Glossary - Definitions
Units with codes beginning AA are dummy units included in blocks of options so that students can indicate that they do not wish to choose an option from the block.
This document provides a summary of academic administration activities within the University. See the Academic Adminstration Calendar web pages for further information.
For specific academic year and semester dates please see the Academic Year Charts.
The add/drop period is the time at the beginning of each semester in which students are permitted to change their unit selections for the semester.
This is the section of the unit description which provides a statement of the aims of the unit.
All changes to units and programmes of study (as well as new units and programmes) must be approved by the relevant committees before any changes can be made in SAMIS or in the web-based catalogues. For further information on the level of approval required for each type of change see statements QA3 (new programmes of study), QA4 (amendments to programmes and units) and QA49 (new units) in the Quality Assurance Code of Practice. Your FEA/School Administrator can also advise regarding the approval process.
How a unit is assessed. There are a number of different ways in which assessment may be carried out. See the assessment patterns table for further information.
The processing of unit assessments in SAMIS will affect the way assessment patterns are presented in the programme and unit catalogues - you will see a difference in the format of the assessment patterns for units for which assessment is currently being processed through SAMIS (e.g. CW 100%) as opposed to units for which assessment is not currently processed in this manner (e.g. CW100). For units whose assessment is processed via SAMIS the data in the web catalogues is taken directly from the assessment information set up by the department owning the unit. Please ensure that you inform Helen Buick of any changes made to the assessment of ALL units so that the web catalogues can be kept up-to-date.
The availability of a unit to an individual student, whether or not it is included in their programme of study, is subject to a number of constraints for example: staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors. The inclusion of a unit in a programme of study does not necessarily mean that it will be available to all students on the programme.
A unit can be available in a single semester (1 or 2) or across the whole year (indicated by "Academic Year" in the catalogues).
The Programme & Unit Catalogues contain details of programmes and units offered to undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.
Changes to existing programmes and units (as well as details of new programmes and units) must be submitted to SREO in line with the deadlines given in the Academic Administration Calendar. All changes must be approved by the relevant committees. Please see the quick guide (pdf) for further information.
Please note that it is the responsibility of the owning department to ensure that all relevant departments and students are informed of any programme or unit changes.
Undergraduate students will be asked to select any optional units at around the Easter of the preceeding academic year (i.e. students will be asked to choose units for 2007/08 after Easter 2007). This process is usually carried out on-line and students who are required to participate in unit selection on-line will be emailed about this once the facility becomes available (your department will advise you if this does not apply to you). Postgraduate and new undergraduate students will be asked to complete a form with their unit selections at the start of their programme.
Once you have chosen your units you may only change your selection during the add/drop period. Your department will help you with this.
Each code is specific to an individual programme of study and provides information such as which department the programme belongs to, the level of the programme (undergraduate, taught-postgraduate, research postgraduate, non-credit), etc.
There is a different code for each different variant of a programme. For example: the full-time MEng in Mechanical Engineering has a different code to the MEng in Mechanical Engineering programme which includes an industrial placement in a thick, or thin, sandwich programme. Please check to make sure that you have found the correct programme within the catalogue.
See the programme codes page for further information.
See the unit codes page for further information.
The content section of a unit description gives details of the unit syllabus.
A number of taught postgraduate units across the University can be studied on a standalone basis for CPD. Individual departments will be able to provide further information on which units are available for study on this basis.
Credits are used to illustrate how units fit together within a programme of study. The workload for a typical undergraduate year comprises 60 credits (usually split equally into 30 credits for each semester). For postgraduate students the number of credits making up a year's workload varies according to the type of programme being studied. A typical full-time postgraduate masters programme comprises 90 credits, a postgraduate diploma 60 credits and a postgraduate certificate 30 credits. See the Programme Structures page for further information.
Students must complete a certain number of credits at specified levels in order to receive the final award for their programme of study. Please see the Programme Structures page for further details.
Cross-department programmes and units are those which are taught and administered by more than one department. Cross-department units unit codes start with XX. Cross-department programmes will have XX in the programme code (see Table 3 for more details).
This is a SAMIS term used to describe a collection of units which make up a year of a programme of study.
A Director of Studies Approved Unit (codes starting with ZZ) is a psuedo unit included within the catalogue to indicate that a unit from a wider selection than that given in the programme description may be chosen. The unit description should provide more information on which units may be selected but, as the title suggests, students should contact their Director of Studies for further clarification. The availability of units to individual students will be subject to the restrictions indication in 'Availability' above.
This is a period slot specific to postgraduate taught masters programmes. The dissertation period is a period in which students complete their masters dissertation.
A number of programmes are offered via Distance Learning, i.e. students do not study on campus at all or only attend for short periods of time (e.g. for summer schools).
A full-time undergraduate programme is normally considered as a programme in which students are required to complete units making up 60 credits during the course of an academic year and are either studying or on a placement for the entirety of the year. Full-time taught postgraduates normally complete 30 credits in each of two semesters and a further 30 credits for a dissertation.
A generally available unit is a unit which is offered to students across all departments of the University and may be taken in addition to the requirements of a specific programme.
Students are permitted to take one six-credit unit (or its equivalent - two three-credit units) in an academic year, outside the requirements of their programme. This will not count for progression in their degree programme, or towards their degree result. However, the fact that they have taken it, and the result they have obtained, will be recorded on their transcript of results, and indicate that extra work has been done. These units will be available subject to constraints such as minimum and maximum group sizes, staff availability, timetabling factors, and the ability to meet the pre-requisites. This type of unit is known as a free/extra-curricular unit.
The Learning Outcomes section of the unit description states what a student should be able to do after completing the unit.
The level of a unit is indicated by the first number in the code it is assigned (see the unit coding table for further information). It is also given in the unit catalogue. Students must complete a specified number of credits at a given level in order to complete their programme of study. Please see the Programme Structures page for further details.
A mandatory unit is a unit which must be taken by all students on a particular programme of study. Units which are mandatory for students on some programmes may be optional for students on others.
Whilst all of our programmes can be considered to be modular (students study in discrete 'modules' or units), for the purposes of the programme and unit catalogues some specific programmes are described as 'Modular' rather than full-time or part-time and some units have a period slot 'Modular' rather than Semester 1 etc.
In this context, 'Modular' programmes are part-time (often distance learning) programmes with a structure that usually involves completing one module before progressing to the next. 'Modular' units may be available at different times throughout the year and do not conform to the semester based period slots used for full-time programmes.
Formally, the University refers to "units", but the word "module" is used in the student system SAMIS.
Occurrence codes are used in conjunction with module availabilites to indicate instances where a module is offered more than once in a single period slot. For example, some social work units will have two occurrences in a semester as the unit is taught both in Bath and in Swindon.
Occurrence codes may also used for the purposes of assessment to indicate specific groups of students on a unit (e.g. final year, non-final year or postgraduate students) where the outcome of the assessment is different for each group of students. This means that some units may have three 'occurrences' even though the unit is only taught once in a period slot, because the unit is offered to final year, non-final year and postgraduate students.
Some programmes of study will allow students to choose a specified number of the units for a given semester from a list. For example, 24 credits of the semester are made up of mandatory units but the remaining 6 must be chosen from a list of units containing both 3 and 6 credit units. These are called optional units.
The owning department is the department responsible for the administration of a particular programme or unit.
A part-time programme is one in which students study for fewer credits and hours each year than those required for a full-time programme.
This refers to a specified period of time in which a unit runs. For example:
Students take a placement year as part of a thick-sandwich or a study-year abroad programme. As the name suggests, this involves either spending a year working in an industry relevant to the subject of their programme of study, or spending a year studying overseas. Some placements are for shorter periods than an academic year or involve a combination of work placement and overseas study.
If a unit has a pre-requisite rule it means that students taking the unit must have taken other specified units first.
This refers to a student's programme of study: e.g. BSc in Natural Sciences, MSc in Economics, etc.
The programme description shows the structure of a programme, i.e. which units are being taught in each period slot, whether they are mandatory or optional. Programme description templates can be downloaded from the Quality Assurance Code of Practice.
The programme specification provides full details of a programme of study including final awards, modes of attendance, educational aims, learning outcomes and accreditation. Programme specification templates can be downloaded from the Quality Assurance Code of Practice.
A description of the mandatory and optional units which make up each year of a programme of study.
The qualification aim is the final award that a student is expected to achieve at the end of a programme of study.
The requisites section of a unit description gives details of any other units which must be taken before, after or whilst studying the unit in question or which may not be taken if the unit is studied. See the Unit Rules table for further details.
Same as Requisites.
Each academic year is made up of two semesters in which teaching and assessment take place. You can find the dates for each semester in the academic year charts.
A site code is a digit in the programme code which indicates where a programme is running e.g. on the main campus in Bath, the Oakfield campus in Swindon or, in the case of programmes offered by the Division for Lifelong Learning, at one of our partner institutions. For further information on site codes and how they fit into programme codes see the description of programme codes.
The skills section of a unit description lists the intellectual, professional, practical, and key skills students will gain or enhance by taking the unit.
Special typographic characters can be difficult to represent in the web catalogues as not all characters have corresponding code in HTML. If you require the inclusion of special characters (particularly scientific symbols) in your programmes or units and you know of a way to represent these on the web, please send this information along with the relevant description.
A programme of study with a study year abroad incorporates a year in which students are required to study at an institution overseas. If your programme includes a study year abroad, your department will provide further information.
Templates for programme and unit descriptions can be downloaded from the Quality Assurance Code of Practice.
A 'Thick Sandwich' programme includes a one-year industrial placement. If your programme includes an industrial placement your department will provide further details.
A 'Thin Sandwich' programme is one which involves one or more placements which are shorter than an academic year (e.g. one Semester). If your programme is structured in this way your department will provide you with further information.
For timetabling information please visit the timetabling pages.
A unit is a component of a programme of study. Each unit has a number of credits attached to it, as well as a description giving an indication of its expected content, level and a method of assessment. It may also have rules dictating other units which students must take either before, after or whilst taking the unit.
A unit description gives full details of a unit e.g. title, credits, content, assessment, timetabling information etc. An updated unit description must be forwarded to SREO whenever a unit change or a new unit is approved. Unit description templates can be downloaded from the Quality Assurance Code of Practice.
Requests to withdraw a unit or a programme of study must be approved by the relevant committee (Board of Studies for units; Quality Assurance Committee for programmes) before being forwarded to SREO to be processed. Any such requests must be forwarded to SREO in line with the deadlines in the Academic Administration Calendar.
It is the responsibility of the owning department to ensure that all relevant departments and students are advised of the withdrawal of a unit or programme.
Year-long or academic year units (other than those indicating an industrial placement or study-year abroad) were introduced for the first time during the 2005/6 academic year. Programmes of study may only offer up to 36 credits of the annual workload in the form of year-long units.
Units with codes beginning ZZ either indicate that students may select a Director of Studies approved unit or a unit from the Foreign Languages Centre catalogue.