Undergraduates: Frequently Asked Questions
New Award Rules for Undergraduate Programmes
Changes to the award rules that will be used to calculate your degree and to the award of credit.
The University, in consultation with the Students’ Union, has undertaken an extensive review of the awards rules for its degree programmes in order to bring about greater transparency and consistency. In particular, there will be a single set of rules for determining undergraduate degree classifications across all modular programmes. The new rules will come into effect in October 2013.
The following Frequently Asked Questions seek to provide full information for students and should be read alongside their programme and school handbooks.
Why are new award rules being introduced?
Up until now different classification procedures have operated across the University depending on what degree programme a student has followed. To ensure that there is greater consistency across the University and that the ways in which degrees are calculated are understood by all, a single system for classification for all undergraduate students is to be introduced.
What do the new award rules include?
The new award rules include details of how:
- Marks will be rounded;
- Students will progress to the next stage of their programme;
- Credit will be awarded; including provision for credit to be awarded (in some programmes) in a small number of modules where students may have just missed the pass mark (through a process called ‘condonement’);
- The weightings applied to different parts of a programme will be used to calculate a final mark;
- The new award rules will be applied to ‘borderline’ students;
- Degree classifications will be arrived at.
When are the changes being introduced?
The new award rules will come into operation across all relevant programmes in session 2013/14. Progression and award decisions will be made using the new award rules for all assessments due to be submitted after 1st October 2013.
Do the new award rules apply to all programmes?
The new award rules apply to all students on modular programmes, including students who began, but have not yet completed, their programme prior to October 2013.
My programme is not modular. Do the new award rules apply to me?
No. The new award rules do not apply to non-modular programmes. Details of the ways in which awards will be made in non-modular programme will be provided to students through handbooks etc. as normal.
Will I be able to work out what degree I should get?
Yes. The new award rules will allow students to add up the marks that they have been awarded in individual modules, apply the weightings that will be used in their programme to the different levels, and use the ‘secondary rule’(when applicable) to ascertain the final outcome they should expect to receive.
What is the ‘secondary rule’ and how will it work?
The secondary rule will apply on modular undergraduate programmes from 2013/14, where students achieve a final mark within 2% of the classification boundary. It sets out rules through which students can receive a higher award (i.e. they need to achieve the higher mark in at least half of the credits that contribute to their award AND to have achieved at least 60 credits at the highest level.)
Will I get the same degree as I would have under the old award rules?
By modelling the effect that the new award rules would have had on the outcomes achieved by previous students it has been shown that the overwhelming majority of students will achieve the same outcome as they would have previously. The new weightings given to different years/levels have been found to have very little (if any) impact on final outcomes. A very small number of students, however, may achieve a different (higher or lower) outcome than they would have received previously. A number of adjustments have been introduced to counter this effect, including the secondary rule and the adjustments noted below.
Are any adjustments going to be made for students who may receive a different award?
Yes. Arrangements will be put in place to ensure that no student who:
- began their programme in, or prior to session 2010/11; AND
- will be completing their programme in 2013/14, or later;
will be disadvantaged by the new rules. If it can be shown that students would have had a higher class of degree under the old rules, this is what they will be awarded.
Which programmes may use the adjustments?
The adjustments also apply to students:
- Taking a 4-year Integrated Masters programme, (MChem, MEng, MESci, MMath, MPharm, or MPhys programmes) who enrolled in session 2010/11;
- Taking a 4-year Bachelors programme that includes a Year of Professional and/or Experiential Learning, (i.e. students on four-year Bachelors programmes in BIOSI, CARBS, CHEMY, CLAWS CPLAN, EARTH, ENGIN, EUROS, MATHS, PHYSX, AND PSYCH) who enrolled in session 2010/11, and;
- Taking a 5-year MEng Integrated Masters programme, who enrolled in either session 2009/10 or in 2010/11.
They will also apply to students who enrolled on the BSc Psychology programme in session 2011/12 and to students graduating graduating in 2013/14 who have taken a year-long ‘interruption of study’. A full list of the programmes that adjustments may be applied to can be found here: List of Programmes that may be adjusted
How will these adjustments work?
Your school will put in place arrangements to allow them to work out the classification that students would have received under the ‘old rules’ for all students that they identify may be at risk of being given a different outcome. Should it be found that a student would have received a higher classification under the new rules then they will be awarded the higher class of degree.
I’m a part-time student. How will the new award rules affect me?
Part-time students who take assessments that contribute to the final award in 2011/12 (or earlier) may have their outcome adjusted as described above.
What happens if I have to re-sit an exam I first sat in 2011/12 in session 2012/13?
The small number of students on three-year programmes who fail modules during this session, which they have to retake in session 2012/13, will have their final award calculated using the new award rules, because they will have been informed of the changes in advance of their re-sits.
Where can I find more details of the new rules?