6.9 Failure and reassessment

6.9.1 A module is failed if:

  • the work submitted for assessment is not of a high enough standard to gain an overall pass mark for the module, based on the weightings of individual tasks
  • no work has been submitted by the relevant deadline (taking into account any reasonable adjustments or approved changes to assessment arrangements), and no allowance has been made on the basis of exceptional circumstances
  • the student has breached the academic conduct regulations and a penalty of failing the module has been imposed.

Students may not progress to the next level of their programme if they have not passed all compulsory modules at the previous level; and they cannot qualify for their target award if any compulsory modules are failed. This also applies to professional doctorate students who fail to pass the compulsory modules on the taught element of the programme.

6.9.2 However, the University is committed to providing appropriate opportunities for students who fail an assessment to retrieve their position, in line with the following conditions:

  • A student who does not pass an assessment at the first attempt will have one opportunity to re-sit that assessment, within the appropriate re-sit period for the module (see 6.9.3 for exceptions relating to professional placements).
  • The reassessment task will normally take the same form as the original assessment, unless this is impossible due to the nature of the task (in which case a suitable alternative assessment will be agreed with the chair of the relevant examination committee).
  • The mark achieved at resit will be capped at the pass mark for the module, unless an allowance for exceptional circumstances has been approved.
  • The full mark for any element of assessment passed at first sit will be combined with any capped marks achieved at resit, in accordance with weightings stipulated in the approved module specification.
  • If re-sit opportunities are failed, a student is eligible to re-take a failed module once, at an additional cost (unless an application for exceptional circumstances has been accepted), and subject to limits on the amount of credit that may be taken in the context of the award (see section 6.14).
  • Students may only retake a module once, i.e. a module can be attempted a maximum of twice, unless further takes are authorised through an approved exceptional circumstances application.
  • Once an element of assessment has been passed, a student is not permitted to resit that assessment;
  • Once a module has been passed, a student is not permitted to retake that module.

6.9.3 Placements which are a mandatory programme element requiring successful completion in order to gain professional registration (primarily those which form part of Health and Social Care or Initial Teacher Education programmes) do not have a formal resit opportunity. Students who fail a clinical practice or school-based placement must therefore retake the module. Patient and child welfare is paramount on these programmes, and the University therefore reserves the right to terminate a placement block early if a student is deemed to have demonstrated unsafe practice, or if they have made very limited progress during the placement - this will be treated as a practice assessment fail. This does not affect a student’s right to make a claim under the University’s exceptional circumstances policy. 

6.9.4 Research degrees

If the Research Degrees Committee does not approve an application for registration on a research degree programme, the student will be required to withdraw from the programme. Should a research student fail to complete transfer from MPhil to PhD, they may be given the opportunity to complete the degree for MPhil; however, where this is not academically viable, they will be required to withdraw from the programme.

Where the examiners agree that a thesis submitted for examination is so unsatisfactory that no useful purpose would be served by conducting an oral examination, they may recommend that the Research Degrees Committee refers the thesis for further work without holding the viva. In these cases, the examiners must provide written feedback to the student on the deficiencies of the thesis; and the examiners may not recommend that the candidate is failed outright without holding an oral examination or other alternative examination.

Research degree students who fail to satisfy the examiners at their first examination are entitled to one re-examination within one year of having been issued with the examiners’ report from the first examination. As noted above, a candidate is not permitted to undertake more than three completed vivas as part of one submission for the degree, including any recommendations or outcomes resulting from the consideration of appeals submitted by the candidate.