Optional Modules for 2020/21

Memo regarding optional modules for 2020-21

The deadline for confirming any changes to optional modules delivered in the 2020/21 academic year is 31 January 2020, meaning that the relevant paperwork needs to be submited to the Curriculum Management Team in Registry on or before this date.

As colleagues will be aware, the New Academic Teaching Year (NATY) structure will take effect from 2020/21.  Optional modules delivered in 2020/21 therefore need to be NATY ready.

What does NATY Module Readiness mean in practice?

NATY is being implemented for all students from 2020/21, and, from that year,  each undergraduate and postgraduate taught module will be delivered and assessed within a single semester. Additionally, the majority of modules will be worth 20 credits. There are some permitted exceptions to the 20 credit norm – for example, dissertation/project modules and study abroad modules.  Furthermore, in the first year of undergraduate programmes, there will be four 10 credit modules: two delivering material via small group personal academic tutoring (one in semester one, and one in semester two), and another 10 credit module in each semester to accompany these (enabling students to undertake 60 credits per semester). 

If colleagues are concerned that there is particular content which cannot be taught in ‘short/fat’ 20 credit modules (e.g. due to a need for longitudinal learning), then there is a process by which further exceptions can be approved, subject to the submission of a good, pedagogic rationale.

Please contact naty@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call ext. 48064 for further guidance.

A flow chart which explains how existing modules may be made ‘NATY ready’ is available here. Additionally, pre-populated module approval forms are provided  below.

Useful information

The primary intranet site for the New Academic Teaching Year, which includes details regarding the reasons why it is being introduced and FAQs.

A diagram comparing the 2018-19 academic year to the 2020-21 academic year, enabling colleagues to identify the key differences.




Professional Services