All students will be provided with information by their College or School which relates to the course that you are studying, including timetable, assessment schedule and criteria, module information, extra-curricular activities, additional fees, laboratory equipment and insurance.
College/School handbooks will provide you with important information about the their mission statement and the structure of the College/School, reference to examination and assessment matters, how the College/School can enhance your employability, your obligations as a student, general information about your programme and module content, academic mentoring, information about studying at Swansea and useful contact details.
It is important that you familiarise yourself with this information provided by your College/School as you will need to refer to the handbook throughout your studies.
University Academic Handbooks
The University Academic Handbooks provide you with an overview of some of the University’s academic regulations, policies and procedures that are relevant to you and your studies.
You are advised to refer to this handbook to access important information that can assist you throughout the duration of your studies and at times when you might need academic support.
Every module has specific learning outcomes. In other words, the lecturer will identify what knowledge and skills you should be able to demonstrate by the end of the module. These learning outcomes should be provided in the College/School Handbook or in module handouts and are also available in the online module catalogue, https://intranet.swan.ac.uk/catalogue/. The lecturer will assess whether or not you have met these learning outcomes either at the end of the module, or possibly throughout the module through continuous assessment.
Each module will have an assessment pattern that will be particular to that module. For instance, the module might be assessed by examination and continuous assessment, or by practical work. Details of the assessment pattern will be provided to students in the College/School Handbook as an assessment planner. You must note that you will need to comply fully with the assessment pattern of the module by completing every aspect of the assessment before you can be deemed to have completed the module. Failure to comply with these requirements will usually result in failing the module.
Credit points will be awarded to you on successful completion of the assessment tasks associated with the module, which are designed to demonstrate whether or not you have achieved the learning outcomes of the module. Credit points are instrumental in determining whether you have studied and passed sufficient modules to enable you to proceed.
Each student pursuing an initial undergraduate degree must ensure that the credit weighting of the modules pursued at each Level of Study total at least 120 credit points. Check your Intranet student profile to confirm the modules that you have chosen and their credit weighting. Postgraduate Taught students must pursue the following:
|Standard (One Year) Taught Masters programmes||180 credits, with 120 credits in Part One and 60 credits in Part Two.|
|Extended (Two Year) Taught Masters programmes||240 credits, with 120 credits in Year One and 120 credits in Year Two.|
|Flexible (One Year) Taught Masters programmes||180 credits.|
In the case of part-time students this would be split over more than one academic session. Should you have any doubts, you are advised to contact your College/School or Academic Services.
If you have pursued modules totalling less than 120 credit points in one Level/Part One/Year One of Study you will not be able to satisfy the progression rules and will not be allowed to proceed to the next Level/Part of Study of your degree. You must progress from one Level/Part/Year of Study to the next, which normally for full-time students, will occur on an annual basis.
If you are pursuing a modular programme you will select your optional modules at the start of your programme. Some students may find that they are not be able to pursue optional modules and are advised to speak to their Programme Directors. Compulsory modules are normally automatically recorded, but details of all modules must be formally recorded once they have been chosen and approved. It is your responsibility to ensure that you select modules in accordance with the rules as set by the College/School and included in the College/School Handbook.
If you are a returning student you will be required by your College(s)/School(s) to pre-select your optional modules for the next Level of Study at the end of the academic year. If you change your mind and would prefer to select other modules you will be given an opportunity to amend your module profile at the beginning of the academic session. However, you will be permitted to transfer modules and/or programmes as long as the transfers are approved and put into effect within the permitted time-scale.
A module can be described as a building block of a programme of study - it is a self-contained component and is normally made up of a series of lectures/tutorials/practical's combined with independent study and assessment tasks. Each module has its specific learning outcomes, a syllabus, a teaching/learning pattern and a means of assessing whether or not you have met the learning outcomes. Each module is assigned credit points.
Structure of Modules
The structure of a module can change from subject to subject, and indeed can vary even within a subject. Most modules are based around the formal lecture structure whereby you are expected to attend lectures and to undertake private study. If you are pursuing lecture-based modules you are normally also expected to attend seminars. Other forms of modules would include practical-based modules which will include a large practical element. Naturally the formal contact between you and the academic staff teaching your modules will be greater on the practical-based modules than the lecture based modules. You are advised to refer to the College/School Handbook for more information on the structure of each module.
Although modules are regarded as stand-alone building blocks, Colleges/Schools may group certain modules together and identify them as being compulsory modules for particular programmes. Such modules are regarded as being essential components of certain programmes and hence you must pursue such modules. Details of your compulsory modules are given in your College/School Handbook.
In some disciplines, compulsory modules may also be labelled as ‘core’ modules. Core modules must not only be pursued but they must also be passed. These are particularly relevant in subjects leading to professional qualifications such as Law, Psychology, Social Work, Medicine and Engineering. Unless they are passed, you will not be allowed to progress from one level of study to another or complete the programme.
Optional modules are chosen by you. Optional modules are normally within the subject area of the programme but can also include other subject areas offered within the College/School or related subjects offered by other Colleges/Schools. Lists of approved optional modules are available in the College/School. Academic staff are always available to advise you on your selection of optional modules.
Normally, by the time you reach the final year of study of an undergraduate programme, the number of compulsory modules will have been reduced to allow for greater choice of optional modules within the College/School, thereby enabling you to study more specialised topics. The choice of optional modules will always be governed by timetabling constraints.
With the approval of the Home College/School, you are allowed to pursue elective modules. These modules are in a subject area which does not reflect the content of the programme/title of award, for instance, a European language module. The Head of College/School must authorise the selection of an elective module. In some cases, the College/School may identify the elective modules. Elective modules are not permitted for students pursuing Postgraduate Taught programmes.
Replacement modules are those modules which are normally studied during the second semester in place of other modules from which a student has withdrawn beyond the permitted deadline of six weeks from the commencement of the module.
Substitute modules are those modules which are normally studied during the second semester in place of modules which have been failed during the first semester. You may apply to your home College/School to be permitted to pursue substitute module(s). The marks obtained for substitute modules will be subject to the capping rules.
Colleges might stipulate that you must have passed certain modules before being allowed to select another, i.e. to pursue module ‘X’ you must have passed module ‘Y’. Module ‘Y’ is called a pre-requisite. Similarly, Colleges/Schools might stipulate that if you select a certain module you must pursue another related module during the same session. These are referred to as co-requisites. On the other hand certain modules are labelled incompatibles, i.e. if you select one module, you are prevented from selecting another related module. You must ensure that you can comply with such requirements before selecting individual modules.
Each module will be assigned a level rating which reflects the academic standard of the module and gives an indication of the demands placed on you. For three year undergraduate programmes these would typically be Level 4, 5 and 6 (Years 1, 2, and 3), Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes would be Level 7, as would the modules in the final year of Advanced Initial Degrees (e.g. MEng, MMath).
You will be expected to progress from one level of study to another during the course of your study as applicable, developing your subject knowledge as you do so.
The Intercalary Year, if you are going abroad to study, is termed Level S and Level E is used to describe a period in industry or work as a language assistant.
A programme is a collection of modules structured in such a way as to form an academically acceptable whole. Undergraduate programmes are split into Levels of Study (e.g. three levels for a three-year programme). In programmes with multiple levels of study you will progress from one level of study to the other by being awarded the requisite number of credits. The title of the programme reflects the content, which will have been pre-determined by the College/School. In the case of Postgraduate Taught Masters Degrees, the programme may be split into Part One and Part Two (the directed independent learning stage), Year One and Year Two or may be a continuous flexible programme. In order to progress you must successfully obtain the requisite number of credits.
Each programme in Swansea has a definite structure which has been drawn up by the Colleges/Schools and approved by the University. The programme outline is produced by each College/School in the form of a ‘programme specification’, which focuses on single programmes of study, and outlines the intended knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes which you would expect to gain upon completion of that programme. Programme specifications also give details of the teaching and assessment methods in use, as well as linking the programme to the Quality Assurance Agency's Subject Benchmark statements, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and to the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales.
Swansea University normally requires that programme specifications be available in the College/School Handbook, showing the structure of programmes with a clear indication of the compulsory and optional modules, and details of the learning outcomes of the programme.
Qualification descriptors set out typical expectations of knowledge and understanding that you should gain and be able to demonstrate on successfully completing your programme. They are a guide to the setting of appropriate standards according to what type of programme you are following, e.g. undergraduate, taught postgraduate, postgraduate research, etc. More specific expectations at undergraduate level are outlined in the different ‘subject benchmarks statements’ produced by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).
Swansea University has adopted descriptors for its degrees/awards programmes which incorporate the qualification descriptors articulated in the UK Quality Code: Qualifications and Credit Frameworks.
By applying qualification descriptors to its awards, Swansea University aims to improve graduate mobility by ensuring that the level and quality of your award is quickly and easily compared with European counterparts for either employment or further study purposes.
For further information about subject benchmarks, qualifications descriptors and the relationship between the UK and European frameworks, visit the QAA’s website www.qaa.ac.uk under ‘https://www.qaa.ac.uk/quality-code’.
Terms and Semesters
The teaching pattern for most students pursuing degree programmes of study will be based on two semesters which fit into a three-term structure, Michaelmas term, Lent term and Summer term. For a full breakdown of dates for current and future academic sessions go to Term and Semester Dates.
Academic Year Structure for Undergraduate Programmes
Modules can be taught in either Semester 1 or Semester 2, or can be taught throughout the session across both Semesters. Modules falling into this latter category are termed ‘long modules’ since they run from September to May. Some Colleges/Schools also offer very intensive short modules, taught over a one/two week period. These are normally restricted to the final year of Advanced Initial Degrees (e.g. MEng, MMath).
If you are pursuing programmes in the College of Human and Health Sciences the teaching patterns will differ due to the different teaching requirements imposed by professional bodies. Details will be given in your College/School Handbook.
Academic Year Structure for Postgraduate Taught Master’s Programmes
The structure of the academic year for one-year Standard and Flexible Postgraduate Taught Master’s programmes runs from September to September if you are a full-time student. For Standard One year programmes, Part One (the pursuit of taught modules) is normally completed between September and May/June, and Part Two (the dissertation) between July and September.
In the case of Extended two-year programmes, Part One is normally complete between September and May in Year One, with Part Two (the dissertation) beginning between either June and January or September and May in Year Two. Some postgraduate programmes, however, teach and assess their Part One modules to a format outside the normal undergraduate teaching pattern, for example through an intensive week or weekend study with an examination at the end of the module, and/or an assignment to be completed shortly thereafter. Details will be given in your College/School Handbook.
The structure of the academic year if you are a full-time Postgraduate Diploma student shall normally mirror that of Part One of a Standard Taught Masters programme.
If you are a Postgraduate Certificate student the structure of the academic year will be outlined in your College/School Handbooks.
Length of the Teaching Day
The teaching day will normally be from 09:00 to 18:00 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Teaching on a Wednesday will run from 09:00 to 14:00. The University will work to minimise teaching sessions held on Wednesdays between 13:00 and 14:00 as far as possible, with the aim of delivering teaching from 09:00 to 13:00 only on a Wednesday. Students on work-based placements or on a small number of programmes with professional requirements may have scheduled teaching sessions on Wednesdays after 14:00. Where this is the case students with sporting or other commitments should discuss this with their tutor or lecturer.
Where lectures are re-scheduled (due to unavoidable absence or other event) and if the only available timetable slot is after 18:00 (or 14:00 on a Wednesday), lectures should be recorded and made available via Blackboard to all students. Scheduling additional sessions such as tutorials, seminars or other activity after 18:00 (and after 14:00 on Wednesdays) is only permissible where there is an alternative timetabled session available for students to attend.
This does not apply to provision aimed at part-time students delivered in the evenings.
Credit points can be regarded as the currency for modular programmes. Each module is allocated a fixed credit weighting which gives an indication of the workload associated with that module.
You are expected to devote approximately the same amount of time for modules which have the same credit weighting. In a practical-based module, most of your time will be spent on practical work and in preparing for assessment. In a lecture-based module a considerable amount of your time will be spent on private study. In total, you will be expected to spend approximately 100 hours studying per 10 credit point module. This will include formal teaching sessions/laboratory/practical work, private study, revision and assessment.
Undergraduate Credit Allowance
Full-time undergraduate students will normally pursue a total of 120 credits a year. If you have registered for a three-year honours degree programme you will therefore be expected to pursue modules attracting 360 credit points; for a four-year programme it will be 480. For full details of the credit requirements of various programmes, please refer to the specific regulations found in the section entitled Undergraduate Award Regulations.
If you are a part-time student you are normally expected to pursue modules totalling 60 credit points per academic year, although this requirement can be adjusted slightly with the permission of the Head of College/School, provided that the minimum and maximum requirements of 30 and 90 credit points, respectively, are honoured.
Full-time students will pursue the following number of credits:
|Standard (One Year) Taught Masters programmes||180 credits, with 120 credits in Part One of your programme and 60 credits in Part Two.|
|Extended (Two Year) Taught Masters programmes||240 credits, with 120 credits in Year One of your programme and 120 credits in Year Two.|
|Flexible (One Year) Taught Masters programmes||180 credits.|
If you are a part-time Taught Masters student you are normally expected to pursue modules selected in consultation with your Programme Co-ordinator. Part-time students will normally pursue between 30 and 60 credits each year.
Postgraduate Diploma students are expected to pursue 120 credits and Postgraduate Certificate students 60 credits.
European Credit Transfer System Credits (ECTS)
The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) was developed to provide common procedures to guarantee academic recognition of studies abroad. It provides a way of measuring and comparing academic merits and transferring them from one institution in Europe to another.
Swansea University credits values are translated into ECTS credit values by dividing the Swansea credit value by two. For example 20 Swansea credits is equivalent to 10 ECTS credits.
Official documentation, such as the academic transcript and the Higher Education Achievement Report, available to you when you complete your programme of study in Swansea will refer to both Swansea and ECTS credits.
Your College/School, and especially your Academic Mentor, will be monitoring your progress throughout your time of study encouraging you to complete your programme within the set deadlines. Students are urged to talk to their Academic Mentor about any problems or concerns they may have if they feel their progress is not as expected.
The regulations governing the completion of a programme of study within a prescribed time limit can be found in your specific Award Regulations.
Students who fail to complete their programme within the prescribed time limit may be eligible for an exit award.
However, in exceptional cases, an application can be made for an extension to the time limit. You should contact your College/School to make an application, which will be forwarded to the Director of Academic Services where the case will be considered administratively on behalf of the Academic Regulations and Cases Board. Please note that independent evidence confirming the basis of the application will be required for all extension requests.
A summary of the time limits (termed ‘candidature’) can be found under the links below:
* Mode of attendance refers to whether you are studying the programme on a full-time, part-time or ‘mixed’ basis - i.e. you may, upon application to the College, and subject to the relevant regulations transfer between modes should you wish to and if the programme is delivered in the other mode.
Normal Duration of Candidature for:
Teaching timetables are prepared by the Estates and Facilities Management Department and examination timetables by the Examinations Office in Academic Services. Although every effort is made to ensure that such timetables are clash-free, it is recognised that you might be prevented from pursuing a module due to timetabling constraints. You are advised to raise any problems arising from timetables with your Home College/School in the first instance, and with the appropriate member of staff in either the Estates and Facilities Management Department or the Examinations Office, should the problem persist.