Regulations for Modular Taught Postgraduate Awards

These Regulations govern the award of a number of types of taught Master’s degrees, Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas at Aberystwyth University: henceforth the University. Except where otherwise stated, they apply to programmes starting from September 2013. Students registered on programmes prior to that date will be governed by the regulations in force at the time of admission.


1. Candidates must have attained the age of 17 years or over at the time of entry and, unless able to satisfy Regulation 2 below, hold one of the following prior to commencement of the scheme:

(a) an initial degree of the University;
(b) an initial degree awarded by another approved degree awarding body;
(c) a non-graduate qualification or successful completion of postgraduate level modules which the University has deemed to be of a satisfactory standard for the purpose of postgraduate admission.

2. A non-graduate may also be admitted to candidature provided that he/she has held a responsible position which is relevant to the scheme to be pursued.

3. A prospective candidate who already holds a doctoral degree shall show that the Master’s Degree scheme to be pursued is in a different field of study from that for which the doctoral degree was awarded.

4. Irrespective of a candidate’s entry qualifications, the institution must satisfy itself that he/she is of the required academic standard to complete the scheme of study proposed.

5. All candidates must register as students of the University at the commencement of the programme and pay the appropriate tuition fees.

Scheme Structure and Awards

6. Candidates shall follow a modular scheme of study, commencing at the appropriate starting date approved for the scheme.

7. Candidates may qualify for the award of a Modular Master’s Degree upon successful completion of 180 credits at CQFW Level 7 (former HE Level M) in an approved modular scheme of study provided either on a full-time, part-time or distance learning basis. Whatever the mode of delivery, the academic content of schemes shall be appropriate to Level 7 study and the assessment must include a dissertation or approved equivalent (see Regulation 21, below).

8. Candidates admitted to a Modular Master’s Degree scheme may qualify for intermediate awards of the University, as shown in paragraph 10, below.

9. Unless specified to the contrary in Regulation 21, below, the taught modules shall consist of 120 credits approved by the University. Candidates may also be required to complete a period, or periods, of professional training or practical experience. The dissertation element, or approved equivalent (see Regulation 21 below) will be worth 60 credits.

10. Candidates who are admitted to a modular Master’s scheme but do not progress to completion may qualify for one of the following awards:
Postgraduate Certificate

(upon completing a minimum of 60 credits at CQFW Level 7 (former HE Level M);
Postgraduate Diploma

(upon completing 120 credits at CQFW Level 7 (former HE Level M) .
The Examination Conventions for Modular Postgraduate Awards lay down the requirements for passing the Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma.

Credit Transfer

11. The maximum number of credits which may be transferred into schemes of study shall not exceed 120. The remaining credits to be pursued must be at CQFW Level 7 (former HE Level M). Transferable credit may not be attributed to the dissertation or approved equivalent of a scheme. Within these limits the University may, at its discretion, deem the performance of a student in any relevant prior experiential learning to count towards the requirements for the award of a modular Master’s Degree.


12. Modules shall be assessed individually, according to the approved methods of assessment. Candidates may also be required to demonstrate satisfactory completion of any period of professional training or practical experience.

13. The dissertation, or approved alternative (see Regulation 21 below) shall embody the methods and results of a research project. Its length shall not exceed 15,000 words (or 30,000 words for candidatures for the degree of MRes).

14. Students must pass at least 160 credits and obtain an overall rounded weighted average mark of 50% to qualify for the award of a Master’s degree.

15. The modular pass-mark shall be 50%. Examining Boards will award overall grades according to the following scale:

70% and over : Distinction level
60 - 69% : Merit level
50 - 59% : Pass
0 - 49% : Fail

16. In order to gain a Master’s Degree with Distinction, candidates shall achieve an overall rounded weighted average of not less than 70%. Candidates who do not meet the requirements for a Distinction but who achieve an overall rounded average of 60% or above shall gain a Master's degree with Merit. These requirements are set out in the Examination Conventions for taught postgraduate schemes.

17. Taught modules shall be completed according to the approved study scheme structure. The full degree scheme, including submission of the dissertation in the prescribed form, shall be completed within the following periods from the date of the initial registration:
Full-time candidates: not more than 1 year

NB for full-time candidates, results will be presented to an Examining Board after the final one year deadline for consideration of the whole cohort, even if individual students submit the dissertation early.

Part-time candidates: not more than 3 years

Distance Learning candidates shall have not more than 5 years to complete their schemes.

Additional regulations for two year full-time Master’s programmes are provided in paragraph 30, below. These refer only to non-standard schemes with more than 180 credits. All full-time standard Master’s programmes must have a one year deadline.

Dissertations which are being re-submitted following initial examination are subject to separate arrangements as detailed in Regulation 29, below.

Failure and Retrieval

18. Candidates may not re-sit any module or unit of assessment for which a pass-mark has been attained previously.
Notwithstanding, candidates who, with the agreement of the Senate Examining Board, are to re-sit a full year of study may do so for the actual marks attained provided that at the outset previous marks are relinquished in full.

19. Candidates who obtain less than 50% in a module may be re-examined in that module on one subsequent occasion within the overall time-limit prescribed for the scheme. Candidates who are re-examined in a module shall be eligible for the bare pass-mark only (i.e. 50%). Where special circumstances are accepted to have affected performance, additional resits for the full mark may be permitted.

Dissertation Formats and Retrieval of Failure

20. The 60 credit independent study module may take the form of a dissertation but may also be approved in other formats which satisfy the degree scheme learning outcomes in the view of the Scheme Approval Panel. For example, schemes in Creative and Performing Arts may entail an artefact, score, portfolio of original works, performance or exhibition, accompanied by a written commentary placing it in its academic context together with any other items which may be required (e.g. a catalogue or audio or visual recording). Other approved examples include submission of two reports and/or assessed presentations based on the dissertation topic.

References in the following paragraphs to ‘a dissertation’ should be taken to include any equivalent forms of submission/assessment detailed in this paragraph.

21. The Degree of MRes: in the case of candidates studying for the degree of MRes the structure of the scheme shall be 180 credits in total, with at least 60 credits of taught modules, and at least 100 credits comprising the dissertation.

22. Candidates are at liberty to publish the whole or part of the work produced during the candidate’s period of registration at the University prior to its submission as a whole, or as part of a dissertation, provided that in the published work it is nowhere stated that it is in consideration for a higher degree. Such published work may later be incorporated in the dissertation submitted for examination.

23. Candidates may not amend, add to or delete from the dissertation after it has been submitted for examination.

24. Every candidate in submitting a dissertation shall state to what extent it is the result of his/her independent work or investigation, and shall indicate any portions for which he/she is indebted to other sources. Explicit references should be given, and a full bibliography shall be appended to the work.

25. Every candidate in submitting a dissertation shall certify that it has not already been accepted in substance for any academic award and is not being concurrently submitted in candidature for any such award.

26. If the dissertation is not submitted within the University’s time-limit (see Regulation 17 above) the candidature will be deemed to have lapsed and there will be no further opportunity for submission.

27. The University time limit (see Regulation 17 above) may be extended in exceptional cases only and in accordance with criteria laid down in Standing Orders. A reasoned application, supported by appropriate independent evidence, must be submitted for consideration at the relevant Examining Board.

28. If a dissertation is failed by the examiners, the candidate may re-present it once only. The re-submission deadline shall be communicated to the candidate with the result and will require submission in time for presentation of the re-sit mark at the Examining Board 12 months after the initial result was confirmed. A fee shall be payable for the examination of such a re-presented dissertation.

Two Year Full-time Master’s

29. A full-time Master’s programme may be approved to run over up to two years. This may, for example, be a collaborative scheme with partners whose Master’s awards are typically longer than one year, or where two years’ study are required to allow for completion of the required modules at each institution. Another type of two year scheme would be where an integral industrial placement of up to one year was added to a one year programme.
30. Where such a scheme is proposed, it is assumed that the above regulations and the associated standing order and examination conventions would continue to apply wherever possible. Where it is necessary to deviate from the established regulations, standing order and conventions, appropriate alternative provisions should be proposed and approved as part of the programme approval process.


Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas

1. For all approved taught Master’s degree schemes, Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas are available as awards for candidates who exit before completion of the 180 credits required for the Master’s award, or who, upon completion, have not passed sufficient credits to qualify. The above regulation and the Examination Conventions describe the basis on which these awards can be made.

2. Candidates may also register for Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas on a full-time, part-time or distance learning basis. These may either be derived from existing named Master’s awards and carry the same title, or they may be approved as free-standing, separately named awards.

3. The dissertation or approved equivalent from a Master’s programme must not form the whole of a Certificate or part of a Diploma. Where the Certificate or Diploma carries the same title as a Master’s award and is based on modules available as part of the Master’s scheme, the Institute offering the award must secure approval for a scheme structure specifying which modules must be taken and in which order.

4. Where a free-standing Certificate or Diploma is offered, it must be approved as a new study scheme with a programme specification and scheme structure.

5. Time limits for completion of Certificates and Diplomas are as follows:

i. PG Certificate, Full-time: one academic session
ii. PG Certificate, Part-time: two academic sessions
iii. PG Certificate, Distance Learning: two years
iv. PG Diploma, Full-time: one academic session
v. PG Diploma, Part-Time: two academic sessions
vi. PG Diploma, Distance Learning: four years

6. The provisions of the above regulations, the Examination Conventions and the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme will equally apply to Certificates and Diplomas with regard to entry requirements, the level of modules allowed within taught postgraduate qualifications, modular pass marks, retrieval of failure and any other matter not covered in this appendix.



July 2014