Study by credit accumulation
Policy for Undergraduate Modular Study
For the purposes of this policy modular study is defined as the study of
individual modules over a period of time, in which the credits obtained are
accumulated and used towards an approved University award in a manner that differs
from full-time and part-time awards.
A University approved award could be a single module, a series of modules or
Information and guidance
Departments who wish to introduce modular study at the undergraduate level
must seek specific approval from the University.
Departments should follow the normal
for introducing new modules and courses.
Before developing an award at the modular level departments are encouraged to
engage with staff in the
Marketing and Communications team to
determine whether a potential market for modular study exists.
should normally apply to modular study include:
- External Relations
should take control of all admissions, including modular students, where this
improves the admissions process for both students and staff.
- The fee
for modular study should be set as part of the approval process and take into
account market forces and the effect on equivalent and lower qualifications.
- The maximum period of registration for an award offered at the modular
level should be agreed at the point of approval, taking into account any
requirements of a professional or academic nature. All variations to the
standard maximum period must be approved by the Senate.
- The standard Undergraduate Rules of Assessment should apply to modular
students, unless a specific variation has been approved by the Senate.
- Students applying to study towards an approved
university award may be allowed to enrol directly onto a higher level module
with relevant qualifications or credits in accordance with the University AP(E)L
- Boards of Examiners should consider full-time students and
modular students at the same meeting, where possible.
Points of guidance which
departments may like to consider when offering modular study at the
undergraduate level include:
- Students need to be provided with:
- consistent academic counselling
throughout the duration of their studies,
relating to what options and pathways are
available to them;
- information that is both clear and explicit throughout their academic
- suitable contact time with their teachers and lecturers;
- access to all necessary resources.
- Departments need to keep
in contact with all modular students, including those who are registered but not
actively taking any modules during the term or year.
should consider encouraging students to create individual study plans, with
specific milestones, to help them achieve their academic goals within a set
The Academic Board* and Senate approved the following arrangements for
applying the new postgraduate taught (PGT) Rules of Assessment to credit
- the Postgraduate Credit Framework
Rules of Assessment should only be applied to students once they have registered on a
course leading to an award
- students taking a credit-accumulation route of study have one second
attempt at assessment per module taken. Once a student registers on a
course of study, the Rules of Assessment relating to second attempts are applied
- condonement of failure cannot be applied at the
module level; modules are either passed and credit awarded, or failed and no
credit is awarded. Once a student registers on a course of study, the Rules of
Assessment relating to condonement may be applied from that point onwards
- the current AP(E)L arrangements remain for students applying to AP(E)L
credits from other institutions, but do not apply to students wanting to use
credit awarded at Essex to register on a course of study
- students are
not automatically given an award and certification; rather, student must apply
to register for an award and will only receive certification once requested
- departments could create awards with a generic title, which could be
awarded once a student had achieved the required amount of credits in any of the
courses linked to the award
- departments hold Exam Boards to confirm
marks on modules and award credit
- the maximum period for completion of
studies using credit accumulation should be a period of six years (normally five
years to complete all taught elements and a further one year to complete the
dissertation (or equivalent)). The maximum period of study would be measured
from the point at which a student first registered for a module that was being
used towards the award
- departments should seek the approval of Education Committee if they wished to introduce a module or discipline-specific
credit lifetime that was less than six calendar years.
Approved by Graduate School Board*
(GSB.MM.59-68/07 -21/03/07), and revised following changes made to the Rules of
Assessment on 27/06/07. Further updates made to reflect changes to
committee structures and terminology (August 2008, August 2013 and June 2019)
The Dean of the Graduate School, acting on behalf of the Academic Board*,
approved the following additional arrangements for applying the new PGT Rules of
Assessment to credit accumulation study on 21/08/07:
- the maximum period for the dissertation
element of an award undertaken by credit accumulation should be twelve months.
Some departments may wish to seek permission for a variation
following a credit accumulation route should not be permitted to commence the
dissertation module until at least 60 credits of taught modules have been passed
at first attempt.
* The Senate has responsibility for consideration and approval
of variations to Rules of Assessment following recommendation from the Education
Committee (from August 2013).
Page last updated:
19 August 2019