9.3 Credit Accumulation and Transfer

Introduction

1. Except where otherwise stated, this scheme applies to programmes starting from September 2013. Students registered on programmes prior to that date will be governed by the scheme in force at the time of admission.

Definition of Credit

2. The University endorses the view of the Welsh Government (WG), as set out in its Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW), that credit may be defined as an award made to a learner in recognition of the achievement of designated learning outcomes at a specified credit level. The University also operates within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ).

3. The amount of credit attributed is based upon an estimation of the learning time which it would take the average learner to achieve the learning outcomes specified.

Credit Weighting and Notional Hours

4. One credit equates to 10 notional hours of student learning which includes contact time, directed and independent study, and assessment.

5. On this basis, a full-time undergraduate student would accumulate 120 credits within a 1200-hour academic year and a full-time taught Master's Student 180 credits within an 1800-hour academic year.

General and Specific Credit

6. General credit is the total amount of credit a student possesses by virtue of his/her prior learning. In terms of credit transfer, all the general credits possessed by a student are eligible for consideration. Specific credit is that proportion of the total credit possessed by a student which is accepted as being directly relevant to the study scheme to which the student is being admitted.

Level of Modular Unit of Study

7. In accordance with the CQFW, credit levels may be defined as indicators of the relative demand, complexity, depth of learning and learner autonomy derived from agreed generic level descriptors. Levels are not intrinsically related to years of full-time study or the previous learning achieved and/or experience of the learner. Credit levels relate to modules rather than whole awards.

8. As defined above, levels are indicative and are thus different from the specific learning outcomes and associated assessment criteria, which specify the threshold standards required for the award of credit for any specific module or unit.

Level Descriptors

9. The following University level descriptors reflect the CQFW and FHEQ:

LevelRequirements
HE0/CQFW
Level 3

Apply knowledge and skills in a range of complex activities demonstrating comprehension of relevant theories; access and analyse information independently and make reasoned judgements, selecting from a considerable choice of procedures, in familiar and unfamiliar contexts, and direct own activities, with some responsibility for the output of others.

[Modules studied in the preliminary/foundation year leading to entry to an initial degree scheme.]
HE1/CQFW
Level 4

Develop a rigorous approach to the acquisition of a broad knowledge base; employ a range of specialised skills; evaluate information using it to plan and develop investigative strategies and to determine solutions to a variety of unpredictable problems; and operate in a range of varied and specified contexts, to achieve specified outcomes.

[Modules typically studied in the first year of a full-time initial degree scheme or the equivalent.]
HE2/CQFW
Level 5

Generate ideas through the analysis of concepts at an abstract level, with a command of specialised skills and the formulation of responses to well-defined and abstract problems; analyse and evaluate information; develop the capacity for significant judgement across a broad range of functions; and accept responsibility for determining personal and/or group outcomes.

[Modules typically studied in the second year of a full-time initial degree scheme or the equivalent.]
HE3/CQFW
Level 6

Critically review, consolidate and extend a systematic and coherent body of knowledge, utilising specialised skills across an area of study; critically evaluate new concepts and evidence from a range of sources; transfer and apply diagnostic and creative skills and exercise significant judgement in a range of situations; and accept responsibility for determining and achieving personal and/or group outcomes.

[Modules typically studied in the third and/or final year of a standard full-time degree scheme or the equivalent.]
HEM/CQFW
Level 7
Display mastery of a complex and specialised area of knowledge and skills, employing advanced skills to conduct research, or advanced technical or professional activity, accepting accountability for related decision-making including use of supervision and in appropriate circumstances the guidance of others.

[Modules typically studied in the final year of an integrated Master's full-time initial degree scheme or as part of a Taught Master's scheme, including the dissertation, or the equivalent.]
HED/CQFW
Level 8

Make a significant and original contribution to a specialised field of inquiry demonstrating a command of methodological issues and engaging in critical dialogue with peers; accepting full accountability for outcomes.

[This represents research work at doctoral level.]

A table showing the correlation between the University and ECTS credits can be found in paragraph 24 below.

Awards Framework

10. The University regulations for schemes of modular study provide for the award of the qualifications set out below by the accumulation of credit. Undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate schemes of study, with staged progression from lower to higher qualifications, may be constructed on the following basis:

(i) Undergraduate Level

• Certificate of Higher Education
• Diploma of Higher Education
• Foundation Degree
• Initial Degree

(ii) Graduate Level

• Graduate Certificate
• Graduate Diploma

(iii) Postgraduate Level

• Postgraduate Certificate
• Postgraduate Diploma
• Integrated Master's Degree
• Master's Degree

11. The credit required for the award of these qualifications may be accumulated through the satisfactory completion of the relevant schemes of study, or part thereof as determined by the Regulations.

Exit Awards and Re-Entry

12. Students who leave a scheme of study with or without an exit-point qualification may, at the discretion of the University, be permitted to re-enter the scheme at the appropriate point provided that they have not previously attempted and failed the higher qualification after exhausting all rights of retrieval and subject to the time limits for the completion of the scheme of study.

Certficate and Diploma

13. The Certificate and Diploma, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, can also be used as qualification aims in their own right. Normally, the lower qualification (i.e. Certificate or Diploma) would not be awarded automatically to students who fulfil the requirements for that qualification irrespective of whether or not they proceed directly to the next stage of the scheme, i.e. as ‘intermediate awards’, but only to those qualified students who:

(i) leave while part way through the scheme (exit-point awards); or
(ii) have completed the scheme but failed the higher qualification (intermediate awards).

14. In accordance with University Regulations, the Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma serve as exit qualifications for those withdrawing from a Master’s degree before the dissertation or approved equivalent but may also be awarded at the conclusion of the programme in recognition of successful completion of the required number of credits set out in the relevant conventions.

Scheme Structures and Credit Levels

15. The minimum and maximum credit values of Postgraduate, Graduate and Undergraduate Qualifications are shown in the following table:

QualificationMin overall credits studiedNo. of credits at highest levelMax credits at lowest level
POSTGRADUATE
Master's Degree 180 credits Level M
180 credits at Level M
None permitted
Integrated Master's Degree  480 credits  Levels (0),1,2,3 & M
Min 120 credits at Level M 
 Max 20 credits at Level 0
 PG Diploma 120 credits  Levels M
120 credits at Level M 
None permitted 
 PG Cert 60 credits  Levels M
Min 60 credits at Level M
None permitted 
Graduate    
Graduate Diploma  120 credits Levels (0,1,2),3
Min 90 credits at Level 3
Max 20 credits at Level 0 
Graduate Certificate 60 credits  Levels (0,1,2,),3
Min 90 credits at Level 3 
Max 20 credits at Level 0 
Undergraduate   
Honours Degree  360 credits  Levels (0),1,2,3
Min 120 credits at Level 3
Max 20 credits at Level 0 
Ordinary Degree  300 credits  Levels (0),1,2,3
Min 60 credits at Level 3 
Max 20 credits at Level 0 
Foundation Degree  240 credits  Levels (0),1,2
Min 100 credits at Level 2 
Max 20 credits at Level 0 
Diploma HE  240 credits  Levels (0),1,2
Min 100 credits at Level 2 
Max 20 credits at Level 0 
Certificate HE  120 credits  Levels (0),1
Min 100 credits at Level 1 
Max 20 credits at Level 0 

 
Assessment

16. Assessment and award of qualifications will be in accordance with provisions in:

(i) the relevant AU Regulations;
(ii) AU conventions;
(iii) regulations for the particular scheme of study.

Undergraduate Degree Classes

17. To ensure comparability in the measurement of students' relative success in achieving their credits and to facilitate accreditation of prior study both within and outside the University, the following table provides a general conversion scale for undergraduate awards:

PercentageDegree Result
70 or above First Class Honours
60 - 69 Upper Second Class Honours
50 - 59 Lower Second Class Honours
40 - 49 Third Class Honours
35 - 39 Pass Degree
34 or below Fail

Postgraduate Grades

18. The term ‘Distinction' is used to denote excellent performance by candidates for taught Master's degrees and is set at 70% at Level M or above. To gain a Master's Degree with Distinction, candidates shall achieve an overall rounded average mark of 70% or more. The term ‘Merit’ denotes performance worthy of recognition where the average rounded mark is 60% to 69%.

19. ‘Distinction' and ‘Merit’ similarly apply to candidates for postgraduate certificates and diplomas achieving 70% or above, or 60% to 69%, respectively, having registered for these awards as free-standing qualifications or when they exit from a Master’s degree without having completed the dissertation. Where a candidate has completed but failed the Master’s award, they may qualify for a Certificate or Diploma at a Pass level only.

Conditions for Accreditation

20. The following rules relate to the assessment of prior learning of credit:

(i) credit may be assessed on the basis of prior study, prior experimental learning and work-based learning;
(ii) only modules which have been passed (or APEL-recognised) may be accepted for credit transfer)
(iii) the level at which credit is accepted shall be determined prior to admission to the University;
(iv) the student’s level of performance (in terms of grade/marks) in the transferred-in credit may accepted and, where appropriate, count as contributing towards the award;
(v) the question of whether or not the accrued credits for prior study remain valid in relation to the scheme of study to which the student is being admitted shall be determined prior to admission to the University, subject to the overall time limits for completion of schemes of study;
(vi) candidates in possession of an initial degree who return to study in a cognate subject may not ‘double-count' their existing credits (at Levels 1 and 2) towards a subsequent initial degree. In such cases, candidates returning to study at Level 3 will be awarded a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma, as appropriate.

Transfer Limits

21. In accordance with the AU Regulations, the credit transfer limits are shown in the following table:

Qualification Credit Transfer Limit
Postgraduate
Master's Degree 120 credits
Integrated Master's Degree 320 credits
PG Diploma 60 credits
PG Certificate 30 credits
Graduate
Graduate Diploma 60 credits
Graduate Certificate 30 credits
Undergraduate
Honours Degree 240 credits*
Foundation Degree 120 credits
Diploma HE 160 credits
Certificate HE 80 credits

* where the maximum transferable credit allowed has been accepted, the remaining credits to be pursued should normally be at Level 6 or above.

Admission

22. Admission with academic credit should be subject to the same principles as admission to the beginning of a scheme of study and is governed by University scheme entry requirements, as appropriate.

23. Where applicants with a particular qualification are to be admitted regularly with a standard amount of credit, such arrangements should be formalised in the regulations for the scheme concerned.

AU and European Credit Accumulation and Transfer

24. The table below shows the correlation between AU and European Credit Accumulation and Transfer System (ECTS) credits:

Qualification AU credits ECTS credits
Postgraduate
Master's Degree 180 credits 90 credits
Integrated Master's Degree 480 credits 240 credits
PG Diploma 120 credits 60 credits
PG Certificate 60 credits 30 credits
Graduate
Graduate Diploma 120 credits 60 credits
Graduate Certificate 60 credits 30 credits
Undergraduate
Honours Degree 360 credits 180 credits
Ordinary Degree 300 credits 150 credits
Foundation Degree 240 credits 120 credits
Diploma HE 240 credits 120 credits
Certificate HE 120 credits 60 credits
Foundation Certificate 120 credits 60 credits

CQFW Framework and FE/HE Levels

25. The table below shows the correlation between the recommended credit levels of the CQFW framework and the commonly used FE and HE levels:

CQFW credit levelsFE/HE levelsQualification levels
Level 8
Level 7
Level M Doctoral level
Master's level
Level 6
Level 5
Level 4
Level HE 3
Level HE 2
Level HE 1
Honours level
Intermediate level
Certificate level
Level 3
Level 2
Level 1
Level FE 3
Level FE 2
Level FE 1
Level 3 Advanced
Level 2 Intermediate
Level 1 Foundation