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What happens if I do not complete or fail a module?

Under UCL regulations, students are normally permitted no more than two attempts at the assessment of any course unit. Marks for resit/repeat attempts are not automatically capped.

Please note that you cannot choose to resit a module you have already passed in order to improve your mark.

The consequences of not completing or failing a module depend on the circumstances.

There are three different reasons why you might not obtain a pass for a module:

· Failure to complete one or more elements of assessment

· Failure to pass one or more elements of assessment.

· Deregistration

1. Failure to complete one or more elements of assessment

If your attendance at the module is satisfactory, but you do not complete one or more components of assessment (e.g. you only submit one of two required essays, or you miss the exam for no good reason), your result will be ‘incomplete’. This has serious implications for your degree as, in order to be eligible for an honours degree, you are required to ‘complete’ 12 units (16 for 4-year programmes with a year abroad).

At UCL there is an important difference between failing a module – even if a module has been irredeemably failed after both the first and the second attempts – and being ‘incomplete’ in the assessment for a module: it is possible to fail a module permanently, while nevertheless ‘completing’ it. The difference can be very significant.

In order to be ‘complete’ in a module, you must have been academically assessed in all of the examined elements relating to the module on at least the first or the second attempt. In other words, you must have seriously attempted all relevant assessment at least once, instead of being absent and/or failing to submit work. Merely attending an examination without making a credible attempt that can be academically assessed or submitting empty pages or negligible work that cannot be academically assessed does not complete the assessment.

Completing all modules, even if some modules may have been failed, is very important: in order to progress from year 2 to year 3 you must be complete in all year 1 modules; in order to progress from year 3 to year 4 (for four-year degrees), you must be complete in all year 2 modules. This means that you will need to re-sit the module during your year abroad. If you become permanently ‘incomplete’ in a module, you may therefore no longer be able to progress and will have to leave UCL. Final-year students who become ‘incomplete’ in a module by failing to attempt a re-sit after already having failed to complete all elements of assessment on the first attempt will no longer qualify for a classified honours degree and may only qualify for an unclassified ordinary degree.

It is therefore particularly important not to miss assessment by failing to submit work or being absent from examination; and it is imperative not to do so on a second attempt if the assessment for the module has remained incomplete after the first attempt.

Further details and the formal regulations can be found in paragraph 2.10.1 of UCL’s Academic Regulations for Students: Undergraduate Programmes, Section 2: General Regulations at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/acd_regs

If you are ‘incomplete’ then you will be required to complete the missing components of assessment at the next opportunity. You do not need to re-attend the module, or to resit/resubmit components of assessment that you have already passed. For example, if you passed the exam but did not submit your coursework essays, you would not need to resit the exam. Portico should automatically re-enter you for the components that you need to complete. In cases of re-sits the best of the two attempts will count as the final mark.

2. Failure to pass one or more elements of assessment

In order to pass a module, you need to obtain an overall mark of 40 or more for each component of assessment. In the History Department, the overall coursework mark and the exam mark each count as one component. A mark below 40 for one or more exam questions or for a coursework essay will not necessarily result in the failure of the component as long as the average of that component is 40 or more.

Failure to pass a module is not necessarily as serious as failure to complete it. In order to be eligible for an honours degree, students are required to pass only 11 of the 12 course units (14.5 out of 16 units for 4 year degrees involving a year abroad). However, please bear in mind that you must pass all compulsory units in order to be eligible for the named degree for which you are registered. Please refer to the regulations for your degree programme, which can be found on the degree regulations page.

If you fail a module, you have the opportunity to resit the component(s) that you failed. You do not need to re-attend the module, or to resit/resubmit components of assessment that you have already passed. For example, if you passed the coursework component but not the exam, you would not need to resubmit the coursework. Portico should automatically re-enter you for the component(s) that you need to resit.

If your overall mark for a module is between 35 and 39 and you are a continuing student who began your programme of study prior to September 2014, you will be given the opportunity to complete supplementary work over the summer in order to increase your overall mark to the minimum pass mark of 40. This is known as a ‘referred’ assessment. Referred assessment counts as part of your first attempt at a module, and if you pass the work that is set, the result that will appear on your transcript is a pass with a mark of 40. Referred assessments are not available to Finalist students, or students who began their programme of study from September 2014, with the exception of students enrolled on the Mathematical and Physical Sciences programme.

Referred assessment is optional. If you choose not to undertake it, or if you fail the work that is set, the normal procedures for resitting the module apply.

3. Deregistration

If your attendance or work for any module is deemed unsatisfactory by the teaching department of the course, you may be deregistered from it. The implications of this are serious as, in order to be eligible for an honours degree, you are required to complete 12 units (16 for 4-year programmes with a year abroad). If your attendance is unsatisfactory, you will be given a formal written warning (by letter or email) in time for you to rectify the situation.

If your attendance does not improve and you are deregistered from the module, you will need to repeat the module (attending regularly) in the following academic year. Provided that you need to repeat no more than one course unit, you will be normally be able to do so in addition to the four units that you would be expected to take. If the module in question is not available the following year, with the approval of the Departmental Tutor, you may be able to substitute it with another module.

You should also be aware that, if you are deregistered from a module, you might not have sufficient units to progress to the next year of study. In this case, in the following academic year, you would normally need to register as a part-time revision student to complete the necessary units.

For further details on Degree Regulations please refer to degree regulations page.


Complete To be considered to have completed a module, your attendance must be satisfactory, you must submit all required coursework, and you must take all parts of any examination.
Incomplete You will be considered incomplete for a module if you do not submit the required coursework and/or take all parts of any examination.


Any mark below 40 is a fail. You fail a module if you obtain a mark below 40 for any of its components.
Deferred assessment Assessment arranged for first or second-year candidates who were unable to sit an examination at the scheduled time due to illness or another serious problem.
Pass Any mark of 40 or above is a pass. In order to pass any History module, you must obtain a mark of 40 or above in all of its components.
Referred assessment Supplementary assessment available to first and second-years who have narrowly failed a module (marks of 35-39).
Repeat To take a module for a second time, attending all lectures/classes/seminars
Resit To make a second attempt at a component of assessment that has been failed. Attendance at lectures/classes/seminars is not required.

Page last modified on 22 oct 14 11:34 by Jasmine Gane