Regulation C7: Taught Postgraduate Degrees

(formerly Regulation 2A: Modular Postgraduate Courses, Excluding Professional Doctorates and Research Degrees)

 1. Definitions

The following definitions shall apply in respect of these regulations:

Advanced Standing: Admission beyond the normal point of commencement of the course.

Assessment Criteria: The guidelines for marking approved from time to time by Senate which are to be interpreted by examiners in the context of the subject.

Award: Any formal qualification awarded by the University to an individual student, which may be either an End Qualification or Intermediate Award.

Compulsory Module: A module which is compulsory for students registered on a specified course.  Compulsory modules count towards a course’s subject credit requirements.

Course: A collection of modules grouped under a specific title, the details of which have been approved by Senate as leading to appropriate end qualifications and intermediate awards.

Co-requisites: Modules which must be studied concurrently by students registered on a specified course.

Course Regulations: The regulations governing one or more specified courses.

Credit: The unit of academic value by which successful completion of a module contributes to a student’s programme of study.

Dissertation: A piece of analytical work deriving from an approved project, individual or group research activity, literature search, professional practice or similar.

Elective Module: A module a student can study as part of their course, but which does not count towards their course’s subject credit requirements.

End Qualification: The qualification aim for which the student is registered.

Examination: A written assessment with fixed time-limit conducted under examination conditions in an examination hall designated by the Head of Student Records and Examinations for the purpose. Examinations which are not unseen may be either seen, where the student is advised of the content of the paper prior to the examination although the paper is written under normal examination conditions, or open-book for which students may bring into the examination specified material which can be highlighted or underlined but not annotated.

Examination Period: A period which is set aside for the conduct of examinations.

In-Course Assessment: Any assessment which is not an examination and which shall not exceed such maximum requirements as may be determined by Senate from time to time.

Intermediate Award: The highest level of award which a student achieves who has not successfully completed the end qualification.

Level 7: Modules, the standard of whose learning outcomes is appropriate to a postgraduate award which is below doctorate level.

All designations refer to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) as set out in the conversion table

Module: A separate identifiable self-contained unit of study which is at a specified level, is assessed and is given a credit value.

Module Assessment: The processes by which it is ascertained whether, and at what standard of performance, a module has been completed and the learning outcomes thereof achieved.

Module Catalogue: Documentation which describes the modules available to students.

Optional Module: A module selected from a group of available modules.  Optional modules count towards a course’s subject credit requirements.

Precursor: A module, the study hours of which a student shall be required to have completed in order to proceed to a subsequent specified module or modules, but for which credit may not necessarily have been awarded.

Prerequisite: A module in which a student shall be required to have received credit in order to proceed to a subsequent specified module or modules.

Programme of Study: The specific modules pursued by individual students within the context of an approved course.

Semester: A specified period of teaching, study and assessment as defined by Senate.

Session: One academic year.

Stage: Courses may incorporate different stages leading to different End Qualifications or Intermediate Awards, as listed in the Programme Specification and/or Course Regulations. Any or all of the following stages may be specified within named courses:

  • Postgraduate Award (if Course Regulations make this award available)
  • Postgraduate Certificate
  • Postgraduate Diploma
  • Masters Degree

Any reference in these regulations to Senate shall be deemed to include a reference to any committee of Senate designated by Senate for the purpose.

Any reference in these regulations to the Director of Student and Academic Services, Head of Department/School, or other named officer of the University shall be deemed to include a reference to any person designated by that officer for the purpose.

2. Admission

2.1 Any student offered admission to a postgraduate course under these regulations shall be required to, as a minimum:

(a) either 

i. be a graduate of Keele, or any other University approved for this, with First or Second Class Honours;

ii. have met the requirements for an undergraduate programme of study, as set out in the relevant course regulations, which is designed to lead directly to a programme of postgraduate study with a postgraduate end qualification;

iii. be any other person whose qualifications and/or experience are deemed by the Senate to be acceptable. Persons applying under this sub-clause may be required to take a qualifying examination and

(b) meet any particular entry requirements for the course applied for, as specified in the relevant course regulations; and

(c) provide approved identification at enrolment; and

(d) provide original copies of academic transcripts or certificates used for admission if requested; and

(e) enrol in each session with the University by a date to be determined by the University Executive Committee; and

(f) provide a valid UK contact address at all times whilst enrolled as a student; and

(g) Students who do not abide by points a-f will be withdrawn from the University

2.2 Head of Planning and Admissions, in consultation with the relevant Head(s)of Department/School, is authorised to offer applicants admission with advanced standing who already hold up to 120 credits at Level 7, provided always that no exemption shall be accorded for the Masters dissertation.

2.3 The University reserves the right to withdraw a student’s registration if they are found at a later stage to have submitted a fraudulent application to the University.

2.4 Applicants requiring Tier 4 sponsorship to study in the UK must not only meet the entrance criteria for the course but also the requirements, rules and responsibilities of the UK Home Office for sponsorship. Therefore, an offer of a place does not guarantee automatic Tier 4 sponsorship and is at the discretion of the University.

3. Course Regulations

3.1 Where appropriate there shall be course regulations in a form approved by Senate.

3.2 All such course regulations shall require the approval of Senate.

4. Modules

4.1 The credit value for any module shall be determined by reference to a common currency whereby one unit of credit represents the typical outcome of 10 hours of study. All modules shall have a credit value which is a multiple of 5, and no module shall have a value of less than 10. In exceptional circumstances, such as the fulfilment of continuing professional development requirements, the relevant Faculty Learning & Teaching Committee may permit 5-credit Level 7 modules with an appropriate number of hours of study.

4.2 Where a module is available for more than one course, its status as a compulsory, optional or elective may vary between courses.

4.3 Precursors, prerequisites and/or co-requisites may be defined for any module.

4.4 Any fieldwork requirements shall form part or all of one or more specified modules subject to any timetabling or other constraints. Any fieldwork may be scheduled either within the approved semester dates, or at other times.

4.5 Unless otherwise permitted by the course regulations, all dissertations shall be either in typescript or word-processed format.

5. Structure of University Awards

5.1 A course leading to the award of a Postgraduate Award shall consist of one or more modules at least to the value of 30 credits, all of which must be at Level 7. 

5.2 A course leading to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate shall consist of modules at least to the value of 60 credits, of which at least 40 must be at Level 7.

5.3 A course leading to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma shall consist of modules at least to the value of 120 credits, of which at least 90 must be at Level 7.

5.4 A course leading to the award of a Masters Degree shall consist of modules at least to the value of 180 credits, of which 150 must be at Level 7, which shall include a dissertation of at least 60 credits at Level 7 and for which there shall have been a period of research training.

5.5 The status of a Postgraduate Award, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma as an end qualification or intermediate award shall be determined with reference to the definition of ‘stage’ given in section 1 above.

6. Courses and Programmes of Study

6.1 All students shall be required to register for their programmes of study for the coming academic session by such a date as shall be determined by the Head of Student Records and Examinations.

6.2 No student shall be permitted to change their course later than:

(a) four weeks from the start of their first year of study; or

(b) one week from the start of any subsequent stage of study, subject to the approval of the Head of Student Records and Examinations.

6.3 No student shall be permitted to change their course without the prior formal approval of the Head of Department/School responsible for the new course into which the student wishes to transfer.

6.4 No student may undertake additional modules outside of their approved programme of study without the prior approval of the Head of Student Records and Examinations.

6.5 All students shall be allocated to a supervisor who is responsible to the appropriate Head of Department/School for the oversight of the students programme.

7. Time-Limit

7.1 The time-limit for a student to complete their programme of study shall be as stated in Ordinance IV.

8. Assessment

8.1 All modules shall be assessed in accordance with the University’s agreed assessment criteria, either by:

(a) in-course assessment conducted during the semester(s) in which the module(s) is/are completed; or

(b) examination during an examination period; or

(c) a combination of both 8.1.a and 8.1.b above; and

(d) for a Masters degree, a dissertation in the range 15,000 to 20,000 words, or the equivalent.

8.2 The method of assessment for each module, including the weighting for each element of the assessment, shall be notified to students.

8.3 The minimum mark for a pass in each module and for the Masters dissertation/project shall be 50%. Where a student satisfies the examiners in a module, they shall be awarded the appropriate credits.

8.4 A student who passes a module in which they have previously failed, shall be credited with the minimum mark for a pass irrespective of the actual mark achieved, unless the Board of Examiners has deemed the reassessment to be a first attempt following an appeal.

8.5 The assessment of all modules shall be University assessments.

8.6 Where a programme of study includes one or more periods of industrial/professional training or periods of study/work experience in UK or abroad, the student’s performance may also be assessed in these periods and such assessments may contribute to the final assessment.

8.7 A student who has been awarded credit in a module shall not be permitted to be reassessed in that module with a view to improving their mark, save under the provisions of paragraph 12.1.b below.

9. Appropriate Engagement With Studies and Assessments

9.1 Any student failing to engage appropriately with their studies within two weeks of a final academic warning being issued may be withdrawn from the University by the Director of Student and Academic Services or nominee at any stage in the programme.  Failure to engage appropriately with studies shall include non-attendance at compulsory learning and teaching events and/or failure to submit assessments without prior consent.

9.2 Any student failing to engage appropriately with assessments, without prior consent, may be withdrawn from the University by the Director of Student and Academic Services or nominee within two weeks of the formal communication of each semester’s module results to students.  A student will be deemed to have failed to engage with their assessments if they obtain a mark of 10 or below in 50% or more of the modules they have studied in the most recent semester.

9.3 Any student who is withdrawn as a result of 9.1 or 9.2 above will forfeit their entitlement to undertake any remaining assessment opportunities upon their failed modules, including assessment opportunities granted as a result of exceptional circumstances.

10. Student Health and Wellbeing

10.1 Students must be in an adequate state of physical and mental health to enable them to continue with their studies. Information on Leave of Absence, which may be an option for those needing a break from their studies to support their health and wellbeing, is included in Regulation B4 (Fitness to Study).

11. Determination of Results

11.1 There shall be a Board of Examiners for each course approved by Senate which shall determine and make recommendations to Senate on:

(a) the student’s mark for each module; and that

(b) the student be permitted to proceed to the next academic stage of the course; or

(c) the student not be permitted to proceed to the next academic stage of the course; or

(d) the student be required to withdraw from the University; or

(e) the student be awarded the end qualification and with what classification, if any; or

(f) the student not be awarded the end qualification; or

(g) the student be not awarded the end qualification and be required to withdraw from the University.

11.2 Normally no student shall be permitted to proceed from the Postgraduate Certificate to Postgraduate Diploma stage of a course unless they have achieved at least 60 credits or such number of credits as may be required by the course regulations as set out in the approved and published programme specification.

11.3 Normally no student shall be permitted to proceed from the Postgraduate Diploma to Masters degree stage of a course unless they have has achieved at least 120 credits or such number of credits as may be required by the course regulations as set out in the approved and published programme specification.

11.4 Where after reassessment a student fails a module or modules with a mark in the range 45-49%, the student shall be awarded the credit for such module(s) provided that: the failed module(s) comprise(s) no greater than 20 of the total credits for the stage; and the student has attained a mark of at least 55% in one or more modules in the stage at least equivalent to the credit value of the failed module(s).

This provision shall not apply to the Masters degree stage or students on the Master's in Medical Education: Assessment and Accreditation.

11.5 Course regulations may specify modules to which the provisions of paragraph 11.4 above shall not apply.

11.6 No student shall be permitted to continue to pursue a programme of study where it would be impossible for them to complete the course and do so within the approved time-limit.

11.7 A student who has failed one or more modules on two occasions shall be required to withdraw from the course.

12. Action to be Taken in Respect of Academic Failure by Students

Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma Stage

12.1 Where the student has not been required to withdraw from the University, the relevant Board of Examiners shall determine whether:

(a) the student shall be permitted to be re-assessed once only in the failed module(s) either:

i. at the next examination period; or

ii. by the resubmission of in-course assessment at a time to be determined by the Board; or

iii. with or without attendance on the module(s) during the following session or calendar year; and/or

(b) in the case of failure in an option module or modules, the student shall be permitted to pursue an alternative option(s) with attendance during the following session or calendar year but not subject to the limitation imposed by paragraph 8.4 above.

12.2 A student who is permitted to be re-assessed in any form of in-course assessment other than the Masters degree dissertation shall not be permitted to re-submit modified versions of their original work, but shall be required to submit new work on a different topic from that which originally failed to satisfy the examiners. Exceptionally, where the submitted assessment was directly based upon work or experiential material that cannot feasibly be repeated in a different form for the purpose of re-assessment (e.g. a work-based placement, a period of fieldwork, 1 or more case studies based on a period of professional work) students may be permitted, as the discretion of the discipline examination board, to submit a modified version of the original work (in such instances, the examination board will be responsible for notifying the student(s) concerned to this effect).

13. Action to be taken in Respect of Academic Failure by Students

Masters Degree Stage.

13.1 A student whose Masters dissertation fails to satisfy the examiners is permitted to re-present it once only, not more than 10 months from the date of official communication of the result to the student. Attendance at Keele is not required for this period.

13.2 A student who fails to submit a dissertation within the deadline specified in the relevant course regulations shall be regarded as having failed by non-submission and shall be permitted to submit a dissertation on one occasion only, not more than 10 months from the original deadline stipulated.

13.3 A student who proceeds with resubmitting their dissertation will be transferred to a dissertation resubmission mode of attendance and will be liable to pay a resubmission fee.

14. Award

14.1 Provided that Course Regulations so specify, a student shall be eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Award who has been awarded 30 credits at Level 7.

14.2 A student shall be eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Certificate who has been awarded at least 60 credits, of which at least 40 are at Level 7, or such higher number of credits as may be required by the course regulations.

14.3 A student shall be eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma who has been awarded at least 120 credits, at least 90 of which are at Level 7, or such higher number of credits as may be required by the course regulations.

14.4 A student shall be eligible for the award of a Masters degree who has been awarded at least 180 credits, at least 90 of which are Level 7, or such higher number of credits as may be required by the course regulations, which shall include a dissertation of at least 60 credits at Level 7 and for which there shall have been a period of research training.

14.5 Unless otherwise agreed by Senate in respect of specific courses, no student may receive more than one award for study on a postgraduate course.

14.6 Posthumous

(a) Any taught award of the University may be conferred posthumously where the death of a student occurs prior to their completion of the requirements for their award. A posthumous award may be accepted on the student's behalf by a parent, spouse or other appropriate individual. The award conferred in such circumstances will normally be as a minimum the next exit award for which the student would have been eligible, based on the stage of the programme of study they had commenced at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor in their capacity as Chair of Senate. All posthumous awards are unclassified.

(b) If the death of a student occurs after they have completed all the requirements for an award the award will not be considered posthumous and will, therefore, be classified. An award made in such circumstances may still be accepted on the student’s behalf by a parent, spouse, or other appropriate individual.

14.7 Aegrotat

(a) An Aegrotat award for incomplete study is an unclassified award that may be conferred in exceptional circumstances, such as in cases where a student's ability to complete an award is permanently compromised by severe illness once extenuating circumstances processes have been fully considered and followed as applicable. All Aegrotat awards are unclassified. All taught awards are available as Aegrotat awards, with the exception of degrees which are subject to fitness to practice requirements which shall not be awarded Aegrotat awards. The Pro Vice-Chancellor in their capacity as Chair of University Exam Board may exercise their discretion to recommend conferment of an Aegrotat award where the appropriate criteria have been met. As an Aegrotat award is a final exit award. It must be considered to be the conclusion of a student's study on a particular course and the implications of this must be agreed with the student prior to consideration of the award by the Pro Vice-Chancellor. Before a recommendation for an Aegrotat award is submitted, the student must have indicated that they are willing to accept the award and they understand that this involves waiving the right to be reassessed.

15. Classification

Please see Regulation D2

16. Structure and Content of Re-Assessments

16.1 Where a student is required to be re-assessed for one or more modules prior to the start of the following academic year, the re-assessment shall, unless the relevant Board of Examiners decides that this is not practical, be of the same structure and be based upon the same syllabus as the assessment at the time of the initial failure, but need not include those elements of assessment in which the student has already satisfied the examiners.

16.2 Where a student is permitted to be re-assessed in one or more failed modules without attendance on the module(s), the following arrangements shall apply:

(a) for re-assessment within one year of the initial failure, the re-assessment shall, unless the relevant Board of Examiners decides that this is not practical, be of the same structure and be based upon the same syllabus as the assessment at the time of the initial failure;

(b) for re-assessment beyond one  year of the initial failure, where the structure of the assessment is different from that at the time of the initial failure and/or the re-assessment is to be based upon a different syllabus, the Head of Department/School concerned shall make arrangements for the student to be:

i. informed of changes in the structure of the assessment and the syllabus content; and

ii. offered, at an appropriate charge, the opportunity of attending relevant classes or receiving other appropriate assistance in accordance with the mode of delivery of the course.