Students hard at work

9. Useful Terms 


Most students in Humanities are studying for a Degree, but some are studying for Diplomas, and a few for Certificates: these are your awards.


Your programme of study is your specialist path of modules and requirements that make up the credits of your Degree, Diploma or Certificate. You receive an award on successful completion of your programme of study. You can find details of this in two places - a formal 'Programme Specification' for your specific award online, accessed via your discipline web pages; there are also general regulations for each basic type of award in a document called the University Calendar.


Your programme is divided into ‘stages’. If you are a full-time student, each year of your programme will normally be one ‘stage’: your first year will be stage one, your second year stage two, and so on. Most part-time students will take two years to complete each stage. We talk about ‘stages’ rather than ‘years’ so as to cover both full- and part-time students.


For each stage of your programme, you will take a range of modules. A module normally involves a specific set of classes on a particular topic, and a specific set of accompanying assignments for you to complete. Each module has its own code and title and each module will have a formal Module Descriptor, setting out details of the module (including teaching methods, assessment, etc.) You can find Module Descriptors online at the relevant Departmental website and your chosen modules on your personal ELE page. 


A certain number of credits, usually either 15 or 30, will be awarded if you satisfactorily complete a module. The award of credits for a module is an all-or-nothing affair: if you successfully complete the module, you get all the credits for it; if you fail the module you get none of the credits for it. Depending on your programme of study, up to 30 failed credits per stage may be condonable.

Undergraduates take enough modules to gain 120 credits for each stage of their programme. Postgraduate-taught students take 180 credits in total. 


Each module you take will have a 'level' which tells of the relative demand, complexity and depth of the work required. When you complete a Level 1 module, the credit you gain for it is Level 1 credit; a Level 2 module gives you Level 2 credit, and so on. Normally the credits you gain during stage 1 will all be Level 1 credits, the credits you gain during stage 2 will all be Level 2 credits, but that doesn't always have to be the case. The Programme Specification for a given award might allow you to have an uneven number of credits at the different levels. So, for instance, in some Undergraduate degrees you could end up taking 90 Level 1 credits and 30 Level 2 credits during your first stage.

Any student wishing to take a level 1 module in the final stage of study will need to obtain the written consent of the Director of Education for the Department (NB Taking level 1 beginner's language modules in the final stage is not permitted within Modern Language Programmes). Postgraduate taught students will be required to complete all taught elements before moving on to the dissertation.

Intended learning outcomes (or ILOs) 

Every programme and every module we offer is described in terms of ‘Intended Learning Outcomes’. A statement of ‘Intended Learning Outcomes’ is an expression of what a student will need to be able to demonstrate for successful completion of a module. The assignments we set you, and the ways in which we assess your performance in those assignments, are designed to test whether you are meeting the relevant learning outcomes.

Seminars, lectures, workshops and tutorials 

Most modules are taught by some combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. In lectures, the focus falls on presentation of information, contextual detail and critical analysis by a member of staff. Seminars, workshops and tutorials provide opportunities for discussion and interaction, often in smaller groups, sometimes over a longer period of time than a lecture. They can permit the use of interactive teaching methods (e.g. student presentations, small group work, role-play)­ to help students to develop their knowledge and skills more actively than in a lecture.


See also the University’s Teaching Quality Assurance Manual which has a wide range of detailed information about the policies and procedures of the University.