Quality Manual

Module specification guidance

This page provides guidance on module specifications and the information that must be publicised to students. This information is primarily directed at staff but may also be of interest to students across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

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Module details

Includes:  title; level; session; summary of content; content note

Title of module

  • Titles should be short, a fair reflection of the subject material contained in the syllabus, and interesting. If there is more than one version of the same module, and the titles are the same, then these should be differentiated using brackets. For example ‘Accessing America (20 credits)’


The level of a module is usually connected to the corresponding point of a student’s degree.

There are five different levels of modules:

  • Level 0 – Foundation year modules. These have a preparatory function, and are designed to give students a grounding in the subject, for example, when a student lacks the relevant A-level.
  • Level 1 – Modules designed principally for first year (Qualifying stage) students. These will normally develop basic knowledge and introduce fundamental concepts and techniques. Any pre-requisites will normally be expressed in terms of relevant pre-University studies.
  • Level 2 – Modules designed principally for second year students (Part I stage). These will normally look to the next phase of a student's development. They may have pre-requisites based on Level 1 or A modules, they may cover more advanced concepts and may introduce different study skills.
  • Level 3 – Modules designed principally for third year students (Part II). They will normally build on previous studies, and pre-requisites will commonly be specified. A wide range of study skills may be employed and developed, often with an emphasis on student-centred and student-initiated learning.
  • Level 4 – Modules designed principally for fourth year students (Part III stage) and for students who already hold a first degree in an appropriate subject at a suitable standard. These are principally designed to offer extended or advanced study. They will normally have pre-requisites from lower level modules.

For more information about the University of Nottingham Qualifications Framework (UNQF), please consult the following:

University of Nottingham Qualifications Framework


  • Indicate the academic year in which the new module will first run.

Summary of content 

  • Use a style of presentation which makes your information concise, informative and above all, comprehensible. For example, a sentence such as "This module considers..." followed by bullet points of major topics.

Content Note

  • Use ‘Content note’ to draw attention to potentially difficult material that students might want to be aware of. 

For more information about the Content Notes Policy, please consult the following:

University of Nottingham Content Notes Policy


Number of credits

The number of credits should be specified.  A single credit is notionally intended to represent 10 hours of student input, whether in the form of teaching contact or private study. Credits indicate a quantity of assessed learning and are gained by satisfying the Board of Examiners. 

The notional equivalent hours of study may not be directly applicable to University of Nottingham apprenticeship programmes where work-based learners have additional contextual opportunities to embed and test learning. Programme approval processes will ensure teaching approaches meet required outcomes for the learners on apprenticeships.

 It should be noted that if, exceptionally, the assessment of a postgraduate module is not carried out by the end of the semester in which the module is offered, the credits will not in theory accrue to the student until assessment is completed in the following semester. 

All new modules must have a credit value of 10, 20, 30, 40 or 60 credits. Zero credit modules are only permitted in exceptional circumstances. (for instance where there is a PSRB requirement). Schools will need to submit a case to QSC via the Curriculum Approvals and Advisory Team if proposing a zero credit module.

Availability to Students

Includes: availability to exchange; availability to undergraduate and postgraduate

Availability to exchange/subsidiary/first year students

  • Indicate whether the module is available to exchange students, subsidiary and first year students and state if there are any restrictions, for example only students of a particular discipline or programme.

Availability to undergraduate/postgraduate students

  • Indicate whether or not an undergraduate module can be taken by postgraduate students and whether a level 4 PGT module can be taken by undergraduate students.

Student numbers

Includes: places; caps


  • Indicate the number of students expected to take the module in the following academic session. If the expected number of students is also a cap, please indicate this and explain the rationale for the cap (see below).

Rationale for Cap

  • The rationale for the limitation must be explained.

Semester in which module is taught

  • Modules can generally be offered in the Autumn Semester, Spring Semester or be "Full Year" (year long). A module can be offered in more than one of these periods, but one of them must be indicated as the default.
  • Postgraduate (PG) modules can also be offered in the summer.
Schools with a presence in the UK and on international campuses should seek the endorsement of all relevant campuses before embarking on any significant shift to year-long modules that affects the provision on an international campus.

Session availability

Is this module to be taught every session or, for example, only in even numbered years, for example 2012/13?

Requisites for the module

Includes: pre-requisites, co-requisites, anti-requisites

Pre-requisites for admission to the module (if any)

  • Pre-requisites are used to identify any conditions that a student must meet in order to take the module. For example, ‘must have passed EDUC2003’ or ‘must be registered on a Business School Programme’  Note that only certain requisites can be programmed in Campus Solutions; requirements such as ‘must have an A Level in…’ can only be entered as text for information. 

Co-requisites for the module (if any)

  • Indicate any co-requisites (combinations of modules that students must take together). For example ‘students must take PHYS2022 and PHYS2023’.

Anti-requisites (if any)

  • Indicate any anti-requisites (combinations of modules that students cannot take together e.g. ‘students cannot take BUSI3010 if they have previously studied BUSI2020’.
Remember when adding requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites, these apply to all students and will prevent students from selecting modules during the online module enrolment period. 

Administration details, (School(s) offering the module and percentage split)

Please specify the School offering the module and any contributing Schools, along with the percentage split. 

It is very important that the School split accurately reflects the proportion of the module taught by staff in each of the Schools, since these figures are used to calculate student load.

List which Schools and Faculties have been consulted (and support the proposal)

Includes: submission implications; approval of module submission documents

You should seek comments from all Schools whose students might be interested in taking the proposed module, as well as the School which is the discipline leader for the subject (if this is not the proposing School). 

Please note: Submission of the module confirms that adequate consultation over resources has taken place with the library, and any other relevant resource provider (for example, IT Services) and confirms that appropriate consideration of this proposal has been undertaken at School level.


Includes: general statement explaining the purpose of the module


  • This should comprise a general statement explaining the purpose of the module, how students will benefit from taking it and its role in the context of the subject as a whole. It is expected that these will vary among the different modules contributing towards the same programme. You could indicate the knowledge and subject-specific skills which you expect a student to have on completion of the module – for example, the aim of a module might be to teach, for example, computer-aided design skills, which would be different from the aim of a programme which might be to teach general IT skills.
Specify if the module is accredited and include the accrediting body.

Target students


If a module is available to only a limited group of students (for example Honours students, students on a specific plan(s)) please specify.


Assessment Period

  • The module Assessment Period indicates the period at the end of which the formal assessment of the module will be complete. It will usually be the equivalent of the semester, but exceptionally the Assessment Period may vary – for example, an autumn module may have a formal examination in the spring and therefore an Assessment Period of "Assessed by the end of Spring Semester."
  • Year-long modules should include a formative assessment at the end of the Autumn Semester.
  • Year-long modules should be implemented in a manner that does not interfere strongly with student and staff mobility arranged on a semester-long basis. The form of implementation will therefore depend on current and future plans for mobility and the extent to which provision in a given subject area is organised on a year-long basis.

Schools with a presence in the UK and on international campuses should seek the endorsement of all relevant campuses before embarking on any significant shift to year-long modules that affects the provision on an international campus.


Measures to protect mobility

Measures that may be necessary in order to protect mobility include (where practicable):

  • Using the formative assessment at the end of the Autumn Semester as summative assessment for mobility students away from the University in the Spring Semester. Alternatively, assessments other than formal written examinations may be used.
  • Making provision for mobility students away in the Autumn Semester (and with appropriate grounding in the discipline) to undertake only the Spring Semester part of the module and be awarded the resulting number of credits and vice versa, for students away in the Spring Semester undertaking only part of the module in the Autumn Semester.
  • Where students undertaking only the Spring Semester element of a year-long module have minor gaps of knowledge in regard to the material covered in the Autumn Semester, providing additional tuition for students in those minor elements.

Other module details

Includes: module web links; learning outcomes; knowledge, skills and behaviours; module activities

Module web links

  • Indicate any learning environment web links, for example Moodle.  Please provide the web link text and the URL.

Learning outcomes

  • Up to six learning outcomes are reasonable for a module with fewer learning outcomes expected for modules of a smaller credit size, and between 12 and 16 are reasonable for a programme. In some cases, for example due to Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRB) requirements, more learning outcomes may be necessary.

Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) - for Apprentice programmes only

  • This section is to be completed for modules in an apprentice programme only and should be completed in consultation with the Professional and Workbased Learning team.

For more information about Degree apprenticeships, please consult the following SharePoint page:

Degree apprenticeships

Module activities

  • It is important that you indicate in detail all the contact activities for the module with a clear brief description of what is involved in the activity. Indicate the type of activity, number per week (indicating in the information section where an activity will not take place every week), duration of the activity and number of weeks.

Where the module in question is the dissertation, please indicate the minimum supervision arrangements. If appropriate, you should include a description of a range of different teaching methods.


Module convenor   Flag of United Kingdom   Flag of China   Flag of Malaysia

Includes: module contact at the international campus

There should be a named member of University staff to whom all queries concerning the module can be addressed. This person will normally be a permanent member of staff and accessible to students. Where a module is delivered in both the UK and on an international campus, a module contact should be appointed at the international campus who will:

  • Undertake the liaison with the UK-based module convenor
  • Have delegated responsibility for the modules delivery at the international campus
  • Be the contact person in regard to that module for students at the international campus.
Please note that postgraduate students cannot be module convenors.

Assessment details

You must describe each assessment element in detail, particularly the duration of examinations and the word-length of any essay, project or dissertation and if any element is non-compensable. A non-compensable module element is one which must be passed at the relevant level (40% for Honours degrees, 50% for masters' degrees, PG certificates and PG diplomas).

Examinations, whether remote or in person, must be either 1, 2 or 3 hours in duration or, for 'take home' exams, these could also be 24 hours in duration. These durations are required (unless there is a specific reason for another duration, e.g. PSRB requirement)

A student does have the opportunity to resit the module element for progression purposes (unless they are in their final year of study as an undergraduate), but they must achieve over the minimum level in one of their attempts to be awarded the credits associated with that module. The contribution of each assessment element to the overall module mark should be clearly specified (for example, one 1-hour examination (50%); one 1,500 word essay (50%)). 

In addition:

  • Assessment practices should be informed by reflection, consideration of professional practice, as well as subject-specific and educational scholarship.
  • The volume, timing and nature of assessment enable students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes.
  • Where a 20-credit module is created from two 10-credit modules, the volume of assessment of the new module should be significantly less than the aggregate assessment of the two former modules.
  • The assessment for a module should only be the minimum necessary to test its learning outcomes, whilst still complying with the aforementioned exam duration limitations where the assessments are exams.
  • Where it is felt necessary to have more than one component of assessment to cover all the learning outcomes, assessing any given learning outcome more than once should be avoided.
  • There should not be more than one timetabled examination for a module, except where it is necessary to have both a written and a practical examination.
  • Please note that either/or assessment options are not permitted.

As part of the annual curriculum updating cycle, Schools should consider whether the non-compensable status of an assessment element continues to be necessary for the achievement of either later study (that is, a non-compensated pass acts as a pre-requisite to a later compulsory module) or achievement of the programme learning outcomes or accreditation requirements.

It is an established principle of the University, endorsed by University Executive Board (UEB) and Education and Student Experience Committee (ESEC), that when registered for a University of Nottingham qualification all teaching and assessment must be in English. The only exception is where the subject of study is a language or literature other than English.

Where a student must repeat their enrolment in order to be reassessed in a specific module this should be stated in the module specification.

The form of reassessment of the module will be the same as the original assessment, unless stated to the contrary in this section. If the reassessment is different, it must consist of either a single examination or a single coursework assessment that replaces all the failed assessment components of the module for reassessment purposes. Where the different reassessment is an examination, then as above it must be either 1, 2 or 3 hours in duration or, for 'take home' exams, these could also be 24 hours in duration. These durations are required (unless there is a specific reason for another duration, e.g. PSRB requirement)


The Higher Education Classification of Study (HeCOS)

Includes: Planning, Performance and Strategic Change

The University's Planning, Performance and Strategic Change Division (PPSC) compiles an annual student data return for the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). As part of this process, 'subject' data for all modules taken by our students needs to be provided. This data is used to identify 'strategically important and vulnerable subjects' which may lead to additional funding for certain subject and should therefore be  accurately provided by Schools and Departments. A list of codes can be accessed via the HESA's website

If you have any questions please contact PPSC:

Planning, Performance and Strategic Change

If you have any problems or queries relating to this page, please email:                                                                     ss-curriculumadvice@nottingham.ac.uk Email
This content was last modified on 15 April 2024

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