UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Handbook and Resources for Languages & Culture Students

Information for BA programmes with Russian or with an East European Language

Course Structure: BA Programmes



Degree Structure

In this degree you will get a unique opportunity to develop expertise in the disciplines of the languages, cultures, history, and politics of Russia and Eastern Europe and, for Modern Languages programmes, for the relevant European countries and to apply this expertise to understanding the social, cultural, and political world around us, developing skills essential for a whole range of future careers, with particular attention focused on the study of the areas with which the School of Slavonic and East European Studies is primarily concerned: the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, and Russia.


IMPORTANT: students can only register 120 (course units) in total per year of study.



The basic principle of BA Languages and Culture programmes is progression from one year to the next along defined disciplinary pathways. Knowledge and skills learned in one year provide building blocks for more advanced study in each subsequent year.


Degree Modules



SSEES Main Student Handbook

This contains key information relating to operation of your programme within SSEES, including details about key dates, coursework submission, assessment penalties and contact details. It is intended to serve as your first point of reference for queries and contains links to relevant official documents and online resources.

This document is updated annually and further updates may occur during the academic year to reflect changes in UCL or SSEES policy and it is important that you ensure you refer to the handbook for the appropriate academic year.

Languages and Culture programmes Syllabus Handbook

This contains key information relating to the syllaus of each Languages and Culture degree, including which modules are compulsory, and which modules are optional.

Progression Rules

From 2018/19 any student fully enrolled will be subject to new Progression and Award Requirements including new condonement regulations. Condonement is the system which allows a small amount of failure across the entire degree, provided certain conditions are met.


Students registered for the degree are required to undertake a programme of study comprising modules to the value of 120 credits in each year.


In order to progress from one year to the next the student should pass 120 credits in each year of study, including condoned failed modules. A student who does not pass 120 credits in a year of study will meet the Progression and Award Requirements if they meet all of the following condonement criteria:


  • Pass all non-condonable modules, AND
  • Pass at least 90 credits in the year AND
  • Attain marks in the condonable range in no more than 30 credits in any one academic year AND
  • Attain marks in the condonable range in no more than 60 credits across the entire degree AND
  • Achieve a credit-weighted mean of at least 40.00% across 120 in any one academic year.

The condonable range for undergraduate modules (levels 4, 5 and 6) is 1.00%-39.99%.


For Languages and Culture programmes, the non-condonable modules are:

  • Comprehension of Russian in any year
  • Use of Russian in any year
  • Language Level 1, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B in any other SSEES language

Any student who fails any of the above modules at both the first and second attempt must leave the programme. A final year student who fails any of the above modules at both the first and second attempt must accept an award in a different field of study, to be decided by the Board of Examiners.




Condonement is granted by the Exam Board, and can only be approved if the student completes an attempt at the assessment and is awarded a mark greater than 0, which indicates an attempt which is academically assessable. If condonement is granted reassessment will not be required in that module. If the student does not complete a first attempt at the assessment which is academically assessable the student must be reassessed. If the student does not complete both a first and a second attempt which is academically assessable the student must leave the programme.


If a student fails more than the maximum condonable number of modules in a given year (30 credits), the students must be reassessed in all failed modules including those in the condonable range.

In order to progress from Year 1 to Year 2  the student must have passed or be condoned in 120 credits. In order to progress from Year 2 to the year abroad the student must have passed or been condoned in 240 credits. In order to progress from the Year Abroad to the final year of the programme, students must have additionally passed the Year Abroad requirements.

Condonement does not apply to students repeating 2018/19 modules without tuition. 

Progression and Awards – Honours  


Consequences of Failure

From 2017/18 onwards, late summer resits will be available for eligible students who fail between 15 and 60 course units and are not eligible for condonement.  These students will resit the failed components of the module/s (exams and/or coursework) in late summer and their overall mark for the module/s will be capped at 40%.  If they then meet the requirements for progression, they will progress to the next year as usual.


Final year students are not eligible for a resit if they are eligible for the award of a degree despite the failed module/s, or if they have been excluded for academic insufficiency, academic misconduct or disciplinary issues.  Students cannot be reassessed in a module they have passed.


Students who fail more than 60 credits will usually be required to repeat the failed modules in the following academic year, re-enrolling in all failed modules and paying tuition fees, and must redo all components of all the modules they failed.  Reassessment results (second attempts) in those modules will be capped at 40%.  Students will not be allowed to progress to the next level of study until the repeat is successfully passed.


If a module is still not passed at the second attempt, whether the second attempt is a resit or a repeat of the entire year, the student is deemed to have irretrievably failed the module and if this makes it impossible for them to obtain the degree, their registration on the programme will be terminated by the Examination Board.


Examination Procedures

The examinations period is provisionally scheduled from the start of Term 3 until the second week of June. Students must be available to attend examinations throughout this entire period. 


All modules registrations must be completed on Portico by the end of the second week of teaching. From this point students must not change the registration of Term 1 modules. The registration of Term 2-only modules may be changed until the end of Reading Week of Term 1.


All students are required to reply to any request, whether from their department or from UCL Registry (via Portico) to confirm their module registration as correct.


The SSEES Sub-Board of Examiners and the UCL Arts & Humanities Faculty Board decide on the class of degree you receive and, if you are a first or second-year student, whether you may progress to the next year.


Special Examination Arrangements

Special Examination Arrangements (SEAs) are adjustments to central or departmental written examinations which can be made as a Reasonable Adjustment for students with a disability or longer-term condition or as a form of mitigation for students with shorter-term medical Extenuating Circumstances. This may include, but is not limited to extra time, a separate room, rest breaks and specialist equipment. Students must make an application to use the special examination facilities.


Further information:

Special Examination Arrangements – guidance and forms

Special Examination Arrangements – regulations

Student Disability Services

Reasonable Adjustments regulations


Illness and other Extenuating Circumstances

UCL recognises that some students can experience serious difficulties and personal problems which affect their ability to complete an assessment such as a sudden, serious illness or the death of a close relative. Students need to make sure that they notify UCL of any circumstances which are unexpected, significantly disruptive and beyond their control, and which might have a significant impact on their performance at assessment. UCL can then put in place alternative arrangements, such as an extension or a deferral of assessment to a later date.


Longer-term conditions

The Extenuating Circumstances regulations are designed to cover unexpected emergencies; they are not always the best way to help students who might have a longer-term medical or mental health condition or a disability. Although there may be times when it is necessary for such students to use the EC regulations, students should make sure they are aware of, and take advantage of, all the other support mechanisms provided by UCL such as:

Reasonable Adjustments Special Examination Arrangements Student Disability Services Student Psychological Services Student Support and Wellbeing



Students suffering from exam stress may, if their case is supported by a letter from their GP, be allowed to take exams in a special UCL facility.


It is your responsibility to ensure that all forms are completed in time, that you are correctly entered for the right exams, that your exam is timetabled (watch out – there are often changes between the provisional and final published timetables), that you have let all the relevant people know of any extenuating circumstances, and that you actually turn up to the exam at the right place at the right time.  If you fail to follow these guidelines, then your degree result and opportunity to progress to the next year may be jeopardised.

Support to Study Policy

UCL Student Mental Health Policy


Further information:

Extenuating Circumstances Regulations

Grounds for Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating Circumstances Form


If you wish to be considered for extenuating circumstances, then you should submit a completed extenuating circumstances form supported by medical certificate or other evidence to: ssees-extenuating-circumstances@ucl.ac.uk. This information will be treated in confidence and the results will be decided by the Extenuating Circumstance panel.

Calculation Of Degree Classification 






Award of degree for students who start their studies in 2018/19


The new regulations include a standardised approach to formulae used to combine marks so that all students across UCL are treated equally.

Degree structure PEES HPE

The following final overall marks for the whole degree will be rounded up automatically to the next class:

49.50%-49.99% - rounded up to a 2:2 (lower second class)

59.50%-59.99% - rounded up to a 2:1 (upper second class)

69.50%-69.99% - rounded up to a 1 (first class)


The following final overall marks for the whole degree falling in the borderline range, and having module marks of at least 70% in at least half of the final year modules, will be rounded up to the next class:

48.50%-49.49% - rounded up to a 2:2 (lower second class)

58.50%-59.49% - rounded up to a 2:1 (upper second class)

68.50%-69.49% - rounded up to a 1 (first class)


The pass mark for each module is 40%.


Non-condonable modules

For all students starting in 2018/19 all language modules at all levels (Comprehension of Russian, Use of Russian, Language Level 1, 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3B in all other languages) are non-condonable and compulsory for progression from one year to the next. A student in Year 1 or Year 2 who fails a module in the above groupings at the second attempt will not be permitted to progress and must leave the programme. A student in the final year who fails a module in the above groupings at the second attempt must accept the award of a degree in a different field of study, to be decided by the Board of Examiners.


Example Classification.


For more details see the UCL Academic Manual.



Award of degree for students who started their studies in 17/18 and prior academic years.

Chapter 4, section 15: Classification for UG Students First Enrolling in 17/18 or earlier.


To be awarded an honours degree, a student must have completed modules to the value of 480 credits by fulfilling all attendance and coursework requirements, submitting all written work prescribed for assessment purposes and taking all parts of any examination in those modules, including condoned assessment attempts (up to 30 credits per academic year with a maximum of 60 credits for the entire degree).


To be awarded a degree with honours in the field of study for which the student is registered, the student must have taken and passed any modules deemed compulsory for such an award according to local rules. Where students have failed to pass the specified module but have passed the required number of modules for the award of an honours degree, students will still be eligible for the award of an honours degree, but one with a different field of study, to be determined by the Board of Examiners.



The class of honours degree shall be determined by the relevant Board of Examiners on the basis of the mean average of results obtained in 315 credits, to be selected as follows:


The results from the best 90 credits from Year 1, subject to local rules;
The results from the best 105 credits from Year 2, subject to local rules;
The results from the best 120 credits from Year 4, subject to local rules;


Application of classification scheme

In exceptional cases, the Board of Examiners may exercise discretion in the application of this Faculty Scheme.  The general Regulations of the College and of the University are assumed to apply in conjunction with the above Scheme, as are the local rules and guidelines produced by the relevant Department(s).


Consideration of borderlines

Honours degree candidates whose weighted average mark falls within 1% of the next classification boundary (after rounding to the nearest integer) may be considered for the higher classification. The Programme Board of Examiners should take the following criteria into account:


·    Whether the majority of credits (at least 50%) fall in the higher classification.

·    Whether there is evidence of “exit velocity” in the candidate’s performance.

·    Whether high value modules, or those with a significant research element such as the dissertation, fall in the higher class.

·    Attention to those marks which have a particular significance for the overall classification.


Where a student has validated Extenuating Circumstances, and the student’s weighted average mark falls within the 1% borderline zone, the Faculty/Departmental Extenuating Circumstances Panel may recommend that the student be exempted from some or all of the borderline criteria.



Full details of UG Borderline Criteria are available in chapter 4 of the UCL Academic Manual.


Further Information:

Interim Qualifications



Marks for retaken or substitute modules will be included in the calculation for the mark of the year in which that module was first attempted, rather than in the year it was actually taken, if that is different.


Further Information:



Interim Qualifications


A student may be awarded an interim qualification if they meet or surpass defined learning outcomes and credit requirements.


The Board of Examiners will assess the student’s eligibility for the interim qualification against the appropriate qualification learning outcomes and credit requirements. The standard UCL Interim Qualification Learning Outcomes described in the UCL Academic Manual outline the threshold academic standards required to pass each of UCL’s main interim qualifications, in line with the UCL Qualifications and Credit Framework and the UK Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. Interim qualifications are not eligible for a classification.


Available interim qualifications:


Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) Diploma of Higher Education (Dip HE) Ordinary Degree (Bachelors without Honours) Bachelors with Honours Honours Degree without a Study Abroad or Placement Year Graduate Certificate (Grad Cert) Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) Aegrotat Degree Special and Aegrotat Provisions


Classification will be based in the first instance on a consideration of the median of the marks from the 270 units of assessment. The units are to be weighted 1: 3: 5, as follows:


Year 1: 1 Year 2: 3 Year 3: 5





Full details of UG Borderline Criteria are available in chapter 4 of the UCL Academic Manual (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/srs/academic-manual/overview) .




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