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Progression Rules & Examination Boards

Each year exam boards meet to consider each student's performance. The composition of these boards varies with the year of study and with the degree programme you are following.

This document should be read in conjunction with the University Classification Conventions.

First Year

All students in the science faculty are considered by the same board which is a committee of the Faculty of Science. If you have achieved a mark in excess of 40% overall, and perform satisfactorily (a mark in excess of 40%) in each of the required core modules identified in the examination regulations (physics, maths/phys, phys/bus), the board will allow you to proceed to the second year of your course and your name will appear on the list of those allowed to proceed. If you do not perform at this level your name will not appear and the board will identify the papers that you must resit in September.

There is one circumstance where the exam board will require a student to withdraw without the right to a resit, and that is for Physics and Physics & Business Studies students who have failed PX110 Physics Laboratory

Once the Pass List has been published your tutor will be able to give you more detailed information about your performance. If you are required to resit any papers you will receive a letter from Registry explaining the procedure and identifying the papers.

Following the September resits the exam board meets again to consider students' performance and there are three possible outcomes:

  • permitted to proceed to the second year of an honours degree course
  • required to withdraw

You should be aware that if you are required to resit the mark you carry forward is the lesser of 40% or the mark you obtained in the resit.

PX149, MA106, MA137
The mark considered by the Examination Board for resits in PX149 Mathematics for Physicists, MA106 Linear Algebra and MA137 Mathematical Analysis are the marks obtained in the September examination. This mark is NOT combined with the mark for the coursework submitted during the module.

Second Year

These exam boards are composed of members of the physics department and, where other departments contribute a significant amount of teaching, members of these departments as well. Students achieving an overall mark in excess of 40%, passing the IoP core, and having passed at least 60 CATs of complete modules at the 40% level will normally be classified according to the normal scheme and be allowed to proceed to the 3rd year. Students not achieving this level will be required to resit some of their examinations either in September or the following year usually without attending the university. If they are successful in these resits they will be allowed to proceed to the final year of the BSc course. If they are unsuccessful they will be required to withdraw.

All students registered for the MPhys or MMathPhys programmes are reminded that continuation to the 3rd year of the programme is not automatic. To be eligible to continue on an integrated masters degree programme an overall upper 2nd Class Honours performance must be attained in the 2nd Year. Physics students (F304) must also obtain a CATs weighted average mark in examined physics modules in excess of 60%. Mathematics and Physics students narrowly failing to achieve a 2i classification may be permitted to transfer to the 3rd year of the MPhys Physics programme provided their performance in Physics examination papers is at the 2i level, or above. Students not achieving these requirements will be transferred to the 3rd year of the BSc degree programme.

MPhys and MMathPhys Third Year

To proceed to the fourth year of these programmes students must normally achieve an aggregate mark over 50%. Students with a third year mark less than this will normally be treated as though they were final year BSc students, and if their marks are sufficient will be awarded a BSc degree classified according to the normal BSc criteria. They will not be allowed to proceed to the fourth year.

 

The Final Year

The final year exam boards have a similar composition to the previous ones, except that there are also external examiners from other universities present, whose job it is to ensure comparability with other universities. In addition to being members of the exam board, the external examiners will have approved the examination questions and will have seen some of the answer scripts and project reports. It is this final year board that effectively awards your degree, using your cumulative marks and total CATs passed to determine the overall classification according to the usual scheme and the University's conventions.

Students who are deemed to have failed at the honours level will be considered for the award of a pass degree for which they will typically need a mark of 35% or more. Students whose marks fall below this level will be deemed to have failed, however they have a right to resit the examination the following year (without attendance at the university). If they are successful in these resits they will be awarded a pass degree (they cannot be awarded an honours degree after resitting the final year examinations). If they are unsuccessful they will be required to withdraw.

Factors Considered by Exam Boards

Exam boards will consider all relevant information that is available to them. Naturally the key pieces of information are the year's examination and assessed work marks, and in the final year the cumulative marks. The classification guidelines for all boards are the same:

70% and over
A 1st class performance
60.0% - 69.9%
A 2(i) performance
50.0% - 59.9%
A 2(ii) performance
40.0% - 49.9%
A 3rd class performance
Less than 40%
A failure at the honours level

In borderline cases (2% below to 1% above the normal boundary) however they will also consider other information, e.g. the mark distribution. The board will also consider any factors that may have affected your performance, e.g. illness, but will normally require supporting documentary evidence. It is therefore essential that you keep your personal tutor informed of such matters, and provide him or her with doctor's notes etc.

The MPhys and MMathPhys degrees are only awarded as honours degrees. Students on these programmes obtaining an cumulative mark of less than 40% or otherwise failing to satisfy the requirements for their degree will be considered for the award of a BSc on the basis of their first 3 years' work.

Appeals

A student dissatisfied with the class awarded by the exam board does not normally have the right of appeal. Students required by a board of examiners to withdraw from the University do have a right of appeal against that decision, as described in section 8.3 of the University Regulations. You may also appeal against a board of examiners decision if you believe you have information relating to special circumstances, e.g. medical, that the board was unaware of and there is a good reason for your not having brought forward this information earlier. The final grounds for appeal are evidence for malpractice relating to the examination process. Any such appeal must be made in writing within 10 days of the decision to the Appeals Committee of the Board of Science. Students contemplating such an appeal should contact their personal tutor at the earliest opportunity.


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