Key Education Policies for Students
Whether you are a new or current student of the University, you are asked to make yourself familiar with the following information, on key University wide policies.
These policies are relevant to all students and will be useful to you throughout your studies. They contain important information and address issues such as what to do if you are absent, how to raise an appeal or a complaint and how the University will calculate your degree outcome. The information listed here is updated on, at least, an annual basis.
Most recently, this information has been amended to reflect the University’s blended approach to learning and its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is imperative that you make yourself familiar with the University’s response to Covid-19 and the Campus Pledge and associated Campus Guidelines.
These policies should be read in conjunction with programme and/or course handbooks, in which School specific policies are detailed. Further information for students can also be found here.
- 1. Communication
You will receive a University e-mail account when you register with the University. The University will use e-mail to communicate with you during term-time.
It is your responsibility to check your email on a regular (at least weekly) basis and to tidy the contents of your email inbox.
You should note that failure to check your e-mail or failure to receive an email due to being over quota or due to non-delivery of an email forwarded to a non-University email account will not be accepted as grounds for appeal
- 2. Assessment
Common Grading Scale
The Common Grading Scale (CGS) provides a common, alpha-numeric marking scale which is used across the University. This enables you to compare your performance in different disciplines and courses and ensures consistency in assessment. Further information on the CGS is available here.
Degree Outcome and Award
Information about Undergraduate Degree Classification, including worked examples and FAQs, is available here.
Information about Postgraduate Taught Degree Award, including worked examples and FAQs, is available here.
- 3. Absence
The University places a high value on the health and wellbeing of all its students. The University is keen to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to maximise the welfare of students but also to limit the consequences for students when absence for genuine reasons do occur.
You are strongly advised to make yourself fully aware of your responsibilities if absent due to illness or other good cause. In particular, you are asked to note when self-certification of absence is permitted or if you are required to submit a medical certificate.
All absences (medical or otherwise) should be reported through Student Hub, where upload any required supporting documentation, such as a medical certificate.
The University expects that you will engage with your studies, interact with all designated learning activities and complete all assessment. Please familiarise yourself with the University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Absence.
The University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Absence provides details on your responsibilities regarding reporting and evidencing absence, whether related to Covid-19 or not. Students are expected adhere to this policy and University and Government guidance on reporting absence directly related to Covid-19 and, where applicable, undergo testing. It is imperative that you make yourself familiar with the University’s response to Covid-19 and the Campus Pledge and associated Campus Guidelines.
- 4. Student Monitoring/Class Certificates
If you attend and complete the work required for a course, you will be considered to have been awarded a ‘Class Certificate’.
Being in possession of a valid Class Certificate for a course entitles you to undertake all assessment for that course and to receive an overall course grade. Class certificates are valid for two years and usually permit a total of three attempts at the required assessment within the two-year period i.e. the first attempt plus up to two resits.
Through non-engagement or a failure to submit coursework, it is possible to lose your class certificate and therefore, your right to undertake assessment. You may hear this referred to as a ‘C7’ or a warning that this may happen, referred to as a ‘C6’.
Your programme/course handbook(s) will provide further information on the attendance requirements for your programme/course.
- 5. Appeals and Complaints
The University operates a Policy and Procedures on Academic Appeals and a Complaints Handling Procedure, providing frameworks through which you can formalise any concerns you may have about aspects of your academic or non-academic experience.
These processes have been designed to ensure that lodging an appeal or a complaint is accessible and simple and that robust, fair mechanisms exist for their consideration.
A major feature of both processes is the emphasis placed on early or informal resolution. You should note that there is an expectation under both processes that you will take responsibility for seeking resolution of any academic or non-academic concerns they may have. You are encouraged to do this by raising and discussing them at the earliest possible stage with the relevant individuals in an academic school or administrative service.
Further information on both processes and the steps to take should you wish to pursue an academic appeal or a complaint can be found here.
- 6. Student Discipline
The University operates two codes of practice on student discipline, which set out the procedures to be followed in the case of disciplinary offences by students. These may be Academic or Non-Academic and are defined as such. Disciplinary offences are defined in academic and non-academic terms.
The University’s Code of Practice on Student Discipline (Academic) includes offences such as Plagiarism or Contract Cheating.
Offences covered by the University’s Code of Practice on Student Discipline (Non-Academic) include, for example, damaging University property; bullying and harassment; or behaviour that could reflect negatively on the University. This behaviour could take place on or off campus and includes behaviour on online and social media accounts you may use.
- 7. Graduate Attributes
The University has selected a wide-ranging set of nineteen attributes, which you will have opportunities to develop and enhance during your time studying here, with a view to being prepared for further study, future employment and citizenship.
You will have many opportunities to develop and achieve these skills and qualities. These include learning experiences on credit-bearing courses and co-curricular activities such as work placements, study abroad and volunteering. These are grouped in four broad areas:
- Academic excellence
- Critical thinking and effective communication
- Learning and personal development
- Active citizenship
To find out more about Graduate Attributes visit www.abdn.ac.uk/graduateattributes.
Achieve for Undergraduates
The Student Learning Service Achieve site in the Organisations area of MyAberdeen offers a range of resources to enable you to self-assess, reflect and improve your academic and professional skills. Achieve also links to the Learners’ Toolkit provided by IT Services and the Library’s guides and resources.
Achieve+ for Taught Postgraduates
The Student Learning Service Achieve+ site in MyAberdeen offers a range of resources to enable you to self-assess, reflect and improve your academic and professional skills. Achieve+ also links to the Learners’ Toolkit, provided by IT Services, and the Library’s guides and resources. This site is specifically targeted at the cohort of taught postgraduate students, who undertake a short, intensive period of study.
- 8. MyAberdeen
MyAberdeen is the University of Aberdeen’s Online Learning Environment. This is where you will find learning materials, resources and activities associated with the courses you are studying.
You can log in to MyAberdeen using the ‘Quick Links’ on the ‘For Students’ section of the University’s web site or by going directly to www.abdn.ac.uk/myaberdeen.
In either case, enter the University username and password which you use to access the University network. Further information on MyAberdeen including Video Tutorials and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) follow https://www.abdn.ac.uk/toolkit/systems/myaberdeen-students/to the Learners’ Toolkit or look in the “Key Resources” section once you log on to MyAberdeen.
- 9. Avoiding Plagiarism
the use, without adequate acknowledgement, of the intellectual work of another person in work submitted for assessment. This definition includes the unattributed use of course materials and applies to all types of assessment, including ‘open book’ assessments. 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
Plagiarism is cheating and an offence under the University’s Code of Practice on Student Discipline (Academic). Being found guilty of plagiarism or any of the offences listed in the Code of Practice could have a detrimental impact on your University career.
As such, referencing is an important academic skill that you will use throughout your time at University. Correct referencing and citing presents the source of your information and provides the evidence for the statements that you make within your writing.
The University has developed resources to help you better understand cheating or Plagiarism and to help you avoid it:
- Information about academic writing and how to avoid plagiarism can be found here.
- A resource, providing short overviews of referencing and plagiarism and useful resources from the Library and Student Learning Service (SLS) can be found here and here.
TurnitinUK is one of a range of originality checking (text matching) applications that compare student assignments with online sources including web pages, databases of reference material, and content previously submitted by other users. These applications make no judgement on whether your work is original or not. They are tools which highlight sections of text that match, or are similar to, other sources, thereby alerting academic staff to potential instances of plagiarism. Each School has its own, defined procedures for investigating cases which have caused staff concern that a submitted assignment might not be wholly the work of the student who submitted it. TurnitinUK is the most often used originality checking application used by staff at the University of Aberdeen and can be accessed directly through MyAberdeen. There are other applications similar to TurnitinUK, for example SafeAssign. If any or a combination of these are used in any of your courses you will be made aware of it and they will all be accessible through MyAberdeen.
‘Collusion’ is a form of plagiarism and is therefore treated in the same way as plagiarism. It is defined as collaboration between students in an assignment that has not been authorised by the course coordinator. It does not refer to authorised group work that is assessed by a single group report.
- 10. Student Learning Service (SLS)
The Student Learning Service offers free virtual Workshops and confidential one-to-one Study Advice Sessions on: academic writing, general study advice, academic skills guidance for oniine and on-campus learning, science-related and maths skills. There is specialist advice available for students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences.
Workshop topics may include: time management and planning, note-taking, many aspects of academic writing, and presentation skills. Workshops and descriptions will be listed on the online booking system early in each semester.
The confidential, one-to-one Study Advice Sessions offer UG and PGT students the opportunity to meet with an Academic Skills Adviser. Our Advisers offer guidance on study strategies, academic writing issues, science-related assignments, and maths support. The specialist adviser meets with students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences.
Please note that we can discuss assignments or essays that have been marked and are accompanied by feedback, but we cannot comment on an assignment or essay that has yet to be submitted for assessment.
To arrange a Study Advice Session, please either submit a Study Advice Session Request Form or email email@example.com giving us the topic (e.g. academic writing, time management, or maths skills) you wish to discuss and the times/days during which you are able to attend an appointment.
Study Advice Sessions with PhD students are only undertaken with the approval of their supervisor/s. Please email
- 11. The co-curriculum
Co-curricular activities include: work placements, enterprise and entrepreneurship activities, volunteering, the BP Student Tutoring Scheme, the Leadership Academy, career mentoring and the STAR (Students Taking Active Roles) Award initiative. Approved co-curricular activities are also recognised on each student’s Enhanced Degree Transcript, which students receive on graduation. Co-curricular recognition via the transcript is intended to help students demonstrate their wider University learning and achievements to employers and postgraduate recruiters.
A number of co-curricular activities are credit-bearing such as work placements. These can form an integral part of a degree programme and can attract academic credit. Placements are available locally, nationally and internationally, lasting from a few weeks to a full year and are generally paid. Visit the Careers Service website for further placement information and to find available work placements and internships.