Academic Conventions

Formatting your coursework

Please use the following guidelines when submitting coursework:

  • title page: all work should only include a title page with a student number (do not include your name), the intake year, the programme title, title of the work, the relevant module title, followed by the type of work (e.g. Essay, RCAs etc) the date and the word count, plus the following statement: ‘ I am aware of the requirements of good academic practice and the potential penalties for any breaches’.
  • APA format: you should follow the conventions of American Psychological Association style, or APA style (although the Harvard style is acceptable). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2019). Washington DC; London: American Psychological Association. Seventh Edition
    • a quick guide to APA style, with further references, can be found here:
    • a quick guide to the latest style updated (7th Edition) can be found here:
  • figures and tables: these should be placed in the text of the reports (rather than at the end of the work)
  • appendices: these need to only include additional information that has direct relevance to the piece of work. Please ensure that work can be read without constant reference to the appendices.

Coursework length

Each assessment within the programme is allocated a word limit. Students are asked to ensure that they do not exceed the word limit. They should declare their word count on every piece of submitted work. If the stated word count exceeds the word limit for any piece of work, then only work within the word limit will be marked. Please make sure that your word count is not significantly below the word limit.

The word count specified for assessments will include footnotes, quotations and in-line references but exclude the bibliography and appendices,

Some assessment tasks ask for diagrams/tables which are either placed together in an Appendix or placed at an appropriate point in the assignment. These are normally labelled eg. Figure 1, Table 1.  Such visual material should be clearly captioned, the captions do not count toward the overall word count.


Coursework submission

All assessed written work is submitted electronically :


Delays in submission of assessed work

If students are unable to meet an assessment deadline then they should use the following procedure:

  • inform the Programme Director of a request for an extension of an assessment deadline before the original coursework deadline has passed
  • negotiate a new deadline with the Programme Director
  • complete and submit the relevant extension request form to the programme administrator for approval by the Programme Director (see Appendix 4).

Documentation to support the extension request should be attached with the form.
If a request for an extension is not received before the coursework deadline then the student will receive a fail for that piece of work.

Extension requests and fitness to study

Please note that students can request a limited number of deadline extensions without their fitness to study undergoing review (further detail of the Fitness to Study Policy can be found in the University Calendar) and the possibility of some consideration of voluntary or involuntary degree suspension or termination following sympathetic consultation with the Programme Director. A broad guideline would be: no more than three requests for an extension for the same reason, and no more than six for any reason, in the same year.
For more information on University of Southampton regulations about deadline extensions, programme requirements, and suspensions, please see the following link:


Criteria for requesting an extension for a coursework deadline

The typical criteria for obtaining (and not obtaining) deadline extensions are given below.  The University Assessment Framework can be found at :  If students are unsure about the validity of a reason for getting an extension they should ask the Programme Director for clarification, or failing that, the Director of Postgraduate  Studies.

Attendance: Absence from compulsory sessions

All university taught sessions are compulsory. If a student is unable to make a compulsory session then they should use the following guidelines:

  • inform the Programme Director in writing (i.e., in the same email) of your request for an absence from a compulsory session. (or ask someone to do this on your behalf). You should preferably do so before the compulsory session (or as soon as possible afterwards)
  • complete and submit the appropriate  form to the relevant Programme Administrator (or ask someone to do this on your behalf).

This form is available on Blackboard. Documentation to support the reasons given for absence from a compulsory session should normally be attached with the form, or be pending.
Only a limited number of absences from compulsory sessions can be authorised without the student’s fitness to study undergoing review, and the possibility of voluntary or involuntary degree suspension or termination being considered, following sympathetic consultation with the Programme Director. This would include, for example, no more than three requests for absences from a compulsory session for the same reason, and no more than six for any reason, in the same year.

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