Students have told us that when they make choices regarding their degree modules, they want more certainty that the modules on offer will run - and at a time that doesn’t clash with others in their timetable. The changes we are making are designed to improve the choice of modules – and ensure that we cover the topics we know students are interested in – and reduce the likelihood of timetable clashes.
The exact details of which modules will be offered on each course are still awaiting University confirmation, but your School will be able to let you know what developments and plans they are making for programmes in 2024/25.
How will the way I study be impacted?
There are a number of key differences once the review is complete and we start the first term of 2024/25:
The switch to the new style academic year: two teaching and assessment semesters rather than three 10-week terms, as at present. This change means that we will assess you closer to the point at which you were taught, modules taught in Semester 1 will be assessed after the Christmas break and modules taught in Semester 2 or across the whole year will be assessed in the summer.
The changes to modules will mean that: you can choose to study more of what is important to you; your timetable is available sooner and reduces the likelihood of clashes; and you are provided with clarity around what is expected of you in each module.
Your learning experience may be enhanced through digital learning, as students have told us they appreciate the benefits this brings in many situations.
How will I be assessed?
We have had in-depth discussions with students about assessment and understand the strength and breadth of feeling on the topic. The changes we are making will address the issue of timing – i.e. you will be assessed closer to the time you were taught about a subject – and assessment will be designed to allow you to demonstrate knowledge in a way that is valuable for real-life and professional contexts.
How will these changes improve my experience?
- Establish more consistent and simplified course expectations and structures.
- Embed our work on curriculum improvements in relation to Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, such as decolonising the curriculum and developing skills for employability.
- Facilitate more effective, engaging and proportionate assessment methods, in addition to improving the alignment of teaching and corresponding assessment during the academic year.
- Simplify module selection to provide realistic choice and timetables with fewer clashes.
- Provide new approaches to strengthening staff and student learning communities.
- Enhance the quality of the existing learning experience through digital learning experiences, in line with student feedback.
When are these changes happening?
We plan to introduce the new semester system and course changes in September 2024.
This term we have shared updated Programme Specifications with you covering the following courses:
• Current UG students from August 2023
• Current PGT students from September 2023
• UG offer holders received details of contractual changes from July 2023
• PG offer holders received details of contractual changes and new programme specifications from September 2023
What do I need to do as a result of these changes?
Current students: There is no need for you to do anything – however you can keep an eye out for updates from your school and check your University email regularly so that you don’t miss any important information. If you have any questions at any point, don’t hesitate to ask your academic tutor or contact your support centre.
Applicants/prospective students: We will ensure that our course webpages are updated with relevant information when it becomes available. We expect this to happen at regular intervals during 2023, so please do check the relevant course information.
Is it possible that my course will no longer be available as a result of these changes?
Our work to review our portfolio has been completed and there are no plans to withdraw any of the courses that you might apply for this year, 2023/24.
How will this affect the modules being offered on my course?
We are making some changes to enhance both the modules themselves and the ways in which they are taught and assessed.
- Students stated that it can be more difficult to choose options early in their first year, and so we will be removing this requirement. This means that all modules in Semester 1 of Part 1 will be compulsory, except where you have the option to take a language module in your first Semester. Not only will this facilitate informed, optional module choices, it will also enable us to provide you with your timetable earlier, helping you to better plan your studies around other commitments.
- Modules will be taught and assessed in the same semester, wherever possible. This will improve consolidation of your learning and spread assessments across semesters, removing the need for a more intensive exam period at the end of the academic year.
Why is the academic year moving from three terms to two semesters?
Semester-based systems are generally acknowledged to improve the learning experience.
From 2024/25, our academic year will be structured around two teaching and assessment semesters rather than the current three 10-week terms. Each semester is comprised of a 12-week teaching period, followed by a three-week assessment period. This will not only improve how our courses are organised and assessed, but also improve the timing of opportunities to study abroad or go on international placements.
The primary reasons for re-organising our teaching activity across the academic year are to:
- improve the student experience
- enable a better spread of assessment
- provide opportunities for future growth and innovation.
What changes are being made to assessments?
We want to ensure that you have the right amount of assessment, that assessments are spread out appropriately, and that they allow you to demonstrate knowledge in a way that is valuable for real-life and professional contexts. The changes we are making will enable this to happen both more effectively and consistently.
Why are courses and modules being changed?
We know that module information is an important factor in choosing which course is right for you. One of the aims of the course redesign work is to ensure we provide you with realistic choice, facilitating more predictable timetabling and assessment scheduling. This will improve the student experience by providing more certainty and clarity. It also allows those with additional commitments beyond their studies, such as caring and work responsibilities, to organise their time more easily.
Why is Semester 1 in Part 1 compulsory?
Students have told us that it can be more difficult to choose options early in their first year and so we will be removing this requirement. This means that all modules in Semester 1 of Part 1 will be compulsory. This will enable us to provide your timetable further in advance than we are currently able to. This will better support the transition to university and reduce the pressure on students to make module choices before they have a clear idea as to how they would like to tailor their degree.
It offers a more inclusive approach for students with paid employment and/or caring responsibilities who are unable to adequately plan their commitments without knowing when their learning will take place.
What do these changes mean for Joint Honours Degrees?
During our review, we have been careful to design course changes that will be appropriate for both joint degrees and single honours degrees. We have applied a key principle that students need to have studied enough in both subjects in order to have the flexibility to progress onto a single honours degree at the end of Part 1, should they wish.
How much of my course will be online versus face-to-face?
As a campus university, we are committed to creating a supportive and inclusive community based around face-to-face, campus-based learning. The benefits to both your learning outcomes and overall experience mean that teaching will mainly be in-person, but also that we make the most of digital opportunities to enhance your studies. How much of your learning may be online will depend on your course and what works best for the subject you are studying. For example, if it is appropriate for your course, this might include online activities to engage with in-between in-person study, as well as interactive online classes.
We are seeking to embed the use of technology into teaching and learning in a consistent, University-wide way, building on good practice and in a way that is appropriate for your subject. While the majority of our courses’ contact time will remain face-to-face, this work allows us to continue to innovate and support the student learning experience.
Wherever digital technology is used to enhance the student experience, we will ensure that all students are supported to access and use the technology in order to succeed on their course.
I need to suspend my studies for a year, what do I need to know?
If you are considering suspending your studies, it is very important to discuss this with your Academic Tutor and further. Read further guidance on Suspensions.
Should you decide to suspend your studies, your return date will be after 2024/25 academic year where you will notice changes to the academic year structure and to your degree programme. Information about those changes is available on the Portfolio Review Project website.
When making the decision to suspend you will want to understand what changes will be made to your specific programme from 2024/25. You can talk to your Academic Tutor and Support Centre about these changes and you should consult the published Programme Specifications for both your year of entry and Academic Year 2024/25. The 2024/25 Programme Specs will be published by 02 October 2023.
You will also want to be aware that due to the large-scale changes to programmes and modules, we will no longer be able to support the carry-over of modules completed during the year that you are suspending from: if you are intending to suspend, on your return to study in 2024/25 or beyond, you will need to undertake your full Part of study from the beginning afresh. You would be studying the full number of credits for that year again which would likely have tuition fee implications. In addition, any assessment marks you have already attained for that Part would not be carried over and you would need to complete all assessments relevant to that Part of your study upon your return.
What If I consider requesting a repeat year?
If you are considering requesting a repeat year for your Part of study, it is very important to discuss this with your Academic Tutor. Further guidance on Exceptional Circumstances.
If, by repeating a year, you will now be continuing your studies into and beyond 2024/25, you will see changes to the academic year structure and to your degree programme starting from September 2024. Information about those changes is available on the Portfolio Review Project website.
When making the decision to request a repeat year you will want to understand what changes will be made to your specific programme from 2024/25. You can talk to your Academic Tutor and Support Centre about these changes and you should consult the published Programme Specifications for both the year you entered onto your programme and the Academic Year 2024/25. The 2024/25 Programme Specifications will be published by 02 October 2023.
You will also want to be aware that due to the large-scale changes to programmes and modules, we will no longer be able to support the carry-over of modules completed during the Part of study that you are repeating. This means that if a repeat year is granted, you will be completing a full repeat year on your return in 2024/25 or beyond: you would be studying the full number of credits for that Part again which would likely have financial implications to your fees. In addition, any assessment marks you have already attained for that Part would not be carried over and you would need to complete all assessments relevant to that Part of your study upon your return.
I have just returned from suspension, what do I need to know?
If you have just returned from suspension and will now be continuing your studies into and beyond 2024/25, you will see changes to the academic year and to your degree programme starting in September 2024.
Shortly after returning from suspension you should receive an email from the University providing you with the new Programme Specification which will apply form 2024/25, these will also be published on the Programme Specifications webpage. If you do not receive this email or if you would like further information about the changes to your programme please contact your Support Centre or your Academic Tutor.
I want to change my course
If you want to change your degree programme you should speak with your Support Centre or Academic Tutor in the first instance. There is general guidance about changing degree programmes on our Essentials webpage.
It is important to note that if, by changing your degree programme, you will be studying at the university in 2024/25 and beyond, you will see changes to the academic year and to your degree programme. Information about those changes is available on this website.
You will also need to consult the relevant Programme Specification(s) for your course. The key thing to be aware of is that you are likely to require a new Programme Specification in 2024/25. Up until 2024/25 you will follow the course structure for the year in which you started your studies and from 2024/25 you will follow the new course structure, as outlined in the Programme Specification published for that year. The 2024/25 Programme Specs will be published by 2 October 2023.
If you need any help to understand which Programme Specification will apply to your studies, please contact your Support Centre.
I think I want to start again on a new programme. What should I do?
If you are considering re-entering onto a new degree programme you should speak with your Support Centre or Academic Tutor, there is also general guidance about changing degree programmes on our Essentials webpage.
It is important to note that by re-entering onto a new degree programme you will be studying at the university in 2024/25 and beyond, therefore, you will see changes to the academic year and to your degree programme.
What impact will this have on my ability to tailor my degree?
The module selection process has been redesigned to ensure that you are able to: choose a breadth of topics, where appropriate; specialise in certain areas, where appropriate; and take a ‘programme pathway’ (groups of modules overall). Our aim is to ensure that you have the opportunity to learn and engage with all of the Programme Learning Outcomes.
A key part of the feedback received from our students was a desire for module choices to present less timetable clashes and for the start of the year to be more straight forward, which the programme changes will support.
Current students: Will anything change regarding the delivery of my course before 2024/25?
No. However, we will keep you updated with all the exciting stuff you can expect to see, so make sure you check your University email regularly.
Offer Holders: How will the shift in academic year structure part-way through my programme affect me?
We are working hard to ensure a smooth transition in 2024/25. You will be supported by your school throughout, and they will be available to answer any questions you may have – both in the lead-up to the changes and when they take place.
Students will start on the programme specification that will apply until the end of academic year 2023/24. The new academic year 2024/25 programme specification will then apply for the remainder of their course.