degrees

Degrees

Determining Honours Degree classification

Examination Board decisions are recommendations only. Even if some are 'as of right', the University ultimately makes the award. In many cases (for example where students have an ongoing disciplinary case) the University can withhold the award - hence Board decisions can only be 'recommended'.

  • An example of calculations leading to an appropriate degree classification (as of right) are given in Appendix 2 (Example 7). Boards are reminded that any students with a weighted average up to two marks below a classification borderline must be considered (with any special circumstances being noted) by the board. They, and any others with e.g. medical problems, may be raised to the higher degree classification by the use of discretion. Note however that a requirement to consider using discretion is not a requirement to use discretion.
  • For Undergraduates, all modules taken beyond Stage 1 contribute to the final degree classification. For Postgraduates, all modules normally contribute to the final degree classification.
  • A candidate for an Undergraduate honours degree who is not awarded the degree may be eligible for either a Higher Education Diploma (Undergraduate Examination Convention R65) or a Higher Education Certificate (Undergraduate Examination Convention R67) or a Pass Degree (Undergraduate Examination. Convention R62).
  • A candidate for an Integrated Masters degree who is not awarded the degree may be eligible for the award of a Bachelors Degree and also a Postgraduate Certificate (Integrated Masters Examination Convention R65)
  • A candidate for a Masters’ degree who is not awarded the degree may be eligible for either a Postgraduate Diploma exit award (Postgraduate Taught Examination Convention R48) or a Postgraduate Certificate exit award (PostgraduateTaught Examination Convention S51).
  • A candidate for a Postgraduate Diploma who is not awarded the diploma may be eligible for a Postgraduate Certificate exit award (PostgraduateTaught Examination Convention S51).
  • All Boards of Examiners should use, first, the most recent regulations, but should ensure that students receive any benefit that they would derive from the application of the regulations that were in place when they first registered. Thus it may be, for a few students, necessary to perform two calculations: one under current regulations and one under the previous (appropriate) set.

 

Failing Performance by Honours Degree Students

Undergraduate Examination Convention P60

Integrated Masters Examination Convention P60

Supplementary notes:
  • If a candidate for an honours degree is not awarded this degree, then one resit only of failed modules is permitted, normally in August of the same year and this will be for, at most, a third class Honours degree (see Convention 60c(i)). The marks of the modules passed at the first attempt, and the marks at the second attempt, are the sole basis for the decision of the Board of Examiners; thus a candidate may produce a poorer performance than at the first sitting, but this stands.
  • When a module is passed at resit, the pass mark must be used for any calculations of degree class (Examination Convention N59), however, the actual resit mark must be available to the Board of Examiners and will appear on a transcript. Note that the pass mark is 40 for a Level 6 module and 50 for a Level 7 module.
  • Do not forget that a failure of up to 20 credits beyond Stage 1 does not affect the right to the award of an Honours degree (Examination Convention M50).
  • The Board should be reminded that discretion can be used to award an Honours degree even if more than 20 credits beyond Stage 1 are failed. However, the class of degree need not be that indicated by the final average mark (which includes the failed modules), but whatever is deemed appropriate, in the exercise of discretion by the Board. So, for example, a student with a final average mark on the programme of 52, but with 30 credits failed beyond Stage 1, might be awarded a Third Class Honours degree (rather than the 2:ii implied by the average mark). The reasons for using discretion, resulting in the recommendation of a particular award, must be recorded.
  • Template note from the Chair of the Board of Examiners to the candidate:

Preliminary Points:

1.       It is recommended that in advance of the examinations, Chairs of Boards of Examiners circulate a note to all final year undergraduate students advising that they may be contacted shortly after the meeting of the Board about resits – that students should check their emails etc.

2.       It is recommended that students be advised in writing of the matter - but a telephone conversation may be more expedient provided that the note/email has already been despatched.

 

Dear XXX

On XXX, there was a meeting of the Board of Examiners at which your results were considered. The outcome of that meeting is that you have a choice as to how you wish to proceed.

The Board has determined that you currently have an entitlement to be awarded a Pass Degree. However, under University Examination Conventions you also have a right to resit some or all of the failed final stage modules on one more occasion (August). This may enable you to obtain an honours degree - but you should note that under University Regulations the maximum degree classification is a 3rd. In addition, you should note that your resit mark will be taken into account - i.e. if you perform less successfully in the resit you may no longer be eligible for a Pass degree. (Please see Undergraduate Examination Conventions at www.ncl.ac.uk/regulations for more information.)

It is important that you consider this matter carefully and advise whether you wish (a) to accept the Pass degree OR (b) to undertake resits.

If you elect to undertake resits then the Pass degree will not be awarded. If you elect to take the Pass degree then you will have no subsequent entitlement to take resits.

Please contact me as soon as possible if you wish to discuss this matter. Otherwise, you must advise me of your decision by XXX (14 days). If I do not hear from you in that time, the Pass Degree will be confirmed.

Note - an alternate version on this may be possible – where the candidate has met the thresholds for an HE Diploma and may be able to resit to obtain a pass degree or honours degree.

An example of calculations that do not involve a resit at Stage 3 are given in Appendix 2, Examples 7; an example describing resits at Stage 3 is Example 8.

 

Failing Performance by Taught Masters’ Degree Students

Postgraduate Taught Examination Conventions L, M, N, T and U

Supplementary notes:
  • A candidate who has failed at the first attempt modules up to the value of 40 credits (Masters or PG Diploma) or 20 credits (PG Certificate) of the taught element of the programme is permitted, as of right, one reassessment per module.
  • A candidate who has failed their dissertation and has not failed more than 40 credits of the taught modules at the first attempt has the right to one reassessment of the dissertation.
  • When a module is passed at resit, the pass mark must be used for any calculations of degree class (Examination Convention R56), however, the actual resit mark must be available to the Board of Examiners and will appear on a transcript. Note that the pass mark is 50 for a Level 7 module, but 40 for a Level 6 module. For a module failed after reassessment, the better of the two marks for the module is used for calculating the final overall average.
  • The Board should be reminded that discretion can be used to pass a student in failed modules. Discretion can alternatively be used to award a candidate a higher award than the class of award to which the student is entitled to as of right. The reasons for using discretion, resulting in the recommendation of a particular award, must be recorded (see Examination Conventions P54, 55).
  • For students beginning in 2014/15 or later, there is a right to a Pass, provided no more than 20 credits (Master’s or PgDip) or 10 credits (PgCert) of non-core modules are failed and provided that the overall average is at least 50. Students recommended for an award with failed first attempts will still have a right to second attempts, whether to improve their CV or (in the case of a classified programme) to improve their classifcation. Students on a classified programme who choose to forego second attempts before an award recommendation is made will not have a right to any classification beyond a Pass. This would apply, for example, to a student declining to resubmit assessed coursework whilst working on other modules, or a student declining to resit exams in August whilst working on their dissertation.
  • When the performance of a Master’s degree student is considered by a board of examiners at the end of the taught component of the programme:
    • A student permitted to proceed to resits at this point is normally also permitted to proceed to a dissertation. There is no provision in the examination conventions for a student to be permitted resits but not permitted to proceed to the dissertation. Neither is there any provision for deferring the dissertation until the outcome of resits is known, except where this is written into the programme regulations.
    • If there is a PgDip running alongside the Master’s programme, it is reasonable to permit a student who is not able to proceed on the Master’s programme to transfer to the PgDip with a view to the student proceeding to resits on that programme.
    • If there is no PgDip running alongside the Master’s programme, there is currently no provision for a student resit for a PgDip.
    • If a student has already failed more than 20 credits after two attempts by the time the board meets, then the student is no longer eligible for their entry award and the board may decide that the student cannot proceed to the dissertation (Convention L38).