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J: Boards of Examiners for Undergraduate Degrees

Note: Where appropriate, these procedures also apply to the "Review Panels" set up under the provisions of Regulations 8.1.4(d) and (e).


1. Boards of Examiners shall be appointed annually by the Steering Committee on behalf of the Senate (Regulation 9.1(1), 9.2(1), Senate 123b/77-78).

2. In determining the membership of final-year Boards of Examiners for "end-on" degrees, Chairs shall have regard to continuity by including at least one member of the relevant second-year board (preferably the Chair or Secretary) as a member of the subsequent final examiners’ board (Senate 35/78-79 appx.IIc(iv)).

Board Procedure:

3. Persons outside the University may be appointed to membership of Boards of Examiners where appropriate, provided such persons have recent experience of examining either in a University or in public examinations of a comparable standing (Senate 64a/75-76).

4. The Academic Registrar will send to the Secretary of each Examination Board a list of candidates due for examination in the appropriate degree course.

5. It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary of the Examination Board:

(a) to ensure that the quorum is observed, as defined in Regulations 9.1 and 9.2.
(b) in accordance with the conventions on External Examiners, to ensure the presence of the External Examiner(s) at the meeting of a Final-Year Board of Examiners and where possible at the meeting of the Second-Year Board (if a member of that Board).
(c) to advise the Chair of the Board of Examiners of those courses of action open to the Board under the appropriate regulations.
(d) to ensure that members of the Board are aware of the conventions of the Board.

6. Boards of Examiners shall be conducted anonymously, with students identified by University ID number not by name (approved by Senate 1 February 2017).

7. Following the meeting of the Board of Examiners the Secretary shall send to the Academic Registrar:
(a) A Pass List in the approved format, dated and signed by the Chair and Secretary of the Board, and by the External Examiner(s); if more than one page needs to be used each page must bear the appropriate heading, date and signatures. The Pass List shall not include the name of any candidate who has failed or on whom a decision is still pending (Senate 165b/81-82).
(b) A report of the meeting dated and signed by the Chair and Secretary of the Board, and the External Examiner(s), including a decision on every candidate being considered.
(c) A report of cases where the Board of Examiners wishes to make a recommendation to the Senate not in conformity with the Regulations.
(d) A list of the members present at the meeting.
(e) Precise details of the modules and, in each case, the method of assessment and assessment requirements for students required to resit.

8. The Academic Policy Committee, at its meeting on 10th June 1999, resolved that departments be asked to follow the good-practice guidelines below regarding minute-taking for Boards of Examiners:
(a) A minute-taker should be identified in good time before the meeting.
(b) The minutes should record the attendance and note the quoracy of the meeting.
(c) Minutes should give decisions on all candidates due to consideration by the Board (even if it is only to note that a particular candidate has withdrawn or intends to withdraw).
(d) Minutes should record those candidates selected for viva voce examination, with a note of the criteria for selection.
(e) Any resit requirements should be stated unambiguously and in full, e.g. code/title/length of paper(s) to be resat, number and length of assessed essays to be resubmitted with submission date.
(f) Special cases should be recorded indicating the nature of any mitigating factors (e.g. medical or personal), noting all items of documentary evidence considered by the Board or any of its sub-committees (e.g. "letter from General Practitioner dated 00/00/00") and recording any vote taken by the Board. The final decisions or recommendations to higher bodies on such cases should be recorded clearly and fully, with a brief indication of the reasoning behind them (e.g. "on the grounds of serious recurrent medical problems throughout the 00/00 academic year").
(g) Minutes should record any further action required of the Board/department arising on a decision, together with a note of who is to take the action (e.g. the preparation of documentation for another University committee).
(h) External Examiners should be sent a copy of the minutes after the final meeting of a Board of Examiners, for their information.
(i) Boards of Examiners shall not normally reopen decisions which have been made and published but if new academic evidence does come to light any revised decision shall be subject to approval by the Senate. (Senate 59c(v)/81-82)


9. Candidates who fail their final examinations shall not be required to resit papers in which they have already achieved a pass mark, such pass marks being carried forward for consideration alongside the marks obtained for the papers retaken (Senate 31e/78-79).

10. Candidates shall not be permitted to resit a final examination more than once (Regulation 8.1(7)).

Mitigating Circumstances

11. University Guidelines for Consideration by Undergraduate and Postgraduate Boards of Examiners of Examination Candidates Notifying Mitigating Circumstances are as follows:

[a single set of guidelines is now applicable to UG and PGT]

(a) Students should be informed by departments of the need to submit mitigating evidence in writing (with professional or other suitable documentary corroboration as appropriate) at the earliest possible stage and by such a date as may be required for the appropriate meeting. In cases where students have been prevented, for medical reasons, from attending an examination or any part of an examination, the student should submit a medical certificate showing his/ her inability to complete the examination at the prescribed time. If at all possible this should be not later than three days following the last day of his/her University examinations.

(b) Departments should ensure that this procedure is made clear to students through departmental handbooks and other available means. They should also advise students about how this information might be used (see (d) and (e) below). In the case of medical evidence, the following advice to students is suggested: “When requesting medical evidence to support your application for mitigation you are advised to make clear to your doctor that the information will be shared with a number of people, and to discuss with your doctor the most appropriate wording of the medical evidence. You might find it helpful to share this advice with your doctor”.

(c) All mitigating evidence, whether directly from a candidate or from a personal tutor or other member of University staff on behalf of a candidate, should be communicated in writing to the Secretary of the Board of Examiners in advance of the Board meeting to ensure clarity of information and that a proper record exists and can be subsequently kept. New verbal and anecdotal information about candidates should not be introduced in the course of a Board meeting unless circumstances genuinely make this unavoidable.

(d) Departments should have a procedure for considering such evidence normally by means of a pre-meeting, before the Final Board. A written record of decisions relating to mitigating evidence should be kept with a brief indication of the reasoning behind them. The external examiners may attend this pre-meeting but are not required to do so. However, external examiners should normally be consulted about the recommendations to be made to the Board of Examiners in advance of the meeting.

(e) Boards of Examiners will normally accept the recommendations of the pre-meeting without the need for further discussion of the personal or medical circumstances affecting students’ academic performance. Only in very exceptional circumstances will the Board request to see the evidence presented to the pre-meeting. Where a request from a member of the Board is made for disclosure of such evidence, the Chair shall determine whether the circumstances of the case are so exceptional as to require disclosure, having particular regard to the sensitivity of the information to the student and to any other persons whose identity might be disclosed. Evidence should only be disclosed on the express authority of the Chair of the Board of Examiners and on the strict understanding that all members of the Board are bound by a strict requirement of confidentiality and non-disclosure of the evidence.

[Paper BGS 97/08-09 (revised), approved by the Board of Graduate Studies in April 2009 (BGS minute 88/09-10 refers); the Academic Quality and Standards Committee in June 2009 (AQSC minute 84/09-09); and the Board of Undergraduate Studies in November 2009 (BUGS minute 10/09-10)]

Marking Conventions: Undergraduate Modules Taken By Students First Enrolling BEFORE October 2008

12. The above conventions are available on the Teaching Quality office web-site at:

Marking Conventions: Undergraduate Modules Taken By Students First Enrolling in Autumn Term 2008 ONWARDS.

13. The above conventions are available on the Teaching Quality office web-site at:

Marking Conventions: Undergraduate Modules Taken By Students First Enrolling in Autumn Term 2017 ONWARDS.

14. The above conventions are available on the Teaching Quality office web-site at:

Exchange of Marks

15. In the case of joint degrees, Boards shall ensure that marks in each subject are expressed in the same numerical currency (Senate 177b (ii.A)/78-79).

(a) Marks for outside options shall be returned to the appropriate Board of Examiners expressed in numerical form (Senate 177b (ii.B)/78-79).
(b) Marks conveyed by established individual degree subject Examiners' Boards (usually the Second- Year Board) to the Part-Time Degrees Honours Level Board of Examiners should ensure that a suitable form of words is given to convey any relevant comments on an individual student's performance (Senate 179 b (ii)/86-87).

17. Under no circumstances may marks be sent through the internal mail.

Short-weight Marks


(a) Boards of Examiners (except in the case of cumulative credit degrees within which no short-weight conventions exist) shall adopt a common practice for indicating short-weight marks, which shall include a mark for the paper as a whole with no allowance made for short-weight, an average mark for that part of the paper actually attempted, and the number of questions attempted (Senate 177b(iii.A)/78-79).

(b) Short-weight shall be excused only exceptionally, where redeemed by excellence in one or more questions (Senate 177b(iii.B) /78-79).


If scaling of marks is to be applied it must be carried out in accordance with the Guidance on Scaling (Senate 5 July 2017)

Second-Year Entrants


(a) Students admitted directly into the 2nd year shall have their final degree classification calculated in a different ratio if all three years contribute to the final classification, e.g. Biological Sciences 1st: 10, 2nd: 30, 3rd: 60 became 2nd: 33.3, 3rd: 66.7 (Senate 25k/86-87, modified).
(b) Secretaries of Final-Year Boards of Examiners should:
(i) present to their Boards a grid showing the students' weighted and unweighted marks for each year contributing towards the final degree classification.
(ii) report to their Boards on the procedures followed for any students entering the course directly into the second year or transferring into the second or third year and confirm to the Board that the procedures have been followed in each case (Senate 33h (i)-(ii)/86-87).

Undergraduate Degree Classification Conventions for Boards of Examiners - for Candidates First Enrolling BEFORE Autumn Term 2008

21. The above conventions are available on the Teaching Quality Office web-site at:

Undergraduate Degree Classification Conventions for Boards of Examiners (for students enrolling from Autumn Term 2008 ONWARDS)

22. The above conventions are available on the Teaching Quality Office web-site at:

First-Year Boards of Examiners

23. Harmonised conventions for First-year Boards of Examiners are available on the Teaching Quality office web-site at:

24. Before the meeting of the First- year Board of Examiners the Chair of each department shall convene a meeting of examiners in that department so that the department can present a firm recommendation for the guidance of the Board (Faculty Boards' decisions).

25. For every student resitting in the Summer vacation, there shall be a written statement from the Personal Tutor if the tutor cannot be present at the meeting of the First- Year Board of Examiners. Personal Tutors shall be reminded in June of this obligation and it shall be the responsibility of the Chairs of departments to ensure that such written statements are available to the Board (Faculty Board's decisions).

26. Where the quorum rules for a First-year Board includes reference to tests being considered this shall be deemed to include tests which have been passed by all candidates (Regulation 8.1 (2c, 3d), Senate 94a(iii) /82-83)

Requirements for Taught Postgraduate Awards

27. Examination and examination board requirements for Taught Postgraduate Awards are available on the Teaching Quality Office web-site at:

Procedures for declaration of interest

28. Where an examiner has or has had a close personal relationship with an examinee or with a relative of an examinee, which might therefore be generally held to impair impartial conduct on the part of the examiner, he/she should inform the Chair of the Board of Examiners (or Head of the Department as appropriate) as early as possible of the existence of that relationship. The examiner is not obliged to disclose the details of that relationship (Senate 116g/85-86).

29. The relationships which should lead to a declaration of interest under paragraph 26 above include:
(i) kinship
(ii) sexual relationship
(iii) business or financial relationship

(Senate 116g/85-86)

30. The Chair of the Board of Examiners or the Head of Department (in consultation with the Chair of the Board of Undergraduate Studies or Graduate Studies where necessary) shall decide what action, if any, should be taken. The possible courses of action will depend upon the level of the relationship and its contemporaneity but should be selected with the principal aim of protecting the academic standing of the University's degrees and of being fair to the student concerned and to other students (Senate 116g/85-86).

31. Where an examiner has declared a relationship in accordance with paragraph 26 above, a brief and confidential note of that declaration and of any action taken should be appended to the formal record of the decisions taken by the Board deposited in the Academic Office (Senate 116g /85-86).