been decided not to draft a completely new set to govern the latter category. Rather, the full-time regulations (FT Regs) will apply, but subject to certain modifications necessary to address the peculiarities of part-time status.
Regulation 1 modifies FT Reg 4 by establishing that, while approved courses of study will continue to be prescribed by Supplementary Regulations, there will be a duration for part-time degrees of 7 years in the case of a Bachelor’s degree and 8 years for the MSci/MEng/MMath. It is thought undesirable to allow the protraction of part-time study beyond such periods. Naturally this regulation, like all others, can be overridden in cases of illness or other compassionate circumstances.
Regulation 2 In the case of full-time students, the various stages of the degree course (Qualifying, Part 1 etc.) are exactly co-terminous with academic years. In the case of part-timers, this symmetry is broken, and it has therefore been necessary to replace FT Reg 5(a) and re-define each stage in terms of approved combinations of modules attracting 120 credits. This means that each part-time student’s programme of study will have to be individually planned and then approved by the Head of School concerned. It is anticipated that the programme will follow the full-time course of study as closely as possible, though inevitably it will spread over a longer period of time. In some cases it may be necessary to modify the precise sequence in which modules are taken, in order to achieve the necessary flexibility and accommodate student availability.
Regulation 3 Although the intention has been to achieve as much flexibility as possible, there are various constraints, particularly of a financial kind, which have to be recognised. It has been thought desirable, for example, to encourage part-time study by maintaining the current low level of fees which such students are charged. This in turn makes it appropriate to preserve a substantial differential between such students and their full-time counterparts in terms of the quantity of teaching they receive. This regulation therefore establishes that part-time students may take a maximum of 80-credits-worth of modules in any year (i.e. two-thirds of the full-time equivalent.) The maximum per semester, however, is 70 (i.e. the same as the full-time equivalent) to allow for the possibility that the part-timer may wish to concentrate his/her studies into one semester of the year. On the other hand, it has also been thought desirable to require a certain minimum commitment from part-timers, at least in the early period of their studies, and this has been fixed at a level of 40-credits-worth of modules in each of the first two years of study. This requirement will serve to distinguish them from those taking individual modules as occasional students or as part of a continuing education programme. It should be remembered, however, that students within the latter categories who subsequently wish to register for a part-time degree will be in a position to apply under APL procedures for credit in respect of any modules which they have previously studied outside of any formal degree programme. One inevitable consequence of the breaking of the link between the various stages of the part-time degree and the academic years of study (see under Regulation 2 above) will be an element of administrative complexity. For example, a part-time student who takes modules attracting the maximum 80 credits in each of the first two years will obviously, in the second year, be taking some Qualifying and some Part I modules.
IT WILL BE ESSENTIAL, IN ALL CASES WHERE THE MODULES TAKEN IN ANY YEAR SPAN DIFFERENT STAGES OF THE COURSE OF STUDY,THAT THE DEPARTMENT WHICH APPROVES THE STUDENT’S SELECTION ALSO IDENTIFIES EACH MODULE AS BELONGING TO THE QUALIFYING STAGE, PART I ETC. AS APPROPRIATE.
This is a matter which will have to be resolved at registration, and it is hoped that the registration forms for part-time students will be able to accommodate this requirement.
Regulation 4 It is in the area of the progression of part-time students that the major differences will occur. Paragraph (a) provides that FT Regs 15-20, which are expressed in such a way as to govern the progression of full-time students from one year of their course of study to the next, will be applied in the case of part-timers to regulate their progression from one stage of their course of study to the next. It is anticipated that the rules will then apply in similar fashion to part-time students as to their full-time counterparts, except that the compensation process established by FT Reg 16(a) will operate at the discretion of the Faculty or equivalent Board, rather than automatically. The reason for this apparently less favourable treatment is that part-time students may well already have had the benefit of resit opportunities (see under Regulation 5 below) by the time when their progression from one stage of their course to another is considered.This cannot occur in the case of full-time students. It is not intended to make special arrangements to consider the progression of part-timers at the end of the first semester, even if they happen to have completed sufficient modules to constitute a particular stage of their course at that time. Examiners’ meetings will only take place in June. It therefore seems likely that the progression of part-timers will throw up a greater number of anomalies than that of full-timers. Where in a particular year a student has studied a number of modules which range across different stages of her/his course, for example, it could occur that (s)he fails to pass the Qualifying stage, even though marks already available to the Faculty or equivalent Board reveal a sparkling performance in certain Part I modules. It seems unwise, however, to seek to anticipate such cases in the Regulations. If necessary they can be the subject of ad hoc consideration as they arise. Apart from the need to consider the progression of part-timers after they have studied sufficient modules to constitute a particular stage of their course of study, it is also judged to be appropriate to consider their progression each year -- i.e. within particular stages of their course. In particular, it seems unwise to allow a student to continue through three years of an attempt to pass the Qualifying stage if the first year’s performance is disastrous.
Paragraph (b) establishes the principle that failure in a module should normally be followed by resit at the first available opportunity--it is not generally considered desirable to allow students to gamble that they will ultimately compensate on the basis of future years’ marks.
Paragraphs (c) and (d) seek to establish certain minimum criteria to regulate the progression of students from one year of the Qualifying stage to the next. A uniform requirement of passing in at least 30 credits-worth of modules by the end of the first year, and 60 by the end of the second, is imposed. As the regulations stand, this will apply regardless of how many modules the student has attempted, which could range from 80 to 160 credits-worth by the end of year two. It will also be the case that the student who achieves 60 or more credits by the end of year 1 will not need to achieve any more in year two. On the other hand, the Qualifying stage must be completed within three years, so there should not be undue temptation to ‘coast’ during this period. Once the Qualifying stage is complete, no specific criteria are contemplated to govern progression within subsequent stages.The guiding principle will be that the student will be allowed to progress provided the Faculty or equivalent Board judges that there is a reasonable prospect of completion within the 7 or 8 year period.
Paragraphs (e) and (f) further deal with the progression of candidates from one stage to another.
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