Taught Masters Degrees

SCHEME FOR THE AWARD OF A TAUGHT MASTERS DEGREE FOR STUDENTS ENTERING IN OR AFTER THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2008/09

(other than MSc Economic History (Research); MRes Economics (Track 1); MSc Economics and Philosophy; MRes Finance (Route 1), MSc Health Policy, Planning and Financing; MSc International Health Policy; MSc International Health Policy (Health Economics); MSc Management (all streams); MPA Degrees (all streams).

This Classification Scheme is approved by the Graduate School Board of Examiners.
Last updated: July 2013

This scheme should be read in conjunction with the Regulations for Taught Masters Degrees, the relevant Taught Master Degree programme regulations, the relevant on-line Taught Masters course guides and the Code of Good Practice for Taught Masters Programmes: Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

1.

Responsibilities of Sub-Boards of Examiners

1.1

The Graduate School Board of Examiners, in consultation with the Graduate Studies Sub-Committee as necessary, shall have the authority to approve variations to this Scheme.

1.2

Each degree programme shall be the responsibility of a Sub-Board of Examiners. Taking into account all information properly presented to it and by exercising its academic judgement, the Sub-Board shall decide if each candidate has satisfactorily completed all elements of assessment as set out in the programme regulations. Where the Sub-Board recommends that an award should be made, it will also determine the classification of the award in accordance with section 5 below.

1.3

Each course shall be the responsibility of a Sub-Board of Examiners. The Sub-Board shall confirm a numerical mark for each candidate taking a course falling within its responsibility.

2.

External Examiners

2.1

Each Sub-Board of Examiners shall include at least one external examiner competent to judge the candidates concerned.

 

2.2

All elements of assessment for a course shall be marked by internal examiners and, as appropriate, an external examiner. External examiners may act as final moderators of assessed work, with the power to adjust marks up or down.

 

2.3

No mark or grade shall be assigned for any course or element of assessment for a course without an external examiner having been able to approve it, whether or not s/he attended a meeting of examiners.

3.

Mark and Grade for a Course:

3.1

The examiners for each course will decide a numerical mark for each candidate using the following scale:

 

Mark

Grade

0 - x%

Bad Fail

(x+1) - 49%

Fail

50 - 59%

Pass

60 - 69%

Merit

70% and over

Distinction

Each Department, Institute and Group shall specify the value of x as 19, 29 or 39 for all its courses, and this shall be clearly published in the School Calendar and in departmental student handbooks.3

3.2

The grade of Bad Fail will be used internally to indicate when a fail cannot be compensated and, therefore, must be re-attempted. It will not appear on official transcripts.

3.3

Unless they receive written instructions from the Examinations Office to do so, e.g. in the case of dyslexic candidates, examiners shall assess work without referring to medical and/or exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances will be considered by the Sub-Board of Examiners at the meeting where the award of degrees is considered.

4.

Eligibility for Award of Degree

4.1

In order to be considered for a degree, a candidate must have completed all elements of assessment required for the course as listed in the corresponding programme regulations.

4.2

A candidate who is absent for any element of assessment for a course will be considered not to have completed the course. Moreover, the absence will count as one of the attempts allowed for the course unless it is authorised by the Chair of the Sub-Board of Examiners responsible for the programme.

 

4.3

A candidate will not be recommended for the award of a degree if s/he has failed courses to the value of one or more units, subject to the penalty rules for failed courses in section 5.2 or, if in the judgement of the examiners, the fail is a direct result of medical and/or exceptional circumstances.

5.

Calculation of the Award of Degree

5.1

The Sub-Board of examiners can designate a full-unit course (or equivalent) as being critical to assessment for a programme and establish a 'local rule' whereby it will be given special consideration in the awarding of the degree: for example, a degree cannot be awarded unless the designated course has been passed or the award classification cannot be higher than the result awarded in the designated course.1

5.2

Where a candidate receives a Fail mark in any course, the following penalty rules shall apply:

5.2.1

A Bad Fail mark in any course of any unit value will result in an overall Fail for the degree.

5.2.2

A Fail (but not a Bad Fail) in a course of 0.5 unit value does not require compensation.

5.2.3

A Fail (but not a Bad Fail) in a course(s) to the value of 1.0 unit will result in an overall Fail unless compensated either:

 

 

(i)

by a mark of at least 60% in: a) one full unit course; or b) each of two half unit courses; or

 

 

(ii)

by a compensation aggregate mark of 165 in the non-failed courses.

 

 

 

If compensated, a Fail shall result in a drop in the overall award classification where a Distinction or Merit would otherwise have been awarded. It shall have no further impact where a Pass is to be awarded.2

5.2.4

A Department or Institute can apply to the Graduate School Board of Examiners to establish a compensation mark of 55% in respect of 5.2.3 (i) and/or an aggregate mark of 160 in respect of 5.2.3 (ii). Where approved, this shall be published in the School Calendar and in programme handbooks.2

5.3

The overall classification of an award shall, subject to the penalty rules for failed courses in section 5.2 above, be calculated as follows:

5.3.1

For a Distinction:

(a)

marks of a Distinction grade in courses to the value of 3.0 units or more;

(b)

marks of a Distinction grade in courses to the value of 2.5 units and marks of a Merit grade in courses to the value of 1.0 unit

5.3.2

Either a Distinction (if no failed course) or a Merit according to the 'local rules' of the Sub-Board1

(c)

marks of a Distinction grade in courses to the value of 2.5 units and a mark of a Merit grade in a course of 0.5 unit value;

(d)

marks of a Distinction grade in courses to the value of 2.0 units and marks of a Merit grade in courses to the value of at least 1.0 unit and an overall Distinction aggregate mark of at least 2602

5.3.3

For a Merit:

(e)

marks of a Distinction grade in courses to the value of at least 2.0 units;

 

 

(f)

marks of a Merit grade (or higher) in courses to the value of 3.0 units or more;

 

 

(g)

a mark of a Distinction grade in a course of 0.5 unit value and marks of a Merit grade in courses to the value of 2.0 units.

5.3.4

Either a Merit (if no failed course) or a Pass according to the 'local rules' of the Sub-Board1

(h)

marks of a Distinction or Merit grade in courses to the value of 2.5 units;

 

 

(i)

marks of a Distinction grade in courses to the value of 1.0 unit and marks of a Merit grade in courses to the value of 1.0 units

 

5.3.5

For a Pass

(j)

marks of at least a Pass grade in courses to the value of 3.5 units;

(k)

marks of at least a Pass grade in courses to the value of 3.0 units with compensation for the failed course(s) as described under paragraph 5.2.

6.

Failure to Achieve an Award of Degree

6.1

If a candidate has not been awarded a degree, s/he shall normally be entitled to re-sit the failed courses only (on one occasion) and at the next normal opportunity. Results obtained at re-sit always supersede any previous attempt.

6.2

If a candidate has met the requirements for the award of a degree having re-sat failed courses, s/he can only be recommended for the award of a Pass degree unless, in the judgement of the examiners, the initial failure(s) was at least in part a direct result of medical and/or exceptional circumstances.

7.

Appeals and Offences

Appeals against decisions of Sub-Board of Examiners will be handled according to the Appeals Regulations.  Assessment offences will be handled according to the Regulations on assessment offences: plagiarism or Regulations on assessment offences: offences other than plagiarism. All School Regulations are published in the School Calendar.

8.

General Proviso

It is also open to a Sub-Board of Examiners to recommend to the Graduate School Board of Examiners any departure from this Scheme and/or from its 'local rules' if, in their judgement, this would be equitable for any individual candidate or any group of candidates as a direct result of medical and/or exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances would need to be extraneous to the normal assessment process and would apply to that candidate or group of candidates only.  The following conditions also apply:                                                                                                                                         

 

8.1

That the student is very close to the next higher classification boundary (within 3 marks in a single paper or 5 marks on aggregate);2

 

8.2

that the student has marks in that higher classification range;

 

8.3

that the student has demonstrated that the examination or set of examinations in question were significantly affected by exceptional circumstances that were unforeseen and beyond his/her control;

8.4

that the student has demonstrated that his/her performance in the affected examination(s) was significantly out of line with his her performance in other, unaffected examinations.

Footnotes:
1. In respect of paragraphs 5.1, 5.3.2 and 5.3.4
, each Sub-Board of Examiners shall establish clear 'local rules' about: (i) what special consideration will be given to any course designated as 'critical to assessment' and (ii) when and how the overall classification of an award will be determined where two options are available. Each Sub-Board will also ensure its 'local rules' are published in the relevant departmental student handbook(s). The Academic Registrar's Division will also maintain an authoritative central website about 'local rules'.

2. In respect of paragraph 5.2.3(ii), 5.2.4, 5.3.2(d) and 8.1, the aggregate will be calculated by taking the sum of all relevant courses weighted according to their relative value in terms of half or full units. A half unit mark is halved for aggregate purposes, e.g. a half unit mark of 60 adds 30 to the aggregate and a half unit mark of 55 adds 27.5. Once all marks have been added, the final aggregate total is rounded up if necessary. A compensation aggregate will only be calculated using the marks in passed courses.

3. In respect of paragraph 3.1, the following table indicates the Bad Fail mark for all courses offered by each Department, Institute or Group:

Department

Bad Fail (2012-13)

Accounting (all courses prefixed with 'AC')

39

Anthropology (all courses prefixed with 'AN')

29

Economic History (all courses prefixed with 'EH')

39

Economics (all courses prefixed with 'EC')

29 (19 for students starting before 2010/11)

Employment Relations and Organisational Behaviour Group (all courses prefixed with 'ID')

29 (39 for students starting before 2012/13)

European Institute (all courses prefixed with 'EU')

39

Finance (all courses prefixed with 'FM', other than FM436 and FM437)

39

Finance (FM436 and FM437 only)

29 (19 for students starting before 2012/13)

Gender Institute (all courses prefixed with 'GI')

39

Geography and Environment (all courses prefixed with 'GY')

39

Government (all courses prefixed with 'GV')

39

International Development (all courses prefixed with 'DV')

39

International History (all courses prefixed with 'HY')

39

Information Systems and Innovation Group (all courses prefixed with 'IS')

29 (39 for students starting before 2012/13)

International Relations (all courses prefixed with 'IR')

39

Law (all courses prefixed with 'LL')

39

Management (all courses prefixed with 'MG', other than MG411, MG412, MG413, MG417 and MG431)

29 (39 for students starting before 2012/13)

Management (MG422 only)

29

Management (MG411, MG412, MG413, MG417 and MG431 only)

29 (19 for students starting before 2012/13)

Management Economics and Strategy Group (all courses prefixed with 'MN')

29

Management Science Group (all courses prefixed with 'OR')

29 (19 for students starting before 2012/13)

Mathematics (all courses prefixed with 'MA')

19

Media and Communication (all courses prefixed with 'MC')

39

Methodology Institute (all courses prefixed with 'MY')

29

Philosophy (all courses prefixed with 'PH', other than PH419)

39

Philosophy (PH419 only)

29 (39 for students starting before 2012/13)

Social Policy (all courses prefixed with 'SA', other than SA481)

39

Social Policy (SA481 only)

29

Social Psychology Institute (all courses prefixed with 'PS')

29

Sociology (all courses prefixed with 'SO')

39

Statistics (all courses prefixed with 'ST')

19

In respect of paragraph 5.2.4, a mark of 55% in any course(s) to the value of 1 unit offered by the following Departments can compensate a fail (but not a bad fail) in any course(s) to the value of 1 unit:

Department

Finance (FM436 and FM437 only)

Management (MG411, MG412, MG413 and MG417 only)