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Academic Regulations

Welcome to the section which aims to help you navigate your way through the University Regulations as an undergraduate student. Please visit www.staffs.ac.uk and then click on to A in the A-Z index to access all of the Academic Regulations for undergraduates and postgraduates.

Contents

  1. What are modules and credits?
  2. What do I do if I want to change any of my modules?
  3. What do I need to do to progress to each level of my course?
  4. What do I do if I am having difficulty attending my course?
  5. What will happen if I miss a deadline for a piece of work?
  6. How is my degree result calculated?
  7. What do I do if I have failed a module, have to re-sit or have extenuating circumstances?
  8. Top tips

What are modules and credits?

These are fully explained in the University's Academic Award Regulations (part 1.2)

A module is one element of your course; usually teaching and assessing one subject area within the course.

Modules are worth a specific number of credits (occasionally 15, usually 30, but sometimes more). Credits are a measure of the size of the module. They are sometimes also referred to as CATS ("Credit Accumulation and Transfer System") points. 

For any modular Undergraduate degree you will normally take 120 credits/CATS points per year if you are studying full-time and 90 credits/CATS points (or fewer) per year if you are studying part-time. 

The level of the module tells you how far through the course it is intended to be: level 4 would usually be taken in the first year of a full-time degree, level 5 would usually be taken in the second year, and level 6 in the third year. levels 7 and 8 are postgraduate levels. The higher the number, the more intensive and advanced the module is.

Different kinds of modules:
Core modules – these are compulsory modules that you must take to complete your chosen award.

Specific Option modules – you can choose these from a prescribed set of modules for a particular award.

Credits earned by taking Core and Specific Option modules are referred to as specific credits because they are specified by your award structure.

General Options – you can choose these from a list of general option modules attached to your award.  Credits earned by the study of these modules are known as general credits.  You may choose them from any credit level as long as you meet the entry requirements.

Additional modules – these are extra modules you choose to take on top of other studies. They don't count towards your course at all.

If you are not sure you are choosing the right modules for your course, ask your Course Tutor or Faculty Guidance team - it's your responsibility to make sure your module choices are right.

What do I do if I want to change any of my modules?

Some modules are essential for your course and cannot be changed (these will be "core" modules). Any change you wish to make to your choice of modules must be made within three weeks of the start of the module.  If you want to change a module, speak with your Faculty office or Faculty Guidance team at once.

This issue is covered in item 2.5 of the University's Academic Award Regulations

What do I need to do to progress to each level of my course?

In order to progress to each level of a full-time course, you need to have completed a certain amount of credits. 

How many credits you need to pass in order to progress depends on what course you are studying.

For Undergraduate (HNC or HND or BA or BSc) courses, see pages 28-30 of the University's Academic Award Regulations

For Postgraduate (Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma; or MA or MSc or MRes or MEng or MBA) courses, see pages 42-43 of the University's Academic Award Regulations

Postgraduate Research Degrees (MPhil and PhD) courses are different - see your course handbook or check with your tutor.

NOTE: If you are studying part-time, progression can be more flexible - you will sometimes study modules from more than one level in the same year. Check on options with your Course Tutor or Faculty Guidance team.

What do I do if I am having difficulty attending my course?

If you are absent from a module on four consecutive occasions in a semester for reasons other than illness and you do not have written permission, then you are likely to be withdrawn from that module and your course registration may be cancelled. Some courses are even stricter than this - check your course and module handbooks.

If you are absent because of illness, tell your Faculty Office as soon as you can. You may need to submit a medical certificate, so do see your doctor (this is of course also a good plan for your own health).

You may also be eligible to put in a claim for Extenuating Circumstances if your academic work has been affected.

What will happen if I miss a deadline for a piece of work?

Any work not received by the Faculty Office by the deadline will receive a zero mark unless you submit an Extenuating Circumstances form and the application is upheld. 

Please contact the Student Advice Centre for further advice on late submissions, resits, and how to make a good Extenuating Circumstances application.

How is my Undergraduate degree result calculated?

Your "Base Classification" is worked out by taking into account all level 5 module results and giving them a 30% weighting, and all level 6 module results and giving them a 70% weighting.  See pages 31-33 of the University's Academic Award Regulations

This is not an easy calculation: if you think the University got it wrong, contact us. We'll need to see your full level 5 and 6 results printouts to work out what your "base classification" should be because the calculation involves both the number of credits in each module and the grade you received in each module.

If failure in a total of 30 Level 6 credits has been compensated and/or condoned, then you will only be awarded your "Base Classification".

Otherwise, there is some discretion to award you one classification higher if your level 6 results are substantially better than your level 5 results. You cannot lobby for this and there is no right of appeal if the discretion is not used in your favour. See page 33 of the University's Academic Award Regulations for details.

You must, of course, ensure that you have completed at least the minimum number of specific credits required for your award.

What do I do if I have failed a module, have to re-sit or have extenuating circumstances?

As long as you submitted work for your first sit, you'll usually be allowed a resit ("second sit"). These are usually in July or August, but check with your tutor or Faculty Office if you're not sure.

If you have failed a non-"core" module and are out of sits altogether, you can choose to replace the failed module with another of the same or greater credits. These replacement modules will be capped at a grade point 4. 

Specific option modules can only be replaced with modules from the same option group and which make the same contribution to the award level outcomes.  General option group modules can be replaced with modules from the list of general options attached to your award or from the specific options available within your award.  You cannot replace a core module. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF A MODULE HAS BEEN COMPENSATED? This is where you are still awarded credits for a failed specific credit module if you have demonstrated elsewhere in your specific credit module that you are able to satisfy the learning outcomes of your award level.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF A MODULE HAS BEEN CONDONED? This is where you are still awarded credits for a failed general credit module if you have proved you are competent in the breadth of subjects within your award by successfully completing other modules at this level or higher.

Top tips

  • Know your coursework deadlines and your exam times.

  • Find out when the re-sit period is.

  • Be aware of Extenuating Circumstances deadlines (these are published with the Extenuating Circumstances claim form).

  • Know when your examination boards meet.

  • If you don’t know any of the above, ask your Faculty Office.

  • Make sure you have an up to date print-out of your results. For any issue act early and check the advice you have been given against the regulations

  • Check exam deadlines and re-sit times personally.

  • Beware of missing deadlines.  If you are unsure, contact the Student Advice Centre or look up the regulations on the University’s website (www.staffs.ac.uk)

You can also talk to your Faculty Student Guidance Advisor - of which their contact details can be found by clicking here.