Academic Quality Handbook
- Full Handbook Contents
- 1 - Teaching and Learning at the University of Aberdeen: An Overview
- 2 - Quality Assurance in Higher Education: An Overview
- 3 - The Assurance and Enhancement of Academic Quality and Standards in Teaching and Learning
- 4 - Student Recruitment and Admissions
- 5 - Student Guidance and Learner Support
- 6 - Teaching and Learning Policies and Academic Administration
Section 6 - Teaching and Learning Policies and Academic Administration
This Section of the Academic Quality Handbook should be of general interest to all students and staff, and of particular interest to Heads of School, Advisers of Studies and Postgraduate Conveners/Supervisors. It does not cover assessment and external examining policies, which are described in Sections 7 and 9, respectively.
6.1.1 Following acceptance of an offer of admission, the majority of undergraduate students will be registered for a degree or other award which is assigned to one of seven areas of study, as indicated below:-
Area of Study Constituent Degree(s)
- Arts & Social Sciences MA
- Education BEd Primary; BMus; PGDE Primary; PGDE Secondary; BA Professional Development +; BA Early Childhood Studies +; BA Curative Education +
- Science BSc (Pure Science); BSc (Biomedical Science); BSc (Agriculture); BSc (Forestry); MChem; MSci; MPhys
- Engineering BScEng; BEng; MEng
- Divinity BD; BTh
- Law LLB
- Medicine MBChB; BSc Med Sci; BSc (Health Sciences) ; BDS
+ in-service awards, including intermediate awards of Certificate or Diploma in Higher Education
6.1.2 A member of the University’s administrative staff serves as Registry Officer for each of the above degrees and areas of study. The Registry Officers maintain contact with students and their Advisers of Studies in relation to students’ curriculum and progress.
6.1.3 The Registry Officers who support the relevant areas of study also provide administrative support and guidance to non-graduating students who are studying within their particular area, though part-time students can also obtain guidance from the Centre for Lifelong Learning and full-time students from the International Office within Student Recruitment and Admissions Services or the ERASMUS unit within the Registry, as appropriate.
6.1.4 Postgraduate students are admitted to a degree or to a specified programme of study e.g. one leading to a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in a named area of study. Administrative support in relation to postgraduate students is provided by administrative staff in the Registry.
6.2.1 Undergraduate students (both new and returning), including non-graduating students, will be sent Joining Instructions for the forthcoming session by the Registry Officer for the relevant degree in July/August, which will provide details of when and where to register. With the exception of MBChB students, details of a student’s Adviser of Studies for the forthcoming session will be included, together with an appointment to meet the Adviser. MBChB students are allocated a Regent for the duration of their programme of study, details of whom are included in the Joining Instructions for new students and confirmed at the beginning of each subsequent session. Section 5, sub-section 5.4 and Appendix 5.1 refer.
6.2.2 Undergraduates who have not satisfied the requirements for progression to the next normal year/level of study following the May/June examination diet will be sent Joining Instructions in September, provided that they satisfy the progress requirements following the August examination diet.
6.2.3 New and returning students are advised to consult a number of documents available on the University website in advance of arriving in/returning to Aberdeen which include, inter alia, the following:-
- a document entitled Important Information for Students;
- in the case of new students, the New Students website
- the University Calendar
- the Catalogue of Courses
6.2.4 Postgraduate students (both new and returning) are required to register at the start of each session at the Registry. Registration details are sent from July onwards for new students and in August for returning students, and will include, for new students, a copy of the Code of Practice: Postgraduate Taught Students or the Code of Practice: Postgraduate Research Students, as appropriate. See Section 5, Appendix 5.3 and Appendix 5.4, respectively.
- Update any missing personal details held by the University
- Check their entry qualifications and academic record
- Set up or renew an account to access computing facilities and e-mail
- Check and pay their tuition fees
- Agree to abide by the University’s rules, regulations and procedures, including those relating to intellectual rights.
6.2.6 With effect from session 2009/10, following the introduction of the Point-Based System for Immigration by the UK Border’s Agency, all students holding a Tier 4 visa must provide a copy of their passport, including the visa page and biometric card (if applicable) at registration. Copies of these documents are retained on file by the Registry. Such students must also attend compulsory sessions for international students at which guidance on student’s obligations as Tier 4 visa holders is given.
6.2.7 Having completed e-registration and having had their academic curriculum approved (see 6.3.6 and 6.3.7) (and in the case of Tier 4 visa holders had their passport checked) students can then obtain their Student Identity Card, at which point they become matriculated.
Regulations and the University Calendar
6.3.1 All study leading towards a degree, certificate or diploma, including progress requirements, is governed by Regulations approved by the Senate. These are published annually in the University Calendar, copies of which are available in the University Library or can be accessed on the University web pages. The University Calendar includes programme specifications for all degrees offered and the Supplementary Regulations for each area of study.
6.3.3 With the exception of some of the professionally accredited degrees (e.g. MBChB), for which there is a fixed curriculum, the curriculum of all undergraduate students must be approved by an Adviser of Studies each year (paragraph 6.3.7 refers; see also Section 5).
Catalogue of Courses
6.3.4 Details of all undergraduate courses to be offered in a particular session are provided in the Catalogue of Courses which is published on the University website in April/May of each year. Hard copies are available in the University Library from August. A Supplement to the Catalogue is produced in early September, detailing any amendments to courses or additions to the portfolio which have been approved since publication of the hard-copy Catalogue of Courses. This is primarily for use by Advisers of Studies during advising (see below).
6.3.6 Postgraduate taught and research students are assigned a Supervisor who, where applicable, will be responsible for approving a student’s taught curriculum at the start of each session. This will include the approval of taught courses taken as part of a modularised taught programme of study or as part of a research programme.
6.3.7 With the exception of MBChB, BScMedSci and BDS students (paragraph 6.3.3 refers), all undergraduates are assigned to an Adviser of Studies (In Education, Advisers are known as ‘Personal & Professional Advisers’ ) whom they are required to meet at the beginning of each Session to agree their curriculum for that Session. Students will not be allowed to register unless their Adviser has approved the programme they wish to take. Advisers must also approve any subsequent change to their Advisee’s curriculum, or to their Mode of Study (e.g. from Full-Time to Part-Time, and vice-versa) (see below). Students must also attend for interview with their Adviser upon request (e.g. to discuss progress issues). Students who are admitted/re-admitted at the start of the second half-session must have their curriculum approved in the same manner.
Honours Programmes by Part-time Study
(i) that part-time registration on an Honours programme normally should be permitted, unless the Academic Standards Committee (Undergraduate) has approved an application, on an individual programme basis, that part-time study should not be permitted for a particular programme. It should be for the Academic Standards Committee (Undergraduate) to judge the merits of an application not to offer part-time Honours programmes on academic grounds;
(ii) that where the Academic Standards Committee (Undergraduate) gave permission for a particular Honours programme not to be offered on a part-time basis, the parent School(s) should be required to indicate this prohibition in their level 1 and Honours handbooks i.e. that a named Honours programme could only be studied on a full-time basis; and that the degree programme prescription annexed to the relevant supplementary regulations should be amended to denote this restriction.
6.3.9 The General Regulations for First Degrees and Diplomas were revised to emphasise that, in the context of an Honours programme, periods of part-time registration must normally be continuous, and must not exceed twice the period of time required of a full-time student to complete the Honours programme (or the portion(s) of it in respect of which the student is registered part-time). Examples would be two years for a 1-year Honours programme and four years (or two years part-time and one year full-time) for a 2 year Honours programme.
6.3.10 The Senate also noted that the following were academic grounds on which the Academic Standards Committee (Undergraduate) might approve an application not to permit students to undertake an Honours programme on a part-time basis:-
- where a 60-credit course required full-time study in a particular half-session;
- where two 30-credit core courses in a Joint Honours programme were only available in the same half-session;
- where offering a part-time Honours programme would require significant changes in the organisation of course delivery (i) which would have a detrimental effect on delivery to full-time students or (ii) where the relevant College Teaching & Learning Committee was unable to approve an application for restructuring to provide a separate organisational structure specifically for part-time delivery;
- where a course (e.g. a project course requiring experimental work) required extended periods of focused activity that would be incompatible with part-time study and where successful completion of such a course was dependent on it being carried out in the context of knowledge acquired concurrently in other elements of the Honours programme, all of which could not be available at the same time to a part-time student.
Study Abroad/Work Placements
6.3.11 In addition to some programmes requiring periods of study abroad, many taught programmes provide for students electing to spend between three months and twelve months of their programme at another institution. The two principal routes for study abroad are via the ERASMUS programme (introduced to increase student mobility within the member states of the European Commission) or through the University’s long-standing International Exchange Scheme.
6.3.12 The ERASMUS Unit is based in the Registry (soon to be re-located to the Careers Service within the Hub). Recognition of study abroad for ERASMUS students occurs through the European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS). Each School has a ERASMUS Co-ordinator who, in conjunction with a student’s Adviser of Studies and/or Head of School , approves the curriculum of the University’s students who wish to participate in the ERASMUS scheme as part of their University studies: this includes the completion of an ECTS Learning Agreement.
6.3.14 Study abroad is not permitted at Level 1 i.e. in the first year of a student’s programme of study. Although students are not permitted to undertake their entire final year abroad, it is possible for some students to work on their Honours project abroad for part of their final year. The majority of students who study abroad therefore do so in either year 2 or year 3 of a four-year programme.
6.3.15 An ECTS transcript is submitted by ERASMUS students at the conclusion of their study abroad and they are awarded an equivalent number of unspecified Aberdeen credits. Students can then apply to the Head of the relevant School for specific exemption for compulsory courses taken abroad.
6.3.17 In 2007, the UCTL approved a Guidance Note on Placement Learning (Appendix 6.1) in the light of the Code of Practice: Section 9 on Placement Learning published by the QAA.
Change of Curriculum
6.3.18 Undergraduate students are normally permitted to change their curriculum for a particular half-session within three weeks of the start of teaching for the half-session (1½ weeks for 6-week courses), though Schools may set earlier limits where in their academic judgement this is desirable. Thereafter, changes will not normally be authorised as a student would be unlikely to be able to complete the attendance and in-course requirements for a particular course. For students in their honours years, Schools may also prescribe a date in each half-session by which students who have elected to undertake more than the prescribed number of courses/credit points (as indicated in the degree regulations) must specify the courses they wish to count towards honours classification.
6.3.19 A change of curriculum will usually entail a student either withdrawing from a course for which they have been authorised to attend and/or being granted permission to enrol for an additional course, subject also to the approval of the relevant School.
6.3.20 All changes of curriculum must be approved by a student’s Adviser of Studies, who should make the appropriate changes using the Adviser’s Change of Curriculum screen on the Student Record. Any Adviser having a problem using this screen should contact the Help Desk (3636). Changes of Curriculum should not be processed until after 1 October in any academic year. This allows for the data to be entered into the system for registration before changes are made.
- complies with the required curriculum for the particular degree/level of study, as defined in the University Calendar, and should not affect a student’s ability to obtain pre-requisites for courses to be followed in a subsequent half-session;
- does not result in a student’s mode of study being changed e.g. from full-time to part-time. This is particularly important for fees purposes. Mandatory awards from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland or a Local Education Authority (which cover fees and, where appropriate, a contribution towards a student’s maintenance) are only payable to eligible full-time students. It is essential, therefore, that authorisation by an Adviser of a student’s withdrawal from a course does not result in the student attending 45 credit points or less in a particular half-session (or, in the case of Honours programmes, 80 credit points in the Session): this would deem the student to be studying part-time and could result in the student losing his/her mandatory award and being required to pay his/her own (part-time) fees;
- does not result in the student attending more than 90 credit points in a particular half-session. The permission of the Academic Standards Committee (Undergraduate) is required where a student wishes to register for more than this maximum full-time credit load.
Changes to Mode of Study (e.g. Full-Time or Part-Time)
6.3.22 The credit requirements for full-time and part-time study at Undergraduate level are stipulated in the General Regulations for First Degrees and, where relevant, in the Supplementary Regulations for particular degrees. Registered students may apply to change their mode of study for a variety of reasons. Examples would be due to a change in personal, including financial, circumstances necessitating a student wishing to undertake study on a part-time basis; and students who fail to satisfy the requirements to progress to the next year/level of study but who wish to continue on a part-time basis in order to repeat courses/examinations to gain the required credits for progression before applying to transfer back to full-time study. Paragraph 6.3.8 also refers.
6.3.23 Undergraduate students who wish to change their mode of study must complete an Amendment to Mode of Study form available from the Registry (extension 3505) or from the web . Once such an application has been approved by the Adviser and Director of Studies (Admissions) [or equivalent] the student will be sent a letter from the Registry Officer for their degree to confirm the change, which stipulates the progress requirements for the new mode of study.
6.3.24 Postgraduate students who wish to change their mode of study should discuss this with their Supervisor in the first instance. Recommendations for such change should then be submitted to the Registry by the Supervisor via the Head of School, for consideration/approval by the relevant Postgraduate Officer.
6.3.25 Advice on the implications of changing from full-time to part-time study with respect to mandatory awards, student fees, and eligibility for student loans or other financial assistance can be obtained from the Registry.
6.4.1 The Student Record can be made available to any member of the University staff. To request access the on-line registration form available at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/dit/staff/docu/forms.php should be completed. The Training & Documentation Team in DIT provide regular opportunities to attend courses on using the Student Record.
6.4.2 Once a student has agreed their curriculum with their Adviser of Studies/Postgraduate Programme Co-ordinator, he/she will either enter course choices directly onto the Student Record System. The course code and abbreviated title will appear on the record for the Session in question. Research students may register for courses outwith their School only with the written permission of their Head of School. Students will be charged for these courses if they are not an integral part of their research programme.
C1. First Class Certificate of Merit
C2. Second Class Certificate of Merit
C3. Referral to SPC Convener
C4. Authorised Addition to Curriculum
C5. Unauthorised Addition to Curriculum
C6. Unauthorised Withdrawal from Class/At Risk
C7. Class Certificate Refused
C8. Examination only (i.e. external candidate)
C9. Authorised withdrawal from class
CX. Barred from entering a second half-session class as a consequence of refusal of a Class Certificate for a first half-session course which is a pre-requisite for the course
6.4.4 Subsequent authorised changes of curriculum, made by Advisers using the Change of Curriculum screen (see above), will result in the student’s record being updated. In such cases, the number “C4” will be inserted against a course to represent an “authorised addition”. A “C9” will be added to denote an authorised withdrawal from a course.
6.5.1 Students are nominally awarded a First Class Certificate of Merit for any course for which they are awarded a CAS mark of 18 or above, and a Second Class Certificate of Merit for any course for which they are awarded a CAS mark of 15 to 17 provided that this is obtained at the first attempt at assessment following completion of the course concerned. The relevant code number (C1 or C2) is added to the student’s computerised record and will be indicated on a student’s transcript (Section 7 refers). Individual Certificates of Merit are issued by Schools only on request.
6.6.1 The Registry acts as the ‘gate-keeper’ for the University’s Student Monitoring System which operates throughout the academic year. The system, introduced in 2001/02, initially applied solely to undergraduate students, but was extended to include postgraduate taught and research students in February 2010 following the introduction of the Points Based System for Immigration by the UK Borders Agency.
6.6.2 It is essential that students are made aware of the criteria to be used for determining whether a student is considered to be ‘at risk’ for a particular course. Schools should ensure that these criteria are clearly stated in course handbooks. Schools should not report an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student as ‘at risk’ (C6) unless the following minimum criteria have been met:
Either (i) Absence for a continuous period of 10 working days or 25% of a course (whichever is less) without good cause being reported;
or (ii) Absence from two small group teaching sessions (e.g. tutorial, laboratory class) without good cause;
or (iii) Failure to submit a piece of summative or a substantial piece of formative in-course assessment by the stated deadline.
6.6.3 In the case of postgraduate research students, Schools should not report a student as ‘at risk’ (C6) unless there has been an absence from more than one expected consecutive interaction, with at least 10 working days having lapsed since the first missed interaction.
6.6.4 Details of the operation of the Student Monitoring System can be accessed at www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/monitoring. Schools input to the Student Record System, by 5 p.m. on Wednesday of each week, those students who are ‘at risk’ (C6).
6.7.2 Subject only to more restrictive conditions specifically mentioned in the appropriate degree regulations (e.g. for the MBChB degrees), a Class Certificate gives entitlement to admission to a degree examination in the session in respect of which it is awarded and in the session immediately following. It is open to the Academic Standards Committee (Undergraduate) to determine whether, in extraordinary circumstances, any exception may be made to this rule in individual cases.
6.7.3 No formal Class Certificate is given to students: rather, all students are deemed to have been “awarded” a Class Certificate unless they are deemed withdrawn from a course or unless they are refused a Class Certificate (paragraph 6.7.5 refers).
Deadlines and Procedures for Class Certificate Refusal
6.7.4 The deadline for refusal by Heads of School is normally 5.00 p.m. on the Tuesday following the last day of teaching of each half-session: the precise dates for each academic year are approved at the October meeting of the Senate . However, earlier notification is encouraged, particularly once it is clear that a student cannot obtain a Class Certificate e.g. when attendance is so unsatisfactory in the first few weeks of a course that good attendance during the remainder of the course could not redeem the situation. Such early notification ensures that the candidate lists available to Schools by weeks 12 and 26 (paragraph 6.9.1 refers) are as accurate as possible. A Class Certificate can only be refused if a student has first been given a warning that they are ‘at risk’ (C6) through the Student Monitoring System and the deadline for the student to respond to the warning has elapsed.
The deadlines for Summer School courses can be obtained from the Centre for Lifelong Learning: Postgraduate Taught deadlines for taught elements match undergraduate dates; Postgraduate Taught deadlines for dissertation elements is 30 September; Postgraduate Research no deadline – all year round.
6.7.5 Students who are refused a Class Certificate receive notification by e-mail as part of the student monitoring system (Section 6.6) that they have been refused a Class Certificate. The students are informed that they are ineligible to take the end-of-course written examinations for the course concerned. The letter will explain a student’s right of, and mechanism for, appeal against the Head of School’s decision.
6.7.6 Details of the procedures for the refusal of Class Certificates are available at www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/monitoring.
6.8.1 Class Lists for each course are available on the Student Record. Course Organisers should check the Class Lists against actual student attendance. Computerised student record screens allow Schools to add or delete students at this or any point during the half-session. Pending authorisation by a student’s Adviser, such changes appear on the Student Record as “C5” (unauthorised entry) or “C6” (unauthorised withdrawal/at risk), respectively. Movements Class Lists are also available to monitor changes only. This should be done at the end of the third week of teaching for each half-session.
6.8.2 Schools should report unauthorised changes of curriculum (C5/C6) through the Student Monitoring System (Section 6.6). Students will be asked to respond to the Registry and, where appropriate, will be asked to contact their Adviser for approval of their curriculum changes. Only then can the students be counted towards a School’s teaching load in terms of resource allocation.
6.9.1 Candidate Lists are available to Schools during term-time and are updated once per week on Sunday evening: these will take account of (a) the changes indicated on Class Lists, provided that these have been authorised by Advisers and (b) the changes to code “C3” or “C7” referred to above. They will also include “external” candidates. Candidate lists for the August examination diet are available in the last week of July.
6.10.1 Examination results should be entered on the Student Record using the Process Examination Results screens. The report produced after inserting the results should be signed by the Head of School and the External Examiner and delivered to the Registry.
6.10.2 The Registry will notify students, via Student Portals, of their results for courses or other summative assessments taken at the University’s three examination diets. Schools are responsible for informing students of any amended results. Full details of the assessment and examination policies and practices for taught courses and programmes are given in Section 7.
6.12.1 Periodically the University Committee on Teaching and Learning will reiterate existing, or recommend to the Senate new, policies and practices in regard to teaching and learning. Those that relate to quality assurance, assessment, external examining or research students will be incorporated into Section 3, Section 7, Section 8 and Section 9, as appropriate. An overview of the University’s academic structures and practices is given in Section 1, sub-section 1.8.
6.12.2 Each summer, Heads of School are sent a document in regard to new or amended updates in teaching and learning policies and procedures, approved during the past session, for inclusion in course and programme handbooks. The Academic Quality Handbook, which was made available as an on-line version only from 2005, is updated to reflect any such changes, as soon as these have been approved.
Start and finish times of classes
6.12.3 It is University policy that, although classes are timetabled to commence on the hour, they should start at five minutes past the hour and finish at five minutes to the hour. This convention is intended to permit students sufficient time to move between classes in different buildings. It also assists academic and support staff to organise materials and technology for subsequent classes.
Wednesday Afternoon Teaching
6.12.4 The University’s policy is that Schools may request that teaching activities be timetabled on a Wednesday after 1.00 p.m. in the Winter, Spring and Summer Terms provided that the same activities are available at another time during the same week. This should ensure that students have the choice to attend on the Wednesday afternoon or at some other time. Requests for exemption from this policy (e.g. for School Placement or Clinical Teaching) should be submitted to the Deputy Academic Registrar (Student Information Systems), Registry for consideration by the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching).
Quotas for Honours Options
6.12.5 The University Committee on Teaching and Learning (26 March 1999) agreed that the general policy should be that quotas should not be permitted for any courses save in exceptional circumstances and that it was the responsibility of the relevant Academic Standards Committee (ASC) to consider requests for quotas on an individual course basis.
- the reasons for requesting a quota, including a pedagogical case as to why it would be inappropriate or impracticable to design a course for delivery to a relatively larger number of students;
- the proposed method of selecting students in order to apply a quota;
- whether there would be any flexibility in the method of selection e.g. by ensuring that any student with a career intention in a particular speciality should not be prevented from registering for a particular course if they deemed that course to be essential for their career intention.
6.12.7 The Committee considered that an ASC, in deciding whether or not to allow a quota for a particular course, should consider the level of the course (i.e. Level 1-5) and whether the proposed maximum number to be allowed to register on a course was appropriate for that level.
Timetabling of Core Courses
6.12.8 The UCTL (21 October 1999) approved a reiteration of the University’s policy that, unless there were extenuating circumstances, the timetabling of compulsory (core) courses for any degree programme should not be changed once publicised.
6.12.9 The requirement to utilise student feedback as part of Course Review (via the Student Course Evaluation Form exercise) and Programme Review is described in Section 3, sub-section 3.5. Various forms have been provided to assist Schools in this regard (these are available to download from www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/download). The procedures for obtaining feedback were reviewed and revised in 2006 to take account of the work of the QAA Enhancement Theme on Responding to Student Needs and the work of the QAA Project Board on Student Feedback. At the time of writing, a UCTL Working Group was reviewing the procedures for obtaining student feedback.
Course and Programme Proposals
6.12.10 The procedures for introducing new, or amending or withdrawing existing, courses and programmes are described in Section 3, sub-section 3.3. The various forms are listed in sub-section 3.3.
6.12.11 Details of the policy concerning the engagement of relief teachers are given in Section 3, paragraph 3.7.21.
Students’ Work Affected by their Undertaking Paid Employment
The University acknowledges the financial burden placed upon students and sympathises with those who encounter financial difficulties. It recognises that many full-time students have to undertake part-time paid employment to provide financial support for their studies. The University’s guideline is that full-time students should spend no more than 15 hours per week undertaking employment during term-time. Where a potential conflict may arise in regard to fulfilling the attendance and/or performance requirements of a particular course, students should seek advice from the relevant Course Co-ordinator or Head of School, as appropriate, at the earliest opportunity. Notwithstanding this, academic standards cannot be compromised and students’ first priority must be to fulfil the academic obligations of their studies. Consequently, students must ensure that their employment commitments do not conflict with the requirements of their studies.
6.12.13 The University of Aberdeen, as a public service provider, is committed to trying to ensure that its students pose no danger to those with whom they will interact during their studies at the University. In the University’s context positions whose normal duties include, caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children will require Disclosure checking. Examples of these include students who are required to ‘mentor’ fellow students, students conducting interviews with fellow students for research purposes and students whose programmes require contact with persons under 18 such as Medicine, Dentistry and Education.
6.12.14 The Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003 defines children as being under the age of 18 and a 'childcare position' includes work in an educational establishment where the normal duties of that work involve unsupervised contact with persons aged under 18.
6.12.15 One of the main mechanisms that the University uses to ensure students pose no threat to those whom they will be interacting with during their studies is a Disclosure check. Therefore, as a matter of course all students who are required as part of their course of study to be in unsupervised contact with persons aged under 18, will be subject to a Disclosure check. Students admitted to programmes which currently have compulsory elements requiring contact with persons under the age of 18, for example Medicine, Dentistry and Education are routinely subject to a Disclosure check; this process is dealt with as part of the University Admissions procedures. On all other degree programmes Disclosure checks are required for students at point of first registration on to a course. Course co-ordinators work in conjunction with College representatives to ensure that checks are complete. Further information regarding instances where students may be required to complete a Disclosure check are detailed in Appendix 6.2.
6.12.16 SENAS forms include a ‘check box’ to highlight the potential requirement of Disclosure checks. Where a Disclosure check is required for a particular course, the information is displayed in the ‘Notes’ section of the University Catalogue of Courses. Each College is responsible for keeping a record of all courses requiring a Disclosure check and ensuring applications are processed correctly. Details of College contacts are provided in Appendix 6.2. Colleges are also responsible for ensuring the appropriate Disclosure checks are undertaken for those doing research work involving contact with persons under the age of 18. Outcomes of the Disclosure check (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) are recorded and held within the University Student Record System.
Progress: Undergraduate Students
6.13.1 The credit requirements for progression to the next year/level of an undergraduate degree programme and maximum period of study allowed are indicated in the General Regulations for First Degrees and any relevant Supplementary Regulations. These are published in the University Calendar and will often be summarised in documents provided for students by Schools. However, a student who is in any doubt about his/her progress requirements should discuss their position with their Adviser of Studies or the Registry Officer for the relevant degrees.
6.13.2 Following the first half-session examinations, the Registry identifies all undergraduates who are considered to be potentially “At Risk” of failing to satisfy the end of year progress requirements as a consequence of their first half-session performance. Such students are sent a letter from the Registry asking them to discuss their position with their Adviser of Studies, who is then required to complete a pro-forma after meeting the student to indicate any arrangements made in regard to remedial or other support or guidance. Students who have submitted medical certificates to explain their absence from first half-session examinations are not included in this category, although Advisers will be sent details of such students so that they are aware of their advisees’ circumstances.
6.13.3 Students who have not taken any of their first half-session prescribed degree assessments, except those who have submitted medical certificates, and who might therefore be assumed to have withdrawn from study, are informed by the Registry that the Convener of the relevant Students’ Progress Committee (see below) will recommend to the Senate that the student’s studies be terminated in accordance with General Regulation 18 for first degrees unless the student confirms in writing that they wish to continue with their studies. In such cases the student must contact their Adviser of Studies immediately to discuss their position.
6.13.4 Students who are “At Risk” of failing to satisfy the progress requirements following the May/June examination diet are informed accordingly by the Registry. They are given notice that their case will be considered by the Students’ Progress Committee (paragraph 6.13.9 below refers) in September if they do not satisfy the progress requirements at the August examination diet.
6.13.5 In the case of progressing to/within an Honours programme, Heads of School may also stipulate progress requirements in addition to the minimum credit requirement. Students refused admission to, or deemed unsatisfactory within, an Honours programme by a Head of School may seek to appeal against the decision, but only on limited grounds (paragraph 6.15.15).
Progress: Postgraduate Students
6.13.6 The Regulations for Postgraduate Study provide for the Senate to terminate a person’s candidature provided that it is satisfied that there is sufficient reason for doing so (Senate approved Policy and Guidelines are available in Appendix 5.17a and Appendix 5.17b). The requirements for progression within taught postgraduate programmes, e.g. from the Diploma to the Master's stage, are given in the University's Procedures for Determining Progression and Award in Modularised Postgraduate Programmes of Study (Grade Spectrum). Tthe University Calendar entry for a particular postgraduate taught degree/programme of study will also indicate the courses required for each stage of the taught postgraduate programme. Where specific details are not provided in the Regulations, these will be supplied by the relevant School in its handouts to students relating to a particular programme. Research student progress is monitored formally through submission of bi-annual Postgraduate Assessment Forms (Section 8 refers).
6.13.7 Postgraduate students who have any concerns about their progress should discuss these with the relevant Programme Co-ordinator or their Supervisor as soon as possible. If still dissatisfied they should approach first their Head of School and thereafter the Postgraduate Officer for the relevant area of study through the Registry.
Representation Against Termination of Studies or Candidature for an Award
6.13.8 Any student, termination of whose studies or candidature for a degree or other qualification has been recommended or is being considered under the Regulations governing the qualification for which he or she is registered, has the right to submit representations against such termination either to the Students’ Progress Committee (in the case of undergraduates including PGDE students) or to the Senate Postgraduate Students’ Progress Committee (in the case of postgraduates). The Senate has empowered such Committees to hear and determine cases on its behalf.
6.13.9 Students’ Progress Committees consider the cases of students who have not satisfied the requirements of General Regulation 17 governing termination of study. Students in this category following the August examination diet are informed by the Registry of the date of such committee meetings and are invited to submit written evidence, including supporting medical documentation, as mitigating circumstances as to why they should not be required to discontinue attendance on courses in accordance with the Regulations. Students are eligible to attend the Students’ Progress Committee, and may be accompanied/represented by a person of their choice.
6.13.10 Additionally, students who fail to meet the requirements of General Regulation 16 governing students’ progress may seek to proceed to the next programme year notwithstanding their shortfall of credits. Such applications are considered by the Students’ Progress Committee.
6.13.12 The University’s Policy and Guidance Note for Students in Relation to: (a) Non-Progression on Academic Grounds; (b) Discontinuation of Attendance on Courses on Academic Grounds; (c) Termination of Studies or Candidature for an Award on Academic Grounds is provided as Appendix 5.17a and Appendix 5.17b to Section 5.
6.13.14 In particular, students should note that in any review of such a decision, the University Court will normally take account of representations against termination of study only if a student has previously submitted these to the relevant Students’ Progress Committee (paragraph 6.13.8 refers).
6.13.15 From time to time a student may seek to appeal against a decision involving academic judgement taken, in terms of the Regulations for the degree or other qualification for which he or she is studying, among others, by a Head of School refusing entry to or progression in an Honours programme, or the award of a Merit Certificate, or admission to a higher level course; by Examiners refusing to award a pass or awarding an unacceptable class of Honours (or making no award); by the Examiners appointed to examine a thesis for a higher degree; or by the relevant Director of Undergraduate Programmes or College Postgraduate Officer in relation to terms of study. Specific rights of appeal are very limited indeed but the Senate has a general duty to regulate and superintend the teaching of the University.
6.13.17 The University’s Policy on Academic Appeals and Complaints is provided as Appendix 5.18a to Section 5. A form is provided for students wishing to submit an Academic Appeal (Appendix 5.18c refers). The Students’ Association President (Welfare & Equal Opportunities) is available to assist students wishing to submit an appeal.
Examination Offences (including plagiarism)
“Where there is reason to believe that cheating in a prescribed degree assessment has occurred a complaint should normally be made through the Head of the appropriate School; it should not be dealt with as part of academic assessment. The role of the internal and external examiners shall be restricted to the presentation of evidence; they shall have no role in deciding whether a student is guilty of cheating. They may, as appropriate, submit evidence to a disciplinary hearing. The Head of the School shall investigate the allegation with the student by following the procedures detailed in Section 7 of the Code of Practice on Student Discipline (see Appendix 5.15 to Section 5).”
“Plagiarism is the use, without adequate acknowledgment, of the intellectual work of another person in work submitted for assessment. A student cannot be found to have committed plagiarism where it can be shown that the student has taken all reasonable care to avoid representing the work of others as his or her own (Section 2.1.1(h) of the Code refers).”
6.15.1 Undergraduate students wishing to transfer from one degree to another are advised to discuss their position with the Admissions Selector for the proposed new degree. The names of the Admissions Selectors can be obtained from the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office. Internal transfer forms can be obtained from the Registry or the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office or downloaded from the Registry website (www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/download.hti).
6.15.2 Internal transfer forms for postgraduate students can be obtained from the Registry or printed from the web www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/documents/2007/pg36.doc. The form must be signed by the student, the Supervisor(s) and the Head of School(s). The Registry will then seek approval by the relevant Postgraduate Officer.
6.15.3 Students wishing to transfer to another institution, including an institution validated by the University of Aberdeen, should withdraw from the University and apply directly to the new institution.
6.16.1 Students may elect to withdraw from the University at any time of year. All such withdrawals should be intimated using a standard Withdrawal Form. Separate forms exist for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students. Withdrawal Forms are available from the Registry. Students considering withdrawing from study will be directed to meet with a member of Registry staff to discuss their withdrawal.
6.16.2 Undergraduate students “At Risk” following the first half-session examinations may be advised to withdraw, to allow time for any problems which they may be experiencing to be resolved, with a view to being readmitted at a later stage (see below).
6.16.3 Undergraduate students suspending study are eligible to apply to register as an Associate Student. Postgraduate students who have suspended their studies for the year are also eligible to apply for Associate Student status. A fee is payable where the student’s tuition fees for that session have not been paid at their time of withdrawal. Associate Student status provides:-
- An ID card
- Access to the Library and borrowing rights
- Access to the Computing Centre and an e-mail account
- Access to the student welfare/support facilities
6.16.4 Additionally, undergraduate students who withdraw from study are, if qualified, awarded either an Undergraduate Certificate or Diploma in Higher Education. This award does not prevent the student from subsequently returning to study.
6.17.1 Undergraduate students who withdraw or who are required to discontinue attendance on courses by a Students’ Progress Committee (paragraph 6.13.9 refers) may take the prescribed degree assessments associated with any course for which they hold a valid Class Certificate (paragraph 6.7.2 refers) as an external candidate, with a view to gaining the necessary credits to satisfy the progress requirements and then seek readmission. Forms for taking examinations as an external candidate and for Readmission are available from the Registry website or the Registry.
6.18.1 Queries concerning teaching and learning policies and academic administration should be referred to relevant staff in the Registry and can be accessed at www.abdn.ac.uk/registry