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Postgraduate Taught Covid-19 Impact Mitigation Policy

The University recognises that the global pandemic will be impacting on you and, as with undergraduate courses, we are therefore putting in place a package of measures to mitigate this and to take this into consideration in the assessment of your performance. A range of approaches has been developed specific to different levels of study and courses, given their differing structures and characteristics.

Our postgraduate taught population at Warwick is diverse; some of you are undertaking intensive year long Masters courses, some of you will be taking part-time degrees while working, some of you are studying remotely and via distance learning while some of you will be doing shorter continuing professional development courses. We know that not only will the pandemic be affecting your studies but many of you may be affected at work or in your personal lives. We have therefore aimed to make changes which will support you all in your very different circumstances. 

If you are studying on an Integrated Master’s course (e.g. MBio, MChem, MEng, MMath, MMORSE, MPhys), you should refer to our guidance for undergraduate students. The guidance on this webpage applies only to standalone postgraduate taught awards (e.g. MA, MSc, MBA, LLM, PGDip, PGCE, PGCert, PGA) 

The University’s usual rules on awarding postgraduate qualifications are set out in the Requirements for Taught Postgraduate Awards and we describe below how some sections of this will be amended in the current circumstances. 

How will my degree be classified?

The calculation of the award of Merit and Distinction for Masters Degrees for all current postgraduate taught students will be based on the best 120 credits achieved by the student rather than the weighted average across all modules taken (which typically total 180 credits). For Postgraduate Diplomas the classification of Merit and Distinction will be based on the best 90 credits (out of 120 credits in total). The calculation will be based on whole modules using those for which you have achieved the highest marks. This recognises that a proportion of your studies is likely to be affected but the timing and nature of that impact may vary depending on your circumstances and location. Even if some of you are taking part-time degrees and are therefore not due to graduate for a year or two, this approach will still be used. 

As Postgraduate Certificates and Postgraduate Awards don’t require students to take as many modules it will not be possible to use a proportion of modules for classification and therefore we will not be changing our approach to classifying these qualifications. Nevertheless other measures being introduced on resits, self-certification and mitigating circumstances described here will apply to those of you on these courses too. 

When you take your assessments, it enables staff to assess whether you have learnt the subject knowledge and skills to the minimum level required to be awarded a qualification. It is important that this standard is maintained and the minimum number of modules you need to pass will therefore remain the same; you will also need to pass all core modules. Your department will have provided you with information about this. In addition, you will need to pass all modules to be awarded a Merit or Distinction. We know though that some of you will be worried about failing modules and further information on mitigating this is provided below. 

What happens if I fail a module?

Previously there has been a limit to the number of modules that postgraduate taught students have been able to re-sit assessments for but current students will now have one opportunity to re-sit assessments for all failed modules. There may be some exceptions to this for courses which involve professional practice modules (for instance in health and social care related courses) where professional standards and requirements need to be taken into consideration, and those regulated or accredited by professional bodies.

Under our normal rules, even when postgraduate taught students have passed the minimum modules to be awarded a qualification, it has been a requirement that they achieve at least 40% on any failed modules. We are also now changing this for current students so that there is no minimum mark you need to reach on failed modules. There are some accredited courses however to which we may not be able to apply this change due to the accrediting body’s requirements. 

Additional rules relating to resits will still apply and these are set out in Section 3 (b-g) of the Requirements for Taught Postgraduate Awards.

What should I do if my dissertation or research project is impacted?

We know that your dissertation or project forms a significant and intrinsic part of your Masters degree but access to research sources and facilities may be impacted by current circumstances. If you find that you are facing difficulties, discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible. Research methodologies or topics may need to be adjusted and your supervisor will be able to consider options with you.  

We appreciate that this may be disappointing for you but inevitably the current situation will place some limitations on what is achievable and students worldwide will be in similar positions. One of the University’s priorities at this time is to enable students to graduate and staff will be doing their best to support you to complete your degree.   

There are also opportunities set out below to apply for extensions or to provide evidence of mitigating circumstances.  

Mitigating Circumstances, Extensions and Self-Certification

You will have been given a two week extension for all assignments already underway in late March when the lockdown was announced and due to be submitted before the end of July. This recognises the immediate disruption that you may be experiencing at this time.  

If you have short-term illness or other difficulties which prevent you submitting assignments by the deadline, you may also now self-certify for extensions of up to five university working days without needing to provide evidence. Read further details. If you need an extension for longer than five university working days you can apply for this through the normal processes in your department.  

We know that it may be difficult during the pandemic to obtain the evidence for mitigating circumstances that we would normally expect. There may also be different types of circumstances affecting you that would not normally be taken into consideration. We have therefore amended our Mitigating Circumstances Policy - find out more.

We are also introducing a new right to request deferral of all of your assessments where you know in advance that your circumstances prevent you from completing your assessment and where your Senior Tutor is satisfied that it is in your best interests to defer. Find further information on deferring assessments.