University Calendar 2008/9
Section IV : General Regulations
Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme

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The Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (the Scheme) applies to all taught programmes in the University and all collaborative provision, with the exception of the Bachelor of Medicine programme.


The Scheme allows students to qualify for awards of the University through the accumulation of credit points for modules which are the building blocks of programmes of study. Individual programme regulations define which modules students may take to assemble individual programmes according to their needs and interests, and credit points may be given for previous formal study. Modules taken and credit points obtained are recorded on a transcript, which also shows where credit points have been "cashed in" for an award, available to the student.

The Scheme also permits students to study individual course modules, for example continuing education modules, without the immediate aim of achieving an award.


In this Framework the following terms are used:

Credit: A quantified means of expressing equivalence of learning. Credit is awarded to a learner in recognition of the verified achievement of designated learning outcomes at a specified level.

Credit Level: An indicator of the relative demand, complexity and depth of learning and of learner autonomy. The level identifies the relative demands of learning that will be required of a learner undertaking a module of learning. The University has developed generic Credit Level Descriptors which describe the characteristics of learning demand which the learner will encounter at each credit level.

Notional Learning Time: The number of hours that it is expected a learner (at a particular level) will spend, on average, to achieve the specified learning outcomes at that level. The most widely used credit : notional learning time ratio used is 1 credit : 10 hours.

Programme of Study: The named award for which a student is registered. A student's programme of study may be taken by full-time or, where permitted, by part-time study and may incorporate credit points for appropriate prior learning (see below) and for the successful completion of employment-based training. A programme of study may be composed of modules of any size. With the approval of the School/Academic Board, undergraduate modules to the value of a maximum of 150 credit points may be studied in any period of 12 months and accumulated towards an award.

Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning [AP(E)L]: The University has devolved arrangements for the management and assessment of accreditation of prior learning to Schools within the general policy set out in the Quality Handbook. Schools may allow AP(E)L up to a maximum of 40 credits at level H and 60 credits at level M, subject to there being in place rigorous systems that require candidates to provide evidence of how previous study matches the explicit criteria of expected learning outcomes. A lower maximum number of APL credits may be stipulated where necessary for programme coherence. A credit is normally for optional modules only (ie: not core modules or the dissertation/project). Any School proposal to allow APL outside the above limits must be formally approved by the Faculty.

Module: A component part of a programme to which credit points are assigned. Each module will be assigned a specific credit point rating which will be the maximum which may be accumulated from the module. A module may be assigned credit points at one level only.

Condonement: The process by which an assessment board, in consideration of the overall performance of a student, decides that, without incurring a penalty, one or more modules that have been failed do not need to be redeemed. Condonement is not permitted except in special circumstances within the responsibility of a Special Considerations Examination Board.

Compensation : The process by which an assessment board may decide that a strong performance by a student in one part of a programme may be used as the basis for the award of credit in respect of a failed performance elsewhere. The learning outcomes of the programme as a whole may be demonstrated, although those in a particular module may not have been.
  • Compensation is permitted at all levels of undergraduate programmes and also at masters level.

  • Minimum credit values for each level of qualification are set out in the table below.

  • At each level, compensation may be allowed up to a maximum 30 credit points; students may be permitted to proceed provided that performance in the remaining minimum credit points compensates.

  • Compensation is not permitted in core modules.

  • The detailed rules for allowing compensation are given in University and programme progression regulations.
Re-use of Credit : Credit may be kept and used to satisfy the credit requirements of any award for which the credit learning is deemed relevant, whether or not an award has already been made on the basis of that credit (and any certification awarded would not be required to be returned). Credit may contribute towards a higher award (more credits at the same and/or higher level) but not normally towards another award of equivalent or lower level. In specific cases Schools may exercise their discretion in allowing for credit achieved at a higher level to be used towards an award at a lower level if it avoids duplication of learning by a student.

  • A student who achieves a Foundation Degree could use the relevant credit towards an Honours Degree, but not towards an HND or a DipHE or another Foundation Degree.

  • A maximum of 20 credits at level H may be used towards a Postgraduate Certificate and a maximum of 30 credits at level H may be used towards a Postgraduate Diploma.
Back Tracking and Forward Tracking: Back tracking and forward tracking by one level are allowed up to 30 credit points, provided the minimum credit requirements at each level are satisfied at the time of the award.

Credit Requirements for University Awards

  1. The following table sets out the details of credit requirements for all University awards.
Qualification NQF level Minimum overall credit Minimum credit reqd at level of award Additional Criteria
Professional Doctorate D at least 540 360 Remaining 180 credits to be at level M*.
MRes M at least 180 180 Normally 60 credits taught, 120 credits research element.
Masters Degree M at least 180 150 Normally 60 credit points are assigned to an independent piece of work: normally all credit will be at M level but up to 30 credits at H level may be permitted
Postgraduate Diploma M at least 120 90 N/A
Postgraduate Certificate M at least 60 40 N/A
Graduate Diploma* H at least 120 90 N/A
Graduate Certificate* H at least 60 40 N/A
MSci, MEng (Integrated 4-year Masters degree) M at least 480 120 Based on a 120 credit point year. 120 credits in Year 1 (level C)
+ 120 credits in Year 2 (level I)
+ 120 credits in Year 3 (level H)
+ a minimum of 120 to a maximum of 150 credits (level M).
Double Honours degree H at least 480 90 in each subject (ie: 180 in total) Based on 120 credit point year. There must be study at Honours level in both subjects of which at least 90 credits must be passed, and 30 credits of independent study at H level in both subjects also.
Honours degree H at least 360 90 N/A
Intercalated degree H N/A N/A Successful completion of the Intercalated programme shall result in the award of an Honours degree. The Intercalated programme is based on Honours level work alone but entry to it is on the basis of completion of non-credit rated study.
Ordinary degree H at least 300 60 N/A
Diploma of HE / Foundation degree I at least 240 90 N/A
Certificate of HE C at least 120 90 N/A

* Graduate in time but not in level. QAA have designated such awards at Honours level (H).

Note: The EWNI credit bodies recommend that the programmes leading to the Honours degree and the Ordinary degree reflect planned progression and credit attainment throughout the levels spanned by the qualification.


Arrangements for assessment and re-assessment of modules will be as specified by the School/Academic Board and in programme regulations.

The University does not specify the amount of assessment (eg: essay wordage or length of examination) which must be completed for each credit-bearing module; this is left for determination by each School bearing in mind the demands of each discipline.

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Submitted by the Secretariat
Last reviewed: 16-May-2008
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