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3: Assessment & Examination

You can find details of all departmental policies relating to assessment and feedback on the Assessment and Feedback webpages, including the Departments Assessment Strategy.

Assessment criteria

Coursework and examinations are marked to an absolute standard, not a relative one. There are no ‘quotas’ for failures or for the numbers gaining a particular class of degree. All examinations are marked and moderated independently by two examiners and all coursework that forms part of student assessment is also marked and moderated by two examiners. The pass mark for all postgraduate modules is 50%. Further information on our approach to assessment and feedback is available on our Assessment and Feedback pages.

Assessment criteria

We list below the criteria which we use in the Economics Department for marking students’ work. All work is marked on a percentage scale and it is our policy to use the whole range.


An outstanding piece of work, showing complete mastery of the subject, with an exceptionally developed and mature ability to analyse, synthesise and apply concepts, models and techniques. All requirements of the set work are covered, and work is free from errors. The work demonstrates originality of thought, with strong critical reflection and the ability to tackle questions and issues not previously encountered. Ideas are explained with great lucidity and in an extremely organised manner.


An excellent piece of work, showing mastery of the subject, with a highly developed and mature ability to analyse, synthesise and apply concepts, models and techniques. All requirements of the set work are covered, and work is free from all but very minor errors. There is good critical reflection and the ability to tackle questions and issues not previously encountered. Ideas are explained very clearly and in a highly organised manner.


A good piece of work, showing a sound grasp of the subject. A good attempt at analysis, synthesis and application of concepts, models and techniques. Most requirements of the set work are covered, but there may be a few gaps leading to some errors. There is some critical reflection and a reasonable attempt is made to tackle questions and issues not previously encountered. Ideas are explained clearly and in a well organised manner, with some minor exceptions.


A satisfactory piece of work, showing a grasp of major areas of the subject, but probably with areas of ignorance. Analysis, synthesis and application of concepts, models and techniques is mechanical, with a heavy reliance on course materials. The requirements of the set work are covered but with significant gaps. Little or no critical reflection and limited ability to tackle questions or issues not previously encountered. Ideas are explained adequately but with some confusion and lack of organisation.


A failing piece of work. There is a weak attempt at analysis, synthesis and application of concepts, models and techniques. Only some of the requirements of the set work are covered. Inability to reflect critically and difficulty in beginning to address questions and issues not previously encountered. Ideas are poorly explained and organised.

Below 40

A failing piece of work. There are extremely serious gaps in knowledge of the subject, and many areas of confusion. Few or none of the requirements of the set work are covered. The student has failed to engage seriously with the subject and finds it impossible to begin to address questions and issues not previously encountered. The levels of expression and organisation in the work are very inadequate.

Coursework and Examinations

MRes module examinations and assessment

MRes Year 1*

Code Title Type of Assessment, Timing and Weighting
EC9A1 Advanced Microeconomic Theory
Module Leader: B. Dutta
1 x 3 hour exam May 2021 (60%)
2 x 2 hour term tests in Dec 2020 & Mar 2021 (40%)
EC9A2 Advanced Macroeconomic Analysis
Module Leader: R. Pancrazi
2 x 3 hour term tests held Dec 2020 (50%)
and April 2021 (50%)
EC9A3 Advanced Econometric Theory
Module Leader: E. Renault

1 x 3 hour term test Dec 2020 (25%)
2 x 2 hour term tests Feb and Mar 2021 (12.5% each)

1 x 3 hour exam May 2021 (50%)

EC9AA The Practice of Economics Research
Module Leader: A. Stegmann
1 research report (100% of module mark)
submitted October 2021.

In MRes year 1, all modules are compulsory. In year 2, you choose five field modules (from the list below) and complete a dissertation. You are permitted to take up to two (15 credit) modules from outside the department (along-with three of the modules listed below) but you must gain the agreement of the Director of MRes/PhD to do so. All of the (Economics) second year modules are based on 100% assessment, which in most cases will be concluded by the end of term two, allowing you to concentrate on the dissertation from the start of term three. The list below is indicative rather than definitive and we cannot guarantee that all of the options listed will be offered in every year.

MRes Year 2*

Code Title Type of Assessment, Timing and Weighting
EC9B8 Topics in Advanced Economic Theory 1
Module Leader: Robert Akerlof
100% assessment

EC9B9 Topics in Advanced Economic Theory 2
Module Leader: Herakles Polemarchakis
100% assessment

EC9C1 Topics in Economic History
Module Leader: James Fenske
100% assessment
EC9C3 Topics in Industrial Organisation and data Science
Module Leader: Mirko Draca
100% assessment

EC9C6 Topics in Macroeconomics
Module Leader: Christine Braun
100% assessment

EC9C7 Topics in Political Economic Theory
Module Leader: Francesco Squintani
100% assessment
EC9C0 Topics in Development Economics
Module Leader: Clement Imbert
100% assessment
EC9C4 Topics in International Economics
Module Leader: Carlo Perroni
100% assessment
EC9C5 Topics in Labour Economics
Module Leader: Manuel Bagues
100% assessment
EC9C8 Topics in Advanced Econometrics
Module Leader: Mingli Chen
100% assessment

*Please note the structure of the programme may be subject to change. We consult you (through the GSSLC) about any proposed changes for the programme.

MRes assessment and examination scheme and progression rules

The following are guidelines only and the Board of Examiners reserves the right to exercise its discretion in individual cases. The examination components for the MRes in Economics are as follows:

Examination Components for the MRes in Economics

Examined Component in Year 1 CATs weighting Weighting in Overall Average for Year 1 Weighting in Calculation of Degree Average
EC9A1 Advanced Microeconomic Theory (core) 35 33.3% 14.6%
EC9A2 Advanced Macroeconomic Analysis (core) 35 33.3% 14.6%
EC9A3 Advanced Econometric Theory (core) 35 33.3% 14.6%
Examined Component in Year 2   Weighting in Overall Average for Year 2 (Taught)  
EC9AA The Practice of Economics Research (core) 15 20% 6.2%
5 Option Modules (@12 CATs) 60 80% 25.0%
Dissertation (core) 60

Note: Students are permitted in year 2 of the MRes to take up to two 15 credit modules from outside the Department. These students will overcat by a maximum of 6 CATs. Where this occurs, the Department is required to seek permission from the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies. The pass mark for all modules is 50%.

Pass Marks: The pass mark for all modules is 50%. Students can resit failed papers for the above components once only and all resit marks are capped at 50%.

Progression Rules: First year to second year: you must pass each of the core modules EC9A1, EC9A2 and EC9A3. Second year to dissertation: you must pass EC9AA and each of the option field modules to progress to the dissertation.

To be awarded the MRes in Economics: A candidate who passes each of the taught modules and passes the dissertation will be awarded the MRes.

MSc in Advanced Economics (in place of the MRes): A candidate who passes each of the taught modules, but fails the dissertation (having resubmitted the dissertation once), will be awarded the MSc Advanced Economics.

PG Diploma in Advanced Economics (in place of the MRes): A candidate who has taken 120 credits (and passed at least 90 credits) will be awarded the PG Diploma Advanced Economics.

PG Certificate in Advanced Economics: A candidate who passes two of the core modules only (minimum of 60 credits) will be awarded the PG Certificate Advanced Economics. This qualification will be awarded at the end of the first year to those who do not meet the requirements to progress to the second year.

Progression to the PhD
In order to automatically proceed onto the PhD programme, the candidate must:
(i) pass all modules and

(ii) achieve an average of 65% over all taught modules in year 1 and 2 and

(iii) demonstrate strong performance in the core modules (i.e. average of not less than 60% across the cores) and

(ii) achieve a mark of at least 65% in the dissertation.

(Calculation of the averages for both taught and core, will be weighted by the number of CATs for each module).

Marking conventions

The MRes degree carries a Distinction, a Merit and a Pass classification. Any candidate having an average mark of 70.0% or higher taken across all components of the course will normally be considered for a Distinction. Any candidate having an average mark of between 60.0% and 69.9% taken across all components of the course will normally be considered for a Merit.

To mitigate for the impact of Covid-19, we will apply the following Graduation Benchmark calculation to the final mark: We take from year 1, the work completed before 13/03/20 and weight this with the work taken in academic year 2020/21, weighted by CATs completed. This gives the Graduation Benchmark (GB). We then take the maximum of their usual average and the GB. See the following example:

Student X in year 1 had taken assessments worth 30 CATS and obtained an average of 63. In the 1st year as a whole, across 120 credits, they achieved an average of 58. In year 2, based on 120 CATS, they had an average of 66.

Normal average=(120*58+120*66)/(120+120)=62


Therefore 65.4 would be taken as the higher of the two marks

For the purposes of the individual elements of the course, the following marking conventions are in place:

70.0 Distinction

60.0-69.9 Merit

50.0-59.9 Pass

40.0-49.9 Fail

39.9 Fail

Convention for re-sitting students

You should note that normally re-sit marks will be based on the combined exam and assessment weights. All re-sit marks will be capped at 50%.

Methods of coursework submission

Most assessed work is submitted electronically, but there may be some pieces of work that need to be submitted in hard copy. Your module leader will inform you if a particular piece of assessment should be submitted in hard copy. It is your responsibility to make sure you check with the module leader about the submission arrangements for each module.

In the case of e-submission:

Students will submit assessed coursework via electronic submission, accessed through the Tabula coursework section. Submitted work is stored only by University ID number (and all work is date - and time-coded). Please ensure you include your ID number on every page of your e-submission. You can submit your work electronically up until 4pm on the deadline day and all work is date-and time-coded. You are strongly encouraged to complete e-submission prior to 3pm on the day of the deadline in order that you can inform us of any problems that may arise. The system can become very busy just before a deadline and neither this, nor computer difficulties will be accepted as a reason for late submission.

It is your responsibility to check carefully that you have uploaded the correct file via e-submission. Failure to upload the correct file will result in a penalty of five marks per day until the correct file is produced.

In the case of paper submission:

Submit your work to the MRes/PhD Office, Room S1.130 on the specified date. The deadline for submission of work is 12 noon.

A submission form should be attached to both copies of your work. All work will be date–stamped on receipt.

The MRes/PhD office will accept assessed work from the start of the working day, at 8.30am, through to the submission deadline of 4pm.


Your work should be submitted anonymously, whether by e-submission or hard-copy submission. Anonymisation is based on the University ID number on your library card and you must ensure that this number appears on every page of both copies of your work. You must not print your name anywhere on your work. If submitting your work by e-submission, you must take care that you have logged into the system using your own university ID number and that you are not logged in using a friend’s ID number who has used the computer before you.


Each piece of work must be submitted by a particular date set by the MRes/PhD Office and module leader (and displayed on the module web page). You will be given notice of these deadlines at the beginning of term and notified of any changes. It is your responsibility to arrange your own programme and manage your time accordingly. We advise you always to leave a safety margin in case of last–minute difficulties in obtaining books, printing files and so on. The University stipulates that markers have a maximum of twenty University working days for completion of marking, so you should receive your marks within 20 University working days of your submisison.

Please note that the submission deadlines and test dates can be found on the MRes Hub page.

Extensions to assessed work deadlines

Requests for an extension to assessed work (which can only be granted as a result of mitigating circumstances) can be requested through Tabula. Email Maryanne Heafey (Programme Manager-Research) if you have any difficulties. The Programme Manager will authorise requests in consultation with Director of MRes. All requests must be supported by medical evidence, which should be submitted within 5 working days of making your request.

Extensions are not available for technological difficulties – you should anticipate that your hard drive may crash, your work may be destroyed by a virus and that your laptop may get stolen. Make sure you back up your work to a memory stick, or to your network disk space. Do not store your backup with your computer – and definitely not in your laptop bag. Note also that extensions will not be granted on the basis of a student being in full- or part-time employment or on the basis of undertaking a summer internship.

Late submission or failure to submit

Work submitted late will be marked subject to a penalty, unless an assessment deadline extension has previously been approved. All work submitted late (after 4pm on the due date) will incur a five-mark penalty per day (not including weekends, University closure days and public holidays) with a minimum mark of zero for an assessment. Late work must be submitted by the original method of submission for that particular module (e-submission or hard-copy submission to the MRes/PhD Office). It must not be submitted to anyone else.

A zero mark will be recorded when a candidate fails to present themselves for an examination or submit an item of assessment for a module for which they have been registered. In circumstances where a zero mark has been awarded (including instances of plagiarism and cheating, where the opportunity for reassessment has been withheld by those investigating the offence) the MRes/PhD Board of Examiners has the power to deem the taught component failed.

Mitigating circumstances

Detailed guidance on how to submit a case for mitigating circumstances and the evidence required to substantiate a case is available here.

Mitigating circumstances are defined as:

  • Situations that the student could not have predicted and had no control over (e.g. serious illness, death of someone close, being the victim of crime, family difficulties and financial hardship);
  • Situations with negative impact on the student’s ability to undertake assessments/examinations which are independently evidenced in a timely fashion; (e.g. doctor’s note during illness showing duration and level of negative impact);
  • Situations that are acute or short term, the timing of which are relevant to the impact on study (normally within three weeks of the relevant assessment event deadline).

Any claim for Mitigating Circumstances should be submitted via your personal Tabula page as soon as possible. If you are taken ill during an examination you should inform the Senior Invigilator immediately and submit a mitigating circumstances claim as soon as possible, following the guidance on the link above.

Claims for mitigating circumstances will be considered by the Mitigating Circumstances Panel (consisting of Director of PG Student Engagement and Progression, Director of Graduate Studies, Director MRes/PhD, Director of Studies, Head of Department and the Programme Manager), which will make recommendations to the Exam Board. The Panel will determine whether mitigation is granted and the severity of the impact (weak, moderate or severe), ensuring decisions are equitable and consistent across cohorts.

Deadlines: where you are applying for an extension to a coursework deadline because of mitigating circumstances, you must apply as soon as possible and definitely before the submission deadline. All other mitigating circumstances claims must be submitted as soon as possible and no later than 5 working days before the Mitigating Circumstance Panel, which normally takes place one week in advance of the Exam Board. You should be aware that if you bring extenuating or mitigating circumstances to the Department after exam marks are known, they will not be considered unless there are exceptional circumstances, which prevented you from making the Department aware of them prior to the Exam Board (even if it were not possible to supply all of the supporting evidence at that time). Without wanting to invade your privacy, the University expects that you bring such circumstances to the Department’s attention in a timely manner, despite the discomfort you might feel in so doing. The Department will do all it can to support you in difficult situations.

Possible Action by the Exam Board: If a claim is supported by appropriate evidence (e.g. medical evidence), the Board of Examiners may be able to exercise discretion. The Board may recommend the candidate sits (as for the first time) at the next available opportunity; or base a grade for a module on unaffected assessment marks; or condone missing work, for example. However, neither the Board of Examiners nor the Mitigating Circumstances Panel are permitted to change a module mark.

Medical Evidence: Should be supported by a medical practitioner (or counsellor). There is policy on Self-Certification which will allow students to self-certify for an automatic extension of five university working days, and to do this twice in any academic year. Please apply for an extension through Tabula.

Whom to contact: In order for your circumstances to be considered as mitigating by the Department, they must be conveyed formally to the Programme Manager-Research (Maryanne Heafey) using the Mitigating Circumstances tab on your Tabula page. If you feel inhibited from talking to a member of staff in the first instance, you may also consider talking to a member of the GSSLC, the Student Union, the University Tutor or a member of staff in Student Support Services.

Exams are a stressful time for all students and hence you should expect to feel some degree of anxiety during the exam period. When taking an exam, it is not uncommon for students to feel a rising level of anxiety and to think that it is a panic attack. A panic attack during an exam will not be taken as a severe mitigating circumstance, unless:

  • the Department already has evidence to confirm that you have a history of similar anxiety and panic attacks and can provide medical evidence of this panic attack.
  • significant medical evidence can be provided that documents the symptoms of the panic attack during the exam and confirms that you would have been unable to complete the exam under the circumstances.

We are aware that in some circumstances it is considered shameful or embarrassing to disclose the details of these kinds of circumstance to those outside one’s family. This is not the case in the prevailing UK culture and you should be aware that the Department and the University are fully supportive of students in difficult circumstances and want to assist if at all possible.

Please Note: Long term chronic conditions (normally greater than a term in duration and that are likely to continue) and disabilities are dealt with under the Reasonable Adjustments (RA’s) policy. However a significant deterioration of a permanent or chronic condition already reported and covered by reasonable adjustments, is classed as a mitigating circumstance. Guidance in relation to reasonable adjustments is available on the above link and is summarised below:

The Equality Act 2010 requires the University to make reasonable adjustments where a candidate who is disabled (within the meaning of the Act), would be at a SUBSTANTIAL DISADVANTAGE in comparison to someone who is not disabled.

  • Noting ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’ and that a disability is defined as ‘a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.
  • Students who have long term chronic conditions or disabilities and who believe they are entitled to reasonable adjustments should in the first instance contact DisabilityServices or Wellbeing Support Services and request an appointment to discuss their support requirements.
  • A reasonable adjustment may be unique to the individual and could include special examination arrangements, delayed deadlines but also alternative methods of assessments.
  • Any reasonable adjustments made are evidence based; students are required to supply appropriate and recent medical evidence, or, in the case of a specific learning difference such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, a full diagnostic assessment. The type of appropriate evidence required can be discussed with Disability Services or Mental Health and Wellbeing.
  • Once a student has met with Wellbeing Support Services, the adviser will contact the student's department and the Examinations Office (with their permission) to recommend any specific adjustments.
  • Reasonable adjustment recommendations for examinations must be made before the annual deadlines as set out by the Examinations Office on the Examination Arrangements web page. Recommendations that are made AFTER these deadlines will be handled under the Mitigating Circumstances Policy.
  • Recommendations to apply reasonable adjustments may include for the student to be able to complete assessments via alternative assessment methods; bearing in mind that academic or professional standards in relation to core competencies and assessed criteria still need to be met.
  • Further information on disabilities and reasonable adjustments can also be accessed in the University’s Disability Services web pages.

Assessment and feedback

You can expect to receive your marked work with feedback and/or annotations within 20 University working days of the submission date, unless extenuating circumstances within the Department prevent this. If the date for returning work is missed, you will be notified. All assessment and examination results are only provisional and will not become finalised until after the Exam Board.

We have a rigorous and robust marking and moderation process, as set out in the Department's Assessment and Feedback Strategy for all assessments. By setting out the rigorous steps taken in marking assessments, we aim to create a transparent and trustworthy system, such that you can be confident in the assessment process and in the marks you receive. You are not permitted to challenge your marks on any assessed work, as academic judgement cannot be challenged, but you are encouraged to use all of the forms of feedback available to clarify and deepen your understanding.

Querying assessed work marks

University regulations state that you may not query a mark awarded on a piece of assessed work or examination on the basis of academic judgement. The Department will reject any requests by students to have their work reviewed on the basis that they disagree with the marker’s evaluation of their performance. The Department will, however, allow a student who believes that the marks for a piece of work in a module run by the Department of Economics have been totalled incorrectly, to request an arithmetic check on the paper. The Department has the right, after such an arithmetic check, to adjust the mark upwards or downwards.

Should you wish to request an arithmetic check of your marks for an assessment, please complete an Assessed Work Mark Check form, (available on the MRes/ PhD Hub page) and submit it, together with the marked copy of the assessed work in question, to the MRes/PhD Office within seven working days of the date the assessment was made available for you to collect. The Department will then carry out a check of the marks. If no discrepancy is found, you will be advised of this and asked to collect your work. You will be advised that there is no right to a further check or questioning of marks. Should a discrepancy be discovered, the Department will calculate the correct mark for the work and adjust this on our systems. You will then be contacted to collect your work, which will have the corrected mark annotated on it.

Class tests

A number of modules have mid-term tests that contribute to your final marks in the module concerned. Class tests are organised by the Department rather than by the central examinations team, but normal exam conditions apply:

  • You should not use any books, papers, calculators, mobile phone or any other information storage and retrieval device to the test unless this is expressly permitted in the test rubric.
  • You must not talk or communicate with other candidates or pass information to one another during the test.

Please note that the Department reserves the right to take group photographs of students attending a test, in order to discourage cheating through assumed false identities. Please see section below entitled 'Good Practice in Exams', as a class test will be treated in the same way as an examination.

NOTE: During the Covid pandemic, it is likely that the majority of class tests will be administered online., in this case unless told otherwise these will be open-book tests.

Examination schedule and feedback

MRes examinations take place during early May (weeks 32 and 33). The exam rubric for each module can be found on the module webpage. September exams are available for students who fail to pass a module at the first attempt in June. These take place in the first week of September. Access to marked scripts (for revision purposes) is only available for students who fail a module. Due to the large number of exam scripts the Department deals with, we are unable to offer exam script access to students who achieve a pass mark. Students will be provided with generic feedback on the main exams, including summary statistics by question ( where not precluded by small numbers). This will be made available after the September resit period. Generic feedback will not be available for resit papers.

Special exam arrangements

If you have a disability, learning difficulty, temporary disability, illness or other medical condition that could affect your ability to take examinations, please discuss this with Maryanne Heafey (Programme Manager- Research) and Disability Services in the first instance. If appropriate, we may then organise special exam arrangements for you. These may include, for example, extra time for dyslexic students, the use of a PC or a scribe (where the ability to write is seriously impaired), individual invigilation to allow for rest breaks or permission to take a particular item(s) into examinations, as may be agreed in advance. In all cases you will need to submit medical or other appropriate and acceptable evidence to support your request.

If for reasons of religious observance you would prefer not to take examinations on a particular day(s), you must notify us of your preferences by contacting the MRes/PhD Office. Please note that submission of a request does not mean that your examinations will definitely not be set on the dates/times you would wish to avoid.

Good practice in exams

All of the assessment on the MRes course, (in the form of class tests and final exams) is classed as internal to the Department (i.e. outside the University examination timetable).

To maximise your chances of success in an examination, there are a number of pointers for good practice, such as:

  • familiarising yourself with what happens in the exam room by reading the Examination Regulations 10.2
  • familiarising yourself of the rubric beforehand and doing what the rubric asks
  • filling in the question numbers on the front page
  • not wasting time writing out the question - but do write down the question number
  • striking out any material that is not to be read (e.g. unwanted attempts)
  • writing as legibly as possible
  • showing your working in mathematical/quantitative answers – enough to be awarded method marks if you get the wrong answer. We are also interested in checking reasoning and understanding
  • answering only the number of questions indicated in the examination rubric; if you answer more questions than are prescribed by the rubric, and fail to provide a clear indication of which answers should be discarded by the marker (e.g. by crossing them out), then the marker will mark answers in the order in which they appear in the exam booklet and, after the prescribed number is reached, will discard the rest.

Other advice on how to tackle exams:

Use of calculators in exams

The University Regulations forbid the use of programmable calculators and any calculators which can store formulae or text in examination rooms. The Regulations also forbid you to take manufacturer’s instructions in the use of calculators into the examination room.

Possession of electronic storage or retrieval devices

Students who are in possession of electronic storage or retrieval devices (including Smart devices), either at the examination desk or on their person, will be awarded a mark of zero for the examination. This is an absolute penalty and there is no opportunity to appeal the mark of zero.

Use of bi-lingual dictionaries in exams

Students whose first language is not English are allowed to use a single-volume, non-specialist, general-purpose bilingual translation dictionary covering English and their first language. Permitted dictionaries should give only equivalent words and phrases in English and the first language and should not include further explanatory text or appendices, other than of a trivial nature. Encyclopaedic, electronic, pictorial or specialist/subject-specific dictionaries (e.g. legal or business dictionaries) are not permitted.

It is your responsibility to provide your own bi-lingual dictionary. All bi-lingual dictionaries must be authorised by the Department and you should take it to MRes/PhD Office, prior to the exams period to get it stamped. No notes may be made in dictionaries.

Bags in exam rooms

Please remember that the University’s Regulation 10.2 states that:

“Candidates are forbidden to take into the examination room any books, papers, calculators, or any information storage and retrieval device, or any attache case or bag in which such items can be carried, unless there is an express provision otherwise in the case of a particular paper. Candidates are forbidden to pass calculators or any other item to one another during examinations.”

You are reminded that you should not take any bags, cases, or rucksacks etc into the examinations rooms.

The only exceptions to this are:

  1. small pencil cases may be used for pens, pencils and rulers etc
  2. if necessary plastic carrier bags may be used to carry permitted texts or other material into open-book examinations (unless you have been given special individual permission to have any other kind of bag with you in connection with an approved special examination arrangement).

You are strongly recommended NOT to bring bags with you to examinations. If you do, you will not be permitted to bring them into the exam room (other than as noted under (a) and (b) above). Also you must not leave bags outside exam rooms where they may cause any kind of obstruction.

If you do bring bags into the Department on an exam day, please store them in the lockers provided in the MRes hot desk room (s2.134/ s2.136) or leave them in the hot desk room (any valuables you leave at your own risk).

Handwriting legibility policy

You are responsible for ensuring that handwritten answers in exam scripts are legible and can be read by markers.

Markers will make reasonable efforts to read scripts, and those found to be illegible will be checked by a moderator to confirm whether or not the handwriting can be deciphered. If the marker and moderator are unable to read a script it should be forwarded to the Director of the MRes/PhD for scrutiny. If the answers are still deemed illegible, the indecipherable sections will not be marked. The Programme Manager will annotate the mark grid to indicate to the Board of Examiners any scripts with illegible handwriting, to help inform the Board’s decisions about resits and borderline cases.

The Department does not allow scripts deemed illegible to be retyped following a first examination, unless there is medical evidence of mitigating circumstances that would have affected a candidate’s handwriting in exam conditions. Except for circumstances in which a disability could not have been anticipated, students should provide medical evidence for special exam arrangements by the deadlines set by the Academic Office.

The Department believes the onus for writing legibly should rest with students. Students with illegible handwriting who still achieve sufficient marks to pass a module will not be allowed a resit attempt. Students failing a module at the first attempt, where sections of an exam script have been found to be illegible, will normally be offered a resit opportunity. Students will be offered the chance to type their answers in the resit exam. The maximum mark which may be awarded for a module on re-examination is 40 for undergraduate modules and 50 for postgraduate modules.


In University Regulation no. 11, "cheating" is defined as ‘an attempt to benefit oneself or another, by deceit or fraud. This includes deliberately reproducing the work of another person or persons without acknowledgement.'

View further details on the University's regulations to plagiarism.

Some examples of plagiarism are:

  • reproducing ideas from another published work without citing the source
  • reproducing words from another published work without quotation marks
  • copying another student’s work and pretending it is yours, with or without their permission, and whether they are a present or past student at this or any other university
  • downloading work from an internet website and pretending it is yours.

Plagiarism can also include self-plagiarism - that is, repeating one's own, earlier work without acknowledgement.

Plagiarism will be penalised and penalties are severe. Some forms of plagiarism are more easily concealed and therefore harder to detect. The effort taken to conceal plagiarism will usually be taken as evidence of the perpetrator’s intention. Therefore, the greater the effort, the more severe the punishment when it is detected.

The Department now makes extensive use of the Turnitin plagiarism detection service. This web-based service allows us to submit student assignments for comparison with working papers, existing theses, published sources, web pages and other students’ work. The software produces extremely detailed reports.

The procedure for dealing with cases of alleged plagiarism is described in University Regulation 11. If a marker decides that he or she suspects plagiarism in a piece of coursework, he or she will report it to the Director of MRes/ PhD, who will in turn make a recommendation to the Head of Department or designated deputy. Where the Head decides an offence has occurred and exacts a penalty, the maximum penalty is a mark of zero on the relevant piece of assessed work. Alternatively, the Head may report the matter to the Academic Registrar for consideration by an Investigating Committee of Senate. If the Committee finds an offence has been committed it has the power to impose a mark of zero for the entire module unit or some more severe penalty. At each point the student has rights of representation and defence which are described in the Regulation.

It is important for you to avoid even the suspicion of plagiarism or cheating in your assessed work. The best way is to ensure that you adhere to good practice. Usually this means that when you first take notes from a book or article you should be careful to preserve the details of author, title, date, and page numbers. Such precision is an important transferable skill in itself and shows that you are acquiring a professional approach.

Students who lack confidence in writing sometimes prefer copying or quoting from the textbook to expressing ideas in their own words. Why should they use their own words when somebody else’s words are better? Such students do not intend to cheat. They escape serious consequences by scattering quotation marks and references — sometimes, in large quantities. The marker cannot detect plagiarism, but is uneasy because it is not clear that the student has done more than some of intelligent cutting and pasting. It is impossible to be sure that the student has an independent understanding of the topic. Such work may pass, but will not get a good mark.

Copying out lecture notes is something we would especially discourage. Notes provided by lecturers should be only a starting point of your research, not your finishing point. Again, work based largely on lecture notes will not get a good mark.

Discussing your work with your colleagues can be a positive and fruitful learning experience. Often it is enhanced by showing your colleagues what you have done. However, there is no good reason for another student to ask to borrow a disk or file on which your essay or project work is recorded. If your work is copied by another student, and the copying is detected, you lay yourself open to accusations of abetting or colluding with their cheating, or even of engaging in cheating yourself.

The University's Proofreading Policy  provides a framework for acceptable use of proofreading. It sets out expectations, acceptable practices and exceptions. Please ensure you are familiar with this policy and if you do use a proof reader you must inform them of the University’s proofreading policy and check your own piece of work prior to submission to ensure that it is in line with University policy and expectations. You will be asked to make a declaration on submission of assessed work to confirm that the submission is your own work and to declare whether you have used a proof reader.

Other forms of cheating

Plagiarism is just one form of cheating. There are, of course, other kinds of cheating, such as cheating in tests or exams. This can take several forms, some of which are listed below:

  • concealing information on or near your person during a test or exam and then referring to this information during the test or exam
  • by using electronic devices to retrieve information in a test or exam
  • copying another student's work or communicating with other students in a test or exam
  • arranging for another student to take a test or exam on your behalf
  • purchasing essays from another person and submitting these as your own work.

The above list is not exhaustive and any form of cheating can and will be punished by the University. As with plagiarism, the penalties for cheating in a test or exam can be severe.

As is stated in Regulation 11, suspected instances of cheating in an exam (or a class test conducted under examination conditions) will be referred to the Academic Registrar and on to the Investigating Committee of the Senate. If an invigilator suspects a student of cheating in an exam, the invigilator (after informing and consulting with the other invigilators) should let the student know that they will be submitting a report to the Academic Registrar. Once the invigilator has warned the student that a report will be made, the student will be allowed to complete the exam. The student may make a written statement to the Academic Registrar before the meeting of an Investigating Committee of Senate (ICS). The student will be provided (by the Academic Registrar) with a statement of the allegations made against them, together with any supporting evidence at least 5 days before the meeting of the ICS. Please refer to the University’s Regulation 11 for more information.

Where should I go for advice on these matters?

If you have read all of the above and are still not sure what constitutes plagiarism, collusion or other forms of cheating, you should seek advice in good time from either the module leader or your Personal Tutor. For advice on the Department’s Plagiarism Procedure, please refer to the Programme Manager- Research.

Examination boards

The Board of Examiners comprises a subset of full-time members of the academic staff in the Department of Economics, members of the academic staff from other departments for joint programmes and external examiners appointed by Senate. The Board, chaired by the Director of MRes, makes recommendations that are subject to confirmation by Senate.

The external examiners are experienced senior academics from other universities whose role is to monitor our standards, to advise us on issues, including borderline cases, and generally to act as independent arbiters and scrutinisers and to ensure that the Board’s decisions are fair.

Exam board decisions

The general range of decisions available to the Board is set out below. The Assessment and Examination Scheme provides guidelines only and the Board reserves the right to exercise its discretion in individual cases.

June Exam Board

The Board will consider the progress of students in the taught component. It will determine whether the student shall:

  1. Proceed to the second year of the MRes (for first year students)
  2. Be permitted to submit the dissertation (for second year MRes students). Students will only be permitted to submit the dissertation when they have passed both option modules
  3. Be required to be re-examined in specified modules
  4. Be awarded a lower qualification (for those students who fail to meet the progression criteria)
  5. Be required to withdraw.

September Exam Board (Final)

This is the Board at which students who have completed the full requirements of the degree are considered. It will determine whether a student shall:

  1. Be awarded the degree
  2. Be awarded the degree with distinction or merit
  3. Be permitted re-submission of the dissertation
  4. Be awarded a lower qualification (as specified in the MRes examination conventions)
  5. Not be awarded a qualification

Exam marks

You will be notified by email when exam results are viewable via Tabula (or the current student page). Compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (2018) means that we will not give out examination or assessment marks over the telephone or to any third party without your prior written permission.

Transcripts and degree certificates

If you attend a Degree Congregation you will be presented with your certificate on stage. If you do not attend a ceremony your certificate will be posted to you or can be collected form Student Reception (Senate House). The University's Awards and Ceremonies web pages contain lots of information regarding graduation day and how to obtain your degree certificate and official transcript.


If an Exam Board decides that your performance merits the award of a lower qualification than the one for which you were registered or does not merit the award of a qualification at all, you have certain rights of appeal. You must submit your appeal within 10 working days of the date of notification of the decision of the Board of Examiners that is the subject of the appeal. You are required to complete a form if you wish to appeal against the decision of the examiners for your course. You can download the appeals form and access further information here

There is no right of appeal against the requirement to resubmit work or resit examinations, nor against the decision to award a Master’s degree at pass level rather than with distinction or merit.

Appeals may be made on one or more of the following grounds:

1. There is evidence of exceptional circumstances that affected your performance which you were unable to present in time for the meeting of the Board of Examiners. In this instance, you are required to provide an explanation as to why the evidence was not available at the meeting of the Board of Examiners.

2. There is evidence of procedural irregularity or unfair discrimination in the examination process.

3. There is evidence of inadequacy of supervisory or other arrangements during your enrolment at the University. In this instance, you are required to explain why a complaint was not made at an earlier stage.

Appeals made on grounds covered by (1) or (3) will be rejected if you do not provide an explanation for the lack of availability of the evidence when the Board of Examiners reached its original decision.

If you have any queries about appeals please contact the Doctoral College at