38.  Student Progression and Completion

38.1   For the purposes of awarding credit for an individual unit, the actual mark for each unit is rounded to the nearest integer.

38.2   For the purposes of determining progression from the taught to the dissertation component, the unit mark is used to calculate the taught component mark. The result of the calculation of the overall average mark achieved for the taught component should be rounded to the nearest integer for the purpose of applying 38.12.

38.3   If a student fails to achieve the credit points, but there is evidence that their performance at the time of the examination is likely to have been affected by extenuating circumstances, the provisions in Section 17 ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ will apply.

38.4   Schools will make suitable arrangements to implement the regulations for the award of credit for students who are studying a programme on a part-time basis such that the students are aware of the arrangements (e.g. the timing and status of any re-sits) and are not disadvantaged by the point in their studies in which their progression is formally considered.

The award of credit for the purposes of progression or completion of award in taught postgraduate modular programmes

38.5   Students must achieve the pass mark for the unit (normally a mark of 40 out of 100 at levels 4-6 and 50 out of 100 at level 7) and meet any additional criteria, if applicable, to be awarded the associated credit. The criteria for the award of credit points, and an explanation of how the award of credit may be affected by criteria additional to marks in an examination or other formal assessment, must be explicitly described in the relevant unit specification and communicated to the students in advance of the commencement of their study of the unit.

38.6   By reaching a satisfactory standard, students thereby acquire the necessary credit points to progress, except as specified below.

38.7   A student who is not awarded the credit for a unit may be permitted a second attempt to achieve a satisfactory standard to progress (i.e. a ‘re-sit’) or to achieve any specified additional criteria.  A “re-sit” need not be in the same form as the original assessment, as long as it: tests the same learning outcomes, does not compromise any competence standards; and applies to the entire cohort of students who are undertaking the re-assessment.

38.8   In order to be permitted a second attempt (i.e. re-sit) in any failed unit(s), taught postgraduate students must gain at least half of the credit points in the taught component by achieving the pass mark at the first attempt AND must have satisfied any additional criteria at the time they are considered by the progression board, or equivalent.

38.9   A student will not be permitted to undertake an assessment again where he or she has already fulfilled the criteria for the award of credit points for the unit. As detailed in Section 17, a Board of Examiners must consider the effect of previous extenuating circumstances, if applicable, on its decision-making (e.g. progression from the taught component).

38.10   A student must acquire the necessary credit before progressing to the next component of study. Where it has not been possible for the relevant board of examiners to consider the student’s formal progress prior to the commencement of the next component, the Chair of the Faculty Board of Examiners may permit the student to register for the next component without the necessary credit, pending and subject to the decision of the board of examiners.  

38.11   If a student does not achieve the criteria set out in 38.8, she or he will be required to withdraw from the programme with an exit award, if appropriate; unless there are validated extenuating circumstances (see Section 17). Faculties have discretionary authority to permit postgraduate students who have failed part, or all, of the taught component to re-sit for the purposes of achieving an exit award.

38.12   Notwithstanding 38.7, under the conditions (a) - (f) specified below the relevant Board of Examiners will apply a compensation rule at either the first or the second attempt for each programme in order to award credit for marginally failed taught units to permit progression or completion.  The decision on when to apply compensation (ie, at the first or second attempt) must be approved by the faculty or faculties concerned before the programme starts and communicated to all students on the programme before they start their studies.  

a)     Either, where the total of the taught credit points failed in the taught component does not exceed the normal permitted maximum value of a sixth of the total credit points for the award (typically, 30 credit points for a 180 credit point Masters programme, 20 credit points for a 120 credit point Diploma and 10 credit points for a 60 credit point Certificate)

Or, for programmes where the credit value of each and every unit in the taught component exceeds the maximum permitted value, as defined above, the total of the credit points failed does not exceed the value of the taught unit with the lowest amount of credit points.

b)     The relevant unit mark is within the specified range (35-39 out of 100 for level 4-6 units or45-49 out of 100 for level 7 units).

c)     The student has a taught component mark of at least 50 out of 100.

d)     The student has not failed a unit that is deemed by the faculty or a professional body as being ‘must pass’ (see Annex 1 for definition).

e)     Fulfils all other requirements for the award of credit, as stated in the programme and/or unit specification, such as:

  • completion of practical work, e.g. field courses, laboratory sessions, language tuition, etc, deemed essential to understanding the academic discipline the student is studying;
  • a combination of coursework and practical work, supplemented by a record of attendance at teaching sessions, e.g. tutorials or laboratory sessions;
  • the acquisition of professional skills and attributes required in disciplines such as education, the health professions or the performing arts.

f)      Satisfactorily completes any additional work deemed necessary, as determined by the relevant Board of Examiners, so as to enable the student to achieve the learning outcomes in the assessment(s) that they had failed.

38.13   Students who are permitted to progress as described in 38.12 (i.e. notwithstanding a failed unit mark) will be awarded and carry forward the actual unit mark they achieved at the attempt where the compensation was applied (not the unit pass mark) and will only receive the credit for these unit/s upon final completion of the programme for which they are registered (i.e. at graduation).

38.14   If any student fails to satisfy the conditions specified in 38.12, such that compensation cannot be applied and the student cannot progress following a re-sit of the unit, she or he will be required to withdraw from the programme with an exit award, if appropriate, or exceptionally, the relevant faculty Board of Examiners may permit a final opportunity to be re-assessed, normally as part of a ‘supplementary year’, in order to obtain the necessary credit points to progress.

A student will only be permitted to undertake the supplementary year once for this reason during their programme of study. Students who are placed on a supplementary year will normally be registered on the units they have failed. A board of examiners has the discretion to: (i) permit students to undertake a replacement unit listed in their programme structure in lieu of a failed optional or open unit from outside of their honours subject as a third and final attempt, and (ii) require students to register for additional units, appropriate to their programme of study (guidance on the supplementary year is available at section 7).

38.15   For any unit which is passed by re-assessment, the student will receive the awarded mark for the re-assessment, however the unit mark will be capped at the minimum pass mark (40 out of 100 for units at levels 4, 5 and 6, and 50 out of 100 for units at level 7), even if the student achieves a higher mark in the re-assessment. The marks recorded when repeating the whole year or undertaking the supplementary year will also be capped at the minimum pass mark regardless of what marks are actually achieved, unless the student is being permitted to repeat the year or undertake a supplementary year “as for the first time” due to validated extenuating circumstances.

Award of credit for the dissertation in taught postgraduate programmes

See also Section 37 with regards to the ‘taught component mark’ and Annex 14 for ‘Dissertations in Taught Postgraduate Programmes’.

38.16   Students must achieve the pass mark for the dissertation to be awarded the associated credit; by reaching a satisfactory standard students thereby acquire the necessary credit points to complete the programme of study, except as specified below.

38.17   Where a student has achieved a near-pass mark (45 or over but less than 50 out of 100 or equivalent on the 0-20 point scale) for the dissertation and, in addition, the examiners recommend that it is suitable for re-assessment, the relevant Board of Examiners may decide to permit the student to re-submit the dissertation, or equivalent.

38.18   Re-submission of the dissertation where the student has achieved a mark less than 45 out of 100 will be permitted where failure is due to validated extenuating circumstances (see Section 17).

38.19   The recorded mark for any re-submitted dissertation will be capped at the minimum pass mark (50 out of 100) even if the student achieves a higher level of attainment in the re-assessment, except that where there is good cause for the initial failure (validated extenuating circumstances) the dissertation may be re-submitted “as though for the first time” and the mark achieved need not be capped.

38.20   Re-submission of the dissertation must normally be made within 3 months of the student being notified by the faculty Board of Examiners of its decision (and within 6 months for part-time students and 12 months for part-time variable students).

38.21   Where re-assessment of the dissertation is not permitted the student may be awarded a postgraduate diploma, if appropriate, by the relevant Board of Examiners, subject to the satisfactory accumulation of credit points. Whenever a Board decides that re-submission of the dissertation is not permitted, the reason(s) must be clearly documented in the meeting minutes.