Academic Structures

Reformation of academic structures, including the academic year, so that they serve our teaching and research efforts more effectively. The teaching year will begin typically one week earlier than at present, courses will be shortened to 11 and 22 weeks, teaching should not be conducted during exam periods, and there should be less variation in course and programme regulations.

Following full implementation in 2008-09 there was an Interim Review of the new Academic Structures which report to Senate in December 2009.

Policy and Guidelines

In October 2006 the Senate approved the recommendations of the Academic Structures Working Group following a review of the University’s

  • academic year
  • programme and course structures
  • examination scheduling
  • programme/course information system
  • student record system

The key recommendations as numbered in the report were as follows:

16 a uniform academic year in which teaching and exam periods are cleanly separated.
29 of the academic year models considered we should adopt model E1.
30 12-week courses should be shortened to 11 weeks, and 24-week courses to 22 weeks, not later than September 2008.
33 we should negotiate more flexible leave arrangements so that teaching can continue as normal on public holidays that occur in teaching periods. The leave year should run from September to August or from August to July.
59 (a) all programmes should be credit-rated, and should be structured in terms of compulsory and elective courses.
(b) each course should be valued at 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, or 60 credits.
(c) each course should be assessed in the same academic year as it is taken.
(d) Faculties should decide whether their courses are long or short.
(e) Faculties should decide whether their semester 1 courses are examined in the winter or spring diet.
60 develop generic undergraduate regulations to be in place by Sept. 2008.
61 (a) all Honours options to be courses in their own right by Sept. 2007.
(b) undergraduate courses not conforming to recommendation 59(b) should be replaced by small courses beginning Sept. 2007 (Level 1 and PGT).
(c) all new courses proposed after Sept. 2006 should conform to 59(b).
63 Honours, professional, and PGT programmes should include a compulsory course identifiable as independent work. An Honours project or dissertation should be worth 20, 30, or 40 credits, and a masters dissertation should be worth 60 credits.
65 professional programmes should comply with both the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework and the European Qualifications Framework.
75 examinations should last 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hours, or (only in the spring examination period) 3 hours inclusive of reading time.
77 the duration of examinations should take into account not only the course’s credit value but the weighting of the exam in the course’s assessment scheme.
85 replace CCIMS with new programme/course information system. The database should contain programme specs, course specs, related admin data, and eventually degree regulations.


For the Attention of


Approval and Amendments

Approved by: Senate, 12 October 2006.

Some changes are effective from September 2007 and should now be impacting on plans and preparations. The change to the academic year will be effective from Session 2008-09.