Rules and regulations

MA Degree Regulations

Updated on 1 December 2015

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Entry

Before entering a programme of study for the degree of MA or MA (Honours) or the Certificate/Diploma in Higher Education, you must satisfy the general entrance requirements of the University and any additional conditions deemed necessary by the Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences jointly.

Advanced Entry

If on entry you hold qualifications approved by the relevant Schools, you may be granted Advanced Entry. The following table defines the total accumulated credits that you will be awarded on entry:

Advanced Entry to Total Accumulated Credits Awarded on Entry
Year 2 120 at Level 1
Year 3 120 at Level 1 and
120 at Level 2

Any other qualifications you hold at Level 1 or above from other Higher Education Institutions may earn you the corresponding number of credits on the MA (at the discretion of the relevant School Manager).

Credit Rating of Degrees and other Awards

You may receive an award only upon graduating and leaving the University. The award will be the highest level qualification to which your Total Accumulated Credit entitles you - see below.

MA Honours

Single Honours
Minimum of 480 credits including 240 at Levels 3/4; at least 90 must be at Level 3 and 90 at Level 4. 180 credits at Levels 3/4 must be in one subject area.
Single Honours with a Language
Minimum of 480 credits including 240 at Levels 3/4; at least 90 must be at Level 3 and 90 at Level 4. At least 180 credits at Levels 3/4 must be in one subject area and normally 60 credits at Levels 3/4 must be in a Language, except for Single Honours Psychology with a Language where 30 credits at Levels 3/4 must be in a Language.
Joint Honours
Minimum of 480 credits including 240 at Levels 3/4; at least 90 must be at Level 3 and 90 at Level 4. All 240 credits at Levels 3/4 must be in the two named subject areas with no fewer than 90 (including 30 at Level 4) from any one subject area.
Joint Honours with a Language
Minimum of 480 credits including 240 at Levels 3/4; at least 90 must be at Level 3 and 90 at Level 4. At least 180 credits at Levels 3/4 must be in the two named subject areas, with no fewer than 90 (including 30 at Level 4) from any one subject area, and normally 60 credits at Levels 3/4 must be in a Language.
Liberal Arts Honours
Minimum of 480 credits, including 240 at SHE Levels 3 & 4; at least 90 must be at Level 4; study must range across at least three subject areas in Levels 3 & 4; no more than 120 credits may be taken in any single subject area.

MA

Named Degree
Minimum of 360 credits including 90 at Level 3 in one subject area.
Un-named Degree
Minimum of 360 credits including a minimum of 60 credits at Level 3.
Liberal Arts
Minimum of 360 credits including 120 at Level 3 in at least three subject areas.

Other awards

Dip.HE (Arts and Social Sciences)
Minimum of 240 credits including a minimum of 90 at Level 2.
Cert.HE (Arts and Social Sciences)
Minimum of 120 credits at Level 1.

Minimum Periods of Study (in academic years)

Qualification Without Advanced Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2 Advanced Entry to Level 3
MA with Honours four three two
MA three two one
Dip HE A & SS two one n/a
Cert HE A & SS one n/a n/a

Degree Programmes MA and MA (Hons)

The following Degree Programmes are offered:

Single Honours

  • Business Economics with Marketing
  • Economics
  • English
  • Environmental Sustainability*
  • European Philosophy
  • European Politics
  • European Studies
  • Financial Economics
  • Geography
  • Geopolitics*
  • History
  • International Business
  • International Business with Marketing*
  • Liberal Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Town and Regional Planning*
  • Psychology
  • Scottish Historical Studies

All Single Honours degrees are available with a Language (French, German or Spanish) unless starred.

Joint Honours

  • Business Economics with Marketing and European Studies*
  • Business Economics with Marketing and Geography*
  • Business Economics with Marketing and History*
  • Business Economics with Marketing and Mathematics*
  • Business Economics with Marketing and Politics*
  • Business Economics with Marketing and Psychology*
  • Economics and History*
  • Economics and International Relations*
  • Economics and Politics*
  • English and Creative Writing
  • English and European Languages*
  • English and Film
  • English and History
  • English and Mathematics*
  • English and Philosophy
  • English and Politics
  • English and Psychology*
  • Environmental Science and Geography*
  • Environmental Sustainability and Geography*
  • European Studies and Economics*
  • European Studies and English
  • European Studies and European Languages*
  • European Studies and Geography*
  • European Studies and History
  • European Studies and International Relations
  • European Studies and Philosophy
  • European Studies and Psychology*
  • Geography and Economics*
  • Geography and History*
  • Geography and Planning*
  • Geography and Politics*
  • Geography and Psychology*
  • History and European Languages*
  • History and Film Studies
  • History and International Relations
  • History and Philosophy
  • History and Politics
  • History and Psychology*
  • International Business and Finance*
  • International Business and Environmental Sustainability*
  • International Business and International Relations*
  • International Relations and European Languages*
  • International Relations and Philosophy
  • International Relations and Politics
  • Philosophy and European Languages*
  • Philosophy and Film Studies
  • Philosophy and Politics
  • Philosophy and Psychology*
  • Politics and European Languages*
  • Politics and Psychology*

All Joint Honours degrees are available with a Language (French, German or Spanish) unless starred.

Compulsory Modules for Degree Programmes

For some Degree Programmes there are compulsory modules at each Level. These are detailed in the Programme Specifications attached to these Regulations. Where these compulsory modules total less than 120 credits, additional module(s) must be selected to bring the total up to 120 credits, which constitutes the full workload in an academic year for a full-time student. The compulsory modules are the same for MA and MA (Honours) Degrees at Levels 1 and 2.

Modules within the MA

The modules available in the MA Degree Programme and the module descriptors are listed in the Catalogue of Modules.  Some combinations of modules otherwise permitted by the Regulations, may, nevertheless, be rendered impossible by timetable constraints in a particular year.

Programme of Study

If you are registered as a Full Time student you will normally take 120 credits in each academic session.  In particular, you will normally be expected in both First and Second Year to take three modules in Semester 1 and three in Semester 2. 

First Year

You will normally take 6 modules at Level 1, from a number of subject areas, amounting to 120 credits.  You must have gained at least 80 credits in order to progress into Second Year. Additionally, you must have met the pathway requirements for at least one degree programme to remain on track for a named degree. Note that in some subject areas there are compulsory module requirements that determine progression.

If you do not meet the progression requirement after one academic session if registered as a Full Time student or repeating the year, or after three academic sessions if registered as a Part Time student, then:

  • Your studies will be liable for termination. 
  • If permitted to continue your studies then you will be required to repeat the year.

Second Year

You will normally take 6 modules at Level 1 or Level 2, from a number of subject areas, amounting to 120 credits.  At least 80 credits should be at Level 2.  You must have gained a total of at least 200 credits, of which 80 must normally be at Level 2, in order to progress into Third Year. Additionally, you must have met the pathway requirements for at least one degree programme to remain on track for a named degree. Note that in some subject areas there are compulsory module requirements that determine progression.

If you do not meet the normal progression requirement after one academic session if registered as a Full Time student or repeating the year, or after three academic sessions if registered as a Part Time student, then:

  • Your studies will be liable for termination if you have previously had to repeat a year or have less than 200 credits. 
  • If permitted to continue your studies then you will normally be required to repeat the year but may be allowed to proceed to Third Year at the discretion of the Progression and Termination of Studies Committee.

Third Year

You will normally take such modules that will enable you to achieve 360 credits and be eligible for the award of the MA.

You must have obtained at least 360 credits (including at least 80 at Level 2 and 120 at Level 3) to be eligible for progression into Honours. Additionally, you must normally have met the pathway requirements for at least one degree programme to remain on the Honours track. Note that in some subject areas there are compulsory module requirements that determine progression. 

If you do not meet the progression requirement after one academic session if registered as a Full Time student or repeating the year, or after two academic sessions if registered as a Part Time student, then:

  • Your studies will be liable for termination if you have previously had to repeat a year or have less than 300 credits. 
  • If permitted to continue your studies then you will be required to repeat the year and may, if you have previously had to repeat Third Year, be required to undertake a programme of studies that will allow you to graduate with an MA degree but not to progress to the Honours Year.

Honours Year

You will normally take such modules that will enable you to achieve 480 credits and be eligible for the award of the MA (Honours).  You must graduate after one academic session if registered as a Full Time student or two academic sessions if registered as a Part Time student.

Termination of Studies

If you fail to achieve the minimum standards shown in Regulation 1(8) you may be required to discontinue your studies, in which event you will have the right to appeal to the MA Progression and Termination of Studies (Appeals) Committee. If your appeal is successful, you will be permitted to continue your studies subject to such conditions as the aforementioned committee may determine in accordance with Regulation 1(8). If your appeal is rejected by the aforementioned committee it will be reconsidered by the Senate Termination of Studies (Appeals) Committee.  MA students who have had their studies terminated may not be readmitted to the MA programme at a later date.

Studying Modules outside the MA Degree Programme

With the agreement of your Adviser, attendance at modules outside the MA Degree Programme is permissible and the credits obtained will be accepted as equivalent to completion of MA Degree Programme modules. You may normally gain no more than 40 credits at Level 1 and 40 credits at Level 2 in this way.

Attendance at module(s) in another University or equivalent institution may be permitted as part of a scheme recognised by the relevant School Board. You may gain no more than 120 credits in this way.

Taking a Year Out

If you have passed all your Degree Examinations to date you may, with the permission of the School Manager, take one academic year out from your studies in order to enter appropriate employment or training. Extension of this absence beyond one academic year requires the permission of the School Manager. The year(s) of non-attendance will not be counted as a Year(s) of Attendance for the purposes of meeting Progression Requirements.

Assessment

Form of Module Assessments

For any module the nature of the component assessments and the manner in which your performance in these counts towards your overall grade for the module will be explained to you in the written information given out or otherwise made accessible to you at the outset. Only if you are awarded an overall pass grade will you be awarded the credits for the module.

Grading of Module Assessments

For each module the Board of Examiners will decide on your overall grade according to the following University Marking Scheme:

Literal Reporting Scale Associated Aggregation Scale Descriptor Honours Class (where appropriate)
A1 23 Excellent 1st
A2 22
A3 21
A4 20
A5 19
B1 18 Very Good 2(i)
B2 17
B3 16
C1 15 Good 2(ii)
C2 14
C3 13
D1 12 Sufficient 3rd
D2 11
D3 10
MF1 9 Marginal Fail
MF2 8
MF3 7
CF 5 Clear Fail
BF 2 Bad Fail
*QF - Qualified Fail
** 0

* QF indicates that a student has not met the conditions required to have obtained an overall pass.  Any queries should be directed to the School concerned.

** Relevant descriptor selected from: CA (Certified Absence); AB (Unauthorised Absence/Non Submission); MC (Medical Certificate); WD (Withdrawn); DC (Discounted); ST (Stopped); NM (Not Marked – generally used where penalties have been applied for plagiarism).

Eligibility to take Degree Examinations

Each year your Programme of Study must be approved by an Adviser. Changes to your programme will not be permitted after the end of Teaching Week 2 of either semester unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Degree Examination Diets

  • For any module you may attend the Degree Examination Diets only within the same academic year that you attended the module.
  • Semester-Long modules are examined at the end of the Semester. Year-Long modules are examined at the end of the year (May). There is one resit Examination diet in July.
  • There are no resit examinations for modules taken in your final Honours year (4th Year)
  • For any module you may attend the resit diet only if you either attended the first Degree Examination Diet, and failed, or were absent from the first diet.
  • Your Honours Classification will be based on all modules that comprise the 240 credits at Level 3 and Level 4. For all modules not passed at the first sitting, the module mark will be capped at D3 unless approved by the relevant School Mitigating Circumstances Committee.

Results of Final Degree Examinations

After you successfully complete your final Degree Examinations at Levels 3/4 you will be recommended for one of the following by the relevant Board of Examiners:

Title of Award Honours Degree Classification
MA with Honours I, II.1, II.2, III
MA With or Without Distinction

If a student elects to complete additional modules at Levels 3/4 as part of their Honours degree programme, a module or modules equivalent to the extra credits will be discounted for degree classification purposes.

Failure to Complete Degree Examinations

If you are prevented by illness or other good cause from beginning or completing part or all of the Degree Examinations which count directly towards your Honours Degree Classification, the Examiners may at their discretion award you a classified or unclassified Honours degree (Aegrotat). If the Examiners do not consider that they have enough evidence to enable them to exercise such discretion you might be permitted by the School Board, on recommendation of the Exam Board to take the examination(s) at a later period of examination.

Failure at Resit Diet

If you fail a module(s) at the resit diet you may be permitted to retake the module(s) or a different module(s) during the following academic year.

December 2015

Dr Astrid Schloerscheidt (School of Social Sciences)
Dr Murray Frame (School of Humanities)
MA Joint Directors

(Final version 1 July 2016)
(Updated 06/06/17)

Corporate information category Academic governance