Your studies

During restricted campus operations, the University will be delivering teaching and assessment online. We understand that this will raise many questions.  Please refer to the relevant sections below:

Please be aware that information on this page will continue to be updated as the situation develops.

Frequently Asked Questions for Undergraduate (UG) and Postgraduate Taught (PGT) finalists about the Summer Exam and Assessment Period - updated 27/04/20.

General questions for UG and PGT finalists about the Summer Exam period.

We recognise that you may have many questions as a result of this situation. Please be assured we are doing all we can to  ensure as many students as possible are given the opportunity to secure the best possible outcomes for themselves. Our approach has been designed to ensure ‘no detriment’ and also ‘reduced pressure’ for students as set out in the main statement issued on 03/04/2020.

Who is this relevant for?

This is only relevant for final year Undergraduate students, or students on a Postgraduate Taught programme who are due to complete their degrees this year (2020). It does not apply to any other students. Please see the separate information for non-final year Undergraduates and Postgraduate Research students.

Why has the University taken these decisions?

We have been mindful of the needs to both reduce pressures on students, and also take into account the many personal challenges that will be facing staff who will be marking assessments and administering the processes behind assessment. We want to ensure that as many students as possible get the best chance to secure the best outcome.

Is the University still open?

The University campus is now in a restricted operations mode, meaning that most campus buildings are closed and nearly all staff are working from home to comply with UK Government requirements and to promote and protect the safety of our community. 

Our staff are still working hard to support students, but this does mean that responses to any individual queries may be delayed.  Please be patient. We will be in contact with you to confirm your individual position as soon as possible.

What is a no-detriment approach?

We want to ensure that as many students as possible can complete their degree on time, with a classification that is a fair reflection of their achievements. This has affected both the amount of work we will be asking students to do and the type of work but not the academic quality.

Your degree classification and overall mean mark will be calculated using the best marks to make up the credits up to the number required.

What does the University mean by best marks?

This means that if you have successfully completed more than the credits we are requiring this academic year (please see table below), your best (highest numerically scoring) marks will be the ones used to calculate your degree classification and overall weighted-mean mark.

I am doing an Undergraduate or Integrated Masters degree– how am I affected?

You will need to have (in addition to marks from previous years) marks for 80 credits from the final year of your programme, including the dissertation/project and enough evidence that you have met the overall Programme Learning Outcomes. Your programme team will be in contact with you directly to confirm if you have achieved both already.

In the meantime you should continue working to complete outstanding coursework assessments, and/or dissertation/project for individual modules and refer to the most recent local information from your programmes about deadlines and any extensions or alternative arrangements. 

I am doing a Postgraduate Taught programme – how am I affected?

You will need marks for 80 credits from the taught component of your programme. This will mean you can progress to the project/dissertation and focus on that over the summer period (to secure an additional 60 credits). For PGDip or PGCerts, the number of credits required has also been lowered – please see the table below.

I’m not sure how many credits I have done or should be doing.

Your programme administration team will be in contact with you as soon as possible to let you know if you have gained enough credits this year to not need additional assessment. You do not need to check this yourself – we will let you know. 

Table explaining the new credit requirement for graduating cohort.

This table explains the new credit requirements for the graduating cohort in this academic year.

Course type

Number of credits normally required each academic year

Number of credits required for this academic year 2020

Undergraduate degree

120 credits for each year

80 credits for final year for a total of 320 credits (which must include your project or dissertation)

MSci/MEng integrated degrees (final year 2020)

120 credits for each year

80 credits for this year (including the 40 credit, 60 credit or 80 credit project).

Postgraduate MA/MSc degree (full time)

180 credits, including a 60 credit project

140 credits, including a 60 credit project or dissertation

Postgraduate MA/MSc degree (two years part time, finishing this academic year)

60 credits of taught modules, plus 60 credit dissertation, adding up to 180 by the end of the degree

160 credits (40 taught credits this year and a 60 credit project or dissertation)

Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Diploma

120 credits of taught modules

80 credits of taught modules

Postgraduate Certificate or Graduate Certificate

60 credits of taught modules

40 credits of taught modules

Questions about assessments, credits, marks, dissertations and transcripts for UG and PGT finalists.

What kind of additional assessment might I be asked to do?

This depends on your programme. However all online assessments in the summer period will be designed to be as inclusive as possible, taking account of any reasonable adjustments, additional time requirements, and the current circumstances in which students are working.

What if I cannot do an online assessment?

For a small number of students, it may not be possible to complete an online assessment due to the current circumstances. Your programme team will work with you to identify reasonable alternatives so that you can meet the required number of credits. Students with a Reasonable Adjustment Plan (RAP) in place will be considered and may be offered an alternative assessment type where our arrangements for an additional/online assessment are not practical.

I have been told I have completed all the credits I need this year; do I still need to do the outstanding assessment?

Your programme lead or team will advise on whether you are able to drop remaining pieces of coursework or whether these are required as part of your 80-credits. Remember that completing your final year project/dissertation is always a requirement.

What if I have submitted an assessment but not yet received my marks?

This work will count as contributing to credits. If, when you get the marks back, this brings you to the number of credits we require, you will not need to do any additional assessment. If the marks are amongst your ‘best’ for your assessments then these will be included in your degree classification calculation, if not then they will be discounted.

Why do the credits used to calculate my degree include the dissertation/ project?

We have determined that in order to meet your Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and to assure the academic integrity of our degrees, your marks for your dissertation/project must be used to calculate your degree classification and overall mean mark.

What will my transcript look like?

Your transcript will reflect all the modules that you have studied, even if they were not formally assessed as part of the updated credit requirements for 2020.

I’m a final year UG/Integrated Masters student – will I be able to resit a failed assessment?

If you subsequently fail some of the assessments that you have submitted but have not yet had marked, and you then fall below the emergency threshold we have set, you will have the usual opportunity to resit in August (online). We will keep this requirement to an absolute minimum.  

I’m a PGT student – will I be able to resit failed modules or assessments?

If you subsequently fail either full modules or some of the assessments that you have submitted but have not yet had marked, and you then fall below the emergency threshold we have set, you will have the usual opportunity to resit in August (online). We will keep these requirements to an absolute minimum.

My programme has a Professional, Statutory, or Regulatory Body – do these processes still apply to me?

Your programme lead or team will be in touch to advise if these processes apply to your degree and any professional standards or requirements, and if not, what the next steps are.

 I am doing a Postgraduate Degree Apprenticeship. How am I affected?

You must still fulfil your off-the-job training hours in order to progress to End Point Assessment prior to graduating. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have met all Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours set out in the relevant Apprenticeship Standard prior to graduating. Your programme lead or team will advise you in more detail.

Why can’t Birmingham just take the same approach as other Universities and count the marks from all years towards the degree classification? 

Universities have different ways of calculating degrees (i.e. degree algorithms). In our case, in a 3 year UG degree, we don’t count 1st year marks towards degree classifications, and year 2 only counts for 25%. Given that students completed their assessments in years 1 and 2 with these expectations, it would be unfair on many students if we took a blanket decision to weight all these marks differently now. Nonetheless, in looking across the whole profile of a student at the exam boards this summer, we will take into consideration all the final year marks available and analyse whether there has been any negative change in profile from any work submitted earlier in the final year and in the second year. We will always take the most positive approach to each student when arriving at the final degree classification.

Why do some Birmingham students have so few final year marks available at this stage compared to those at other universities?

Universities have different ways of calculating degrees (i.e. degree algorithms) and different ways of organising the academic year. Many other universities have a two semester system with two formal examination points each year. This means they already had at least 50% of final year marks available (from the Semester One exams) for their final year UG students, or PGT programme students, before this disruption started. For many of our programmes, we only have one formal examination period – in May/June - which means we have suffered more disruption than some other universities because we have very few final year marks available.

In this situation, we have to balance two things: (i) the need to ensure that a Birmingham degree will be comparable to others in the sector and so will retain its value over time to the graduate; and (ii) the desire to reduce to an absolute minimum the number of online assessments that any student is required to do.  So, we have devised a framework that ensures a student’s degree classification will be based on sufficient final year marks to have credibility with employers, while taking into account the circumstances. That’s why we are looking at each student individually, ensuring we ask the absolute minimum to ensure students meet the programme learning outcomes. At exam boards, we will also be looking at each individual student and their profiles from all years/or across the PFT programme, to ensure the final degree classification is a fair reflection of achievement in these difficult circumstances.

Why is it important to ensure that Birmingham students have sufficient final year marks in their profile and on their transcripts?

As students go into their careers, they will want to be confident that their degree is as credible as those of students from any other university. In the framework we have developed, this will be very clear to employers.

 Why do we need all students to complete the project/dissertation (where relevant to their programme)?

In most programmes, the project/dissertation is designed as a capstone type of learning activity that covers multiple programme learning outcomes. This means that where we are able to count the project/dissertation marks, we can reduce the need for students to undertake some or all of the exams they were expecting in the summer. Students also tend to secure comparatively high marks in their project/dissertation, so weighting this more heavily where students are short of final year marks will often be to the student’s advantage.

 In a few cases, even with the dissertation marks, students will be short of marks to make up the 80 credits required from the final year. For these cases, we are designing inclusive and flexible replacement assessments for the exams. We will keep these to an absolute minimum (usually no more than one or two assessments) because we recognise that students are completing them in far from ideal circumstances. We will then look at a student’s total profile at exam board, including year 2 marks, so we can mitigate where we see evidence of negative impacts on profiles.

 What if I am unhappy with my final degree classification?

If you receive your degree classification and feel it is unfair, you can appeal for the opportunity to take a full set of final exams at the next available opportunity after the pandemic restrictions are lifted. We will make every effort, however, to ensure that we make the very best decisions for each of you so that won’t be necessary.

Why has the University been unable to accept the recommendations made by the Guild for a different ‘no-detriment’ policy?

The Senior Education team at the University has been engaged in regular dialogue with the Guild of Students throughout the period of the current COVID-19 crisis.  We have listened carefully to student concerns and views, and this has informed our published approach to supporting final year students - at all levels - to complete their awards and be able to graduate in these unprecedented times.

Rather than “rejecting” the recommendations from the Guild, we have considered them carefully and, in some aspects, we believe we have gone further than the Guild proposals to ensure that the best interests of all students are represented.  Throughout the development of our no detriment approach we have balanced a number of priorities: 

  • Firstly, focussing on the wellbeing of students and concern for the difficult conditions in which students will be completing their studies;  
  • Secondly, preserving the integrity of a University of Birmingham degree for all our graduates (past, current and future) and for wider stakeholders including professional bodies and employers;
  • Thirdly, providing certainty that students will graduate with an award that reflects their achievements fairly notwithstanding the current global circumstances.

We have provided a detailed response to the Guild of Students suggestions – which you can read here.  

In all communications with graduating cohorts, we have emphasised that the end-of-year Exam Boards will look carefully at every student’s full marks profile (marks from all years) and we are putting in place, for the first time, Boards that focus exclusively on final year students so that each Board has the time to review every student profile individually and mitigate against any negative impacts. Having carefully considered the alternatives, we have concluded that this is better than adopting “blanket” measures that do not take into account the very different assessment positions in which individual students find themselves.  We have also relaxed the evidence requirements for students to submit claims for extenuating circumstances so these can be considered at an individual level at Exam Boards.

In other words, our policy ensures that if (for example) a student has a strong 1st Class Honours profile with all the credits they have completed, they will graduate with a 1st Class Honours. We would not allow them to lose a 1st Class Honours on the basis of marks that are outliers compared to the rest of their profile. We have stated that we will always take the most positive approach to each student when arriving at the final degree classification and this will happen through consideration of each individual case at exam boards.

In order to ensure that students are not put under undue pressure in the current circumstances, we have already reduced the degree classification credit requirement to 80 credits. We have also mapped each student’s pathway through modules to ensure they will have evidence that they have met the programme learning outcomes. Again, having carefully considered all the options, we have concluded that it would be unreasonable to have taken this step and then, in addition and as recommended by The Guild, implement a “blanket” 5% increase to all dissertation and project marks, or give additional weighting to second year marks. It is important to us, and it will be important to you, that future employers continue to value the high calibre of Birmingham graduates and the integrity of a University of Birmingham Award.

We know that everyone is working hard under exceptional circumstances, and that includes staff. The provisions we have put in place for all students, but in particular for final year students, are exceptional and take careful account of the world in which we find ourselves today. We believe these provisions are fair, proportionate and in the best interests of students now and into their futures.

These emergency arrangements were approved by University Council, which includes Guild representation.

You can find all of the information for final year students here.  

Information if you are a first year UG student progressing to second year.

Message for UG Continuing Students who will be progressing from Year 1 to Year 2 in the next academic year from the Pro-Vice Chancellor Education, Professor Kathy Armour.

Emergency Progression Framework

1.       Introduction

I hope you and yours are well and everyone is coping in these strange and difficult times. I think we are all desperately keen to return to life-as-we-knew-it, although it seems we are going to have to wait longer than we had initially hoped. In this message, we provide further details about the Bridging Coursework that is being set to help you to progress successfully into the second year of study.

As you know, in recent weeks, your lecturers had to prioritise the development of an emergency assessment framework to address the immediate challenges facing our 2020 graduating cohorts. I would like to thank you for your patience while this work was ongoing.

You will recall from our earlier communication that all students are being automatically progressed to the next academic year. The only requirement is that you engage with a formative piece of Bridging Coursework to prepare you for your next year of study (see further details below).

For those students on professional programmes, we have varied the requirement to ensure the Bridging Coursework can also help you to fill any gaps in your professional body requirements, thereby reducing the amount of additional work required next year. 

2.       Why do we need an emergency progression framework?

You will recall that in our degree algorithm, 1st year marks do not count towards your final degree classification, although successful completion of 100 credits is required. Clearly, in this emergency situation, many students will be missing marks and credits, so we will be adapting the 2nd year of study to account for these gaps. In addition, we are setting a piece of Bridging Coursework to help you to prepare for your 2nd year.

3.       What are the details of the Emergency Progression Framework for Continuing Students (Year 1 to Year 2)

A.       Students who are on general degree programmes (single or joint honours) without additional professional body requirements

 Given all the disruption to your studies this year, we want to ensure that you are as well prepared as possible for next year and that you have covered as many Programme Learning Outcomes as possible for this stage of your programme.

Meanwhile, we know that many of you are completing pieces of coursework and our advice remains the same: the more of any outstanding coursework work you are able to complete, the better placed you will be to begin your studies next year. At the same time, we recognise that for some students, personal challenges will make that more difficult. Please refer to the most recent local information from your programmes about deadlines, extensions or any alternative arrangements you may require.

Bridging Coursework: Each programme team is working on setting a specific piece of Bridging Coursework. We recognise that the situation in which you are trying to complete this coursework is far from ideal – with restricted access to some resources and, in some cases, difficult personal circumstances – so your programme teams will be designing the coursework accordingly. The requirement is that you must simply engage with and submit this coursework in preparation for your studies next year. Completion/submission of the work to the best of your ability will count as meeting the requirement. This requirement is all about preparation for successful study next year, so your personal academic tutors will provide you with personal feedback on your submitted Bridging Coursework, focussing on your readiness for the year ahead.   

All students will receive details of their Bridging Coursework from their School by the 15th May at the latest. The deadline for submission of the completed work will be up to 31st August 2020, although you can submit as soon as you are ready, and some programmes will set earlier recommended submission dates (i.e. 30th June). NB: we are setting long, flexible submission deadlines in recognition that you may be facing a range of challenges in the place where you are attempting to study, not because this will be a large piece of work that will take a long time to complete.  Your School will provide further detailed guidance shortly.

If there are students who will struggle to complete by the end of August, an extension can be granted for completion/submission during the autumn term.

B.      Students who are on programmes with professional body requirements who may require additional evidence/credits to meet specific professional requirements.

Although all students on professional programmes are able to progress into the next year of study, we also have to ensure you meet professional body requirements to ensure your degree is valid for future employment. Each professional body has different requirements so, in this generic message, we are unable to provide all the individual programme details that you will require. This detail will follow from your Schools.

Professional Body requirements: It is likely that where students on professional programmes are lacking completed module marks (for example in Engineering and Physical Sciences, Medicine/related and Law) they will have failed to meet all professional body requirements.

In these cases, Programmes will ensure that the gaps are made up either by the Bridging Coursework (see below), or by setting some additional tests in the autumn term once you return to campus, or a combination of both. Note, that by using the Bridging Coursework (where feasible) to fill professional body gaps, we are reducing the amount of additional work that students will be required to do next year.

The Bridging Coursework: In addition to ensuring we can calculate a provisional continuation mark from this year’s marks, and you have met essential programme learning outcomes and professional body requirements, we want to ensure you are as well prepared as possible for next year. Each programme team is, therefore, working on setting a specific piece of Bridging Coursework that will meet a range of requirements. We recognise that the situation in which you are trying to complete this coursework is far from ideal – with restricted access to some resources and, in some cases, difficult personal circumstances – so your programme teams will be designing the coursework accordingly. Your personal academic tutors will provide you with personal feedback on your submitted Bridging Coursework, focussing on your readiness for the year ahead.     

The Bridging Coursework for professional programmes will be set by your School by the 15th May at the latest. The deadline for submission of the completed work will be up to 31st August 2020, although you can submit as soon as you are ready, and some programmes will set earlier recommended submission dates (i.e. 30th June). NB: we are setting long, flexible submission deadlines in recognition that you may be facing a range of challenges in the place where you are attempting to study, not because this will be a large piece of work that will take a long time to complete. Your School will provide further detailed guidance shortly.

If there are students who will struggle to complete by the end of August, an extension can be granted for completion/submission during the autumn term.

If any student on a professional programme fails the Bridging Coursework, they will be offered tutorial support and then a further opportunity to complete next term. Marking criteria will be set to ensure you have the evidence you need to meet your professional requirements. This means that the requirements for successfully completing the Bridging Coursework are different for students on professional programmes. On those programmes where additional tests are required, lecturers will be building these in to the first semester of the next academic year.

4.       Birmingham Blogs: A Big Conversation about our Post Covid-19 World

Later in May, we are going to open an online space for students (and staff and alumni) to submit Blogs about the world post Covid-19, and views on how different disciplines can help us to find a way forward. Participation will be voluntary, and further details will follow.

Finally, what about the next academic year? 

At the beginning of this crisis I think many of us hoped that we would be back on campus by the summer, and ready for business as usual in the new academic year. As each week goes by and more information becomes available, that looks increasingly unlikely. We don’t have all the answers at this stage, but I just wanted to let you know that we are already working on the development of a resilience model for education in the autumn term. We are modelling a range of different scenarios and as soon as things become clearer, we will be able to communicate further.

Meanwhile, look after yourselves. Your Schools will be in contact as detailed above and if you have any queries, you should contact them in the usual ways.  

Best Wishes

Professor Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)

If you are not sure who to contact you can get in touch with your school or college at these e-mail addresses:

College of Medical and Dental Sciences:

mds-reporting@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Social Sciences:

Birmingham Business School -  bbsassessmentsupport@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Education -  education@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Government -  gandsugenquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Social Policy  headofsocialpolicy@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Engineering and Physical Sciences eps-concerns@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Arts and Law
Philosophy, Theology and Religion: ptr-progression2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

English, Drama and Creative Studies: edacsassessment2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music: lcahmcontactgroup@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 History and Cultures: shacadmin@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 Law: Lawqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

les-action-2019@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

Information for second year UG students progressing to third year.

Message for UG Continuing Students who will be progressing from Year 2 to Year 3 in the next academic year from the Pro-Vice Chancellor Education, Professor Kathy Armour.

Emergency Progression Framework

1.       Introduction

I hope you and yours are well and everyone is coping in these strange and difficult times. I think we are all desperately keen to return to life-as-we-knew-it, although it seems we are going to have to wait longer than we had initially hoped. In this message, we explain how your progression mark (i.e. the mark that contributes to your future degree classification) will be calculated given that most of you are missing credits, and provide some more generic information on the Bridging Coursework.

As you know, in recent weeks, your lecturers had to prioritise the development of an emergency assessment framework to address the immediate challenges facing our 2020 graduating cohorts. I would like to thank you for your patience while this work was ongoing.

You will recall from our earlier communication that all students are being automatically progressed to the next academic year. The only requirement is that you engage with a formative piece of Bridging Coursework to prepare you for your next year of study (see further details below).

For those students on professional programmes, we have varied the requirement to ensure the Bridging Coursework can also help you to fill any gaps in your professional body requirements, thereby reducing the amount of additional work required next year.

 2.       Why have we developed an emergency progression framework for continuing students who will be progressing from year 2 to year 3 in the next academic year?

You will recall that in our degree algorithm, the mean of marks achieved in year 2 counts as 25% towards the final degree classification (or 20% for students on an Integrated Master’s Degree; or 18.75% for students doing a year abroad in 2020/21). Usually this mark is calculated automatically from your full set of Year 2 marks, but clearly this year is different so we wanted to give you some more information. The framework we have developed has to take into account the very different positions in which students are likely to find themselves depending on programme, options, exam/coursework split, and professional body requirements. (NB: See separate guidance to follow for Year/Semester Abroad students.)

The framework below is generic, and your School or Department is working on how it applies to each programme so please continue to be patient. Meanwhile, we know that many of you are completing pieces of coursework and our advice remains the same: the more of any outstanding coursework you are able to complete, the better placed you will be to begin your studies next year. At the same time, we recognise that for some students, personal challenges will make that more difficult. Please refer to the most recent local information from your programmes about deadlines, extensions or any alternative arrangements you may require.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT STAFF WILL CALCULATE YOUR PROGRESSION MARK AT THE EXAM BOARDS THAT WILL TAKE PLACE AT SOME POINT IN THE SUMMER. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ATTEMPT TO DO THIS YOURSELF. Remember, we are still waiting for a lot of coursework to be submitted and marked, so your marks and your progression calculation cannot be confirmed until this cycle has been completed and the summer exam boards have taken place. To reiterate, all students will be progressed automatically to the next year of study, and the Bridging Coursework has been introduced as a formative requirement to help you to be better equipped to be successful next year.

3.       What are the details of the Emergency Progression Framework for Continuing Students (Year 2 to Year 3)?

We recognise that every student has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, whether that is because of delayed/disrupted coursework or cancelled exams. Our aim is to ensure that you take forward a mark that is a fair reflection of your abilities.   

The mark you will carry forward to the next year (your provisional progression mark) will be calculated as follows:

A.      Students who are on general degree programmes (single or joint honours) without additional professional body requirements

In order to calculate a provisional progression mark we will calculate a weighted average from all your available Year 2 marks as follows:

  • Include all marks from completed year 2 modules.
  • In addition, where modules are incomplete, we will include marks from all individual pieces of completed work from across your year 2 modules (e.g. if a piece of coursework has been submitted that was worth 30% of the final module mark, that will be weighted 0.3).

Mitigation (or ‘no detriment’): When we reach the Exam Boards in Summer 2021 (or 2022 for students on a year abroad next year); i.e. when you have completed your final year and your degree classification is to be determined, we will take the mean of your final year marks first, and only add the mean of the second year marks into the calculation if it confirms or improves your degree classification. This is feasible because in our degree algorithm, the final year mark already counts for 75% of the final degree classification.

 Bridging Coursework: In addition to ensuring we can calculate a provisional progression mark from this year’s marks, and given all the disruption to your studies this year, we want to ensure that you are as well prepared as possible for next year and that you have covered as many Programme Learning Outcomes as possible for this stage of your programme. Each programme team is, therefore, working on setting a specific piece of Bridging Coursework. We recognise that the situation in which you are trying to complete this coursework is far from ideal – with restricted access to some resources and, in some cases, difficult personal circumstances – so your programme teams will be designing the coursework accordingly. The requirement is that you must simply engage with and submit this coursework in preparation for your studies next year. Completion/submission of the work to the best of your ability will count as meeting the requirement. This requirement is all about preparation for successful study next year, so your personal academic tutors will provide you with personal feedback on your submitted Bridging Coursework, focussing on your readiness for the year ahead.    

All students will receive details of their Bridging Coursework from their School by the 15th May at the latest. The deadline for submission of the completed work will be up to 31st August 2020, although you can submit as soon as you are ready, and some programmes will set earlier recommended submission dates (i.e. 30th June). NB: we are setting long, flexible submission deadlines in recognition that you may be facing a range of challenges in the place where you are attempting to study, not because this will be a large piece of work that will take a long time to complete. Your School will provide further detailed guidance shortly.

 If there are students who will struggle to complete by the end of August, an extension can be granted for completion/submission during the autumn term.

  1. B.      Students who are on programmes with professional body requirements who may require additional evidence/credits to meet specific professional requirements.

Although all students on professional programmes are able to progress into the next year of study, we also have to ensure you meet professional body requirements to ensure your degree is valid for future employment. Each professional body has different requirements so, in this generic message, we are unable to provide all the individual programme details that you will require. This detail will follow from your Schools.

As in section A above, in order to calculate a provisional progression mark we will calculate a weighted average from all your available Year 2 marks as follows:

  • Include all marks from completed year 2 modules.
  • In addition, where modules are incomplete, we will include marks from all individual pieces of completed work from across your year 2 modules (e.g. if a piece of coursework has been submitted that was worth 30% of the final module mark, that will be weighted 0.3).

Mitigation (or ‘no detriment’) for the provisional progression mark: when we reach the Exam Boards in Summer 2021 - for those students whose degree classification will be determined at that point - we will take the mean of your final year marks first, and only add the mean of the second year marks into the calculation if it confirms or improves your degree classification. This is feasible because in our degree algorithm, the final year mark already counts for 75% of the final degree classification. Professional body requirements will also have been met by the additional actions that we are taking (see below). For those students whose professional programmes are longer than 3 years in duration, we will apply this Year 2 marks mitigation at an appropriate exam board (i.e. for the year 2 marks only). 

Professional Body requirements: It is likely that where students on professional programmes are lacking completed module marks (for example in Engineering and Physical Sciences, Medicine/related and Law) they will have failed to meet all professional body requirements.

In these cases, Programmes will ensure that the gaps are made up either by the Bridging Coursework (see below), or by setting some additional tests in the autumn term once you return to campus, or a combination of both. Note, that by using the Bridging Coursework (where feasible) to fill professional body gaps, we are reducing the amount of additional work that students will be required to do next year.

The Bridging Coursework: In addition to ensuring we can calculate a provisional progression mark from this year’s marks, and you have met essential programme learning outcomes and professional body requirements, we want to ensure you are as well prepared as possible for next year. Each programme team is, therefore, working on setting a specific piece of Bridging Coursework that will meet a range of requirements. We recognise that the situation in which you are trying to complete this coursework is far from ideal – with restricted access to some resources and, in some cases, difficult personal circumstances – so your programme teams will be designing the coursework accordingly. Your personal academic tutors will provide you with personal feedback on your submitted Bridging Coursework, focussing on your readiness for the year ahead.     

The Bridging Coursework for professional programmes will be set by your School by the 15th May at the latest. The deadline for submission of the completed work will be up to 31st August 2020, although you can submit as soon as you are ready, and some programmes will set earlier recommended submission dates (i.e. 30th June). NB: we are setting long, flexible submission deadlines in recognition that you may be facing a range of challenges in the place where you are attempting to study, not because this will be a large piece of work that will take a long time to complete. Your School will provide further detailed guidance shortly.

If there are students who will struggle to complete by the end of August, an extension can be granted for completion/submission during the autumn term.

If any student on a professional programme fails the Bridging Coursework, they will be offered tutorial support and then a further opportunity to complete next term. Marking criteria will be set to ensure you have the evidence you need to meet your professional requirements. This means that the requirements for successfully completing the Bridging Coursework are different for students on professional programmes. On those programmes where additional tests are required, lecturers will be building these in to the first semester of the next academic year.

 4.       Birmingham Blogs: A Big Conversation about our Post Covid-19 World

Later in May, we are going to open an online space for students (and staff and alumni) to submit Blogs about the world post Covid-19, and views on how different disciplines can help us to find a way forward. Participation will be entirely voluntary and more details will follow.

Finally, what about the next academic year? 

At the beginning of this crisis I think many of us hoped that we would be back on campus by the summer, and ready for business as usual in the new academic year. As each week goes by and more information becomes available, that looks increasingly unlikely. We don’t have all the answers at this stage, but I just wanted to let you know that we are already working on the development of a resilience model for education in the autumn term. We are modelling a range of different scenarios and as soon as things become clearer, we will be able to communicate further.

Meanwhile, look after yourselves. Your Schools will be in contact as detailed above and if you have any queries, you should contact them in the usual ways.  

Best Wishes

Professor Kathy Armour

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)

If you are not sure who to contact you can get in touch with your school or college at these e-mail addresses:

College of Medical and Dental Sciences:

mds-reporting@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Social Sciences:

Birmingham Business School -  bbsassessmentsupport@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Education -  education@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Government -  gandsugenquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Social Policy  headofsocialpolicy@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Engineering and Physical Sciences eps-concerns@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Arts and Law
Philosophy, Theology and Religion: ptr-progression2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

English, Drama and Creative Studies: edacsassessment2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music: lcahmcontactgroup@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 History and Cultures: shacadmin@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 Law: Lawqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

les-action-2019@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Information for third year UG students on an integrated Masters programme, progressing to year four.

Message for UG Integrated Masters’ Students who will be continuing from Year 3 to 4 in the next academic year from the Pro-Vice Chancellor Education, Professor Kathy Armour.

Emergency Continuation Framework

1.       Introduction

I hope you and yours are well and everyone is coping in these strange and difficult times. I think we are all desperately keen to return to life-as-we-knew-it, although it seems we are going to have to wait longer than we had initially hoped. In this message, we explain how your progression mark (i.e. the mark that contributes to your future degree classification) will be calculated given that most of you are missing credits, and provide some more generic information on the Bridging Coursework.

As you know, in recent weeks, your lecturers had to prioritise the development of an emergency assessment framework to address the immediate challenges facing our 2020 graduating cohorts. I would like to thank you for your patience while this work was ongoing.

You will recall from our earlier communication that all students are being automatically progressed to the next academic year. The only requirement is that you engage with a formative piece of Bridging Coursework to prepare you for your next year of study (see further details below).

For those students on professional programmes, we have varied the requirement to ensure the Bridging Coursework can also help you to fill any gaps in your professional body requirements, thereby reducing the amount of additional work required next year. 

 2.       Why have we developed an Emergency Continuation Framework for students who will be progressing from year 3 to year 4?

You will recall that in our degree algorithm, the mean of marks achieved in years 3 and 4 count for 40% each towards the final degree classification. Usually this mark is calculated automatically from your full set of Year 3 marks, but clearly this year is different so we wanted to give you some more information. The framework we have developed has to take into account the very different positions in which students are likely to find themselves depending on programme, options, exam/coursework split, and professional body requirements. (NB: See separate notes to follow for Year/Semester Abroad students.)

The framework below is generic, and your School or Department is working on how it applies for each programme so please continue to be patient. Meanwhile, we know that many of you are completing pieces of coursework and our advice remains the same: the more of any outstanding coursework you are able to complete, the better placed you will be to begin your studies next year. At the same time, we recognise that for some students, personal challenges will make that more difficult. Please refer to the most recent local information from your programmes about deadlines, extensions or any alternative arrangements you may require.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT STAFF WILL CALCULATE YOUR CONTINUATION MARK AT THE EXAM BOARDS THAT WILL TAKE PLACE AT SOME POINT IN THE SUMMER. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ATTEMPT TO DO THIS YOURSELF. Remember, we are still waiting for a lot of coursework to be submitted and marked, so your marks and your continuation calculation cannot be confirmed until this cycle has been completed and the summer exam boards have taken place. 

3.       What are the details of the Emergency Continuation Framework for Continuing Students (Year 3 to Year 4)

We recognise that every student has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, whether that is because of delayed/disrupted coursework or cancelled exams. Our aim is to ensure that you take forward a mark that is a fair reflection of your abilities.   

The mark you will carry forward to the next year (your provisional continuation mark) will be calculated as follows.

A.      Students who are on general degree programmes without additional professional body requirements

In order to calculate a provisional continuation mark we will calculate a weighted average from all your available Year 3 marks as follows:

  • Include all marks from completed year 3 modules.
  • In addition, where modules are incomplete, we will include marks from all individual pieces of completed work from across your year 3 modules (e.g. if a piece of coursework has been submitted that was worth 30% of the final module mark, that will be weighted 0.3).

Mitigation (or ‘no detriment’): when we reach the Exam Boards in Summer 2021; i.e. when you have completed your third year and you require a mean mark to make up 40% of your final degree classification, we will take the mean of your final year marks first, and only add the mean of the third year marks into the calculation if it confirms or improves your degree classification. This is feasible because in our degree algorithm, the 3rd and 4th year marks take together account for 80% of the final degree classification.

Bridging Coursework: In addition to ensuring we can calculate a provisional continuation  mark from this year’s marks, and given all the disruption to your studies this year, we want to ensure that you are as well prepared as possible for next year and that you have covered as many Programme Learning Outcomes as possible for this stage of your programme. Each programme team is, therefore, working on setting a specific piece of Bridging Coursework. We recognise that the situation in which you are trying to complete this coursework is far from ideal – with restricted access to some resources and, in some cases, difficult personal circumstances – so your programme teams will be designing the coursework accordingly. The requirement is that you must simply engage with and submit this coursework in preparation for your studies next year. Completion/submission of the work to the best of your ability will count as meeting the requirement. This requirement is all about preparation for successful study next year, so your personal academic tutors will provide you with personal feedback on your submitted Bridging Coursework, focussing on your readiness for the year ahead.   

All students will receive details of their Bridging Coursework from their School by the 15th May at the latest. The deadline for submission of the completed work will be up to 31st August 2020, although you can submit as soon as you are ready, and some programmes will set earlier recommended submission dates (i.e. 30th June). NB: we are setting long, flexible submission deadlines in recognition that you may be facing a range of challenges in the place where you are attempting to study, not because this will be a large piece of work that will take a long time to complete. Your School will provide further detailed guidance shortly.

If there are students who will struggle to complete by the end of August, an extension can be granted for completion/submission during the autumn term. 

  1. B.      Students who are on programmes with professional body requirements who may require additional evidence/credits to meet specific professional requirements.

Although all students on professional programmes are able to progress into the next year of study, we also have to ensure you meet professional body requirements to ensure your degree is valid for future employment. Each professional body has different requirements so, in this generic message, we are unable to provide all the individual programme details that you will require. This detail will follow from your Schools.

As in section A above, in order to calculate a provisional progression mark we will calculate a weighted average from all your available Year 3 marks as follows:

  • Include all marks from completed year 3 modules.
  • In addition, where modules are incomplete, we will include marks from all individual pieces of completed work from across your year 3 modules (e.g. if a piece of coursework has been submitted that was worth 30% of the final module mark, that will be weighted 0.3).

Mitigation (or ‘no detriment’) for the provisional continuation mark: when we reach the Exam Boards in Summer 2021; i.e. when your final degree classification will be determined - we will take the mean of your 4th year marks first, and only add the mean of the 3rd year marks into the calculation if it confirms or improves your degree classification. Professional body requirements will also have been met by the additional actions that we are taking.

Professional Body requirements: It is likely that where students on professional programmes are lacking completed module marks (for example in Engineering and Physical Sciences, Medicine/related and Law) they will have failed to meet all professional body requirements.

In these cases, Programmes will ensure that the gaps are made up either by the Bridging Coursework (see below), or by setting some additional tests in the autumn term once you return to campus, or a combination of both. Note, that by using the Bridging Coursework (where feasible) to fill professional body gaps, we are reducing the amount of additional work that students will be required to do next year.

The Bridging Coursework: In addition to ensuring we can calculate a provisional continuation mark from this year’s marks, and you have met essential programme learning outcomes and professional body requirements, we want to ensure you are as well prepared as possible for next year. Each programme team is, therefore, working on setting a specific piece of Bridging Coursework that will meet a range of requirements. We recognise that the situation in which you are trying to complete this coursework is far from ideal – with restricted access to some resources and, in some cases, difficult personal circumstances – so your programme teams will be designing the coursework accordingly. Your personal academic tutors will provide you with personal feedback on your submitted Bridging Coursework, focussing on your readiness for the year ahead.     

The Bridging Coursework for professional programmes will be set by your School by the 15th May at the latest. The deadline for submission of the completed work will be up to 31st August 2020, although you can submit as soon as you are ready, and some programmes will set earlier recommended submission dates (i.e. 30th June). NB: we are setting long, flexible submission deadlines in recognition that you may be facing a range of challenges in the place where you are attempting to study, not because this will be a large piece of work that will take a long time to complete. Your School will provide further detailed guidance shortly.

If there are students who will struggle to complete by the end of August, an extension can be granted for completion/submission during the autumn term.

If any student on a professional programme fails the Bridging Coursework, they will be offered tutorial support and then a further opportunity to complete next term. Marking criteria will be set to ensure you have the evidence you need to meet your professional requirements. This means that the requirements for successfully completing the Bridging Coursework are different for students on professional programmes. On those programmes where additional tests are required, lecturers will be building these in to the first semester of the next academic year. 

4.       Birmingham Blogs: A Big Conversation about our Post Covid-19 World

Later in May, we are going to open an online space for students (and staff and alumni) to submit Blogs about the world post Covid-19, and views on how different disciplines can help us to find a way forward. Participation will be voluntary, and further details will follow.

Finally, what about the next academic year? 

At the beginning of this crisis I think many of us hoped that we would be back on campus by the summer, and ready for business as usual in the new academic year. As each week goes by and more information becomes available, that looks increasingly unlikely. We don’t have all the answers at this stage, but I just wanted to let you know that we are already working on the development of a resilience model for education in the autumn term. We are modelling a range of different scenarios and as soon as things become clearer, we will be able to communicate further.

Meanwhile, look after yourselves. Your Schools will be in contact as detailed above and if you have any queries, you should contact them in the usual ways. 

Best Wishes

Professor Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)

If you are not sure who to contact you can get in touch with your school or college at these e-mail addresses:

College of Medical and Dental Sciences:

mds-reporting@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Social Sciences:

Birmingham Business School -  bbsassessmentsupport@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Education -  education@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Government -  gandsugenquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Social Policy  headofsocialpolicy@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Engineering and Physical Sciences eps-concerns@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Arts and Law
Philosophy, Theology and Religion: ptr-progression2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

English, Drama and Creative Studies: edacsassessment2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music: lcahmcontactgroup@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 History and Cultures: shacadmin@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 Law: Lawqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

les-action-2019@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Information if you are a part-time Postgraduate Taught Student continuing in the next academic year.

Message for Postgraduate Taught (PT PGT) Continuing Students who will be progressing in the next academic year from the Pro-Vice Chancellor Education, Professor Kathy Armour.

Emergency Progression Framework

1.       Introduction

I hope you and yours are well and everyone is coping in these strange and difficult times. I think we are all desperately keen to return to life-as-we-knew-it, although it seems we are going to have to wait longer than we had initially hoped. In this message, we explain how your progression mark (i.e. the mark that contributes to your future degree classification) will be calculated. As you know, in recent weeks, your lecturers had to prioritise the development of an emergency assessment framework to address the immediate challenges facing our 2020 graduating cohorts. I would like to thank you for your patience while this work was ongoing.

You will recall from our earlier communication that all students are being automatically progressed to the next academic year.

  1. Why have we developed an emergency progression framework for continuing Part-time PGT students?

Usually this mark is calculated automatically from your full set of marks from each year of study on your programme, but clearly this year is different so we wanted to give you some more information. The framework we have developed has to take into account the very different positions in which students are likely to find themselves depending on programme, options, exam/coursework split, and professional body requirements.

The framework below is generic, and your School or Department is working on how it applies to each programme so please continue to be patient. Meanwhile, we know that many of you are completing pieces of coursework and our advice remains the same: the more of any outstanding coursework you are able to complete, the better placed you will be to begin your studies next year. At the same time, we recognise that for some students, personal challenges will make that more difficult. Please refer to the most recent local information from your programmes about deadlines, extensions or any alternative arrangements you may require.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT STAFF WILL CALCULATE YOUR PROGRESSION MARK AT THE EXAM BOARDS THAT WILL TAKE PLACE AT SOME POINT IN THE SUMMER. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ATTEMPT TO DO THIS YOURSELF. Remember, we are still waiting for a lot of coursework to be submitted and marked, so your marks and your progression calculation cannot be confirmed until this cycle has been completed and the summer exam boards have taken place. To reiterate, all students will be progressed automatically to the next year of study. 

  1. 3.       What are the details of the Emergency Progression Framework for Continuing Part-time PGT Students?

We recognise that every student has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, whether that is because of delayed/disrupted coursework or cancelled exams. Our aim is to ensure that you take forward a mark that is a fair reflection of your abilities.   

The mark you will carry forward to the next year (your provisional progression mark) will be calculated as follows:

  1. A.      Students who are on general degree programmes without additional professional body requirements
  • For part-time postgraduate taught (PT PGT) degrees, we are requiring the successful completion of the equivalent of at least two-thirds of taught credits for this academic year.
  • For example, for those in the first year of a two year part-time programme, this would usually be the equivalent of 40 out of 60 credits of taught modules - normally what is delivered in the first year - and the second year will count towards the degree as intended and include the 60 credit dissertation/project. In this example, students would not be expected to ‘make up’ the additional 20 taught credits from their first year in the second year.
  • However, if students have not had the opportunity to achieve at least two-thirds of the taught credits they were expected to obtain during this academic year, they will have the opportunity to achieve these credits in their next year of study.
  • If you subsequently fail either full modules or some of the assessments that you have submitted but have not yet had marked, and you then fall below the emergency threshold we have set, you will have the usual opportunity to resit in August (online). We will keep these requirements to an absolute minimum.

B.      Students who are on programmes with professional body requirements who may require additional evidence/credits to meet specific professional requirements.

Although all students on professional programmes are able to progress into the next year of study, we also have to ensure you meet professional body requirements to ensure your degree is valid for future employment. Each professional body has different requirements so, in this generic message, we are unable to provide all the individual programme details that you will require. This detail will follow from your Schools.

As in section A above, in order to calculate a provisional progression mark:

  • For part-time postgraduate taught (PT PGT) degrees, we are requiring the successful completion of the equivalent of at least two-thirds of taught credits for this academic year.
  • For example, for those in the first year of a two year part-time programme, this would usually be the equivalent of 40 out of 60 credits of taught modules - normally what is delivered in the first year - and the second year will count towards the degree as intended and include the 60 credit dissertation/project. In this example, students would not be expected to ‘make up’ the additional 20 taught credits from their first year in the second year.
  • However, if students have not had the opportunity to achieve at least two-thirds of the taught credits they were expected to obtain during this academic year, they will have the opportunity to achieve these credits in their next year of study.
  • If you subsequently fail either full modules or some of the assessments that you have submitted but have not yet had marked, and you then fall below the emergency threshold we have set, you will have the usual opportunity to resit in August (online). We will keep these requirements to an absolute minimum.

Professional Body requirements: It is likely that where students on professional programmes are lacking completed module marks (for example in Engineering and Physical Sciences, Medicine/related and Law) they will have failed to meet all professional body requirements. To reiterate, each professional body has different requirements so, in this generic message, we are unable to provide all the individual programme details that you will require. This detail will follow from your Schools.

4.       Birmingham Blogs: A Big Conversation about our Post Covid-19 World

Later in May, we are going to open an online space for students (and staff and alumni) to submit Blogs about the world post Covid-19, and views on how different disciplines can help us to find a way forward. Participation will be entirely voluntary and more details will follow.

Finally, what about the next academic year? 

At the beginning of this crisis I think many of us hoped that we would be back on campus by the summer, and ready for business as usual in the new academic year. As each week goes by and more information becomes available, that looks increasingly unlikely. We don’t have all the answers at this stage, but I just wanted to let you know that we are already working on the development of a resilience model for education in the autumn term. We are modelling a range of different scenarios and as soon as things become clearer, we will be able to communicate further.

Meanwhile, look after yourselves. Your Schools will be in contact as detailed above and if you have any queries, you should contact them in the usual ways. 

Best Wishes

Professor Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)

If you are not sure who to contact you can get in touch with your school or college at these e-mail addresses:

College of Medical and Dental Sciences:

mds-reporting@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Social Sciences:

Birmingham Business School -  bbsassessmentsupport@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Education -  education@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Government -  gandsugenquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

School of Social Policy  headofsocialpolicy@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 College of Engineering and Physical Sciences eps-concerns@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Arts and Law
Philosophy, Theology and Religion: ptr-progression2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

English, Drama and Creative Studies: edacsassessment2020@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music: lcahmcontactgroup@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 History and Cultures: shacadmin@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 Law: Lawqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

les-action-2019@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Information if you are currently on a full year abroad or Semester 2 abroad

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect different countries at different times and in different ways we are continuing to keep in contact with all students via our regular bulletins and dedicated messages for groups of students – including those of you on a semester/year abroad. 

 Following the communication last week to all students about arrangements for progression into the next academic year we wanted to clarify how this applies to your circumstances.

[You can review all of the student bulletins here]

For students who have chosen to complete their year abroad studies with their host institution, in country or at a distance.

You can and should continue to engage with your studies wherever this is practical – and it is important to remember that being “engaged with your studies” is a condition of continuing insurance cover.

However, we recognise that for many of you this may be difficult, for example, where classes and assessment conditions may be in another time zone.  For this reason, and to ensure that students are under no additional pressure at this time, there is no obligation for you to complete the final assessments as required by your host institution in order to progress to your next year of study.  For any assessments that have been completed, or any that are in progress, they will be treated as set out below to generate a progression mark.

All continuing students will be required to complete some “bridging coursework” as detailed below.  But if you have completed your year abroad normally, in full, this requirement will be minimal.

For students where your semester/year abroad has been disrupted or curtailed meaning that you cannot complete this as planned.

You will be subject to the same exceptional arrangements for all continuing students to ensure that you can progress normally.  Full details are available here.  We aim to ensure that every student will progress to their next level of study.

In summary what this means is that we will use all available marks from any completed modules in this academic year to calculate a provisional progression mark. In order to calculate a provisional progression mark we will calculate a weighted average from your marks as follows:

  1. Include all marks from any completed modules in this academic year.
  2. In addition, include any marks from all individual pieces of completed work from across your modules in this academic year (e.g., if a piece of submitted coursework has been submitted that was worth 30% of the final module mark, that will be weighted 0.3).
  3. If you have limited or no credits from this academic year already secured you will be required, along with all other progressing students, to complete at least one, and no more than two, pieces of “bridging coursework” – as detailed below.

This means that you are not required to complete any further assessments set by the institution that has hosted you during your exchange.  For any assessments that have been completed, or any that are in progress, they will be treated as set out above to generate a progression mark.

Bridging Coursework for all students:

In addition to ensuring we can calculate a provisional progression mark from this year, we also want to ensure you are as well prepared as possible for your next year of study. Each programme team is working on setting a specific piece of coursework for you to complete.

We recognise that the situation in which you are trying to complete this coursework is far from ideal – with restricted access to some resources and, in some cases, difficult personal circumstances – so your programme teams will be designing the coursework accordingly. Programme teams will also take into account any credit assessments you have already completed; and the Programme Learning Outcomes and professional body requirements in setting the bridging coursework. The requirement is that you must simply engage with and submit this coursework in preparation for your studies next year. Completion/submission of the work to the best of your ability will count as meeting the requirement.

All students will receive details of their Bridging Coursework by the 15th May 2020 at the latest. The deadline for submission of the completed work is the 31st August 2020. 

*Students studying on a LANS programme will be subject to different arrangements and you can expect to receive further information about this shortly.

Finally, for all students –

Mitigation (or ‘no detriment’) at the conclusion of your overall programme:

When we reach the Exam Boards in Summer 2021 i.e., when you have completed your final year and your degree classification is to be determined, we will take the mean of your final year marks first, and only add the mean of relevant marks from earlier years into the calculation if it confirms or improves your degree classification. This is feasible because in our degree algorithm, the marks from your study abroad period count for a minority of your final degree classification so you will not be disadvantaged by these circumstances.

If you have a query about your academic progression after reading this message then you can contact your academic School.   Contact details are available at our website, please see the section for Information if you are a second year UG student progressing to third year.

We share your disappointment that your semester/year abroad studies have been disrupted by the global COVID-19 crisis.  If you have an outstanding claim for additional any costs arising from the disruption to your studies for consideration either by our insurers or by the University you must make sure to submit your claim within thirty days of the costs incurred or by no later than 30th May 2020.  For any further advice or information you can always contact the Study Abroad Team.

Information if you are an Externally Registered student

Guidance on the ways in which the Emergency Assessment/Progression Frameworks for Graduating and Continuing Cohorts can be applied to External Students.

1.    Background

We hope you and yours are well and are coping in these challenging times. We know that External Students are in a particularly difficult position as you consider how best to pick up your studies.

We have a very complex offer at the University of Birmingham, and a degree algorithm that has presented us with unique challenges as we attempt to balance the need to support our students with the requirement to ensure that your degree retains its integrity so it is valued by employers.

On the 3rd April, 2020 we published the University of Birmingham Emergency Assessment Framework for UG/PGT Graduating Cohorts

On the 22nd April, 2020 we published the University of Birmingham Emergency Progression Framework for Continuing students   

These Frameworks apply to all UG and PGT programmes, and they were focussed on the majority of students who are registered as internal students. The development of these frameworks was necessary because of the cancellation of all campus-based examinations in the summer exam period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We had hoped that it might be possible to run a campus-based supplementary examination period later in the summer. Given that external students are already operating in the more challenging position of taking assessments relating to previous years of study, we were particularly keen to offer you the more familiar setting of campus-based examinations that could be designed and sat in the format you were expecting. At the very least, we thought we might be able to offer this opportunity to external students, perhaps in a campus-based albeit socially distanced configuration (because the number of external students is comparatively very low).

It now seems unlikely that campuses will be open for any students until September at the earliest. Even if we are able to open, we may not have sufficient advance warning to plan for and support you to take campus-based examinations. As a result, we need to attempt to accommodate as many External Students as possible in the emergency assessment/progression frameworks.  

2.    Who are External Students?

If you are reading this, you are probably an External Student. It is important to remember, however, that ‘External Student’ is not a term that covers a homogenous group of students. Each of you is external for a different reason, and you will all be in different positions regarding the number of credits you are missing, the types of assessments you need to complete, and the need to meet any professional body requirements. This makes it unlikely that we will be able to apply a single framework that meets the needs of each of you in the same way.

3.    How will we accommodate External Students in the Emergency Assessment Frameworks?

As you will recognise from the complexity of the External Student population, and the requirement in some cases to meet professional body requirements, this cannot be a simple one-size-fits-all approach. We can, however, apply the same broad principles to those that apply to internal students, and this will provide a framework within which you can consider your options and also have discussions with your Schools about the best way forward for you.

What follows is, firstly, information for graduating cohorts and, secondly, information for continuing students.

Information for Graduating Cohorts (UG and PGT)

If you are potentially in a position to graduate this academic year and you were expecting to take examinations this summer, it is important to remind you that any replacement online assessments will be different to what you were expecting. If you would prefer to take examinations in the original format and on campus we will make this opportunity available to you at some point in the future but, at this moment, we cannot know when that would feasible.

The four principles that underpin the Assessment Framework for (internally registered) Graduating Cohorts are as follows:

  • No detriment: we will ensure that as many students as reasonably possible are able to complete their degree, with a classification that is a fair reflection of their achievements.
  • Reduced pressure: We will reduce to a minimum the number of inclusive online assessments (to replace exams) that are required by a student.
  • Inclusive assessments: we will design assessments to be both flexible and inclusive (i.e. in the form of ‘open-book’ coursework that looks similar in format to an exam you were expecting or short tests with multiple windows for completion) to ensure they can be accessed and completed successfully by as many students as possible. We will also be setting extended time periods for completion to reflect the different needs of different students (RAPs, time zones etc.).
  • Academic Integrity: we have set a requirement that in order to graduate, we must have evidence that students have met the new emergency minimum credits in the final year (or taught credits for PGT), satisfied any professional body requirements, and met the Learning Outcomes for their Programme. Online inclusive assessments will only be set for students where they are missing any of those three critical elements, and in all cases we will keep this to the minimum needed (as noted above) to ensure the integrity of their degrees.

Full details of the Framework can be found here

For internally registered graduating students, therefore, the Framework requires each graduating student to:

  • meet the reduced final year credit requirement including the project/dissertation credits;
  • take online inclusive assessments if the minimum credit requirement is not yet met (number determined by the number and nature of missing credits);
  • PLUS meet all Programme Learning Outcomes;
  • PLUS satisfy any professional body/statutory requirements.

In taking this approach, we have been able to reduce the number of online ‘exams’ that any student is required to take. We have also committed to look at each individual student’s profile at examination boards to ensure we take into account a student’s whole marks profile – from all years – to ensure we can mitigate where we see evidence of negative impact from the pandemic.

For externally registered students who wish to graduate in 2020, we will – in the first instance - attempt to apply the same Framework.

It is important to note, however, that some students are missing so many credits (100+ in some cases and/or the project/dissertation) that this approach might not be feasible or desirable. In these cases, students will need a more tailored approach with different timescales, and your School will be able to help you with this.  

What should you do next if you wish to graduate this year, and what will your School do?

a)    Contact your School to signal that you are aiming to graduate in 2020

b)    Have a discussion about your individual status (i.e. missing credits and professional body requirements) and the options available to you. In a minority of cases, you may find that you already meet the new emergency threshold requirements.

c)    NOTE: Your School will help you to determine your precise status in the context of the emergency assessment framework and the threshold requirements, you do not need to do this yourself.

d)    Your School will confirm exactly what you need to do next if you are able to graduate in 2020. NB: if you are required to replace missing credits/exams with online assessments, these may need to be adapted to your individual circumstances depending on whether the content of the modules has changed since you took them.

e)    Where further online assessments are required, your School will set them as soon as possible after you make contact and once they have established what is required in your specific case. The deadlines for submission will be set either within the original summer examination period (i.e. into mid-June) or up to the 31st August for those individuals who will need more time. Remember, these assessments will not be in the format of traditional on-campus exams (many are more like coursework) and they will be designed to ensure you have plenty of time for completion and in recognition of the online resources that are likely to be accessible to you. 

The first step, therefore, is the most important: make contact with your School so they can discuss your options with you.

Information for Continuing Students (UG and PGT)

If you are a continuing student; i.e. a UG student progressing into next academic year from Year 1-2, 2-3 or 3-4 (and see separate guidance for 5 year professional programmes), or a part time PGT student, you have been progressed automatically without taking any examinations in the summer exam period. We are, however, setting formative Bridging Coursework to prepare you for your next year of study. In some professional courses, there are additional requirements to ensure you are able to meet any essential professional body requirements that are missing, and your School will let you know if these are required. It is also important to note that, for those students who have very few credits available from a previous year of study, you may be advised to undertake additional work to prepare you to be successful in the forthcoming year. 

The full details of the Emergency Progression Framework can be found here. Please read this document carefully, and ensure your School knows that you are planning to return to study next academic year. This will ensure you receive details of the Bridging Coursework that has been designed for your particular programme and whether there are any specific requirements relating to professional programmes or individual guidance to prepare you for your next year of study.  

4.      Wellbeing

This is a difficult period for everyone – including staff – so once you have made contact with your School to discuss your ambition to graduate or return to study, please be patient while they work out the best range of options for you.

Please note, we have updated our wellbeing webpages so it is easier for you to find the available support, including making contact with your school wellbeing officer.

We have also updated all our COVID-19 FAQs so it is easier for you to find the information you need.

Prof Kathy Armour and the Senior Education Team

29th April, 2020.

 

General information for Non-final year Undergraduate students

General information for non-final year Undergraduate students

Will I have any exams this summer?

No. We will be cancelling all exams scheduled in the summer period.

You do need to complete any outstanding coursework assessments for individual modules. You will need to refer to information from your School or department with regards to deadlines for these assessments, and any extensions or alternative arrangements.

In order to progress to the next year of study, we will be asking you to complete a piece of bridging coursework.

This will be a single, overarching piece of coursework that will act as a bridge from this year of study to the next, so that you are ready to progress.

Do I still need to complete my current coursework?

Yes. You need to complete any outstanding coursework assessments for individual modules. You will need to refer to information from your School or department with regards to deadlines for these assessments, and any extensions or alternative arrangements.

What is the ‘bridging coursework’?

The bridging coursework is a single, overarching piece of coursework that you will be asked to engage with so that you are ready to progress to the next year of study.

You will need to engage with it before the next academic year, and engagement with it will count as a ‘pass’. This is designed to put you in the best possible position to succeed in your future studies.

Our aim is to make this exercise as interesting and engaging for you as possible. We will be very flexible about when you do it, any time before the next academic year.

We will provide detailed information on the bridging coursework after Easter. We understand there will be many questions and that students are facing a wide range of different circumstances. Please avoid emailing individual requests at this time to enable staff to provide information for all students more quickly.

Will modules in 2020-21 take into account the changes to this academic year?

Staff will be working hard across the summer to modify Semester 1 modules to take into account the lost assessments this year.

I am on a four year MEng/MSci programme, do I count as a returning undergraduate student?

Yes. These arrangements also cover students on four year MSci/MEng programmes.

Information for Postgraduate Research students

The University Graduate School has prepared information for PGR students and their supervisors.

Extenuating circumstances

You should follow your School’s normal processes and deadlines for requesting extensions/deferrals or submitting Extenuating Circumstances.  However, we appreciate that you may not be able to provide evidence that you have been advised to self-isolate (for example, if NHS 111 have provided you with advice over the phone).  Please do not worry about this. You can submit extension/deferral requests and Extenuating Circumstances without evidence, as long as you explain clearly why you have been advised to self-isolate.  

Placements

If you are undertaking a placement as part of your programme, your School will be in direct contact regarding arrangements and next steps. 

We are aware that a number of our partner NHS Trusts have put additional containment measures in place, recognising the potential for additional risk in a health care or clinical setting. This may vary between Trusts and different clinical settings or placement types for staff and students. You must follow the advice of your local Trust or placement setting, which may require you to not attend your NHS place of work/placement for a period of self-isolation. 

Please continue to refer to NHS 111 and your local guidance for the latest advice on whether you need to self-isolate or take any other action.

You should notify your Course Lead or Head of School of any change of circumstances. We are dealing with specific students' placements on a case by case basis.

Social Policy (including all social work programmes)

Please contact your department, via Nick Sheward.

College of Medical and Dental Sciences on placements or electives

(incuding MBChB, BDS, BNurs, MPharm, Physicians Associate, BSc Biomedical Science and PGT/PGR students)

The College of MDS ask that you refer to the specific communications that you have already been sent and check Canvas regularly. Please ensure the notifications are on.

If there are any specific questions not covered in these, please contact the MDS Student Services Desk.

Physiotherapy

Please check all school updates form Dr Vikki Burns (Head of Education).

For all enquiries regarding Physiotherapy clinical placements please contact us by email.

Programme-related academic matters should be directed to Clive Liles.

Other departments

If you are on a placement for a programme of study within a different department, your Programme and Module Leads will be best placed to advise on any questions that you have.

Libraries, study support and on-campus services 

The Main Library is now closed. We are enhancing our online library services for all students, so you can still access services, including online skills support, additional e-books, e-journals and other online resources available via the Library website and FindIt@Bham

During this period Library Services will not issue fines for overdue items. If you have items which are due to be returned, please hold onto these until the Main Library re-opens.

For further information visit Library Services update: COVID-19.

We offer a range of useful online academic skills resources to help you with your studies, including unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning. The Academic Skills Centre online resources cover a wide range of topics to support your studies, including academic writing, exam revision, and time management.

Visit our campus page for further information on opening during this time.

Studying well

During this time of uncertainty, you are being asking to work in different ways.Many of you will be working from family homes, whilst others will be studying on campus with restricted services. If you are self-isolating, staying at home, or generally worried about the current situation, please visit our wellbeing pages for support.  

Colleges

Professional Services