- Student Records
Programme & Unit Catalogues

 

Glossary - Definitions & Help Information

 

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A

AA (units with codes beginning...)

Units with codes beginning AA are dummy units included in lists of options so that students can indicate that they do not wish to choose an option from the list.

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Academic administration calendar

This document provides a summary of academic administration activities within the University including the production of the programme and unit catalogues. See the Academic Adminstration Calendar web pages for further information.

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Academic year

For specific academic year and semester dates please see the Semester Dates web pages.

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Aims

This section of the unit catalogue describes what the unit aims to cover. .

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Approval

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) and QA4 (Amendments to programmes and units and approval of new units) in the Quality Assurance Code of Practice. Your Faculty Assistant Registrar/School of Management Director of Administration can also advise regarding the approval process. NB. Approval processes do change from time to time. Your Faculty Assistant Registrar/School of Management Director of Administration will always be able to advise you regarding the appropriate approval process.

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Assessment (of units)

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. (See also 'Supplementary assessment').

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Assessment patterns and data in SAMIS

The assessment pattern data in the web catalogues is taken directly from the assessment information set up by the department owning the unit (with the exception of new units for which a 'dummy' code is entered until the relevant assesment data can be created). 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.

For information and help on processing assessments in SAMIS please see the SAMIS manuals at http://www.bath.ac.uk/samis/manuals.htm. If you require further assistance please contact SAMIS Support.

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Availability (of units)

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 may be available in one or more period slots.

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C

Catalogues

The Programme & Unit Catalogues contain details of programmes and units offered to undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

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Changes to Programmes/Units (information for staff)

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 and the Quality Assurance Code of Practice. 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.

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Choosing/Changing Units (information for students)

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 2015/16 after Easter 2015). 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 choose online during the first week of Semester 1. Students who start at a later time will be asked to complete a form with their unit choices.

Once on-line unit selection has closed, you may only change your optional units during the first week of each semester and then only in exceptional circumstances (see 'Changing and choosing options' (pdf) for further details). If you meet the criteria for changing your options you must submit a change of units form to your department by the Wednesday of the first week of the relevant semester. Any changes to optional units must be made on the basis of the published timetable. In addition to this any requests for changes will be subject to constraints as described in point 2 of the 'Important Notes'.

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Codes, Programme

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. Staff looking for codes for the processing of course changes can find complete lists by department on the codes for course changes pages.

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Codes, Unit

Each unit code is unique to an individual unit. The code includes information on the owning department and the level at which the unit is taught.

See the unit codes page for further information.

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Compulsory

A compulsory unit is a unit which must be taken by all students on a particular programme of study. Units which are compulsory for students on some programmes may be optional for students on others. NB. Compulsory units may be referred to as 'mandatory' in some documentation.

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Content (of units)

The content section of a unit description gives details of the unit syllabus.

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CPD (Continuing Professional Development)

A number of taught units offered by departments from across the University can be studied on a standalone basis for CPD. You can find further information on units available to study for CPD on the CPD webpages. Individual departments will be able to provide further information on which units are available for study on this basis.

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Credits

ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) 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.

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Credits, level

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 and the description of unit levels for further details.

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Cross-department

Cross-department programmes and units are those which are taught and administered by more than one department. The unit will be 'owned' by the department currently responsible for its administration. Codes for cross-department units start with 'XX'. Cross-department programmes will have XX in the programme code (see Table 3 for more details).

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D

Description (unit catalogues)

The description section in the unit catalogues gives information on the aims, learning outcomes, skills and content of a unit.

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Designated Alternative Programme (DAP) (NFAAR)

Within the NFAAR, programmes may be designated as specific alternatives for situations where a student does not meet the criteria to remain on their current programme of study. These are called designated alternative programmes (DAPs). Note that not all programmes will have a DAP.

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Designated Essential Units (DEU) and Designated Essential Optional Units (NFAAR)

Within the NFAAR, particular units within a programme may be identified as Designated Essential Units (DEUs): these are units which must be passed in order to qualify to proceed with a programme or to receive its normal award at the end; marginal failure in such units cannot be condoned. Units may be DEUs on some programmes and not on others on which they are offered.

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Diet

This is a SAMIS term used to describe a collection of units which make up a year of a programme of study.

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Director of Studies Approved Unit

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. Some Director of Studies Approved units may also have additional restrictions attached (e.g. selection from a specific range of units) - any such restrictions will be given in the unit description text.

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Dissertation period

This is a period slot specific to postgraduate taught masters programmes. The dissertation period is a period in which students complete their masters dissertation and usually begins at the end of Semester 2..

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Distance learning

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).

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E

Exit awards

E.g. Certificate of Higher Education, or Diploma of Higher Education

These are available to students on programmes assessed under the New Framework for Assessment for first-degree programmes (NFAAR-UG). A student may be automatically eligible for one of these exit awards, subject to meeting the requirements for the levels of units and the numbers of credits gained, either if they withdraw before completing the programme, or if they fail to achieve the normal final award and have to withdraw. Please see the NFAAR pages for further information.

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F

Full-time

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.

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G

Generally available units

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.

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L

Learning Outcomes (of units)

The Learning Outcomes section of the unit description states what a student should be able to do after completing the unit.

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Level (of units)

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). Unit levels are 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 unit levels information for further details.

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M

Mandatory

See 'Compulsory'.

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Mode of Attendance (programme)

This indicates how a programme is studied: e.g. full-time, part-time, thick sandwich, thin sandwich, distance learning, etc.

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Modular

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.

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Module

Formally, the University refers to "units", but the word "module" is used in the student system SAMIS.

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N

NFAAR

The New Framework for Assessment: Assessment Regulations (NFAAR) - this describes the rules for progression from one stage of a degree programme to the next (including supplementary assessment, and the extent of failure that can be condoned), as well as for the award of degrees. Students taking programmes which fall within the NFAAR will be assessed according to these rules.

Information on which version of the NFAAR applies to an individual programme of study is provided within the programme catalogues, together with further details to help students understand how the NFAAR works with their programme. For further information please see http://www.bath.ac.uk/registry/nfa/index.htm.

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O

Occurrence code (modules in 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 units offered by Learning Partnerships will have multiple occurrences within a single period slot as they are taught at several partner institutions.

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 four 'occurrences' even though the unit is only taught once in a period slot, because the unit is offered to final year, non-final year, visiting and postgraduate students.

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Optional (units)

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 compulsory 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.

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Owning Department

The owning department is the department responsible for the administration of a particular programme or unit.

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P

Parts (NFAAR)

Used in conjunction with Stages to describe the breakdown of a programme for the purposes of the NFAAR.

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Part time

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.

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Period slot

This refers to a specified period of time in which a unit runs. For example:

Placement Year (or Placement Period)

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.

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Pre-requisite (units)

If a unit has a pre-requisite rule it means that students taking the unit must have taken other specified units first.

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Programme

This refers to a student's programme of study: e.g. BSc in Natural Sciences, MSc in Economics, etc.

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Programme availability

This section of the unit catalogue lists the programmes on which the unit is offered..

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Programme description

A programme description is a document, usually provided alongside a programme specification (see below), which shows the structure of a programme, i.e. which units are being taught in each period slot, whether they are compulsory or optional, and how the New Framework for Assessment is applied to the programme (including any Designated Essential Units). Programme description templates are provided in the Quality Assurance Code of Practice in the section between QA3 and QA4. There are various different versions of the template for NFAAR and non-NFAAR compliant programmes. When writing a new programme description, please make sure that you download the correct version of the template.

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Programme specification

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 QA3 Form 2 (Word Doc) in the Quality Assurance Code of Practice.

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Programme Structure

A description of the compulsory and optional units which make up each year of a programme of study.

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Q

Qualification Aim

The qualification aim is the final award that a student is expected to achieve at the end of a programme of study (e.g. BSc, MBA, PhD etc.).

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R

Requisites

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.

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Rules

Same as Requisites.

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S

Semester

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.

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Site Code

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 or, in the case of programmes administered by the Learning Partnerships Office, 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.

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Skills (of units)

The skills section of a unit description lists the intellectual, professional, practical, and key skills students will gain or enhance by taking the unit and often indicates whether these will be taught, facilitated or assessed (sometimes abbreviated to 'T', 'F' and 'A').

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Special characters

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.

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Stages (NFAAR)

Used in conjunction with Parts to describe the breakdown of a programme for the purposes of the NFAAR.

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Study year abroad

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.

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Supplementary assessment

Supplementary assessment describes the type of assessment a student will be expected to undertake either to retrieve failure in a unit's main assessment or in the case of deferred assessment. The supplementary assessment data which appears in the unit catalogue is taken directly from information set up in SAMIS by the department which owns each unit. Please see the explanatory notes for further information.

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T

Templates

Templates for programme and unit descriptions can be downloaded from the Quality Assurance Code of Practice.

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Thick Sandwich

A 'Thick Sandwich' programme includes a one-year work placement. If your programme includes a work placement your department will provide further details.

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Thin Sandwich

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.

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Timetables

For timetabling information please visit the timetabling pages.

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U

Unit

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.

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Unit description

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. The template is provided in the section between QA3 and QA4 and is called 'UD Form 1 - Unit description template (Word Doc)'. A completed example (Word Doc) is also available.

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W

Withdrawing Units/Programmes (information for staff)

Requests to withdraw a unit or a programme of study must be approved by the relevant committee (Board of Studies/Faculty Learning, Teaching & Quality Committee for units; Academic Programmes 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.

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Y

Year-long units

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.

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Z

ZZ (units with codes beginning...)

Units with codes beginning ZZ either indicate that students may select a Director of Studies approved unit.

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