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Frequently Asked Questions

Keele has always been committed to giving students the opportunity to gain a broad-based education which prepares them for the challenges of life after University. Electives are the part of the Keele degree which YOU design to fit with your own ambitions, interests and intellectual curiosity. Here you will find answers to some frequently asked questions. 

Why does Keele require students to take elective modules when other Universities don't?

One of Keele University's founding principles is to produce graduates with a broad range of knowledge and skills which prepares them for the challenges of life after University.  We also appreciate that students' interests are likely to change and develop over the course of three or more years of study and so we have designed a degree which allows you to specialise or generalise as you see fit.

Electives are the part of the Keele degree which YOU design to fit with your own ambitions, interests and intellectual curiosity.  You can use this choice in all kinds of ways:

  • Choose programme approved elective modules which involve further in-depth study of your main subjects.
  • Try out another subject. If you prefer it, it may be possible to change your course.
  • Learn a language.
  • Develop your skills, for example through modules in volunteering, personal development or entrepreneurship.
  • Just choose a subject that has always fascinated you, such as astronomy or sociology.

In each year of study on your degree course you must take and pass modules totalling 120 credits.  All modules are worth 15 credits, so you take eight modules every year, four in each semester.  Some of these modules are core modules, which are compulsory for the principal subject/s you have chosen to study.  Others, called elective modules, can be chosen flexibly by you.

What's the difference between a Dual Honours, Single Honours and Major/Minor degree?

Whether they are Dual Honours, Single Honours or Major/Minor degrees, the majority of undergraduate degrees at Keele share a common structure of eight 15 credit modules in each year (for a total of 120 credits).  The difference between the programmes comes from the number of modules (and therefore credits) you are required to take in each year.  This is outlined in more detail below.  There are some degree programmes which do not follow this format; usually degree programmes with a professional aspect such as Medicine, Nursing and Physiotherapy.  You'll receive more information about the structure of your programme when you arrive at Keele.

We've briefly outlined the structure of each degree type below.

Dual Honours degrees

Dual Honours degrees are degrees that are taken in two different subjects, resulting in an X and Y degree title, for example History and Politics.  If you are taking a Dual Honours programme, these will be the two subjects you applied for.  These are referred to as your Principal Subjects.

In a Dual Honours degree you will take at least two modules (30 credits) each year in each of your Principal Subjects, although some Principal Subjects will require you to take more than this.  The remaining available credits can be filled with modules from these subjects or other subjects entirely.  For example, you could take a total of three modules in one Principal Subject, four modules in the other Principal Subject and a language module.  You will also need to ensure that you have taken a minimum of 120 credits worth of modules in each Principal Subject before you complete your final year, in order to be able to graduate.

You will also be required to take at least one Independent Study Project in your final year, although this will also depend upon the requirements of your Principal Subjects.

You will be able to see the number of credits you should accrue towards your named award at any time in eVision.  (Click on the course/module detail link.  You will then see a link called Credit Summary at the bottom of the course information box).

Single Honours degrees

Single Honours degrees are degrees that are taken wholly or predominantly in one subject (referred to as your Single Honours subject).  You will be required to take a minimum of four modules (60 credits) each year and by the end of your studies you must have gained at least 255 credits in the Single Honours subject.  So you will need to have done at least 17 modules in your Single Honours subject by the time you graduate.

You will be able to see the number of credits you should accrue towards your named award at any time in eVision.  (Click on the course/module detail link.  You will then see a link called Credit Summary at the bottom of the course information box).

Major/Minor degrees

Major/Minor degrees are degrees that are taken in two different subjects, much like a Dual Honours degree, except that you will specialise in the Major subject.  In a Major/Minor degree you will need at least 225 credits in your Major subject over your three years of study with at least two modules (30 credits) taken each year in your Major Subject, although some Principal Subjects will require you to take more than this.  You will also need 90 credits in your Minor subject with a minimum of 30 credits (two modules) taken at level I and 45 credits (three modules) taken at level II.

You will be able to see the number of credits you should accrue towards your named award at any time in eVision.  (Click on the course/module detail link.  You will then see a link called Credit Summary at the bottom of the course information box).

I want to change my course, how do I do this?

Sometimes you may decide that one or both of your subjects are not what you really want to do or that you want to change your degree type (Dual Honours, Single Honours, Major/Minor).  This is referred to as a ‘course change’. 

Course changes can be requested up until the end of the third teaching week of each semester, However, they may not always be approved.

Firstly, you need to check on this website if the course you want to do study is actually available at Keele.  You then submit an electronic course change request from your eVision.

If you would like any advice about course changes, please feel free to speak to the Student Services Team who will be able to guide you through the process.

If I change my course, do I have to change my electives?

You may not need to change your elective modules as it depends upon the Principal subject/s you change to and the elective modules you originally chose.  

A member of the team at the Student Services Centre will be able to advise you on this, once your course change has been approved.

What's the difference between a Compulsory Core, Optional Core and elective module?

You are required to accumulate a certain amount of 'subject related' credits in your Principal Subject(s) to achieve your degree throughout your time at Keele.  The amount of subject related credits required for each degree type (Dual Honours, Single Honours and Major/Minor) is different.

Compulsory Core and Optional Core modules are taken as part of your Principal Subject(s) and are the modules where some of the key foundations of your subject(s) will be delivered.  Compulsory Core modules are modules that everyone taking that Principal Subject have to take whilst Optional Core modules are modules that you can choose yourself but from a limited selection in that particular subject.  Both of these module types are 'subject related'.

'Electives' is a generic term used to refer to two types of modules.  There are 'programme approved' electives (these count towards to the amount of 'subject related' credits that you need) and ‘free standing' electives.

Free-standing electives are modules which are generally in subjects unrelated to your Principal Subjects.  For example, languages are free-standing electives, as is the option to study abroad.  These modules will provide you with an opportunity to broaden your horizons and try out new areas of study.

How do I know how many elective modules I need to take?

New Students

You will be sent a ‘Principal subject and module confirmation email' before you arrive explaining how many elective modules you need and asking you to select them from a list.  You can also find out how many elective credits you need and which modules you can choose from by looking up your chosen degree on the Module Selection pages of this website.  More details about how to register for your electives can be found here.

Students that have studied at Keele in the previous Academic Year

You will be sent an email which will explain how many elective modules you will need.  The email will direct you to the Module Selection pages of this website where you are able to enter your chosen degree.  This then shows you the elective modules that are available for you and you can start planning your choices.  Once you’ve had a look at these, you may want to discuss the available options with your Personal Tutor and/or the academic staff on your degree.

You’ll be able to make your selections in July, after your examination results have been received.  You’ll be contacted again at this point, to let you know that you can select your modules on eVision.  More details about how to register for your electives can be found here.

I'm doing a single honours degree. Do I need to choose elective modules from my principal subject?

This depends. You have to study 24 modules over three years. All single honours degrees require at least 255 credits, i.e. 17 modules out of 24, of Core modules and Approved Elective modules from that named subject.

In other words, up to seven modules, depending on your subject, are free choice. These seven can be taken at any level: first, second or third year.

Let's take the example of single honours American Studies. Here are two different approaches to designing your degree. Both of them will lead to the same degree being awarded.

Specialise

Year One

Semester One

Semester Two

Core module

Core module

Core module

Core module

Programme Approved American studies elective

Programme Approved American studies elective

Programme Approved American studies elective

Programme Approved American studies elective

And the same in years two and three, i.e. 360 credits in American studies modules.

Generalise

Year One

Semester One

Semester Two

Core module

Core module

Core module

Core module

Programme Approved American studies elective

Programme Approved American studies elective

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

Year Two

Semester One

Semester Two

Core module

Core module

Core module

Core module

Programme Approved American studies elective

Programme Approved American studies elective

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

Year Three

Semester One

Semester Two

Independent Study Project (30 credits)

Core module

Core module

Programme Approved American studies elective

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

I'm doing a dual honours degree. Do I need to choose Elective modules from my principal subject(s)?

This depends. You have to study 24 modules over three years.  All dual honours degrees require at least 120 credits, i.e. 8 modules out of 24, of Core modules and Approved Elective modules from each principal subject.

In other words, up to eight modules, depending on your subjects, are free choice.  These eight can be taken at any level: first, second or third year.

Let's take the example of dual honours English and Politics.  Here are three different approaches to designing your degree.  They will all lead to the same degree being awarded.

Specialise in One Principal subject

Year One

Semester One

Semester Two

Core English module

Core English module

Core Politics module

Core Politics module

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved English elective

Programme Approved English elective

Year Two

Semester One

Semester Two

Core English module

Core English module

Core Politics module

Core Politics module

Programme Approved  Politics elective

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved English elective

Year Three

Semester One

Semester Two

Politics Independent Study Project

Core English module

Core English module

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved Politics elective

Generalise

Year One

Semester One

Semester Two

Core English module

Core English module

Core Politics module

Core Politics module

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved English elective

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

Year Two

Semester One

Semester Two

Core English module

Core English module

Core Politics module

Core Politics module

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved English elective

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

Year Three

Semester One

Semester Two

English Independent Study Project

Core Politics module

Core Politics module

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

Free standing elective

Balance Your Two Subjects

Year One


Semester One

Semester Two

Core English module

Core English module

Core Politics module

Core Politics module

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved English elective

Programme Approved English elective

Free standing elective

Year Two

Semester One

Semester Two

Core English module

Core English module

Core Politics module

Core Politics module

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved Politics elective

Free standing elective

Approved English elective

Year Three

Semester One

Semester Two

English Independent Study Project

Core Politics module

Core Politics module

Programme Approved Politics elective

Programme Approved English elective

Programme Approved English elective

Programme Approved Politics elective

The choice is yours!

I’m doing a Major/Minor honours degree. Do I need to choose Elective modules from my principal subject(s)?

This depends. You have to study 24 modules over three years. The ‘Major’ part of the degree requires you to study at least 225 credits, i.e. 15 modules out of 24, of Core modules and Programme Aproved Elective modules from the Major subject. You also have to study 6 modules out of 24 (90 credits) in your ‘Minor’ subject from either Core or Approved Programme Elective modules, taking at least 2 of these during your first year and 3 during your second year. This means that a total of 21 out of 24 modules will be in either your Major or Minor subject.

In other words, up to three modules, depending on your subjects, are free choice. These three can be taken at any level: first, second or third year, but you will need to check with your Programme Leader to see precisely where these opportunities will arise.

I am an International student and I've heard I'll need to take an English test when I get to Keele. Why is this? Keele

New International students whose first language is not English, as well as those who have been educated abroad (whether or not English is their first language), will be pre-allocated onto an English language module that will assist your studies.  This will count as one of your electives module choices. Do not change this selection when you register your electives choices online.

If you do not need to take an elective module for your degree because your principal subject/s compulsory modules total the required 120 credits you will still be allocated an English Language module as an additional module.

On arrival at Keele, as part of the Induction Week you will be given an introduction to the  Language Centre and take a brief language assessment.  The purpose of this assessment is to see if you would benefit from any English language support or English electives classes to help you succeed with your academic studies while you are at Keele. The assessment will NOT in any way affect your ability to proceed with your course of study.

Based on your needs and preferences and in consultation with English Language Unit staff, you may be moved into a different English language module that will help strengthen the language skills you will need to succeed in your academic studies, or you may be advised that you do not need to take an English Language module and you can replace it with another elective module.

English Language modules will also be available to students in their second and third year of study, should they have failed the module in their first year, or should they need additional tuition.

I am an international Student can I get help with my English even if I don't do an English language module?

Yes.  In addition to running modules, the  Language Centre  provides a range of services to international students to help them succeed and get the most of their academic experience at Keele.

I want more information about a particular elective module, for example, the assessment requirements – where do I look?

This website will give you a full summary of each of the modules you are able to study.  Please select your level of electives you require for your level of study and then the degree you are studying from the modules page.  This will then list all of the elective modules you can take based on your degree and timetable.  You can access each module summary by then clicking onto the module code.  If you need any further information or guidance about the module please feel free to email the module tutor.  His/her email details are also shown on the module summary.

Students who have been allowed to proceed into your next year of study but are required to either take re-assessment in their failed elective from a previous level of study or choose and pass another elective from their previous level of study will be able to access information about all elective modules here.

How do I register for Electives?

The following students will register for elective modules on eVision

  • New 1st year students
  • Students progressing into 1st year from a Foundation course
  • Students progressing or proceeding into 2nd year or 3rd year

Students who are repeating the 1st, 2nd or 3rd year in full will complete an on-line form which will also be available through eVision

Students who have been allowed to proceed into 2nd year who have not gained the full 120 level 4 credits during the previous Academic year will also have to register for any outstanding level 4 elective modules.  This will be a paper application process.

Students who have been allowed to proceed into 3rd year who have not gained the full 120 level 5 credits during the previous Academic year will also have to register for any outstanding level 5 elective modules.  This will be a paper application process.

From mid July until beginning September you will receive a Principal subject and module confirmation email.  New students will receive this to their Keele email account after A level results have been published in Mid August.

Communication will be as follows:


Mid July
  • 1st year students with Unconditional offers
  • progressing/proceeding 2nd year students 
  • progressing/proceeding 3rd year students

Mid August

  • 1st year Offers conditional on A level results
  • Students returning from leave of Absence

Early September

  • 1st year offers through clearing
  • Progressing or Proceeding 2nd year students whose progression to 2nd year was subject to the outcome of August re-assessment.
  • 2nd year students who have been allowed to proceed into 2nd year who need to register for outstanding Level 4 electives
  • Progressing or Proceeding 3rd year students whose progression to 3rd year was subject to the outcome of August re-assessment.
  • 3rd year students who have been allowed to proceed into 3rd year who need to register for outstanding Level 5 electives

The communication will

  • State how many electives are required
  • Explain modules (Compulsory core and optional, Approved Programme, Free Standing
  • Direct you to Electives website to research module content
  • Give you contacts for queries on incorrect information, advice, technical assistance
  • Provide Online selection instructions for eVision
  • Inform you of the deadline for registration
  • Confirm what happens next

Can I register for elective modules after I arrive?

Yes, at the Electives Help desk on Tuesday 26th September or Wednesday 27th September 2017 in the Chancellor's Building from 10am – 4pm each day or after the Help Desk you can visit us at the Student Services Centre for a student consultation from 9am to 5pm  -  Monday to Friday.

Places are limited and to ensure that you get a place on the elective modules you would like to study it is advisable to choose your electives before you arrive.

How do I find out which modules I am taking?

New Keele students will enrol on Saturday 23rd September 2017 (please see your Welcome Handbook).  The day before you enrol you will receive a ‘Module Allocation email' confirming the elective modules to which you have been allocated.

First Year International students will enrol on Thursday 21st September 2017.  The day before you enrol you will receive a ‘Module Allocation email' confirming the elective modules to which you have been allocated.

1st, 2nd and 3rd year students who are not required to enrol in person on either of the above two dates i.e. students who are not new to Keele in the Academic year 2017/18 will receive a ‘Module Allocation email' in their Keele email address by no later than Monday 25th September 2017.  This email will confirm the elective modules to which you have been allocated.

Your provisional on-line timetable for your lectures will be made available to you in the student portal from early August.  Tutorial groups and seminars will not be released onto your on-line timetable until mid-September.

You will also be able to see module details and your credit summary at any time from the student portal.  Once you have logged in click on the green 'The Office' tab which will take you to the eVision pages.  Your credit summary can be found at the bottom of the Course Information container within the Course/Module Details Page.

How do I find out where to go for my first class?

You will have access to a weekly timetable from the student portal, which will give you details of the day, time and location of each of your modules. 

Your provisional on-line timetable will be made available to you from early August.  Tutorial groups and seminars will not be released onto your timetable until mid-September.

From the start of the Academic year you should regularly check this timetable.  It is updated with any changes.  If you are still unsure about where and when to go you should contact either the Electives office or the School Office responsible for running the module.  Once you are enrolled on a module it will appear on your Keele Learning Environment (KLE) and you will find much of the information about classes there too.  

There is a problem with the electives I have been allocated or I want to change my mind

If there is a problem with the number or type of modules you have been allocated, then you should visit the Electives Helpdesk in the Chancellor's Building Exhibition Suite which will be held on Tuesday 26th September and Wednesday 27th September 2017 between 10am and 4pm.  This will allow you to discuss any questions or issues you might have and their possible solutions so that you can make an informed decision.  The Electives Helpdesk will also provide you with a chance to change your electives choices should you wish to do so.

From Thursday 28th September 2017 you can visit the Student Services Centre to obtain the same advice as the Helpdesk.  We are open for student consultations between 9am and 5pm  -   Monday to Friday.

Once you have been allocated to the correct number and type of elective modules we strongly encourage you to stick with your choices.  However, if you do wish to change or withdraw from any elective module you must visit the Student Services Centre to see if this is possible.  Please note that this can only be done up to the end of the third week of semester 1 (i.e. until Friday 13th October 2017). 

Changing modules after teaching has started will mean that you will need to undertake additional private study to make up for the teaching you have missed.

Please note that individual Schools are not able to authorise any additions, changes and withdrawals from elective modules, even if they teach these modules. 

What happens if any modules clash?

The University timetable should ensure that classes in each of your Principals and your electives are kept apart.  However, from time-to-time a last minute timetable change may occur.  You should check your timetable in Week 1.  If you have been allocated to a seminar group which meets at the same time as one of your elective modules you should ask at the school office to be allocated to another tutor group straight away.  If you are unable to switch tutor groups, or it is a compulsory lecture which clashes, you should visit the Electives Helpdesk or the Student Services Centre to change electives.

What should I do if I need to change one of my electives?

You can only change electives with good reason – because of a timetable clash, for example and only in exceptional circumstances after the end of week 3.

Once you have discovered a problem you should select a new elective module by looking on this web-site, taking care to ensure that it doesn't clash with an elective module you are already taking, or with your Principal Subject modules.  Then visit us in the Student Services Centre and we'll change your electives for you.

Changing modules after teaching has started will mean that you will need to undertake additional private study to make up for the teaching you have missed.

What should I do if I want to change one of my Principal Subject core modules?

You can only change Principal Subject core modules (and usually only optional core modules) with good reason and only in exceptional circumstances after the end of week 3 of either semester.  This can only be done through the School delivering the module, so you will need to select the optional core module from your Principal Subject that you would like to take instead and discuss with the School to see if it is possible.

Who should I contact if I can't make the Introductory lecture?

If you miss the Introductory Lecture (and you should have a good reason for doing so) you will need to contact the School Office responsible for running the module to find what you missed (find out which Schools run which modules here).  They may put you in touch with the module tutor or point you towards the Keele Learning Environment which, once again, will contain important information about locations and times of lectures, seminars, labs etc, and lecture content and upcoming assessments.

What happens if I'm not taking enough elective modules?

You should be taking 120 credits in each academic year.  This will be made up of core and optional core modules from your Principal programmes and up to 4 Electives modules depending on your degree.  We will contact you if we think you haven't registered on enough elective modules to achieve your 120 credits.  However, it is your responsibility to come to the Student Services Centre and register on modules if you are short of credits.  If in doubt, then please do not hesitate to ask us.

What can I do if I struggle with an elective module?

The natural response to struggling with any academic module is to panic, to sulk a bit, and then to try and change to a different one. While all of these are natural, none of them are particularly useful, especially since changing a module may mean that you have a lot of catching up to do! The first thing to do is keep going to the classes on your current module. In addition, you need to talk to the module tutor. Ask her or him for a little time to talk over aspects of the course which are troubling you, and some guidance on how to do well in the assessments. If there's an exam, check the past papers in the library.

Who can I go to if I'm not happy with one of my elective modules?

If you have a problem with any module at Keele you should first talk to the module tutor.  If you're not comfortable with this, you can seek advice from the Student Services Centre Manager, the Head of the School, the Students' Union or the StAR for that subject.  StARs (Student Academic Representatives) represent the views of fellow students on University committees at Programme and Faculty levels.  StARs are trained and overseen by the Students' Union to ensure that the representation is completely independent and it may be that you are not the only one to have raised a particular issue.

I want to do more electives than are in my degree – Is there anything I can do and how much will it cost?

Yes.  You can take a modern language module in addition to your degree modules.  This will not be a part of your degree and you will not be able to swap a successful language module for a module you may have failed in your degree.

If your Principal subject already has 120 core credits and you would like to study abroad for a semester in your 2nd year, you can also register for ENL-10043 Intercultural Communication at the Study Abroad Fair in October.  This will be an extra module and is recommended for any students who wish to study abroad for a semester in their 2nd year.

Students who have no elective choices available to them (i.e. their programme is made up entirely of compulsory core and/or optional core modules) may take one of the above modules per year in addition to their degree without being charged.  Students who are able to take electives will be charged £150 for each modern language module.

Are electives assessed? Do I have to pass the assessment?

All elective modules have some sort of assessment, although different modules will do different things.  Electives form a formal part of your degree programme so you do have to pass the assessment subject to the normal University Rules about pass marks and progression.

What happens if I fail an elective module?

1st and 2nd year students

If you fail an elective module at either Level 4 or Level 5 you will be given the opportunity to take a re-assessment.  You will need to get the details of the re-assessment from the School that runs the module.  If you take a re-assessment your mark is normally capped at a maximum of 40%.

Re-assessment for Autumn (semester 1) modules is usually in June and re-assessment for Spring (semester 2) modules is usually in August.

If after two attempts at an elective module you have still failed, your progression into the next year may be jeopardised.  You will receive an email in July, confirming your progression outcome.

 

3rd year students

Reassessment of failed Level 6 modules is not allowed unless you have extenuating circumstances that are agreed by the appropriate Sub-Committee.  Such failure is likely to affect your final degree outcome.

 

Clearly it is in your best interest to pass all of your modules every year.

I have failed some modules, what happens now?

1st and 2nd year students

Depending upon the number of modules you have failed, you will either need to take re-sits in June or August, or you may be required to repeat the year.  If you have already repeated a year of study, you may be required to withdraw from your course.  You will receive an email in July, confirming your progression outcome. 

 

3rd year students

Reassessment of failed Level 6 modules is not allowed unless you have extenuating circumstances that are agreed by the appropriate Sub-Committee.  Failure of Level 6 modules is likely to affect your final degree outcome.

 

Clearly it is in your best interest to pass all of your modules every year.