Summary principles for the award of modular undergraduate degrees at the University of Bristol

Schools and Faculties must follow the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.

Any new, or revision to existing, regulation or policy that materially affects how a student’s progression, the award of a qualification and/or classification is determined will be applied to students that are newly registered at the start of the subsequent academic year. It may also be applied to current cohorts of students where the change will not disadvantage them in comparison to the application of the previous regulation or policy.

A.  External context

  1. The university follows standards as set out in QAA’s Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (2014).
  2. The University has elected to use credit to define whether a level of qualification has been met, based upon the QAA Higher Education Credit Framework for England (2008).
  3. Some degrees e.g. law, many of the engineering programmes are also designed to satisfy the accreditation requirements of professional institutions.

B. Modular undergraduate awards made by the university

  1. Each programme shall define programme learning objectives that will describe the abilities and knowledge of students at each level of the award.   These objectives should reflect the QAA descriptors in the Qualifications Framework.  
  2. The awards of the university are cumulative in that each award corresponds to a level of study and each higher award is an addition on to the base provided by lower ones.  They reflect the level achieved by a student and the volume of credit gained as set out in the University’s credit framework located in the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.
  3. Marks for individual units do not form part of the award of the University and are used solely as a means of determining whether credit can be awarded for a unit, whether a student can progress in their studies, whether an award can be made, and for calculating the classification of their award, when appropriate. 
  4. Awards are determined by the Faculty Examination Board, on the basis of a recommendation by the School Examination Board.  In determining whether to make an award and its classification, the Faculty Examination Board will use the marks achieved by a student and any other relevant information (see C1). 

C. Programme Structure

  1. All requirements for a programme must be set out in a programme specification and changes to that specification may only be made after proper approval. No other assessments or academic requirements shall be demanded for determining awards other than as set out in the programme specification.
  2. Each programme must be completed within the specified number of years, subject to any periods of suspension.
  3. Each programme shall be composed of units, structured to form separate but cohesive years of study.
  4. Programmes should be progressive in nature with each year of study enabling the next one.  Programmes should be sequenced and show progression so that students are building on skills and knowledge.
  5. Programmes will have a progression point at the end of each year of study.
  6. The endpoint of each year of study at the University of Bristol corresponds to the corresponding level descriptors for awards in the QAA Qualifications Framework.
  7. Each year of study within a programme shall be accorded a weighting for the purposes of classifying a degree. The unit marks achieved in the first year of study will not contribute to the degree classification.
  8. The level of units that combine to form years and programmes of study must be such that the programme meets the FHEQ.
  9. Each unit will have a credit value associated with it and shall be assessed independently.
  10. Credit for a unit shall be awarded when a student fulfils the criteria, including attaining a mark threshold, as set out in the unit specification.
  11. Credit may only be used once, unless otherwise stated in the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes. 
  12. There is no right of transfer between non-cognate programmes.  When students have transferred, it must be demonstrated that they have achieved the learning objectives for the programme for which they are receiving an award. 

D.  Progression towards an award

  1. Every undergraduate student must follow a named programme of study. 
  2. Students must obtain credit in the units specified in the programme in order to progress from year to year on a programme and then be considered for an award. The attainment of credit only applies to the level in which it is awarded. Each year of study is self-contained. 
  3. To be awarded credit in any unit, the students must demonstrate that they have satisfied the learning objectives for the unit.  This is done by achieving a mark of at least the pass mark for the unit, meeting any specific additional criteria and successfully completing any “must-pass” assessments within the unit. 
  4. Students who are awarded credit for all the units stated in the programme structure, including those units designated as “must pass”, will be permitted to progress to the next year of study. 
  5. Students must have progressed from a previous year of study before the results for the next year of study may be considered. 
  6. A student will normally be permitted two, but no more than three, attempts to achieve the credit points for a single unit, except in the final year of study where re-assessment is not permitted unless a unit is designated ‘must-pass’.
  7. Faculty Examination Boards may award credit in a unit where a student has marginally failed to achieve the pass mark in order to allow progression, only according to the provisions set out in the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes. 
  8. Integrated Master’s Degrees students must satisfy specified hurdles for year averages in the second and third year. 
  9. A student may be required to satisfy additional, specific requirements for progression in order to be permitted to study away from the university for credit (e.g. in industry or abroad). 

E.  Exit Awards

  1. If a student withdraws from their programme before they can be considered for the award to which they are registered, then they are eligible for consideration for an exit award, in accordance with the credit framework. 
  2. Exit awards can only be made if the credit is not to be used towards a higher award. 
  3. Where a year of an Integrated Master’s Degrees is studied away from Bristol, an exit award at the level of the year of study is not normally available
  4. A Bachelor’s degree that is an exit award for an Integrated Master’s degree is subject to the same requirements as for a named Bachelor's degree and has the same learning objectives as a named degree of the same title. 

F.  Degree Awards

  1. To be considered for the award of a degree, a student must have demonstrated that they have satisfied the progression requirements up to the point at which the award is being considered. 
  2. All students to whom a degree is awarded must have satisfied all the learning objectives for that programme, including successfully passing any units that have been designated as "must pass".
  3. When making an award, the final year of study is considered as a single block when considering whether a student has passed the year. 
  4. When making and classifying awards, Faculty Examination Boards must follow the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.
  5. Faculties may have regulations that specify additional requirements for an award provided these do not conflict with the University's regulations.

Approved by the University Education Committee, May 2016