Frequently asked questions about postgraduate research results

Publication of referred results

Referred results are published in September after the Referred Award Assessment Boards have met. The deadline for publication is detailed in the important dates calendar. You will be able to view your results online on your statement of results and a transcript will be posted to your home address. 

If you do not achieve your referred assessments you may be asked to repeat modules in their entirety over the next academic year. If your referral was as a final attempt you will not be permitted to take the module again.

If you have any questions regarding your results and in order to help you get the answers you need, we've compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions and answered them below.

If you have valid extenuating circumstances, further regulations apply. These are not covered below.  Further information on the academic regulations, including those in respect of extenuating circumstances, can be found in the student handbook.

If you can't find the answers you need, or you are still unsure in anyway, please contact the Doctoral College (with a link to us here?).

Why do I have taught modules if I am registered for a research degree?

Not all research degrees require students to undertake taught modules as part of their training. However, there are some programmes with a requirement to achieve a certain amount of taught credits before a research degree can be awarded. For some students, because of their background, the supervisory team has identified that signing up for some taught modules will improve their experience as a student. Most research degree students will enrol on masters level taught modules (level 7) or doctoral level taught modules (level 8).

How many credits do I have to achieve to gain a postgraduate research degree?

Research degrees are not credit rated, although some programmes have some specifications as shown below for required taught credits:

ResM a minimum of 40 taught credits at masters level (level 7)
Postgraduate diploma (exit award) a minimum of 120 taught credits at masters level (level 7)
Postgraduate certificate (exit award) a minimum of 60 taught credits at masters level (level 7)


What is the pass mark for a postgraduate taught module?

The pass mark for a module is 50 per cent. Where a module includes more than one element, a student is also required to achieve a minimum of 40 per cent in each element.

What happens if I have failed any of my modules?

The Award Assessment Board may permit one of the following:

  • reassessment in the failed module(s), in whole or in part of each element of assessment at the next available opportunity (the Award Assessment Board will decide when this will be)
  • repeat the module(s) at the next available opportunity.

You are allowed a maximum of two attempts at Level 7 or level 8 modules. The Award Assessment Board will not normally require a student to withdraw unless they have reached the maximum number of attempts.

My transcript indicates I have been referred in one or more modules and I don’t understand what the module decision code means?

A three-letter code beginning with R next to one or more elements is a referral code which means you must complete further assessment in that element for the corresponding module. An element is coursework, examination, practice, in-class test or pass/fail assessment.

The other two letters indicate whether the referral is as a same S or next N attempt, and how the element will be reassessed (A: specified assessment, C: coursework, E: examination, P: practice, T: in-class test).

For example:

RNC against coursework means:

  • R – you have been referred in that coursework
  • N – this will be regarded as your next attempt
  • C – you must complete reassessment by coursework 

RNC against examination means:

  • R – you have been referred in the examination
  • N – this will be regarded as your next attempt
  • C – you must complete reassessment by coursework (even though the original element was an examination)

What happens if I fail any of the modules I have been referred?

You are allowed a maximum of two attempts at Level 7 or Level 8 modules. If you fail after two attempts, the Award Assessment Board will consider your circumstances and will make a decision, based on your offer letter and the relevant regulations, as to whether you are allowed to continue with your research degree or whether you are entitled to an exit award, depending on the number of credits you have achieved.

If you have not reached the maximum number of attempts at a module, the Award Assessment Board will consider whether to allow you to repeat the failed module(s) in their entirety during the next academic year.

What mark will I receive for the referred assessment I am taking?

The maximum mark for an element taken for a second time is capped at the pass mark which is 50 per cent. Reassessed elements with higher pass marks will be capped accordingly.

Please be aware that marks for referred assessments may be lower than previous attempts. In all circumstances the new mark must stand.

I have valid extenuating circumstances for missing an assessment, but have not been asked to undertake reassessment.

If you have passed, we do not require you to undertake reassessment.

If you have valid extenuating circumstances and would like to be reassessed, please contact the Doctoral College by the appeal deadline.

What mark do I need to achieve in order to gain a merit or distinction?

Research degrees are not awarded with merit or distinctions. However, some exit awards are as below.

A postgraduate certificate or diploma with merit will be awarded provided that a credit-weighted average mark of 60 per cent or above across all the modules is achieved.

A postgraduate certificate or diploma with distinction will be awarded provided that a credit-weighted average mark of 70 per cent or above across all the modules is achieved.