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New and Revised Student Regulations

Changes to General Regulations for all students from 2013-14

Changes from 2011-12 and 2012-13

Changes before 2011-12



Changes to General Regulations which take effect from 2013-14

Aston Credit and Qualifications Frameworks

General Regulations for Undergraduate Taught Programmes

General Regulations for Postgraduate Taught Programmes

Use of ‘Stage’ in General Regulations and Programme Specifications
 
Conduct of Boards of Examiners

Assessment Policies

Discipline of Students

Tariff of Penalties

Examination Regulations for Candidates

Programme Specification 2013-14 

Terms and Conditions for Enrolment 

General Regulations for Research Degrees by Staff of Aston University and by Aston University Graduates for the Degrees of PhD by Previously Published Work, Doctor of Science and Doctor of Letters 

General Regulations for Degrees by Research and Thesis 

General Regulations for the Presentation of Theses 

New/revised regulations are given in bold italics. 

Aston Credit and Qualifications Frameworks
Proposed revisions to come into effect for 2013-14 are:
 
·                Inclusion of definitions for ‘core’ and ‘optional’ modules; 

·                Inclusion of stipulation that dissertations should be composed of one module subject to the requirements of professional, statutory and Regulatory Bodies.

 General Regulations for Undergraduate Taught Programmes 
Proposed revisions (in bold italics) to come into effect for 2013-14 are: 

·                Minor change to R2.4 to indicate that Regulations do not restrict direct entry to the final stage of undergraduate programmes to students studying at the Aston campus. 

R2.4  An Aston undergraduate degree may only be awarded to students who successfully complete the final academic Stage of study with Aston University.

·                The deletion of R7.6.2 below for 2013-14 due to a conflict with the Aston Qualifications Frameworks: 

R7.6.2    The Board of Examiners has the discretion to award a Certificate of Higher Education recognising a student’s attainment of 120 credits at Level P during a sandwich or language placement, providing that the programme specification for the programme permits such an award and subject to any conditions set out in the programme specification relating to the award.

 General Regulations for Postgraduate Taught Programmes
Proposed revisions to come into effect for 2013-14: 

1          Minimum number of modules with marks  

In order to grade (Merit or Distinction) an award at Master’s level at least two thirds of the taught module credits should have a mark: 

PgC 40 taught credits should have a numerical mark
PgD 80 taught credits should have a numerical mark
MSc 80 taught credits should have a numerical mark 

An award without the requisite volume of credits with a numerical mark may only be graded pass or fail.  

Use of ‘Stage’ in General Regulations and Programme Specifications 

1        Undergraduate Stages should be numbered consecutively in the order in which students normally complete them. For example a one year placement will normally be Stage 3 in Undergraduate Programmes. Stage P should no longer be used however use of Level P should continue.  The final Stage of an Undergraduate programme should continue to be designated as Stage F. The recording of placements in SITS is not affected. 

2        Masters Programmes should have two stages, one for taught modules and another for the dissertation module. The Stages should be called Stage T(aught) and Stage D(issertation Module). 

Conduct of Boards of Examiners
Proposed revisions to come into effect for 2013-14: 

1          Exceptional Circumstances
Simplification of the classification system used by Exceptional Circumstances and Absence Panels (ECAP), and replacement of ‘judgemental’ terminology of ‘accept/reject’ with neutral terminology of ‘meets/does not meet University Regulations’ see new paragraph 5.3 below: 

5.3    Decisions of the Panel

          The Panel is empowered to make the following recommendations in the light of available evidence including student submissions. 

A Exceptional Circumstances for Absence (ECA) from an assessment/examination (specify assessment/examination) meet University Regulations.
B ECA from an assessment/examination (specify assessment/examination) do not meet University Regulations
C Exceptional Circumstances for Performance (ECP) in attended assessment/examination meet University Regulations
D Exceptional Circumstances for Performance in attended assessment/examination do not meet University Regulations

Requirement that ECAP and Programme Boards of Examiners communicate the outcome of considerations of ECs to students after the meeting has been held See new R5.6 below. This change is in response to a recommendation from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).  

5.6     Students who have submitted a case for Exceptional Circumstances should be informed, in writing, of the recommendation that the Panel will make to the Programme Board of Examiners as soon as possible after the Panel has met. There is no formal right of appeal against ECAP recommendations to a Programme Board of Examiners. It is the decision of the Programme Board of Examiners that is subject to appeal. 

2          External Examining
To bring the Chapter fully up to date for 2013-14 a number of minor revisions are proposed:
·                To further emphasise the existing principle that the role of the External Examiners is to act as a moderator, rather than a third marker, R2.1.2, R2.3.2, R2.5.3;
·                To bring Regulations fully into line with QAA Code of Practice, B7, on external examining ,R2.1.3, R2.3.3, R2.10.3, R2.3.2;
·                To reference recent improvements to the University’s provision of information relevant to External Examiners, such as the programme specification web page; R2.3.4, R2.10.3. 

Assessment Policies
To include RSC’s long-standing policy on the rounding of marks in Assessment Policies as follows: 

Rounding of marks means changing fractional marks to the nearest whole number. Boards of Examiners should have a clear policy on how marks are rounded, which is applicable to all students considered by the Board and which is agreed with the External Examiner(s). 

Marks should only be rounded once – at the module level, normally if multiple assessments have contributed to the module mark.  

Discipline of Students 
Revisions to:

·                Further clarify that the falsification of entry qualifications is a disciplinary offence;
·                take into account the revisions to the Tariff of Penalties detailed below;
·                minor up-dates. 

Tariff of Penalties 
Revisions for 2013-14 which have been agreed by Schools and by the Chair and Secretary to the Disciplinary Board. 

·           Errors (e.g. in referencing) should be classified as at severity level 0 (instead of level 1) from 2013-14 (and the numbering of other severity levels amended appropriately). The re-numbering of levels appropriately reflects the accidental nature of ‘level 0’ matters, which are not treated as ‘offences’.
·           Level 0 matters should be ignored when judging whether a student has committed a repeat offence.
·           A repeat academic offence is a second academic offence (at level 1 or above) of any type which follows a first academic offence of any type (at level 1 or above).
·           Any repeat offence should be classified as severity level 3 (from 2013-14) and referred to the Disciplinary Board.
·           Submission of Work which has been commissioned from a third party should be included in the Tariff at Severity Level 3.
·           Academic offences and disciplinary offences are different in kind and are treated as separately. The Tariff of penalties is not used for disciplinary offences.

Examination Regulations for Candidates
Proposed revisions to come into effect for 2013-14: 

Replacement of the current Paragraph 29 

29      Students must stop writing immediately when instructed by the Chief Invigilator. Failure to do so may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the student.  

With the following revised paragraph, at the request of the Disciplinary Board: 

29      Students must not make changes to their examination answers after being instructed to stop writing by the Chief Invigilator. Failure to comply may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the student. 

Programme Specification 2013-14 
Following the publication of all Specifications for the first time in 2013-14 a number of developments have been proposed to improve the consistency of Specifications across programmes and Schools, and to improve the information provided to students. The revised pro forma and Guidelines for staff on developments for 2013-14 are attached. 

Terms and Conditions for Enrolment 
The following sections have been added:

Plagiarism Detection Software
Loss or Damage to Personal Property
Tuition Fee Policy
Policy on Fraudulent Applications 

General Regulations for Research Degrees by Staff of Aston University and by Aston University Graduates for the Degrees of PhD by Previously Published Work, Doctor of Science and Doctor of Letters 

1.       R2.2.1 Deleted

Clinical Fellows, Teaching Fellows and Research Fellows may count their period of employment with the University towards the qualifying time for eligibility to submit for the degree.  

2.       R2.3.2 Deleted 

Clinical Fellows, Teaching Fellows and Research Fellows, whilst not members of academic staff, may count their period of employment with the University towards the qualifying time for eligibility to submit for the degree of Doctor of Science or Doctor of Letters.   

3.       Addition to R2.3.1 

A candidate for the degree of Doctor of Science or Doctor of Letters shall be: 

a member of the staff of the University.  Candidates must have held the post for a minimum of three years.  A visiting member of staff would be expected to demonstrate engagement with the University over a minimum period of three years. 

4.       Addition to R4.1.2 

In order to be accepted for admission a School of Study must confirm it will provide a Mentor to support the applicant, primarily as an advisor on process and the coherence of the submission, during the period between admission and examination when the candidate prepares their final submission

5.       Minor changes and corrections to R3.6.4, R4.3.3, R4.5.5, R4.5.6, R4.5.9, R4.6.2, R5.4.1a, R5.6.2. 

General Regulations for Degrees by Research and Thesis 

1.         Change from DProf to ‘professional doctorate’ throughout 

2.         Addition to R4.3 

A research student may pursue full-time or part-time research wholly, or partly, outside the University under the direct supervision of a University Supervisor if approved by the Associate Dean Research on the recommendation of the student’s Supervisor.  

All research students are expected to attend the University for the examination of the Qualifying Report or equivalent, and for the examination of the final thesis, unless the Associate Dean Research waives this requirement.

3.         Addition to R4.4

The entry route to a professional doctorate will be specified in the Programme Roadmap and may be via a linked Master’s.  Professional doctorate students are required to satisfy progression point requirements specified for their programme.

4.         Revised R6.1 

a        Every research student must be supervised by a Supervisor who is a member of the Academic Staff, as defined in Section 1 of the Statutes or by an appropriately qualified and experienced senior Research Fellow. Research Fellows may only be appointed as Supervisor when their contract extends beyond the expected thesis submission date of the student. 

b        Where the Supervisor is a Research Fellow, a member of the Academic Staff must be appointed as Associate Supervisor. 

c        A research student’s supervision should normally be supplemented by at least one Associate Supervisor. 

d       A Supervisor who has not previously supervised a doctoral candidate to successful completion will be supported by an Associate Supervisor who is a member of the Academic Staff who has supervised and examined at least one successful candidate to PhD/professional doctorate. 

e        At least one member of the supervisory team (Supervisor and/or Associate Supervisor) must be engaged in excellent research.   

f         No person may be the Supervisor for more than nine research students (six FTE) at any time without the agreement of the Associate Dean Research.  A Supervisor who has not previously supervised a doctoral candidate to successful completion will not normally supervise more than three research students. 

g        All research students must be given the name and contact details of at least one other member of academic staff from whom they may seek advice and support in the absence or unavailability of the main Supervisor, or in circumstances where the student finds the student/Supervisor relationship is not working well.  

h        The second member of academic staff named as student advisor may be from outside the specific area of the student’s research topic. The same appointment would normally continue throughout a student’s full period of study. 

5.         Revised R6.3 

A research student’s supervision should normally be supplemented by at least one Associate Supervisor.  An Associate Supervisor must be appointed by the Associate Dean Research in the following instance: 

a        where the Supervisor has not previously supervised a doctoral candidate to successful completion.  This Associate Supervisor will be engaged in excellent research.  

Prior to September 2013, new Supervisors were supported by an Advisor and the role of Advisor may continue for students enrolled before this date.  

The appointment of an Associate Supervisor is also considered beneficial in the following instances . . . 

6.         R6.4 Deleted 

a     The Associate Dean Research must appoint an Advisor for a Supervisor who has not previously supervised a research student to successful completion of an MPhil or PhD/DProf degree.

b     The Advisor must be a member of the Academic Staff who has supervised and examined at least one successful candidate for PhD/DProf. 

7.         Addition to R8.1 

Students and Supervisors are expected to be in regular contact, normally at least every two weeks.There should be structured interactions at least every three months between the student and the Supervisor to report, discuss and agree academic and personal progress. A record of the outcomes of all such interactions shall be maintained, with a copy of the record being retained by both the student and the Supervisor and submitted with the Annual Report.    

8.         Revised R8.2 

a        At the end of each year of research a report must be submitted to the Associate Dean Research on the performance of each research student, including details of the skills training undertaken by the student during the year and a review of forthcoming training needs, unless the student has been granted an exemption from skills training (see Regulation 7(d)). 

b        Annual reports must be completed by the end of each year following the student’s research start date, this applies equally to full-time and part-time students. 

c        The annual report submitted at the end of the first full-time year or second part-time year will contain a recommendation to an independent panel concerning the student’s progression to either the MPhil, PhD or professional doctorate degree programme, based on the student’s qualifying report or progression point requirements, and a viva voce examination (see Regulations 8.3 and 8.4). 

d        In exceptional circumstances, an extension of no more than three months for an annual report may be approved by the Associate Dean Research 

e        Each report must be countersigned by the Associate Supervisor(s) and Advisor if appointed, and must give brief details of meetings between the student and Supervisor(s). 

f         Details of annual reports received and student progression will be reported to the School Research Committee. 

g        Each research student must be sent a copy of his or her annual report after it has been reportedto the School Research Committee. 

9.         Revised R8.3 

a.       Before the end of the first year of research, in the case of full-time students, or before the end of the second year in the case of part-time students, each research student must write a report on the research work. The report should be a minimum of 6,000 words or as specified by the School Research Committee and should be submitted to the Supervisor in the first instance. The Supervisor will meet with the student to provide structured written feedback on the Qualifying Report in the form of a brief report.  The submitted Qualifying Report, without further amendment, and the structured feedback report will then be submitted to an independent examining panel, together with at least three 3-monthly meeting reports.  The student must then be examined on the content of the Qualifying Report at a viva voce examination conducted by the panelThe panel will comprise at least two members of the Academic Staff, normally including a Head of Research Group or nominee and at least one of whom will have previous experience of successful PhD supervision:

i      the panel members should not have a supervisory role in respect of the student being examined. The Head of Research Group or nominee normally will chair the meeting; 

ii      either the Supervisor, or an Associate Supervisor nominated by the Supervisor to attend in their place, should attend the viva voce as an observer; 

iii     the student will have the opportunity to meet with the panel without any member of the supervisory team being present; 

iv     the panel should submit a report on the viva voce examination to the Associate Dean Research, with all participants signing to agree the progression recommendation. 

b             It is the responsibility of the research student to advise the examining panel in writing, before the qualifying viva voce examination, of any factors which may affect their performance. 

c             On the basis of the student’s Qualifying Report and viva voce examination, and taking into consideration the structured feedback and 3-monthly meeting reports, the independent examining panel must submit a report to the Associate Dean Research which includes one of the following recommendations:

 i       that the student’s progression to the PhD degree programme be approved, 

ii      that the student’s progression to the MPhil degree programme be approved, 

iii     that the student’s enrolment should be terminated, subject to the procedures on representations outlined in paragraph 11e being followed.   

10.      Revised R8.5 

The choice of task to be undertaken will be made by the Supervisor in consultation with the student. The format of the oral presentation will be specified by the School and will be a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 60 minutes; it should provide the student with a ‘seminar’ experience. The student should also write a brief report on what they have gained from the task. Structured feedback shall be provided to the student after the task, normally by the Supervisor and one of the panel members who assessed the Qualifying Report.  A copy of the feedback shall be submitted with the annual report to the Associate Dean Research making a recommendation as to continued progression.  

In the case of poor performance in the progression task, the student will be required to undertake the task again, within a specified time period not exceeding six months, in order to demonstrate improvement.  Continued poor performance will inform the Supervisor’s decision as to the student’s overall satisfactory progress (see Regulation 11b). 

11.      Revised R11 

a        If a student wishes to withdraw from their research, the student must notify their Supervisor and the Secretary to the School Research Committee in writing, stating their main reason(s) for leaving.

b        If at any time the Supervisor considers that a research student’s progress is unsatisfactory and that the student is unlikely to complete the requirements of the degree, the Supervisor must report this to the student and to the Associate Dean Research, in writing.  Where the Associate Dean Research is involved in the supervision of the student, the report should be submitted to the Director of Research Degree Programmes, or equivalent.  Where the Associate Dean Research and/or the Director of Research Degree Programmes (or equivalent) are involved in the supervision of the student, an appropriate nominee (eg Head of Research Group) will undertake the role.   

c        Where the unsatisfactory progress has arisen from an extended period of lack of communication over a period of at least three months and where reasonable efforts have been made to contact the student, the Supervisor may recommend to the Associate Dean Research that the student should be deemed to have voluntarily withdrawn from the research programme. If the Associate Dean Research accepts the Supervisor’s recommendation, the Associate Dean Research will formally notify the student of the decision and allow the student a reasonable period of time in which to appeal,normally fourteen days. 

d        If progress continues to be unsatisfactory following the initial notification in writing (other than as a result of an extended period of lack of communication), the Supervisor may recommend to the Associate Dean Research that the student be withdrawn from the research programme.  

            Before deciding that a student should be withdrawn, the Associate Dean Research and the Director of Research Degree Programmes, or equivalent,shall give the student (aided by another member of the University, or by a member of staff acceptable to the Senate, if desired) the opportunity to make representations in writing, or in person, or both, of any circumstances that have affected his/her progress. Where the Associate Dean Research and/or the Director of Research Degree Programmes (or equivalent) are involved in the supervision of the student, an appropriate nominee (eg Head of Research Group) will undertake the role.  The student must be given a minimum of 10 days’ notice if a full-time student or 20 days’ notice if a part-time student, of the meeting.  The student will be informed of the decision, in writing, within ten days of the date of the meeting. 

e        A student whose enrolment is recommended for termination as a result of the examination of the Qualifying Report or progression point assessment will have the opportunity to appeal to the Associate Dean Research and the Director of Research Degree Programmes, or equivalent, as outlined in d, above. 

f         If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the meeting, she/he may appeal under the provisions of the University’s Student Complaints or Academic Appeals Procedures, copies of which are available from the Registry web-site (see Regulation 24). 

12.      Addition to R12.3e 

MSc/MA (by Research) may be awarded ‘with distinction’ if specified by the programme regulations for the award. To achieve an award with distinction candidates must be recommended for a distinction by the thesis examiners.  The Examiners’ decision is based on the quality of the thesis (see Regulation 19.1b) although they will also receive details of the taught modules as confirmation that this element of the programme has been completed.  

13.      Revised R15.3 [and same principle in R18c] 

The viva voce examination shall normally be held at least 3 weeks and no more than three months after the submissionof the thesis/portfolio. 

14.      Revised R16.1 

d        former staff and students may not be appointed as an External Examiner within five years of leaving Aston; 

e        an External Examiner must have previous experience of successful PhD supervision and should normally have experience of PhD examination. In circumstances where the latter is not the case, the Internal Examiner must have such experience; 

f        each Examiner will be experienced in research in the general area of a student's submission;

g        neither the Internal nor the External Examiner should have had substantial co-authoring or collaborative involvement in the student’s work, and neither of the Examiners’ own work should be the focus of the student’s thesis/portfolio; 

h        Examiners will be requested to declare any personal conflict of interest which might preclude their appointment. 

15.      Revised R17 

The Supervisor may be invited by the Examiners or the Independent Chair to participate in discussions but will be required to leave before any decision is taken, and should not sign any of the Examiners’ reports or recommendations. 

16.      Revised R18g 

Examiners’ reports for MSc/MA (by Research) shall be submitted to the appropriate Examination Board for information. [DELETED consideration]

 17.      R19.3 a i Deleted

that the student be permitted to submit a revised thesis/portfolio for re-examination within one year for the degree of PhD/professional doctorate on the basis of existing work (see Regulation 21a) 

18.      R19.3 a ii Deleted 

that the student be permitted to submit a revised thesis/portfolio for re-examination within two years for the degree of PhD/professional doctorate on the basis of additional work (see Regulation 21a) 

19.      R19.3 b i Deleted

that the student be permitted to submit a revised thesis for re-examination within one year for the degree of MPhil on the basis of existing work (see Regulation 21a) 

20.      R19.3 b ii Deleted 

that the student be permitted to submit a revised thesis/portfolio for re-examination within two years for the degree of MPhil on the basis of additional work (see Regulation 21a)

21.      Addition to R20 and R23.5 

e        The Supervisor will provide guidance on the correction of minor revisions. 

22.      R21a Deleted 

Major or extensive defects in the content or presentation of the research entailing resubmission and re-examination of the MPhil or PhD/professional doctorate thesis/portfolio must be rectified within one year of the date of the viva voce examination if the student is to resubmit on the basis of existing work, or within two years of the date of the viva voce examination if the student is to resubmit on the basis of additional work.

23.      Addition to R21 

d       Students should submit a commentary with their revised thesis/portfolio indicating how the amendments required by the Examiners have been addressed. 

e        The student’s Supervisor will provide appropriate and reasonable guidance on the revision of the thesis. 

24.      Addition to R22a 

An Internal Examiner who has since left the University and is no longer a member of the Academic Staff may continue in the role for the student concerned. 

25.      Revised R25.2 

The electronic copy of each approved thesis/portfolio will be uploaded to the Aston University Research Repository, together with a completed Deposit Agreement Form and Third Party Waiver Form.  Doctoral theses will also be submitted to the British Library EThOS Service, together with the Deposit Agreement Form and the Third Party Waiver Form. 

26.      Minor changes and corrections to R1.1, R1.2c, R4.2, R5a, R6, R4.2.8, R5.1, R6, R8.4, R9.1, R9.3, R13.3, R13.4b, R13.6, R13.7, R14.2e, R19.3iv, R24, R25.1c, . 

General Regulations for the Presentation of Theses 

1.      Change to R3.2

This copy of the thesis has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is understood to recognise that its copyright rests with its author and that no quotation from the thesis and no information derived from it may be published without appropriate permission or acknowledgement.   

Minor changes and corrections to R2.7.2, R2.8, R2.9.2, R3.2, R3.3.3, R4.2.5, R4.2.7, R4.2.8, R5.1, R6.     

Changes approved by Senate for 2011-12 onwards

What's new for students 2012-13

What's new for students
2011-12

Changes approved by Senate before 2011-12

What's new in General Regulations 2009 | 2010
What's New in Examination and Assessment Regulations 2009 | 2010
What's new in regulations on student discipline 2010

 

 

 

 

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research