How will I learn?
For each of your modules you’ll have at least one lecture per week, which is then normally followed by a seminar later in the week or the following week. Lectures are there to introduce you to a particular topic, including an overview of the key aspects and theories. Lectures give you a starting point to then prepare for discussion in your seminars. You’ll be expected to delve further into the topic and expand your knowledge, using your overview as a base for further reading in books, journals and online sources.
Your seminars will be much smaller, and you’ll engage with fellow students in discussion, debate or pre-set tasks which draw on the further research you have undertaken. You’ll normally receive instructions, notes and tasks ahead of time so that you and your group are prepared and ready to build on the knowledge, theories and ideas from the lecture. You’ll be expected to share your views about the topic and debate the issues. These weekly seminars are compulsory and you’ll have your own seminar group and seminar tutor for the length of the module. The seminar tutor makes sure that you get the most from these sessions, prompting discussions, setting tasks and ensuring everyone has their say.
In addition to your seminars, you will also have a personal tutor, as well as feedback sessions and opportunities to ask questions with module directors and seminar tutors. Feedback on your submitted assessments, as well as the regular reports to your personal tutor, are an important way in which you will be able to check your essay performance, monitor your progress, get ideas on how to improve your work and clarify points you are unsure about.
Research training, personal and professional development are all embedded into your degree programme. Through modules, extra seminars, skills workshops, careers presentations, one-to-one advice sessions and guest speakers, you will be able to sharpen the skills that employers and further study programmes are looking for.
Lecturs and seminars take place for 25 weeks over the whole academic year, with the last 5 weeks dedicated to final examinations.
How will I be assessed?
Our modules are normally assessed through a mixture of exams and essays, and you’ll get extensive feedback to help you progress. You will have what are known as ‘formative assessments’ which are assessments that do not contribute marks to your final overall grade. Formative assessments will accustom you to what is required from your degree and the style of assessment. The feedback will provide you with suggestions and ideas to develop your analysis, style and skills, and help you prepare for the ‘summative assessments’ that determine your marks for each module.
These summative assessments involve a combination of end of year exams and coursework that will make up your final grades. The further you progress in your PAIS degree, the more freedom you have to choose your preferred method of assessment by selecting your preferred balance of exams and assessed essays.