3.1 Taught Study Schemes
1. This section of the AQH summarises the University’s policy on taught study schemes. It should be read in conjunction with the Regulations for Initial and Postgraduate, and the University’s Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme.
2. Aberystwyth University does not permit the double-counting of credit for the award of qualifications, and exceptions will only be allowed where there are formal collaborative arrangements for the award of dual or joint degrees. In all other cases, applications for credit transfer will be considered under the terms of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (see Section 10 of the AQH).
3. Each year of a full-time undergraduate degree to consist of modules totalling 120 credits. While 120 credits will be the normal load for full-time students, all full-time students will be required to register for a minimum of 100 credits for full-time student status.
4. A full-time taught postgraduate student will study for one year as follows:
- PG Certificate: 60 credits
- PG Diploma: 120 credits
- Master’s Degree: 180 credits
5. Modules to be as far as possible thick (taught and assessed over one semester). Thin modules (taught across both semesters and examined in the second semester) are permissible where there are clear academic reasons, and where close regard has been paid to the consequences in relation to providing student feedback, subject to approval by the relevant institute. Full-time students will normally pursue modules equivalent to 60 credits per semester. However, to permit flexibility and facilitate student choice, a maximum of 70 and a minimum of 50 credits per semester may be allowed by Degree Scheme Co-ordinators. In calculating the credit split, thin modules are split evenly between the semesters (e.g. a 30 credit thin module counts as 15 credits per semester). Credit splits greater than 50:70 or 70:50 may be approved exceptionally by Institute Directors of Undergraduate or Postgraduate Studies where a case is made that the workload is evenly balanced despite the credit imbalance or where other circumstances require this. Students should confirm that they accept the imbalance.
6. In campus-based undergraduate schemes, modules will normally be in multiples of 10 credits. For taught postgraduate campus-based schemes, modules will normally be in multiples of 20 credits. Distance learning and off-campus provision may differ.
7. Each 10 credit module, regardless of the delivery mode, to have attached to it a notional total workload of c. 100 hours, including assessment and independent study.
8. Modules to be allocated to levels 0, 1, 2, S, 3 or M where:
(i) level 0 is foundation level provision, prior to entry to year one of an initial degree;
(ii) level 1 is the first year of an initial degree;
(iii) levels 2 and 3 constitute Part Two of a Bachelor’s degree;
(iv) level S is a sandwich year/intercalary year/industrial year in an initial degree;
(v) level M is the final year of an integrated Master’s (e.g. MEng) and is the level for postgraduate taught schemes.
9. These levels correspond to the Credit and Qualifications Framework Wales levels 3-7.
10. Eligibility for an Honours degree at Bachelor’s level to be dependent upon the accumulation of at least 360 credits with normally a minimum of 120 level 3 credits. An integrated Master’s Honours degree requires at least 480 credits with normally a minimum of 120 level M credits. Exceptions to these requirements will only be considered where there were no alternative means to facilitate transfer of credits or to rectify errors in registration, and would be subject to approval by the Pro Vice-Chancellor.
11. Eligibility for an Ordinary degree to be dependent upon the accumulation of at least 360 credits with normally a minimum of 60 credits at level 3. Exceptions to these requirements will only be considered where there were no alternative means to facilitate transfer of credits or to rectify errors in registration, and would be subject to approval by the Pro Vice-Chancellor.
12. Where students spend a year in industry or abroad as a compulsory part of their degree, eligibility for the degree requires also 120 credits at level S.
13. The assessment for each module to be completed as soon as practical after the end of the teaching associated with it.
14. Supplementary examinations are to be held in August/September each year.
15. Assessment must be designed to test the achievement of module learning outcomes and should be informed by the need to expose students to a wide range of assessment methods during their studies, and to prepare students for employment.
16. Each module to have a designated Module Co-ordinator and responsibility for the module to fall within the department and Institute to which the Module Co-ordinator belongs.
17. Each Single Honours degree scheme to be the responsibility of one Institute. Where a Single Honours scheme is delivered by two or more Institutes, one shall be designated as having administrative responsibility for it. Each component of a Joint Honours, or Major-Minor scheme, shall be the responsibility of the Institute offering that component.
18. Where a department believes that a case should be made to restrict the number of students taking a particular module or entering Part Two of an undergraduate degree scheme, a clear case including a statement of entry criteria should be presented to relevant institute before the end of session preceding that in which the quotas will operate or before provisional registration. In cases where a module is taken from students outside the institute, the host institute should liaise with the other institute(s) involved and, where a module was core to a degree scheme, students on that scheme should be given priority.
19. Modules are to be defined in terms of:
(i) Pre-requisites: students must already have taken any modules or courses listed here;
(ii) Co-requisites: students must also take or have taken the modules listed here;
(iii) Incompatibilities: students cannot also take the modules listed here.
20. Schemes are to be defined in terms of:
(i) Core modules: students must take the modules listed here;
(ii) Options: students must take at least the number shown of these modules;
(iii) Elective: free choice of modules subject to approval by the Degree Scheme Co-ordinator.
21. Levels are to be defined as:
Apply knowledge and skills in a range or 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]
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 degree scheme or the equivalent].
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.
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.
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.
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.
Undergraduate Degree Scheme Structures
22. Part One consists of 120 credits, to be taken in the first year of study by full-time students. Part-time students will complete Part One over at least two years taking an agreed number of credits per session.
23. Exceptions to the Part One requirements:
(i) Welsh (Beginners) students wishing to proceed to Honours in Welsh or Celtic Studies will take a 2-year Part One programme.
(ii) Students on degree schemes which include a foundation year at level 0 before progression to Part One.
24. For each study scheme, the number of core, option and elective modules will be set for Part One, with the aim of preparing students for Part Two of their degrees. In the case of externally accredited schemes, structures will also be informed by exemption/accreditation.
25. Many degree schemes will allow very little choice at Part One due to the requirements of the subject and/or external professional and accrediting bodies. Where possible, however, Part One should be regarded as an opportunity for students to sample modules from outside their Honours subject. This should be kept in mind in the design of degree schemes and in the advice given to students at registration. If core requirements allow, then students should be able to select modules which will allow progression in more than degree scheme, enabling them to change degree scheme if they find during Part One that they no longer wish to pursue their original choice. It should be noted, however, that all modules taken count for progression purposes.
26. Part Two consists of 240 credits in 3 year full-time schemes or the part-time equivalent, or 360 credits in 4 year schemes or equivalent. Some programmes will also contain integral or optional sandwich years in industry or abroad which equate to a further 120 credits. The degree result will be derived from Part Two credits only and all modules taken after Part One contribute towards the final degree assessment.
27. Some AU initial degrees are fully levelised (i.e. all second year module at level 2, all third year modules at level 3, all fourth year at level M) but in others all modules in Part 2 are at level 3 or else there is a mix of levels 2 and 3 in the second year. Whichever structure is used, there must be demonstrable progression in students’ academic development between years two and three.
28. As in Part One, core, option and elective modules will be defined for each study scheme. The content and structure will be set out in the online study schemes database and online programme specification for each scheme, which includes learning outcomes. In the case of externally accredited schemes, structures will also be informed by exemption/accreditation. Degree scheme coordinators will ensure that schemes are designed and maintained in order to ensure that learning outcomes are satisfied, and that students are registered for appropriate modules.
29. Degree scheme requirements may include additional rules, for example, to define the number of credits which can be taken outside of an Honours subject. Such rules may be used to encourage students to spend credits in related subject areas, within specified limits to ensure that scheme learning outcomes are met. For example, a department offering several Single Honours programmes may limit choice of options to modules from within the department except for a specified number taken from other departments within, or outside of, the department. Any such rules need to ensure that scheme learning outcomes are met and all student registrations will require approval by the relevant member of staff.
30. Where students wish to depart from the scheme or Institute rules, approval is required by the Institute Director of Undergraduate or Postgraduate Studies.
Joint Honours and Major/Minor Schemes
31. It is possible (see above rules) to incorporate modules from other departments/subjects within individual scheme rules. Two or more subject areas can also be delivered as an interdisciplinary, integrated Single Honours scheme. A third means of enabling students to study different subjects is Joint Honours or Major/Minor schemes where two separate programmes can be taken together e.g. History and German.
32. The rules governing Joint Honours schemes are as follows:
(i) Part One: the requisite modules of the degree scheme subjects at Level 1 with at least 40 and not more than 60 credits in either subject;
(ii) Part Two: a minimum of 100 credits in each subject at Level 2/3.
33. The rules governing Major/Minor schemes are as follows:
(i) Part One: the requisite modules of the degree scheme subjects at Level 1 with 40 credits for a Minor and not more than 80 credits in a Major.
(ii) Part Two: a minimum of 60 credits in a Minor and a maximum of 160 in a Major at Level 2/3.
34. Where students wish to depart from the scheme or Institute rules for Joint Honours and Major/Minor schemes, approval is required by the Institute Director of UG or PG Studies.
35. Where, for reasons of degree scheme structure, departments find it advisable to offer Level 2 modules to final year students, such students must pursue Level 3 modules worth a minimum of 120 credits over Part Two as a whole.
36. Level 1 modules should not be taken in Part Two except where unavoidable, for example, to fit all modules required for accreditation in a Joint Honours scheme. Under these circumstances, a student in consultation with his or her Degree Scheme Co-ordinator may seek permission from the Institute Director of Undergraduate Studies to pursue normally no more than 20 credits’ worth of Level 1 modules in Part Two.