SOAS (University of London) GUIDANCE NOTES, PROCEDURES, AND CLASSIFICATION SCHEMES RELATING TO TAUGHT MASTERS PROGRAMMES

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1 SOAS (University of London) July 2013 GUIDANCE NOTES, PROCEDURES, AND CLASSIFICATION SCHEMES RELATING TO TAUGHT MASTERS PROGRAMMES 1 Registration, enrolment and re-enrolment Before beginning their programmes of study, all students must complete registration and enrolment procedures as directed by the Director of Student and Registry Services. Students must register for a named Masters degree and a specific mode of study (full-time over one year, part time over two to four years). Part-time students must re-enrol at the beginning of each academic session for which they wish to receive tuition or supervision. Attendance at classes or use of SOAS facilities is not permitted by students not enrolled or re-enrolled. Students must normally be enrolled continuously on their programme of study. Students who wish to apply to interrupt their period of study must apply in writing or by to the Head of Registry. Students who interrupt their programme of study without permission may be deemed to have withdrawn from their studies. Students are required to sign up for their courses and half courses (including the dissertation) by the end of the first week of teaching in Term 1 (16.00 on the Friday of week 2 of the academic year). Failure to complete course sign up procedures by the deadline could result in a student being deemed to have withdrawn from her/his programme of study. 2 Attendance Students must attend all classes, tutorials, seminars etc regularly and punctually, including any prescribed English language classes. Failure to do so could result a student being deemed to have withdrawn from his or her programme of study or in the student being refused admission to end-ofsession examinations. 3 Structure of programmes of study Most Masters programmes consist of four elements: three taught courses (or equivalent including half courses) and a dissertation. The MSc Economics programmes, including MSc Development Economics, MSc Political Economy of Development and MSc Finance and Development and the MScs offered by the Department of Financial and Management Studies consist of ten elements (eight taught courses and a dissertation which counts as two elements). Full-time students are expected to attend taught courses, submit the required coursework, undertake prescribed assessments (including written examinations) and submit their dissertations (deadline: 15 September) within one calendar year from the date of their degree registration. The pattern of study, assessment and dissertation submission for part-time students will depend on their registered mode of study (two to four years). Two year students on four element programmes will follow their programme in the pattern 2+2, , , 3+1 or 1+3. For two-year part-time students taking three elements in one year, the three elements must be made up of two taught courses plus a dissertation. Part-time students may not follow three taught courses in one year. The fee regulations stipulate that students taking three or more taught courses in one year are classified as full time and are thus liable to pay full time fees. The dissertation is normally completed in the second year. Three-year students follow their programme in the pattern 1+1+2, or 2+1+1, with the dissertation 1

2 normally being completed in the second or third year. Four year students (LLM only) will follow one taught element in each year, with the dissertation being submitted at the end of the final year. Two-year students on ten element programmes will follow four taught courses in each year, with the dissertation normally being submitted at the end of the second year. Three-year students on ten element programmes will follow three taught courses in each of the first two years, and two taught courses in the third year, when they will also register for and submit their dissertation. 4 Assessment Students are required to enter for assessment in their programme elements by the due date as advised by the Registry (normally the end of November). Re-assessment fees are payable by students being re-assessed having completed their programme of study. Following the meeting of the Board of Examiners for Taught Masters Degrees in November, marks will be released. Students will be notified individually of the marks they obtain. Coursework must be submitted in the year in which the relevant course or half course is attended. Students are permitted one re-assessment in a failed element or half element. 5 Plagiarism All work submitted as part of the requirement for any examination must be expressed in the student s own words and incorporate his or her own ideas and judgements. Plagiarism - that is, the presentation of another person's thoughts or words as though they were the student s own must be avoided. Direct quotations from the published or unpublished work of others must always be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and a full reference to their source must be provided in proper form. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source. Equally, if students summarise another person's ideas and judgements, they must refer to that person in their text as the source of the ideas and judgements, and include the work referred to in their bibliography. Failure to observe these rules may result in an allegation of cheating. Students should therefore consult their tutor or supervisor if they are in any doubt about what is permissible. Where students draw on their own previous written work, whether submitted as coursework for their current degree, or for a previous degree or qualification, this must be clearly stated. Coursework essays submitted for one course may not be used for another course without acknowledgement and prior approval. Plagiarism is an assessment and/or examination offence. Any case of alleged plagiarism, cheating or irregularities of a similar character, including conduct affecting the security of examinations, will be dealt with under the Regulations for proceedings in respect of assessment and examination offences. 6 Progression Full-time students are eligible to progress to the dissertation element of their programme of study whatever results they have achieved in their taught courses. Part-time students are eligible to proceed to the next year of their programmes (subject to completion of enrolment formalities) whatever result(s) they have achieved in the current year. 2

3 7 Dates for taking written examinations and submitting coursework and the dissertation Coursework must be submitted by the deadline in the year in which the relevant course has been attended. Unseen written examinations must be taken in the academic year in which the relevant course has been followed. The dissertation must be submitted in the year of study in which the student has been enrolled for the dissertation. To be eligible for the award of a degree a candidate must satisfy the examiners in the assessment prescribed for the programme within a period of two years from the satisfactory completion of the prescribed period of study. 8 Dissertations Dissertation topics should be chosen so as to enable students to complete them within the normal time frame and submit them by 15 September of the appropriate year. Complex topics which need extra time for completion should not be allowed. Topics should not be allowed which would require a student to undertake fieldwork, although students will not be prevented from undertaking fieldwork if they choose to do so and are able to complete the work and submit it in the time allowed. Students should be counselled in respect of any proposals to undertake fieldwork in regions known to be dangerous. Two year part-time students will normally submit the dissertation at the end of the second year of study. Three year part-time students will normally submit the dissertation at the end of the second or third year of study. The maximum length for a dissertation for the MA/MMus/MSc is 10,000 words (8,000 in ten element masters degrees). The maximum length for a dissertation for the LLM is 15,000 words. Dissertations must include a word count. There are penalties for over-length dissertations. 9 Determining results and awards Sub-Boards of Examiners have the discretion to take into account documented illness and other personal circumstances affecting a candidate s examination performance. After results have been published, Chairs of Sub-Boards of Examiners may, at their discretion, permit informal feedback to be given to a candidate on her/his dissertation performance. Any feedback given must not quote directly from the examiners written comments on the dissertation. 10 Classification schemes 10.1 Marking scheme Masters programmes (except the MScs listed separately in the next paragraph) consist of four elements (or equivalent including half elements) as follows: three taught courses (or equivalent in half courses) and a dissertation. Programmes such as the MSc Economics, MSc Development Economics, MSc Political Economy of Development, MSc Finance and Development, the MScs in International Management and the MSc in Finance and Financial Law consist of ten elements as follows: eight taught courses and a dissertation (which counts as two elements). 3

4 The marking scheme for elements and half elements is as follows: 0 to 49 Fail 50 to 59 Pass 60 to 69 Merit 70 to 100 Distinction Transcripts that are issued to students will show the mark per element, together with the classification equivalent Award and classification scheme for LLM, MA, MMus and MSc Award of a Masters degree (all LLM, MA, MMus and MSc programmes) A candidate must obtain a mark of 50 or more in each element or half element to be eligible for the award of a Masters degree. (For the purpose of this award calculation, marks for half elements may not be added together and averaged.) Award of a Masters degree with Merit (all LLM, MA, MMus and MSc programmes) Unless eligible for a Distinction, a candidate must Obtain a mark of 50 or more in each element or half element (without averaging); and Obtain an average mark of 60 across all elements and half elements (including the dissertation); and Obtain a mark of 60 or more in the dissertation. Award of a Masters Degree with Distinction (for four element programmes) A candidate must Obtain a mark of 60 or more in each element; and Obtain a mark of 70 or more in two elements, including the dissertation. (For the purpose of these Distinction calculations, marks for half elements may be added together and averaged, provided that each half element has a mark of 50 or more.) Award of a Masters degree with Distinction (for ten element programmes) A candidate must Obtain a mark of 60 or more in each element; and Obtain a mark of 70 or more in the dissertation; and Obtain a mark of 70 or more in three elements other than the dissertation Discretion of Sub-Boards of Examiners If a candidate does not meet the above criteria for the award of Merit or Distinction classification, the relevant Sub-Board of Examiners may at its discretion recommend the award a classification of Merit or Distinction on one or both of the following grounds: Consideration of the overall profile of the candidate; and/or Consideration of mitigating circumstances relating to the candidate (but normally not if these circumstances have already been taken into account in determining the marks for the constituent courses, as this could result in double compensation). 4

5 When a classification of Merit or Distinction is recommended in these circumstances, the reasons for the award shall be fully recorded in the minutes of the Sub-Board of Examiners. Such recommendations will be considered for approval by the School Board of Examiners for Taught Masters Degrees. Sub-Boards do not have the discretion to recommend the award of a Pass classification to a student who has failed to obtain at least 50 in each element (without averaging) including the dissertation. Sub-Boards of Examiners wishing for guidance on the appropriate exercise of discretion should consult the Examinations and Assessments Manager, who can supply past examples of its use. (Note: There was a different classification scheme for students admitted to the School between September 2000 and September Details are available from the Examinations and Assessments Manager.) 5

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