Postgraduate Taught Degree Regulations

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1 Postgraduate Taught Degree Regulations These regulations must be read in conjunction with the General Regulations for Students, the Postgraduate Taught Degree Classification Scheme and the Postgraduate Taught Degree Dissertation Guidelines. Published by SOAS October

2 CONTENTS Section Page 1. Definitions Postgraduate taught degrees Postgraduate conversion degrees Definition of courses 4 2. Programmes of study Types of award Structure of SOAS Postgraduate Taught Degrees Degrees offered in conjunction with other institutions Registration for Postgraduate Taught Degrees Additional requirements for LLM degrees 5 3. Duration and structure of programmes Modes of study Minimum and maximum periods of registration Four Component Degrees Six Component Degrees Ten Component Degrees Two year postgraduate taught degrees 8 4. Admissions and qualifications Minimum entrance requirements Applicants with alternative qualifications Additional entrance requirements English language requirements LLM re-application 9 5. Class attendance requirements 10 (Students admitted in or after the 2010/11 academic year) 5.1 Normal expectation of class attendance Attendance requirements Attendance and other requirements for students repeating a course Attendance requirements for courses taken at other Colleges of the 10 University of London 5.5 Students who fail to meet the attendance requirements Determination of good cause (mitigating circumstances) Assessment Conduct of assessment Definition of assessment element Requirement to undertake all assessment elements 11 2

3 6.4 Maximum period of registration for assessment Timing of assessment Deferral of assessment Failure and reassessment Re-assessment not permitted if a course has been passed overall Method of re-assessment for failed assessments Timing of reassessment Reassessment and non-submission, late submission and norepeatable 14 coursework 6.12 Capping of marks for courses passed following re-assessment Deadlines for submission of coursework Deadline for dissertation submission Viva Voce Examination Examination Entry Notification of Results Suspension of Regulations 17 3

4 1. DEFINITIONS 1.1 Postgraduate Taught Degrees A postgraduate taught degree comprises the following: A programme of study at Level 7 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, which is beyond the standard first degree level which assumes the general level of educational competence implicit in the award of a first degree A programme of study which extends over a period equivalent to a minimum of one or two calendar years full-time or two or three years part-time (or four years for the part-time LLM) A satisfactory overall standard in a scheme of assessment appropriate to the degree programme concerned. 1.2 Postgraduate Conversion Courses These degrees include programmes of study that are conversion courses, in which graduates in one discipline acquire knowledge and develop skills in another discipline. 1.3 Definition of courses Core course: A core course must be passed for a student to be eligible for the award of a degree (in addition to meeting the general conditions of eligibility for the award of a degree). Postgraduate core courses are the unique identifying component for a particular degree programme and would not normally be available to another programme Option course: An option is a course chosen from a range of different courses Intercollegiate courses: Postgraduate students are not permitted to enrol for courses at other Colleges of the University of London unless these courses form a prescribed part of their degree programme. 2. PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2.1 Types of Award SOAS offers programmes of study leading to the award of the degrees of LLM, MA, MMus, MRes and MSc. MPhil awards are covered by the Postgraduate Research Degree Regulations. 4

5 2.2 Structure of SOAS Postgraduate Taught Degrees SOAS postgraduate taught degrees are defined by their course structure and the credit rating attached to individual courses. It is often possible to take two half courses in place of one course. The following structures are in place: Four Component Degrees (180 credits): three taught courses of 45 credits (or equivalent half courses of 22.5 credits) and a dissertation of 45 credits Six Component Degrees (180 credits): four taught courses of 30 credits (or equivalent half courses of 15 credits) and a dissertation of 60 credits (counting as two courses) Ten Component Degrees (180 credits): eight taught courses of 18 credits and a dissertation of 36 credits (counting as two courses). There are no half courses Two-year Master s Degrees (360 credits): These degrees are twice the length of a one-year full-time master s degree and students normally take 180 credits in year 1 and 180 credits in year 2. Students cannot exit the award with 180 credits and be awarded a master s degree. The award of master s is only made after the successful completion of 360 credits over two years. 2.3 Degrees offered in conjunction with other institutions Programmes may be offered in conjunction with other institutions outside SOAS. 2.4 Registration for Postgraduate Taught Degrees Students must register at the beginning of their programme of study in the category of programme and mode of study for which they have been offered a place. 2.5 Additional requirements for LLM degrees Non-Law subject: With the permission of the LLM Programme Convenor, students may choose a full or half course in a complementary non-law subject at SOAS provided that the course is in the published syllabus for the relevant LLM programme. The complementary course may be a language course. The remaining 3 or 3.5 courses must be approved LLM courses Courses taught at other Colleges of the University of London: Students may take not more than one course (or two half courses) from the current list of approved LLM courses taught at other Colleges of the University of London. The remaining three courses must be SOAS-based courses. 5

6 2.5.3 Dissertation requirements: All students must select one SOAS-based LLM full course as their dissertation course. They must complete the normal class attendance requirements for this course. The dissertation course will be assessed solely by a 15,000 word dissertation, submitted no later than the Friday of Week 51 immediately after the end of the academic year in which the dissertation course has been followed. This 15,000 word dissertation replaces all other methods of assessment and examination for the course for students who have selected it as their dissertation course. The dissertation must be on an approved topic related to the contents of the dissertation course. (a) (b) (c) (d) The dissertation course cannot be a complementary non-law subject The dissertation course cannot be a non-soas LLM course The dissertation course must be a full 45 credit course and not a half course or two half courses Students may choose a course which is normally assessed by submission of a 10,000 word essay to be their dissertation course. In this case, students will submit a 15,000 word dissertation instead of the normal mode of assessment (i.e. the 10,000 word essay cannot count as the dissertation) Field of study: The LLM may be awarded without reference to a field of study other than Law, or it may be awarded with reference to one of a number of approved specialised fields of study if a student has successfully completed courses to the value of at least three full LLM courses from the approved lists for fields of study, one of which must have been selected as the dissertation course. The approved lists will be published each year and may change from time to time subject to availability. 3. DURATION AND STRUCTURE OF PROGRAMMES 3.1 Mode of Study Programmes of study can normally be followed on a full-time or part-time basis. Where students study on a part-time basis they may be required to take certain courses in particular years in order to ensure they meet the pre-requisite requirements for the degree. 3.2 Minimum and Maximum periods of registration The minimum and maximum periods of registration are as follows: Degree Minimum Maximum Full time (1 year) 1 year 3 years Full time (2 year master s) 2 years 4 years 6

7 Part-time (over 2 years) 2 years 4 years Part-time (over 3 years) 3 years 5 years Part-time (over 4 years - LLM only) 4 years 6 years 3.3 Four Component Degrees (a) (b) (c) (d) A programme of full-time study, comprising four courses (or equivalent half courses), followed over a period of one calendar year. A programme of part-time study of two calendar years, comprising four courses (or equivalent half courses), with the courses arranged in the pattern 2 + 2, , , 1+3, or 3+1. For students taking three courses in one year, the three courses must be made up of two taught courses plus the dissertation. Students taking three full 45 credit taught courses (or equivalent half courses) in one year are classified as full time for fees purposes. The dissertation will normally be taken in the second year; however LLM students will take their dissertation in the final year. A programme of part-time study of three calendar years, comprising four courses (or equivalent half courses), with the courses arranged 1+1+2, 1+2+1, The dissertation will normally be taken in the second or third year. LLM Programme only: A programme of part-time study of four calendar years, comprising four courses (or equivalent half courses), with one taught course in each year and with the taught course chosen as the dissertation course normally taken in the final year. 3.4 Six Component Degrees (a) (b) (c) A programme of full-time study, comprising six courses (or equivalent half courses), followed over a period of one calendar year. The dissertation counts as two courses. A programme of part-time study of two calendar years, comprising six courses (or equivalent half courses), arranged with two courses in the first year and two courses and the dissertation (counting as two courses) in the second year. A programme of part-time study of three calendar years, comprising six courses (or equivalent half courses), arranged with two courses in each of the first two years and the dissertation (counting as two courses) in the third year. 3.5 Ten Component Degrees (a) A programme of full-time study, comprising ten courses, followed over a period of one calendar year. The dissertation counts as two courses. 7

8 (b) (c) A programme of part-time study of two calendar years, comprising ten courses, arranged with four courses in the first year and four courses and the dissertation (counting as two courses) in the second year. A programme of part-time study of three calendar years, comprising ten courses, arranged with three taught courses in each of the first two years and two taught courses and the dissertation (counting as two courses) in the third year. 3.6 Two year postgraduate taught degrees There are three different structures currently available: MRes Politics with (Language) MA (Discipline) and Intensive Language MA Advanced Chinese Studies / MA Intensive South Asian Studies (a) MRes Politics with (Language) - Taught in conjunction with Birkbeck Year 1 (150 credits) 60 credits courses at Birkbeck (2 x 30 credits) 45 credits language courses at SOAS (2 x 45 credits or equivalent half units) 45 credits option courses at SOAS (2 x 45 credits or equivalent half units) Year 2 (210 credits) 30 credit course at Birkbeck (1 x 30 credits) 45 credits language courses at SOAS (2 x 45 credits or equivalent half units) 45 credits option courses at SOAS (2 x 45 credits or equivalent half units) 90 credit extended dissertation (b) MA (Discipline) and Intensive Language Year 1 (180 credits) 90 credits language courses (2 x 45 credits) 45 credits discipline course (1 x 45 credits) 45 credits Summer School Abroad (assessed by partner institution) Year 2 (180 credits) 45 credits language courses (1 x 45 credits) 90 credits discipline course (2 x 45 credits) 45 credits dissertation 8

9 (c) MA Advanced Chinese Studies / MA Intensive South Asian Studies Year 1 (180 credits) 180 credits courses (4 x 45 credits or equivalent half courses) Year 2 (180 credits) 90 credits study at partner institution abroad 90 credit extended dissertation 4. ADMISSIONS AND QUALIFICATIONS 4.1 Minimum entrance requirements The general minimum entrance qualification for registration for a postgraduate taught degree is: (a) (b) An Upper Second Class Honours degree of a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard obtained after a programme of study extending over not less than three years in a university (or educational institution of university rank), in a subject appropriate to that of the programme of study to be followed; or A professional or other qualification obtained by written examination and approved by SOAS. 4.2 Applicants with alternative qualifications Applicants with alternative qualifications obtained by written examination may also be considered for entry to a taught postgraduate degree. They may be required to undertake a qualifying programme of study and/or pass an examination before being admitted. 4.3 Additional entrance requirements In addition to 4.1 or 4.2, an applicant will be required to meet any additional entrance requirements specified for the relevant programme. 4.4 English language requirements An applicant will also be required to satisfy any specified English language requirements. 4.5 LLM re-application A student who has been awarded the LLM degree at SOAS may apply to enter again for the same qualification in a different field of study, provided that on each occasion the 9

10 student applies and registers anew, pays the appropriate tuition fees, and complies with the regulations as if entering for the first time. Students may not repeat any courses which they have already passed. 5. CLASS ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS (Students admitted in or after the 2010/11 academic year) 5.1 Normal expectation of class attendance In order to benefit fully from their courses, students are expected to attend all relevant and/or required classes, which include, as appropriate to the course, lectures, tutorials, seminars, language classes, and practical sessions. 5.2 Attendance requirements To satisfy the requirements of 5.1, a student, unless absent due to accepted mitigating circumstances (see regulation 5.6), must satisfy the published class attendance requirements specified for each course. 5.3 Attendance and other requirements for students repeating a course Students who are repeating (= re-attending) a course must meet the normal class attendance requirements for the course, and must submit fully and promptly all required coursework, and must undertake all forms of assessment for the course, as if taking the course for the first time. This includes taking assessment elements even if the mark previously obtained in that assessment element was 50% or more. 5.4 Attendance requirements for courses taken at other Colleges of the University of London Students taking courses at other Colleges of the University of London must comply with the attendance requirements of the course and College concerned. 5.5 Students who fail to meet the attendance requirements Programme Convenors will inform the Head of Registry of the names of students who, after reasonable warning, fail to meet the attendance requirements of regulation 5.2. The appropriate Associate Dean of the relevant Faculty or Faculties will review each case, and will decide what further action should be taken. On the recommendation of the appropriate Associate Dean, the Head of Registry may withdraw permission to take the final assessment or terminate the degree programme of any student who persistently fails to meet the attendance and coursework requirements. 10

11 5.6 Determination of good cause (Mitigating Circumstances) A student's Programme Convenor will determine whether their failure to meet the class attendance requirements of regulation 5.2 was for good cause. Certification will be required in line with the School s Code of Practice for Mitigating Circumstances. 6. ASSESSMENT 6.1 Conduct of assessment Assessment will be conducted in accordance with the Assessment Handbook A candidate shall enter for assessment in accordance with the provisions of the General Regulations for Students, the relevant individual programme requirements and regulation 3.1 of these regulations. 6.2 Definition of assessment element A course may be assessed by one or more means, each contributing a defined percentage to the overall mark for the course. Each means of assessment with a defined percentage is called an assessment element. An assessment element may be: a written examination; coursework in the form of essays or reports; an oral examination; a practical examination; a seminar presentation; a set of periodic class tests; or other specified methods. Where used without modification, the word examination refers to a written examination. Examples of assessment elements: The following course has 3 assessment elements One written examination counting for 50% Two essays together counting for 40% Five class presentations counting for 10% The following course has 4 assessment elements One written examination counting for 50% One essay counting for 20% One essay counting for 20% Five class presentations counting for 10% 6.3 Requirement to undertake all assessment elements (Students admitted in or after the 2010/11 academic year) Students following a programme of study for an LLM, MA, MMus, MRes or MSc programme must undertake all assessment elements prescribed for that course and must 11

12 submit sufficient work to enable them to be assessed unless prevented by accepted mitigating circumstances. 6.4 Maximum period of registration for assessment 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 end of the prescribed period of study (see regulation 3.2 for minimum and maximum periods of registration). The requirement to complete within this time limit takes precedence over the opportunities for re-assessment; re-examination and deferral (see regulation 6.7). 6.5 Timing of assessment Assessment will be undertaken in the year in which the relevant courses have been followed. The examination for each written paper shall take place on one occasion each year in May/June after completion of teaching. Dissertations must be submitted by the Friday of Week 51 in the year in which they are undertaken. 6.6 Deferral of assessment Examinations and Coursework Deferral of coursework and/or written examinations may exceptionally be granted for reasons found acceptable in the particular case. Deferral will normally be to the next occasion upon which the written examination is held (May/June of the following year) or the last day of Term 2 for coursework submission in the academic year following. Applications for deferral should be made on the appropriate form to the Examinations and Assessment Manager Dissertation Students who wish to apply for a long-term deferral of submission (during the period 1 October to Friday of Week 51 in the year following in which the dissertation is undertaken) must do so by means of the dissertation submission deferral application form, obtainable from the Examinations and Assessments Manager. The results for dissertations approved for deferred submission will be considered by the relevant Sub-Board of Examiners in either June or November of the following year, depending on when the dissertation is submitted. The award date will be 1 December. There will therefore be a year s delay in the award in the case of long-term deferral. The opportunity to apply for a long-term deferral is subject to a student completing the programme within the specified time limit (regulation 6.4). 6.7 Failure and reassessment A student who does not pass on the first attempt may re-enter that course assessment on one occasion only. The definition of failure is obtaining a mark of 0 to 49 for the course 12

13 overall. Such re-entry will be at the next following assessment except where a student has been granted permission to defer re-entry until the assessment in the subsequent year. The opportunity for re-assessment is subject to a student completing the programme within the specified time limit (see regulation 6.4). 6.8 Re-assessment not permitted if a course has been passed overall Students may not enter to be re-assessed in any assessment element (whatever its mark) if they have passed a course overall i.e. obtained a mark of 50 or more for the course overall. 6.9 Method of re-assessment for failed assessments Students who retake a failed assessment element without re-attending the course, or who have been given permission to defer an assessment element without re-attending the course, will take an examination or assessment based on the course as they attended it. However, LLM students should be aware that questions may also be set on recent legislation, case law, or current proposals for law reform within the scope of the syllabus /20 courses These are courses where coursework counts for 0% to 20% of the overall mark for the course and the unseen written examination for 80% or more. Re-assessment will be by means of a written examination only. Any mark(s) for coursework submitted as part of the assessment for that course will be carried forward and amalgamated with the mark achieved in the resit examination Non 80/20 courses These are courses where coursework counts for more than 20% of the overall assessment for the course (except for courses which are assessed by one piece of coursework counting at 100%, see regulation 6.9.3). Re-assessment will be through the resubmission of any items of coursework for which a mark below 50% was obtained (except coursework which is deemed non-repeatable) and resitting the written examination for the course if a mark below 50% was obtained. Any marks of 50% or above and marks for non-repeatable assessments will be carried forward and amalgamated with the marks achieved in the re-entry % coursework courses These are courses which are assessed by one piece of coursework counting for 100%. Re-assessment will consist of resubmission of the piece of work by the last day of Term 2 in the following year. This will also apply in cases where the work was not originally submitted for assessment and deferral had not been agreed Timing of reassessment Written examinations are held only in May/June each year. Coursework must be 13

14 resubmitted by the last day of Term 2 in the academic year following that in which it was originally submitted Reassessment and non-submission, late submission and non-repeatable coursework If an item of coursework was not originally submitted, resubmission is not permitted. If an item of coursework received a mark below 50% because of late submission (i.e. it would have obtained a mark of at least 50% had it not been submitted late), any resubmission must be on a different topic as agreed by the course convenor (except the dissertation or coursework comprising one essay worth 100%). There can be no resubmission of nonrepeatable coursework or repetition of non-repeatable assessment elements such as seminar presentations without re-attending the course Capping of marks for courses passed following re-assessment The overall mark for any course(s) passed as a result of re-entry following initial failure will be capped at 50% which will be recorded in transcripts. The capped mark will be used for the calculation of the overall degree result (Pass, Merit or Distinction). If a student is granted permission to retake a course as if for the first time (involving re-enrolment, reattendance, submission of new coursework and the taking of any written examination(s) prescribed for the course), the new overall mark obtained will not be subject to capping Deadlines for submission of coursework The School deadline for the submission of hardcopy coursework is16.00 on the Friday immediately before the beginning of the May/June examination period of the academic year in which the course is taken. For on-line submission of courses the School deadline is on the same Friday. No marks will be awarded for any coursework submitted after this deadline. Late reduction of marks will not apply if there are accepted mitigating circumstances Individual deadlines for coursework submission may vary and may be earlier than the School deadline but may not be later. It is the responsibility of Heads of Departments to approve the policy for submission dates of coursework for courses within their Department, and the policy governing late submission. Members of staff should have regard to this policy when drawing up course proposals Heads of Departments will ensure that students are informed in writing at the beginning of the academic year of the deadlines for the submission of coursework for courses within their Department and of the policy governing late submission Heads of Departments may approve a policy governing late submission using 14

15 either the provisions of the best n marks or 2 percentage points a day penalty When coursework consists of multiple and consecutive exercises or essays, no coursework will be accepted for assessment after the deadline, provided that: (a) Assessment is based not on the average mark for all pieces of coursework set, but on the average of the best n marks, where the value of n is determined and is made known to students at the start of the course; and (b) Where non submission of a particular piece of coursework is determined to have been for good cause, then assessment will be based on the average of the best n-1 marks etc Coursework which is submitted after departmental coursework deadlines (but not after the School deadline) will be marked, but the mark will be reduced by 2 percentage points each and every day or part thereof that the work is late. This reduction of marks will not apply if there are accepted mitigating circumstances: (a) Hard-copy submission by 16:00, deductions will be made for each working day or part thereof that the work is submitted late, i.e. submitted after on the day in question [Note: Working day is any day Monday to Friday that the Faculty Office is open, including such days in the vacations]. (b) On-line submission by deductions will be made for each and every day or part thereof that the work is submitted Submission is normally on-line. Upon submission of course work an receipt is sent to the student confirming receipt. Definition of hardcopy submission of coursework is defined as delivery of two hard copies to the relevant Faculty Office by the School deadline and the issuing of a receipt, or, in respect of work that requires the candidate s presence, attendance at a date, time and place determined by the course convenor Deadline for dissertation submission (Students admitted in or after the 2010/11 academic year) The dissertation deadline The deadline is on the Friday of Week 51 of the year in which the dissertation is undertaken. This is the time and date by which a dissertation must be submitted to avoid the possibility of a penalty for late submission The final SOAS deadline The final deadline for the submission of a dissertation is on the 30 September. No marks will be awarded for a dissertation submitted after this date unless an application for deferral has been made and approved permitting 15

16 submission in the following academic year. If 30 September falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the deadline is on the Monday immediately following 30 September Late Submission Students who submit a dissertation after on the Friday of Week 51 but before on 30 September must submit it in the normal way. Late dissertations will be marked, but the mark awarded will be reduced by 2 percentage points for each working day (i.e. Monday to Friday) that the work is late. This reduction of marks will not apply if there are accepted mitigating circumstances. [Note: Working day is any day Monday to Friday that SOAS is open, including such days in the vacation.] Extensions and mitigating circumstances There is no procedure for granting extensions to dissertation submission dates. No member of academic or administrative staff has the authority to grant such an extension. If the late submission is due to mitigating circumstances, these must be submitted in line with the Code of Practice for Mitigating Circumstances Viva Voce Examination (Students admitted in or after the 2013/14 academic year) The examiners may test any candidate by means of a viva voce examination, which may cover the candidate s entire field of study. This oral examination is a viva voce examination in addition to any other prescribed methods of assessment and examination. It is distinct from an oral examination which may, for instance, form part of the assessment for a course. 7. EXAMINATION ENTRY (Students admitted in or after the 2010/11 academic year) To be eligible to enter for and take an unseen written examination for a course, students must have satisfied the attendance requirements of regulation 5. Students who fail to meet the attendance requirements of regulation 5 may have their permission to enter for the final assessment withdrawn. To receive credit for a written examination, students must also have undertaken each assessment element and submitted all coursework prescribed for the course, and must have submitted sufficient work to enable them to be assessed (see regulation 6.3). 8. NOTIFICATION OF RESULTS 8.1 After the examiners have reached a decision, students will be notified by the Examinations and Assessments Section of the Registry of their results. 16

17 8.2 All results received during the year are provisional until official notification is sent out by the Examinations and Assessments Section of the Registry. 8.3 A certificate will be delivered to each student who has been awarded a degree. The date of award of the degree will be 31 July or 31 December depending on when the final assessment is taken. 9. SUSPENSION OF REGULATIONS Applications for suspension of these regulations may be approved by the relevant Associate Dean. If suspension is approved, the case will be reported in anonymous form to the next meeting of the relevant Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee. 17

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