These explanatory notes have been prepared to help you understand those parts
of the University of Bath’s undergraduate Programme/Unit Catalogue which are relevant
to you, in the context of semester-based units in the modular framework. The notes
are general, and there may be particular points relating to your programme about
which your Director of Studies will advise you, or which will be contained in
additional information provided by your Department or School. The notes cover
first of all the general framework (the academic year, and the terminology used
to describe programmes and units), and then lead into the way information is set
out in the programme and unit listings. Various tables are grouped between these
notes and the start of the Catalogue, to clarify some points without interrupting
2. The semester-based academic year
The 2001/02 academic year is divided into two fifteen-week semesters.
Semester 1 is made up of twelve weeks of teaching followed by two weeks of revision
and assessment, during which formal examinations will be scheduled. There is a
1 week consolidation period in week 15. Semester 2 is made up of 12 weeks of
teaching time followed by 3 weeks of revision and assessment. (See Table
1 for a chart of the calendar for 2001/02.) The Catalogue therefore seeks to show you which units are expected to
run in which semester and year of your programme. The Catalogue labels semesters
as Semester 1 and Semester 2 in each year, not as semesters 1 through to 6 (or
8) for a programme; that is:
Year 1 Semester 1
Year 1 Semester 2
Year 2 Semester 1
Year 2 Semester 2
Year 3 Semester 1
Year 3 Semester 2
Year 4 Semester 1
Year 4 Semester 2
There are some exceptions to the normal dates and pattern (for placement periods,
and for a small number of programmes, for example); your Director of Studies/Department/School
will provide information about such cases.
3. Programmes, Units and Credits
Your degree programme is made up of a number of components, called units.
Credits are used to illustrate how units fit together in programmes.
The purpose of the Programme/Unit Catalogue is to help you to understand the
structure of your degree programme and the range of units likely to be available
The programmes and units described in this Catalogue are expected to be available
in 2001/02. The University may make changes to these arrangements in accordance
with its normal procedures, and will determine whether units will run based
on constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes,
and timetabling factors. It is possible, therefore, that a unit you read about
here may not run, or that you may be unable to take it. In some cases, a unit
may become available after the publication of the Catalogue, and if you are
able to take it, you will be advised about it separately. Different ranges of
programmes and units may be available in subsequent years, so you should not
assume, if you will be in year 2 of a programme in 2001/02, that the third year
of your programme in 2002/03 will be as described here (for year 3 in 2001/02).
There may also be groups of units which are offered only in alternate years
— which means that they might be available to years 3 and 4 in 2001/02,
but will be replaced by another set of units available to both years in
And in some cases, for example where a programme is just starting, later years
of the programme may not be running yet, but will be included to give an indication
of what is planned. Your Director of Studies will advise you about all such
The University has adopted a credit-rating structure for the units which make
up your programme. It is important to understand this structure before looking
at the individual programmes and units.
Firstly, the credit-rating structure helps to describe your workload. Different
students will have to devote different amounts of time and effort to a programme
and to individual units, but the credit-rating system gives a breakdown of the
notional workload associated with a programme. It starts out with 60 credits
for a typical undergraduate year, which are then divided to give an approximate
workload for each of the units which the year includes. The majority of Departments/Schools
will be using a system which breaks down to 3, 6, or 12 credits per unit, with
the possibility that project work or placement periods may have different values.
A small number of Departments/Schools will be using a system which breaks down
to 5 or 10 credits per unit. Some diagrammatic examples are given in Table
2. You may find that your programme requires that you fill a six-credit
slot with a five-credit unit from a Department/School using the other system;
if this is so, the apparent deficiency of one credit will be acceptable within
the context of your programme. The converse, leading to an additional credit
will also be acceptable. Your Director of Studies will advise you in such cases.
Secondly, the credit-rating structure helps to describe your work towards
the award of a degree. Thus the typical undergraduate programme will require
that you accumulate 60 credits in each year of the programme. You will automatically
acquire the credits for units which you pass. If you do not pass a unit at the
first attempt, the credits might be acquired by re-taking and passing the unit
(if this is permitted), by re-sitting and passing the assessment (if this is
permitted), or by the appropriate body (such as a Board of Examiners) deeming
that you may acquire the credits. You should note that the marks you gain are
distinct from credits, and that it is the aggregation of marks which determines
your degree result. All such circumstances are described in full in the scheme
of study and assessment for a programme, which is not part of the Catalogue.
Again, your Director of Studies will advise on these points.
3.3 The status of a unit
Some of the units you take in a given year of a programme will be compulsory
or mandatory units — and in some semesters all of the units to be taken
may be mandatory.
In many cases, you will be allowed to choose to make up a particular credit
requirement from a range of units: for example, 24 of the 30 credits to be obtained
in a semester are prescribed mandatory units, but you may choose either one
six-credit unit, or two three-credit units to fill the remaining load from a
list which contains some of each. These are normally known as optional units.
In some cases, there may be a space for you to fill for which you may choose
a unit from almost anywhere in the University (subject to having the right pre-requisites,
that is, having covered necessary background material earlier). This type of
optional unit is often referred to as an elective unit.
You are also permitted to take one six-credit unit (or its equivalent — two
three-credit units, or a five-credit unit from the other credit-rating system)
in an academic year, outside the requirements of your programme. This will not
count for progression in your degree programme, or towards your degree result.
However, the fact that you have taken it, and the result you have obtained,
will be recorded on your transcript of results, and you will be able to demonstrate
that you have done such extra work. These units will be available subject to
constraints such as minimum and maximum group sizes, staff availability, timetabling
factors, and your own ability to meet the pre-requisites. Those units most likely
to be chosen in this way are listed in the separate Catalogue
of Generally Available Units. This type of unit is known as a free/extra-curricular
Your Director of Studies will advise you in all these areas.
3.4 Pre-requisites, co-requisites & excluded units
You will find that some units may only be taken if you have taken specified
other units first, or if you take specified units at the same time or in the
same year. It is also possible that if you take a particular unit,
another specified unit or units may be excluded from your choice. It is important that you check this information as it may restrict
your choice of other units. Three sorts of rule are given to cover this sort of
relationship between units. These are shown in the unit details under
Pre- are those units you must have taken in a previous year
or semester in order to study this unit.
Co- are units you must take within the same year or semester
in order to study this unit.
Ex- are units that you are unable to
take if you study this unit.
These rules hold true whatever your programme. There may however be additional
rules which are applicable to your programme only. These will be made clear
to you in this or other documentation given to you by your Department/School.
4. The structure of the Programme/Unit Catalogue
4.1 The Programme Catalogue
The programme section of the Catalogue gives, in an abbreviated form, a view
of the structure of each programme as it is expected to run in 2001/02, and
of the units which are expected to be available in 2001/02. (See note 3.1 about
the changes which may be made.) It is here that you will find the rules which
indicate the mandatory units and the ranges of optional units.
Programmes are listed in programme code order. There is a different
code for a programme which includes a third-year placement, for example, from
that for a programme which does not but is otherwise the same. You should look
through the definition of each programme to make sure you have found the right
one. More information about the meaning of the programme code is given
in Table 3.
4.2 The Unit Catalogue
The unit section of the Catalogue gives details of all the units which are
associated with the departments in the preceding section, and which are expected
to be available in 2001/02. (See note 3.1 about the changes which may be made.)
Units are listed in unit code order. If the same subject is taught in
both Semesters 1 and 2, there will be two separately coded entries for it. You
will need to make sure that you are looking at the right one. More information
about the meaning of the unit code and the associated detail about units
is given in Tables 4-6.
Please send any comments you may wish to make to:
Student Records & Examinations Office
Wessex House - 2.12c