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Progression and Graduation

Permission to Proceed to Writing a Dissertation

After Term 3 (around mid/late June), when all your taught module coursework has been submitted, an Examination Board (consisting at this stage of internal members) will be held to review all marks and individual student progress. Provided you have achieved a Pass mark (a mark of 50 or above) in 90 CATS’ worth of assessed work (including all core modules) and at least 40 in the remaining module, you will normally be allowed to proceed to writing your dissertation. This is a just formal designation: work on your dissertation should be quite advanced by this stage! If you have not achieved this, you will have the opportunity to resubmit failed assessments worth up to 60 CATS in total.

This Examination Board will also recommend that students following the taught MA part-time should be allowed to proceed to his/her second year, provided that the assessed work submitted so far has reached the required level.

Marking and Examination Conventions

The pass mark is 50. Marks between 60 and 69 will be awarded to work of merit level, and marks of 70 and above to work of distinction standard. Where dissertations have not met the required standard, candidates may be asked by the November Exam Board to resubmit within a specified time limit.

University Requirements for Taught Postgraduate Awards

The Postgraduate Diploma

A Postgraduate Diploma may be awarded to:

  • Students who have completed all assessed work satisfactorily, but have failed to produce a satisfactory dissertation, as determined by the Final MA Exam Board in November.
  • Students unable to proceed to writing a dissertation following completion of coursework, as determined by the Interim MA Exam Board in June.


All information regarding the University's degree ceremonies can be found on the Awards and Ceremonies website.


The University has agreed appeals procedures. If you wish to consult them, you should approach the Doctoral College.

Appeals Procedure