4. Credits within programmes

4.1 Credit framework

4.1.1 ifs University College credit framework relates to its provision at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

4.1.2 Credit is used in HE to summarise and describe an amount of learning. The number of credits awarded to a student is determined by the credit value assigned to a module or qualification. Credit is awarded to students who have successfully completed a module and provides a way of indicating, using numbers, the amount of learning required.

4.1.3 The size of modules is determined by their credit value. ifs University College practice is to work in units of 15, 30 and 60 credits.

4.1.4 The levels and credit values of ifs University College awards are set out below (see 4.2) and are consistent with the QAA's Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. Programmes may exceed the minimum credit value where there is a clear case to do so - for example to meet professional expectations.

4.1.5 ifs University College does not award interim qualifications. For example, a student registered for an honours degree will not automatically be awarded a certificate or diploma of higher education on completion of the required number of credits. However, students successfully completing one or more levels of an undergraduate award or stages of a postgraduate award but who, for whatever reason, do not complete the whole programme, will become eligible for an exit award such as a certificate, diploma or bachelor's degree, or postgraduate certificate/diploma, as appropriate. In the event of subsequent achievement of a higher award, then the exit award may be withdrawn.

4.1.6 It is recognised that the special nature of ifs University College student body has a significant bearing in the context of progression. Students may have good cause to aspire to staged awards, such as a Foundation degree or postgraduate diploma, as influenced by their career aspirations and the time available to commit to their studies. Where students move deliberately - and successfully - through staged awards, then they will retain the qualifications so gained.

4.1.7 The status of a module within a programme may be core, compulsory or optional (or specified variants thereof). Students must abide by any pre- and co-requisites as stipulated in programme and module specifications.

4.1.8 Credit may not be double counted (ie used to contribute towards more than one distinct award at a comparable or higher level).

4.1.9 Credit retains a limited currency unless the learning is updated through further, relevant study/continuing professional development.

4.1.10 Credit accumulation may include elements from modules at one level below the award level where appropriate (eg to accommodate specialisation) and within defined limits (see below). However, in terms of contribution to higher awards, a maximum credit threshold (120 credits) is set for achievement at Level 4.

4.2 ifs University College credit framework table

Students must achieve the number of credits, as shown in the table below, to be considered for an award:

Qualification level

Minimum overall credits

Minimum number of credits at highest level

Masters

7

180

150 at Level 7

Post Grad Diploma

7

120

90 at Level 7

Post Grad Cert

7

60

40 at Level 7

Honours degree

6

360

90 at Level 6 (with a maximum of 120 credits at Level 4)

Bachelor's degree

6

300

90 at Level 6 (with a maximum of 120 credits at Level 4)

Foundation degree

5

240

90 at Level 5

Diploma of HE

5

240

90 at Level 5

Certificate of HE

4

120

90 at Level 4

4.3 External credit

4.3.1 The ifs University College recognises three forms of prior learning by students either as a basis for entry to its programmes or to exempt students from some of the requirements for awards. These are:

i. Accreditation of prior certificated learning (APCL);

ii. Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL); and

iii. Accreditation of in-house corporate education programmes.

These are collectively known as accreditation of prior learning (APL). Information, including definitions for each type of APL, can be found in Chapter 3 (Accreditation of Prior Learning) of ifs University College Code of Practice for Quality Assurance.

4.3.2 At undergraduate level, at least 50% of the credit for any award must be accumulated as a result of learning assessed by the ifs University College, unless specified otherwise in the programme specification. Credit for Honours and Bachelors degrees is deemed to be credit at levels 5 and 6 in ifs University College's credit framework table.

4.3.3 Accreditation of in-house corporate education programmes is restricted to Level 4 of ifs University College's credit framework table.

4.3.4 APL may not be awarded at Level 6 of the Quality Assurance Agency's Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ).

4.3.5 At postgraduate level, 50% of the credit for an award must be accumulated as a result of learning assessed in respect of the taught modules unless otherwise specified in the programme specification.

4.3.6 APL may not be awarded against core modules (unless part of advanced standing or articulation arrangement) which gives the student the opportunity to commence study of an ifs University College programme at a higher level.

4.3.7 Modules for which credits have been awarded on the basis of APL are recognised simply as qualifying modules for the award and do not contribute to the award grade or classification. The marks used to calculate the grade, classification or division of any award conferred by ifs University College shall only be those derived from modules assessed by the ifs University College with the basis for that calculation set down within these regulations.

4.3.8 Credits cannot be claimed against modules that a student has already registered for or completed. Additionally, modules where credits have already been awarded cannot subsequently be attempted by students in order to improve their overall grade/classification.

4.4 Progression

4.4.1 To proceed from one level of a programme to the next, or to qualify for the award appropriate to that level, a student must complete such modules and fulfil such other requirements as detailed in the programme specification, including the accumulation of the prescribed number of credits at the appropriate level.

4.4.2 The programme specification may require that particular modules be studied before a student may proceed to the next level of the programme concerned.

4.5 Trailing credits

4.5.1 Trailing credits is a means by which students may progress to the next level of a programme without achieving all the required credits at the former level and in the expectation that they will gain those credits before progressing again or completing the award.

4.5.2 Progression must be sanctioned by the designated programme manager and confirmed by the Programme Assessment Board in line with the agreed criteria. The concession may be denied where, in the opinion of the Assessment Board, the student appears to be making sufficient academic progress. In such instances, the student will be advised of his/her options.

4.5.3 Students are permitted to study 'trailed' modules at the next level only where consistent with any prerequisites for the study of modules at the higher level.

4.5.4 Trailed credits are allowed on the basis that they will be made good at the first opportunity by means of reassessment. At undergraduate level, students may, with the permission of the designated programme manager, make up the required credits by taking additional credits at the next level of study.

4.5.5 Where trailed credits are not 'retrieved' at the new level of study, no further progression will be allowed.

4.6 Compensation within a module

4.6.1 Achievement in each module is assessed so that a student gains an overall mark for that module which is used to judge the award of credit. If the assessment of a module consists of more than one component, the overall mark is determined on the basis of the (weighted) performance across all components.

4.6.2 To achieve a pass for the module, students are required to pass each assessment component of that module unless compensation rules apply. To be awarded a pass in a module, a student must achieve a weighted average across their assessment components equivalent to, or greater than, the module pass mark.

4.6.3 Compensation at levels 4, 5 and 6 allows for students to fail one component by an amount, defined as within 5% of the pass mark (eg 35-39% in respect of a pass mark of 40% etc), subject to the achievement of the overall module pass mark.

4.6.4 Compensation at Level 7 allows for students to fail one or more components subject to the achievement of the overall module pass mark. To be eligible for compensation, students must, in the examiners' academic judgement, have made a serious attempt at all assessment components within the module.

4.7 Condonement across modules

4.7.1 Condonement is the process by which a student fails to pass a module but is nevertheless recommended for progression on the grounds that failure may be offset by good performance in other modules.

4.7.2 Thus, a student who performs well in other modules at undergraduate level may be allowed condonement in lieu of credit for a single compulsory or option module (not exceeding 30 credits) despite gaining a mark lower than the specified pass mark in the condoned module. Such condonement shall apply only where the student has achieved an overall weighted average equivalent to, or greater than, the pass mark for the contributing modules for that level and been awarded a condonable fail in the module for which condonement is considered. A condonable fail is defined as a mark within 5% of the pass mark (ie 35-39% in respect of a pass mark of 40% etc).

4.7.3 A student who performs well in other modules at Level 7 may be allowed condonement in lieu of credit for compulsory or option modules despite gaining a mark lower than the specified pass mark in those modules. A maximum of 25% of the credits for taught modules may be condoned in this manner up to a maximum of 30 credits. Such condonement shall apply only where the student has achieved an overall weighted average equivalent to, or greater than, the pass mark for the contributing modules for that level and been awarded a condonable fail in the module(s) for which condonement is considered. A condonable fail is defined as a mark within 5% of the pass mark (ie 45-49% in respect of a pass mark of 50% etc).

4.7.4 Condonement will not be considered for core modules, ie those modules which a student must study, and pass, at each level to gain progression and/or an award.

4.7.5 Students must satisfy the credit framework requirements (see section 4.2) to achieve an award or progression to the next level. Credit is not awarded for condoned modules but will be taken into account when determining the award classification/grade.

4.7.6 Condonement may affect the type and/or classification of the award made to students should they complete the programme as the mark achieved in any condoned module will be used for classification purposes. The mark recorded for a condoned module is the higher mark between that achieved in the original assessment and the reassessment (where applicable).

(Note that the principles of compensation and condonement may operate differently in the context of validated programmes. Students should refer to the relevant programme specifications for the detailed arrangements.)