Postgraduate Handbook Introduction (common)
This information is issued on the condition that it does not form part of any contract between the University of Southampton and any student. The information given has been made as accurate as possible at the time of publication, but the University reserves the right to modify or alter, without any prior notice, any of the contents advertised. It should therefore be noted that it may not be possible to offer all modules or components of a programme in each academic session. This handbook is available in alternative formats on request.
1. General Information
The information contained within your programme handbook is designed to provide key information applicable to you and your programme during the 2018/2019 academic year. It is designed to complement the University’s Student Portal. You can access the Portal by logging on to SUSSED, using your user name and password, and clicking on the Students tab in the top navigation bar. It is important that you make use of these resources as they support the regulations relating to your obligations and that of the University while you are a student at the University of Southampton. It also provides helpful information on matters such as housing, finance, leisure, healthcare and support facilities.
Academic Integrity Statement for Students
Academic Integrity Regulations
Academic Integrity Procedures
Blackboard Online Learning Resource http://blackboard.soton.ac.uk/
Academic Unit staff information
Programme and module descriptions
Your programme structure (i.e. which modules make up your programme) is available via the My Student Record (Banner Self Service):
To find links to broad generic descriptions of the programmes and modules, follow links to your programme starting from
The regulations and definitions applying to all credit-bearing programmes (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/credit-bearing-progs.html) should be read in conjunction with your own programme regulations (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionXIII/sectXIII-index.html) which detail any supplementary regulations specific to your programme of study.
Educational support services (Enabling Services) http://www.southampton.ac.uk/edusupport/
Study skills support http://www.studyskills.soton.ac.uk/
1.1 Your student office
You should visit the Student Office for all general queries relating to the administration of your programme (this may include coursework submissions and collection of feedback, module registration changes, special considerations requests, sickness self-certification forms, suspension and withdrawal requests).
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday
9.00am to 5.00pm
Location and contact details: Education, Geography and Psychology programmes and modules
Building 44, room 2003
1.2 How we keep in touch with you
We will use your University email account to contact you when necessary. We will not use any other email accounts nor social networking sites. It is your responsibility to check your University email account regularly and you must not let your inbox exceed your storage limit. Notification that you are due to exceed your storage limit will be sent to your University email account and you should take immediate action as you will be unable to receive further emails once your storage limit has been exceeded.
Formal correspondence regarding your programme of study (e.g. suspension, transfer or withdrawal from programme, academic performance (including progression/referral information), issues of academic integrity, complaints and appeals) will be sent to your term-time (TT) or permanent (PM) address listed as active on your student record. You are responsible for advising the University if you change your permanent or term-time address. The University will not be held accountable if you do not receive important information because you failed to update your student record.
Use of social networking sites
We understand that students are increasingly using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to interact with members of their student community. You should note that any behaviour that affects other members of the University community or members of the general public in ways which might damage the standing and reputation of the University may be subject to disciplinary action within the scope of the University’s regulations.
1.3 Confirmation of your student enrolment status
The Student Office can provide you with a certificate to confirm your status as a student (e.g. for bank account opening purposes). Please ensure that you give at least 48 hours’ notice of your requirements (longer at peak times such as at enrolment or during the examination periods). Your award certificate will be produced using the legal name data you have provided within your student record. Please make any necessary amendments to your record immediately a change occurs to ensure that your certificate contains accurate information.
In accordance with policy, a scale of fees exists for the provision of certificates, transcripts and award certificates. Please see point 11 ‘Transcripts, Certificates and Award Letters’ within the fees section of the University Calendar for a list: http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/fees.html .
Your award certificate will be produced using the legal name data you have provided within your student record. Please make any necessary amendments to your record immediately a change occurs to ensure that your certificate contains accurate information.
2. Supporting you through your studies
2.1 Supporting students with disabilities, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties
Enabling Services provides a wide variety of support for students who have disabilities, mental health problems or specific learning difficulties. Its expert team can provide advice and support relating to your studies throughout your time here. Please see http://www.southampton.ac.uk/edusupport/index.page for further information and contact details.
2.2 The role of your Personal Clinical Tutor and other key academic staff
The University operates a tutor system to help support and advise students in their academic and clinical study. As a student, you can expect to be allocated a Personal Clinical Tutor. Your Personal Clinical Tutor will typically be one of the teaching staff you see in the course of your studies, but their role in this context is to provide advice and support to you throughout your study, and to help review your academic and clinical progress. You can expect to see your Personal Clinical Tutor at key points through your University career and, if you need to, you can contact them more frequently. Sometimes, your Personal Clinical Tutor may refer you to other areas for support. They may refer you to individual support services, or to your student office for information, or to the Clinical Director or Programme Director. The Programme or Clinical Director will have a more specialised understanding of supporting students, and may support you if you have a particular problem. You can also contact the Programme or Clinical Director if you wish to change your allocated Personal Clinical Tutor.
The University expects that you will engage with your Personal Clinical Tutor, attend the scheduled meetings, respond to messages from your Personal Clinical Tutor, and notify your Personal Clinical Tutor (or Programme or Clinical Director, if you prefer) if you are experiencing problems which are affecting your performance, attendance or progress in your studies. In particular, you should contact your Personal Clinical Tutor for matters relating to ill health or other special considerations, and check with your Personal Clinical Tutor if you plan to cite him/her as a referee for job applications.
2.4 What to do if you are ill
It is important that your doctor (as well as your Personal Clinical Tutor and Clinical Director) is immediately informed of any illness that is likely to affect your studies. If appropriate your GP may inform your Personal Clinical Tutor and Clinical Director that you are experiencing some health difficulties that may affect your academic and clinical performance. This will be done with your consent and you may wish the details of your illness to be withheld from your Personal Clinical Tutor and Clinical Director, although you should think carefully about this (your Personal Clinical Tutor and Clinical Director will, in any case, respect your privacy).
In the case of minor illness of up to five days, you should fill out a self-certification form and submit it to the Student Office.
2.5 External factors affecting your attendance or performance in your studies
We expect you to take responsibility for your studies to ensure that your full academic potential can be realised. However, sometimes difficulties can arise that can affect you.
If you are absent from an examination or other assessment or have other grounds for believing that your studies have been affected by external factors you must bring this to the attention of your academic tutor or to the Student Office immediately. Whilst we recognise that students can sometimes be reluctant to discuss cultural, sensitive or personal issues, it is essential that you bring problems affecting you to our attention immediately so that we can determine how best to help you.
2.6 Special considerations
If you believe that illness or other circumstances have adversely affected your academic performance, you must complete a Special Considerations form. It is important that you submit this to your Student Office in a timely manner and prior to the summer meeting of the Board of Examiners. All claims must be substantiated by written documentary evidence, for example a medical certificate or GP/consultant letter, self-certification (although self-certification will not be regarded as evidence in relation to your examination performance) or a statement from your Personal Clinical Tutor. The purpose of asking for supporting documentation is for you to be able to corroborate the facts of your submission.
All claims will be reviewed by the Special Considerations Board which meets regularly throughout the year. Full details of the University’s policy on Special Considerations can be found at http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/special-considerations.html
2.7 Fitness to study
This policy applies to enable the University to respond appropriately to situations where visible signs of illness, mental health difficulties, psychological, personality or emotional disorders may have a profoundly disturbing impact on the functioning of an individual student and/or the wellbeing of others around them. The University has a positive attitude towards those with impairments and is committed to maintaining students’ wellbeing. The policy identifies the procedure and support available to both students and staff when a student becomes unwell and/or presents a risk to self and/or others. The Fitness to Study Policy can be accessed through the following link:
2.8 Suspending your studies
Should you feel that you need to take some time out from your studies you should first discuss this with your personal tutor. A Suspension Request form should be obtained, completed and returned to the Student Office. Please note that, if you wish, you can suspend your studies in order to undertake an internship or period of industrial training outside of normal vacation time.
2.9 Withdrawing from your studies
If you no longer wish to continue with your studies, a Withdrawal Notification form should be obtained, completed and returned to the Student Office.
3. Your safety
Ensuring student health and safety is a major goal of the University. As a new student you will have received information on Personal Safety and H&S/Fire Safety as part of your ‘Southampton Welcome’. Both new and existing students should also take a look at the following links for further information:
The University statement of Health and Safety Policy Statement and Management System, which defines commitment, governance, responsibilities and management of health and safety is available here:
The Faculty’s Health and Safety Local Arrangements document is available at https://groupsite.soton.ac.uk/Administration/FSHS-Health-and-Safety/Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx
3.1 Local arrangements
Key local Health and Safety arrangements are as follows. If you have questions relating to any of the following information please contact a member of the Faculty Health and Safety team, details of which you will find at the end of this section.
3.2 Action in the event of a fire
If you notice or suspect that there is a fire you should immediately raise the alarm by operating the nearest fire alarm call point (one will be located on the wall as you leave the building). The fire alarm is a continuously ringing bell.
On hearing the alarm you should immediately stop what you are doing and make your way out of the building by following the green emergency exit signs to the nearest exit, shutting doors behind you as you leave. Do not stop or return to collect personal belongings. Do not use lifts unless you have a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP).
On leaving the building make your way to the assembly point. Ensure any car parks or roads are kept clear for emergency vehicles. Do not re-enter a building until you are told it is safe to do so by the Fire & Rescue Service, the senior Fire Warden or Security staff.
Fire extinguishers are provided in buildings but should only be used by those trained in their use and only if it is safe to do so.
Evacuation alarms are tested weekly. The times of these tests are detailed near main entrances to buildings. When tests take place the bell will ring for no more than a few seconds.
If you have a permanent or temporary mobility impairment that affects your ability to use stairs to exit a building then you should have been notified to Health and Safety personnel in order for a PEEP to be developed. If this has not been done please contact the Health and Safety team using the details overleaf.
3.3 Assembly points
Building 32 (Education): Visitor car park at North end of B32 (Burgess Road end).
Building 34 (Education): Area around flag pole in front of University library.
Building 39 (S3RI): Car park in front of Building 54.
Building 44 (Geography / Psychology): Grassed area in front of University Health Service Building (North end of Physics building).
Building 44a (Psychology): Car park in front of Building 44 (Shackleton).
44 Chamberlain Rd (Psychology): Car park in front of Building 44 (Shackleton).
Building 54 (Mathematics) and Building 56: Grassed area between Turner Sims Concert Hall and John Hansard Gallery.
Building 58 (Social Science): For those exiting Building 58 to the North from Level 2, this is the grassed area alongside Building 58A. For those exiting to the South from Level 1, this is the car park between Building 54 and the John Hansard Gallery.
Other buildings: Check the emergency information that should be displayed on a noticeboard in teaching rooms.
3.4 First Aid
In the event of an accident causing injury, the nearest first-aider should be contacted. Their details are displayed on signs in corridors. Alternatively, contact security on 3311 using an internal phone and they will assist. Following treatment, the incident must be reported to your line manager/supervisor and the Faculty Health and Safety team.
3.5 Incident Reporting
If you are involved in an accident or incident, spot a hazardous situation or are concerned that you are being asked to do something without the necessary information, instruction or training that would ensure your safety, please report this to your supervisor and the Faculty Health and Safety team. The circumstances can then be investigated and measures put in place to minimise future risk.
Incidents can be reported online at:
3.6 Induction and Training
As a new student you should have the following expectations with regard to Health and Safety:
• To be made aware of local emergency arrangements and H&S contacts on your first day.
• To receive a local induction before using any laboratory or workshop area. This will identify hazards and make you aware of particular procedures in place to help ensure your safety.
• That risk assessments and other written arrangements that maintain good H&S in all your activities will be brought to your attention by your supervisor.
3.7 Building Access
Most University buildings are open to all from 08.00-18.00 Mon-Friday excluding University and public holidays. All undergraduate students must leave buildings by 18.00. Access by ID card may be available to postgraduate students from 06.00-23.00 depending on student status. Buildings are to be clear by 23.00 and remain so until 06.00 (Closure Period) unless you have particular need which must be approved by your Head of Academic Unit.
3.8 Out-of-Hours Policy
The Out-of-Hours Policy covers the Closure Period from 11.00pm through to 6.00am the following day and applies to every day of the year, including weekends and Public Holidays. You must have received approval to work during the closure period from your Head of Academic Unit and this must be documented using Form A available from the link http://www.southampton.ac.uk/estates/services/outofhoursworking/
When you are present in the building you should have access to a completed copy of Form B (available from same page).
3.9 Further information
More detailed information, forms and links to other sources of advice are available on the FSHS H&S site:
3.10 Contact Information
Your primary contact should be your personal academic tutor. However, the following contacts may be used if necessary:
Faculty Health and Safety Team (Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences)
Faculty Health and Safety Officer
023 8059 4513
Health and Safety Officer – Geography and Environment
023 8059 4673
Safety and Occupational Health
023 8059 3277
26 University Road
Security – Central Control Room (CCR)
Emergency: 023 8059 3311
Enquiries: 023 8059 2811
4. Your Academic Programme
4.1 The academic year and the programme structure
The structure and modular content provided within the programme specification is specific to your own programme. You can view the most up to date version of the programme specification via Sussed at
The taught components of the programme are delivered in modular form and typically run over two semesters. The teaching weeks are followed by a two to three week examination period. The semesters overlap the traditional three term structure which still determines the pattern of vacations at Christmas and Easter.
For any given programme a module is either core, compulsory, or optional. Definitions of these and of the rules surrounding compensation are provided at http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/credit-bearing-progs.html and are reproduced below.
Core Module: A Core Module is a module which must be taken and Passed by all students on a particular programme. Core Modules may not be Passed by Compensation. Where programme regulations specify, a student may be required to select a Module from within a group of Modules, which, once selected, becomes Core.
Compulsory Module: A Compulsory Module is a Module which must be taken by all students on a particular programme. Compulsory Modules may be Passed by Compensation.
Option Module: An Option Module is a Module selected from a group of available Modules which does not become Core or Compulsory on selection. Option Modules may be Passed by Compensation.
Compensation: Pass by Compensation is the award of credit for a Failed Module on the basis that overall performance elsewhere in the Part is sufficient to merit the passing of that Part and the learning outcomes of the programme as a whole will be met.
Non-Compensatable Fail: A Non-Compensatable Fail is a Failed Module which cannot be Passed by Compensation. A Failed Module is Non-Compensatable if the mark achieved for the Module is lower than the Qualifying Mark, or if the Failed Module is a Core Module for the programme.
Pass Mark: The Pass Mark is the minimum mark that must be achieved in order to pass. It may be applied to a Module to an Average Mark or to a Final Average Mark. Information about the relevant Pass Marks may be found in the Regulations for Progression, Determination and Classification of Results: Undergraduate and Integrated Masters Programmes and the Regulations for Progression, Determination and Classification of Results: Standalone Masters Programmes.
Qualifying Mark: The Qualifying Mark is the minimum mark that must be achieved in a Module in order for a Pass by Compensation to be awarded (subject to paragraph 3.3 for the Regulations for Progression, Determination and Classification of Results: Undergraduate and Integrated Masters Programmes or paragraph 3.2 for the Regulations for Progression, Determination and Classification of Results: Standalone Masters Programmes).
Your student record should automatically record core and compulsory modules and these must be completed in accordance with the requirements for progression applicable to your programme. Most programmes will have a number of optional modules. If applicable you will need to select a certain number of optional modules to complete your portfolio of modules and fulfil the credit points as required for the programme.
4.2 Registration and amendment to option modules
Your programme structure (i.e. which modules make up your programme) is available via the My Student Record (Banner Self Service):
When choosing your options, you are strongly advised to ensure that you have a similar total number of modules in Semester 1 and Semester 2, to maintain a balanced work load throughout the year. Once you have registered your options, it is possible for you make changes but there are restrictions. The substitution of modules is not allowed (i.e. you cannot take an extra module in semester 2 to replace a semester 1 module in which you failed to perform well).
You may request a change to your option module choice up to the end of week 2 in each semester. You should complete a Change of Module form to specify your request (forms can be obtained from the Student Office). If your option module choices clash in your timetable, then you will need to amend your option choice accordingly by contacting the Student Office immediately.
You should regularly check your online student record for details of your registered modules. This is particularly important after you have made any changes and will help to maintain the accuracy of your student record. It will also save time and confusion during the examination period.
The University’s attendance policy (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/attendance.html) sets out the general expectations placed upon you as a student.
4.4 Additional Costs
5. Faculty Teaching and Learning Skills
5.1 Time management
It is your responsibility to manage your time in order to ensure that you keep up to date with the material presented and with the requirements of the programme. Deadlines for work submission should be adhered to, otherwise marks will be deducted via the imposition of a late submission penalty. However, the framework of when lectures and classes occur and deadlines for submission of work will be made available to you well in advance, but if you are unclear about any aspect of your module you should talk this through with your module co-ordinator or programme director. This knowledge will allow you to plan your life based on how you know you work best. Effective use of your time will allow you to perform well on your course and to enjoy student life. One of the work-place skills you should aim to acquire at University is the ability to manage multiple priorities. If you have problems in this area please discuss them with your personal tutor.
A single lecture slot lasts 45 minutes. It is therefore vital that you arrive promptly in order to gain maximum benefit from the time. Each lecturer will present material using either handouts or require you to make your own notes. Transcribing lectured material into a form that you find most useful is an important part of the learning process. You should ensure that you understand the material and, if you have difficulty in understanding or applying the knowledge, use recommended textbooks or the assistance of teaching staff during tutorials to gain understanding. It is your responsibility to develop your ability in a given subject. How well you have acquired that ability and the associated knowledge is gauged by the examination and coursework assessment process. Lectures are provided for your benefit and you should take full advantage by ensuring you attend all of the lectures in a given course module. If, for any reason, you are unable to attend, ensure that you get hold of a copy of the notes or handouts from your module co-ordinator.
5.3 Use of electronic recording devices or mobile phones in lectures or classes
Out of courtesy to staff and other students, please ensure that mobile phones are switched off in lectures and seminars. You are advised that lectures are the copyright property of the lecturer and permission to audio-record a lecture must be personally sought from the lecturer before proceeding.
If you wish to use an electronic device to take notes in a lecture, you should do so in a way that does not cause disruption to those sitting near you.
If you have a health condition for which additional support is needed, you may, following assessment by the University’s educational support services, make appropriate arrangements with staff for recording lectures.
Group tutorials/supervisions are timetabled for some modules. These sessions are intended for you to develop your problem solving skills as well as for you to discuss further with an experienced member of staff any particular lecture material you are finding difficult to understand. It is essential that you come well prepared for these sessions. These sessions are one of the most effective ways of reinforcing the lecture material.
5.6 Independent or Self learning
Up to 40% of time allotted to a module is designated as independent or self-learning. This may be taken up by independent study on your own using libraries, data retrieval systems, internet, etc, or in a group working on coursework, reading the lecture material or reading around the subject. This should also develop your investigative and problem solving skills in furthering understanding of the subject, creating links with other modules – past and present – and providing a broadening of your educational experiences and knowledge base.
Self-learning is your personal responsibility and your commitment to the programme. It requires discipline, motivation and focussing on achieving individually set targets. It enables you to reach your full potential academically, develops your personal skills and helps establish a successful professional career.
5.7 Key skills
Key skills are those skills which can be applied to other disciplines and fields of work. Employers are increasingly seeking to employ individuals with well-developed key skills. A conscious effort is made by the Faculty to ensure that every module allows and encourages development of key skills. Further details can be found within individual module specifications.
5.8 Academic Integrity: the University Policy
The University expects that all students will familiarise themselves with the University’s Academic Integrity Regulations (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/academic-integrity-regs.html) which include the Academic Integrity Statement (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/academic-integrity-statement.html). Procedures will be invoked to investigate suspected breaches of academic integrity when concerns are raised during the marking process or in connection with suspected cheating in examinations. We are aware that students may have experienced differing standards at other institutions (including those overseas) but it is essential that you take steps to ensure your full understanding of the standards expected at Southampton as significant penalties can be imposed if these are breached. These penalties will always affect the mark you receive for the piece of work in question, and the most serious cases could lead to a reduction in degree classification or even termination of programme. There is likely also to be an impact on any future reference we provide.
It is often helpful to discuss ideas and approaches to your work with your peers, and this is a good way to help you think through your own views. However work submitted for assessment should always be entirely your own, except where clearly specified otherwise in the instructions for the assignment. In some instances working in groups will be required, and there may be occasions when work is submitted from the whole group rather than individuals. In these instances the instructions will make it clear how individual contributions to the joint work should be identified and will be assessed. If you are in any doubt, check with the person setting the assignment. If you have worked with others you should make sure that you acknowledge this in any declaration you make.
If you wish to improve your study skills, always seek advice sooner rather than later. Your personal tutor or module convenor will be able to help you identify sources of assistance. It is an important element of independent learning, and a normal part of academic development, to recognise when you need to seek advice, and to learn to benefit from it. This would not necessarily mean that you are ‘struggling’ with your work – you may feel you need additional advice to reach your personal potential.
If in doubt about what is required in any particular assignment, what referencing styles are appropriate etc, always ask. Your tutor or module co-ordinator will be able to point you in the direction of appropriate sources of advice and information.
You are responsible for your own work and conduct, and for ensuring that you neither fall accidentally into poor academic practice in your written work nor engage in practices which breach academic integrity. Such practices are unacceptable, whether they have been followed deliberately or through a lack of understanding. As well as damaging your own development, failure to work with academic integrity is unfair to other students who complete work honestly and fairly. It can also potentially damage the relationship between staff and students which is at the heart of the University community, and relationships with external partners. Ultimately, your results will not be a true reflection of your performance, which may potentially damage the academic standing of the University’s awards.
Furthermore, should you have reason to believe that a fellow student is not working with academic integrity, you should speak in confidence to the module convenor. Your identity will not be revealed as part of any investigation; however no further action would be taken unless additional evidence is identified by the marker or module convenor.
5.10 Research Ethics
The University of Southampton is committed to carrying out its research, teaching, enterprise and other activities within a comprehensive ethical framework
Principles of ethical research include the expectation that studies are undertaken with integrity, quality and transparency. Participants in research must be fully informed about the research and participate voluntarily. They need to know what will happen with the information they provide, and that they can withdraw from the study subsequently (wherever possible). Risks from participation in research must be explained and minimised. Participants’ anonymity and/or confidentiality should be protected, for example by removing information that could be used to identify them and by storing confidential information securely.
All research on human participants, their tissue or data requires ethical approval via the University’s Ethics and Research Governance Online (ERGO) system (www.ergo.soton.ac.uk). This includes, but is not limited to, studies of the following kind:
• analysis of existing secondary data at an individual level, even where such data have been anonymised and/or the datasets exist in the public domain;
• collection of data using questionnaires and online surveys;
• collection of data using interviews, observations, focus group discussions or similar qualitative approaches; and
• experiments involving human participants.
Research on animals is governed by separate procedures.
The University believes that ethical issues should be interpreted broadly and that ethics approval might also be needed for research where other factors could be present including:
• a risk of damage to the environment;
• political or social sensitivity; and
• impact on culture and cultural heritage.
If you are in doubt about whether the research for your dissertation requires ethical approval, please contact your divisional ‘ethics champion’, or a member of the Faculty Ethics Committee via email@example.com.
To obtain ethical approval for your research, please apply via the ERGO system (www.ergo.soton.ac.uk). Detailed guidance on how to apply and what documents to upload can be found on the Researcher Portal (https://intranet.soton.ac.uk/sites/researcherportal/ ) and in the Downloads section on the ERGO page.
Please note that the University does not permit mass emailing for the recruitment of research participants.
Your supervisor will need to approve your ethics application before it is reviewed by the Faculty Ethics Committee. There are no submission deadlines; instead applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. You can expect a decision within 10 working days. Please allow extra time in case you are asked for revisions. You must not begin your research before you have obtained approval via ERGO! Retrospective approval is never granted.
Failure to obtain ethics approval or to comply with the University’s Ethics Policy will be investigated under the University’s regulations governing Academic Integrity (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/academic-integrity-regs.html ).
5.11 Fitness to practice
The requirements of programmes of study leading to professional registration include a significant component governing fitness to practice. In addition to existing University procedures for academic progression and conduct, the University must ensure that the health status of students and their professional behaviour does not constitute a risk to service users, clients and their families, carers, the public, other students or the individuals themselves.
There are mechanisms in place to monitor any issues during your studies. Please ensure you are aware of the Fitness to Practice policy which can be found at http://www.southampton.ac.uk/assets/imported/transforms/content-block/UsefulDownloads_Download/91FC4510AA634741AA8F70B662143F58/Fitness%20to%20Practise%20Policy.pdf
6. Assessment and Examinations
6.1 Coursework assessment and submission
A number of modules include coursework assignments as part of the assessment. Coursework can often occupy a large amount of time and balancing your time across your full programme of study is important. Conversely, students who forget or do not bother to hand in work can make it very difficult for themselves to achieve their full academic potential.
6.2 Policy for overlength work
In response to student demand for greater clarity, a consistent approach towards overlength work has been adopted across the Faculty. Where relevant and appropriate, assignment length will be stipulated as either a word limit (ie 2000 words) or as an acceptable word range (ie 1800 to 2200 words). Your work will be overlength if you go even one word over the stipulated length or upper limit. There are no complicated penalties to apply. Instead, overlength work will be addressed through marking only that portion of work that falls within the word limit. Your mark will be based on this portion of your work with the result that the mark will usually be lowered.
Your individual module co-ordinators will provide further details via their Blackboard sites. This approach to overlength work does not apply if a piece of work has no word limit, however, you should attend to any length guidance given by your module co-ordinators.
6.3 Penalties for late coursework submission
When coursework is set a due date for submission will be specified and there will be associated penalties for handing in work late.
The University has a uniform policy for the late submission penalty for a piece of assessed work worth 10% or more of the final module mark.
Work submitted up to 5 University Working Days (UWD) after the deadline should be marked as usual, including moderation or second marking, and feedback prepared and given to the student. The final agreed mark is then reduced by the following factors:
1 UWD = (final agreed mark) * 0.9
2 UWD = (final agreed mark) * 0.8
3 UWD = (final agreed mark) * 0.7
4 UWD = (final agreed mark) * 0.6
5 UWD = (final agreed mark) * 0.5
+5UWD = ZERO
6.4 Coursework extensions
If you know there will be a valid reason why you cannot submit the work at the given date you must contact the Student Office as soon as possible. You should complete a Special Considerations form, which should provide adequate detail of the reasons why you are seeking an extension. Your completed form should be submitted to the Student Office who will arrange for your request to be reviewed and approved. The Student Office will contact you via your University email account to let you know once approval has been made. It is your responsibility to request an extension in a timely manner.
6.5 Examination preparation (also see Appendix A)
You will know yourself how best you prepare for examinations. It is always worth remembering that the sooner you start your preparation the better and that one of the aims of each module is to help you prepare for the examination. Make sure that you have a complete set of notes; that you understand their content; that you can apply the material by solving the example sheet questions; and that you have practised questions from past papers under examination time constraints. The University’s online archive of previously set examination papers is available to assist with your learning and preparation for forthcoming examinations. There is a link to Past Exam Papers from the Students Portal of Sussed (Links to Information and Services).
Remember that if you get into difficulty during your revision process on a particular subject ask someone to help you. This may be either one of the lecturers or teaching assistants on the module. For helpful hints on revision strategy and examination techniques, please refer to Appendix A.
The Assessment webpages (http://www.southampton.ac.uk/studentadmin/assessment/) provide helpful information on policy, process, exam regulations, venues and timetables.
Dates of examination periods for the 2015/16 academic year are as follows:
11 to 23 January 2016 (including Saturday 16 January)
16 May to 3 June 2016
(excluding Bank Holiday Monday 30 May but including Saturday 20 May and Saturday 27 May)
Supplementaries (referral period)
22 August to 2 September 2016
6.7 Illegible exam scripts
If your examination script is considered illegible, you will be asked to come in to dictate your script so that it can be transcribed. The costs associated with producing the transcript will fall to you and will be charged at £10.00 per hour . If you refuse to attend, you may be awarded a mark of zero (0). The Illegible Examinations Scripts Policy is available at http://www.southampton.ac.uk/IllegibleExamScriptsPolicy
6.8 Coursework and examination feedback
Full details of the University’s assessment framework are available in the University’s Quality Handbook which can be accessed from SUSSED.
Feedback comes in many forms and you must learn to recognise the merits of all of these. Formal feedback is well documented and the following paragraphs identify ones that you are officially entitled to. Informal feedback is just as important and comes in the form of individual chats with your tutor, module coordinators or project supervisors, or group meetings with academics after a lecture or practical session. Also tests and quizzes on Blackboard, which are available for several modules, can provide valuable feedback on how you are progressing.
All coursework will be marked and returned to you, accompanied by feedback which will relate to the standard of your work and the reasons for the mark/grade given. You should note that all marks are considered provisional until they have been reviewed and confirmed by the Board of Examiners. This feedback will typically be returned within four weeks following your submission. Large assignments (e.g. your dissertation/project work) may take slightly longer to be returned. Bear in mind that if you hand in work late, your feedback may be delayed.
Where appropriate, for example with smaller problem solving exercises like calculations, the lecturer will decide if feedback should be given individually, or reported back to the whole group. You are, however always free to ask the lecturer personally how you are progressing.
The feedback you receive will be:
• timely – allowing you to learn from your work
• related to the learning outcomes for that piece of work
• constructive and honest – allowing you to take the comments on board, learn from your mistakes and understand why you did well.
For the feedback to be effective, it is important that you work with the feedback given and identify how you can improve your work in the future. Should you need further information about your work, get in touch with whoever marked the coursework.
Feedback may be made available online or can be collected from the Student Office. You will be contacted when feedback is ready. For some kinds of assignment, other arrangements will be made and the module lead will explain those to you.
Although individual feedback on examinations is not normally given, feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the performance of the whole group which took an examination may be available via Blackboard.
6.9 Access to coursework/examination scripts
Students are entitled to view their examination scripts on request to the Faculty (your Student Office can advise on the process to be followed). You are only permitted to view an examination script to enable you to see how you can improve your future performance and no mark or other annotation on the script is negotiable or open to alteration. The absence of annotation on a script does not mean that it has not been marked.
6.10 Release of results
Students will be given, as a matter of course, the marks they obtain in each individual module of study after they have been ratified by the Board of Examiners.
These marks will be made available by your Student Office according to the procedures of the Faculty. In certain cases, especially for semester 1 exams, such marks at the time of release may be provisional only and subject to change by a subsequent Board of Examiners. It will be made clear when marks are provisional.
You should note that the official transcript of your marks would normally show the latest mark obtained in each subject with a note, where appropriate, that it was obtained at repeat or referral attempt.
6.12 Final assessment
At the end of your programme, your overall performance will be assessed. The basis of this assessment is specified in your programme regulations (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionXIII/sectXIII-index.html). If you satisfy the academic standards necessary, the examination board will recommend you for award.
7. Student feedback: getting your voice heard
7.1 Staff/student liaison and representation
Staff-Student liaison committees have representatives from across each programme. These committees have the role of monitoring the organisation and management of the student programmes, to note any difficulties that students may be encountering, and to take advice about ways of improving the programmes.
Through the Students’ Union (www.susu.org/education/) you will be invited to elect your faculty representatives (Faculty Leaders, Academic Presidents and Course Representatives) who co-ordinate the student voice on Faculty committees to enable your voice to be heard.
7.2 Module Survey
The Faculty aims to consult with and to provide opportunities for all students and staff to make their views known. You are encouraged to offer your comments/suggestions to members of staff and feedback is requested for each module undertaken. Your module co-ordinators will provide you with details of the process for submitting your views at the end of each module.
We provide support to final year students with their future careers, so every effort is made to help you secure employment after leaving University. Students are encouraged to start job-seeking early in their final year using resources such as the University Careers Destinations service (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/careers/).
We are confident that the educational experience we have given you provides a solid foundation on which to build a successful career, whether it is in engineering, commerce or elsewhere. You should consider, however, that learning is a lifetime experience and you should not regard your education finished at the end of your programme of study. Continuing professional development (CPD) via short courses, postgraduate diplomas and/or degrees and corporate membership of a professional institution may be of interest.
8.1 Employability events within the Faculty
8.2 Professional Accreditation
9. Further study opportunities
Perhaps you are considering postgraduate study. There is a wide range of programmes leading to various qualifications available to you, and selecting the appropriate programme may not be easy. The first thing to realise is that you need to make a well informed decision and therefore the key is to obtain all the information you need. The Faculty always aims to retain its best and brightest students for research. However when collecting information about postgraduate studies, you should cast your net wide. You need to select an area that interests you – a difficult task in itself because you will also seek an area that has good employment prospects. There is also the choice between taught postgraduate programmes leading towards a Master of Science (MSc) and/or research postgraduate degrees.
Further details on the programmes offered by the Faculty can be found on the Faculty’s website.
10. Appeals; complaints; dignity at work & study; student discipline
We hope that you will be satisfied with your experience during your time as a student at the University of Southampton but we do recognise that, on occasion, things can go wrong. If you have a concern about any aspect of your experience at the University we encourage you to raise it as soon as the concern arises. It is always better to let us know that you feel there is a problem as soon as possible so that the matter may be resolved quickly. You may alternatively wish to consult with your student academic president if it is an issue in common with other students. Please be reassured that you will not suffer any disadvantage or recrimination as a result of raising a genuine concern, complaint or appeal.
10.1 Academic appeals
Provided you have grounds, you may appeal against any academic decision made by the University. There are some exceptions and you should note you cannot appeal against a decision that has been made in the proper exercise of academic judgement. For example, you cannot appeal simply because you disagree with a decision the University has made or feel that a higher mark should have been given. The Regulations Governing Academic Appeals by Students (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/student-appeals.html) outlines the policy and the procedure that should be followed should you wish to steps that should be followed when making an appeal.
10.2 Student complaints
The Regulations Governing Student Complaints (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/student-complaints.html) sets out the process that should be followed should you wish to raise a complaint about a matter relating to either the facilities and services provided by the University, its academic programmes, and the conduct of University staff, and which has materially affected you.
10.3 Dignity at work and study
The University’s Dignity at Work and Study Policy (http://www.southampton.ac.uk/diversity/policies/dignity_at_work.page?) applies to the conduct of staff and students, in the context of their University work of study, or which otherwise affects the working, learning or social environment of the University. Fair criticism of staff or student performance or conduct will not be considered to be bullying or harassment provided that those involved are treated with dignity, courtesy and respect. Any allegation of harassment, bullying or victimisation will be treated seriously, regardless of the seniority of those involved, and anyone found to have behaved unacceptably may be the subject of disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion.
10.4 Student Discipline
As members of the University community, all students are expected to conduct themselves with due regard for its good name and reputation and are required to comply with the University’s Regulations at all times. Any allegation of misconduct will be considered within the Student Discipline Regulations (http://www.calendar.soton.ac.uk/sectionIV/discipline.html), in accordance with the evidence and circumstances presented. Information for students on discipline is available from the Student Services website via the following link: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/studentservices/discipline/student_information
Appendix A – Revision Strategy and Examination Techniques
A.1 Revision strategy
Revision should be an on-going process which starts very early in your programme. The amount of knowledge to be accumulated and the variety of skills and techniques to be developed are large and they are best assimilated gradually and consolidated as you go along. Regular revision is really a part of the learning process but, of necessity, becomes more concentrated as the examination approaches. “Re-vision” means looking again at things you have already seen – it is not about learning for the first time.
A.1.1 Final revision programme
At the start of your final revision schedule (during the Christmas Vacation for Semester 1 exams, and during the Easter Vacation and at the end of the taught element of the programme for Semester 2 exams) you must get organised, and the best way to do this is to devise a revision timetable. Plan your time carefully, give yourself definite objectives for each session, revise actively, test yourself regularly, make notes, and practise problem solving. Use revision sessions to study topics you have worked on before, as revision is simply the process of reminding you of topics and techniques previously understood. You will appreciate how well-organised notes will help you during your revision. Write out important definitions, proofs, formulae and equations, checking them against your notes. Re-work previously solved problems without looking at your previous solution, then attempt questions that you have not looked at before. Make special revision notes for quick reference on cards to keep in your pocket and charts to hang on the wall of your study room. Practise your examination technique.
A.1.2 Examination practice
You should be familiar with the modules and syllabuses you will be examined in at the end of Semesters 1 and 2. Analyse recent examination papers. Work out how long you have for each question and become familiar with the style of questions.
During your ordinary study periods you will no doubt have attempted many questions but will have seldom given yourself strict time restrictions. In examinations the timing of your answers to questions is vitally important. Practice answering examination questions in mock examination conditions, allowing yourself only the normal available examination time and the equipment you are permitted to take into the examination room. To obtain ‘mock examination’ practice save one or two complete examination papers so that you can use them as final test papers ‘against the clock’.
Examination nerves are common and understandable but will be lessened if you have followed a sensible course of study and revision. You may not do yourself justice if you have a poor examination technique. The hints on the next page should help you to tackle the examination with greater confidence.
A.2 Examination techniques
A.2.1 Before the day
Before the actual day of your examination, make sure you know:
• the date, day, time and venue of each paper for your programme;
• how to get to the examination venue if it is not well known to you;
• your candidate number;
• the telephone number of the Student Office.
Prepare any equipment you will need for your particular examination:
• pens which are comfortable to use;
• sharp pencils, a pencil sharpener and rubber;
• drawing instruments such as a ruler, compasses, protractor, set squares;
• University approved calculator (if allowed) and spare batteries (check that you know how to replace them quickly);
• an accurate watch or small clock.
A.2.2 On the Day
Before the examination
Check that you have all the equipment you will need before setting off for your examination with plenty of time to spare. If you are delayed, contact the Student Office (have the telephone number with you) to explain what has happened. Arrive at the examination room early; a late start to an examination cannot be a good start and you will not be permitted to enter the examination room later than 30 minutes after its scheduled start time.
Just before the start
Listen carefully to the invigilator. There may be some changes or special instructions which you were not expecting or some errors in the paper. Fill in any details, such as your candidate number, when the invigilator instructs you to do so.
Reading the instructions
When the invigilator says that you may begin, read the instructions on your examination paper very carefully. Make sure that it is the correct examination paper and, in particular, note:
• the number of sections and questions you have to do;
• how much time you have to do them in;
• which questions (if any) are compulsory;
• what choice of questions (if any) you have;
• how to present your answers.
Planning your time
Quickly calculate the length of time you should spend on each question. You will have practised doing this for past papers but make sure that you use the instructions on your actual examination paper, rather than making any assumptions. Try to allow about 10 minutes at the end for checking your paper.
Choosing the questions
Read through the whole examination paper carefully, checking that you have read each page. If you have a choice of questions:
• cross out the ones you can’t do;
• tick those you can definitely do;
• choose the correct number to do;
• mark the order in which you are going to attempt them, attempting your best question(s) first.
Answering the question
Before you attempt to answer a question, read it all again carefully, jotting down points such as formulae and information relating to that question. These hints should help you when writing an answer.
• Plan before you write – the stress of working under time constraints in the exam room can make all your good study intentions disappear. However, this is when it is more important than ever. Take a few minutes to think and plan.
• Think about what the question is actually asking. What are you expected to include in your answer. What material will be relevant?
Underline the key words in the question; identify the main topic and discussion areas; choose a few points/arguments about which you can write; make a mini plan which puts them in order before you start writing. You can cross it through afterwards.
• Make sure that your writing is legible.
• Present your answer in a neat, logical and concise way.
• Show all your working; marks are often given for methodology as well as your answers.
You should be able to refer by name to the main theorists/researchers in your topic, giving the year of their major works. You do not need to give page numbers of lengthy quotes, except in an open book exam. You do not need a reference list.
• Do not do things you are not asked for.
• If relevant, state any principles, results or formulae used and indicate your reasons for using them.
• Check any formulae you use with the formula sheet, if provided.
• Always do a rough estimate of any calculation to check that your answer is sensible.
• When using a calculator, make sure that each calculation is shown clearly in your answer and give your final answer to the required degree of accuracy.
• If you get ‘stuck’, re-read the question carefully to check that you have not missed any important information or hints given in the question itself.
• When you have completed your answer, re-read the question to check that you have answered all parts.
It is important that you try to keep to the times you have allocated to answering a question or section and that you answer the correct number of questions. If you answer less than the number of questions required you are limiting the number of marks available to you.
At the end
Before handing in your examination script check that:
• any ‘front sheet’ is completed according to the instructions;
• every loose page is clearly marked with your candidate number, etc;
• every answer is numbered correctly;
• pages are numbered clearly and in order.