For all students starting their degree programme before 2013, half of the marks contributing towards an undergraduate degree by credit weight had to come from tests conducted under examination conditions - unless an exemption had been granted, which could take that minimum examined proportion down to 35%.
The 50% rule only applied to undergraduate degrees, and from 2013/14 will no longer apply to new students or intermediate year students – instead Departments will be able to determine their own assessment strategies, with appropriate requirements in place regarding the proportions of examined element in a degree programme. In 2013/14 the 50% rule will continue to apply to students in their final year. From 2014/15 the 50% rule will only apply to part-time students continuing in their final year (ie final 120 CATS) of study if the final year (ie final 120 CATS) commenced before 2014/15.
For full details of this, and a range of other assessment-related questions, see the "Examinations and Conventions" guide. You can find it on the TQ webpage for External Examiners, under the "University Regulations" section; "Senate examination and degree conventions". The "50% rule" is covered in section P.
For Final Year Students in 2013/14
P.3.a. Of the total credit obtainable by a candidate for an undergraduate degree, not less 50% must normally be obtainable from tests which are conducted under examination conditions as laid down by the University's Regulations for the Invigilation of Examinations, except that Departments may request approval from the Board of Undergraduate Studies to permit the required proportion of unseen examination for a degree course to be not less than 35%, on the basis that the proportion of assessed work beyond 50% is accounted for by a substantial piece(s) of work (e.g. a dissertation or project) undertaken on an individual basis. (Senate 909a(i)/70-71, 151e(i.1.A)/76-77, Senate 1st October 2003).
b. Departments are required to submit to the Board of Undergraduate Studies for its consideration any requests for exemption from the 50% Rule for individual students. (Senate 151e(i.1.A)/76-77)
c. In the context of the 50% Rule for Undergraduate Degrees, the Senate has resolved that the definition of an examination should be as follows: "An examination is a piece of work that contributes to the overall mark for a module or course which is undertaken in a controlled environment under the supervision of either examiners and/or invigilators and within a set time-frame. The product of the examination may be a written script (Written Examination), a performance for example in Theatre Studies (Performance Examination), a laboratory experiment (Laboratory Examination) or an oral conversation or presentation (Oral Examination). A record of examinations or other assessments which between them contribute at least 80% of the module mark must normally be available for scrutiny by a moderator and/or external examiner, which may be in the form of a script, audio-visual recording etc. (Senate minute 116(a)/05-06)
For first and intermediate year students from 2013/14
From 2013/14 the 50% Rule for Undergraduate Degrees will no longer apply to any first year or intermediate year students, and from 2014/15 no students, except those part-time students completing a final year (ie final 120 CATS, commenced before September 2014). (Senate 134/12-13(b) as set out in paper S.56/12-13)