Teaching & Learning


Undergraduate teaching: important changes to assessment for 2018-19

If you teach Undergraduate students, you need to know about some important changes that UCL is making to the assessment regulations.

UCL has been reviewing our academic regulations to make sure that all students across UCL are treated equally, and that we continue to maintain UCL’s internationally-recognised academic standards. 

For 2018-19 there are changes to:

  • the ‘Progression and Award’ regulations (how many modules students have to pass to progress through their programme and be awarded a degree); and,
  • the classification regulations (how we calculate a First, 2.1 etc.).

There are also improvements to the:

  • extenuating circumstances regulations
  • examination irregularities and plagiarism procedure; and,
  • changes for students arriving late at an exam.

Further information about these and other changes is available from the Academic Manual Recent Changes page. Please take some time to read the briefings which are relevant to your role as they include some important information.

New UK-standard module structure

UCL is replacing ‘course units’ with modules, credits and academic levels – programme delivery will be the same, we are just moving to the system which is used throughout the rest of the UK.

This will help employers and other universities, both in the UK and internationally, to better understand student transcripts and what they have achieved at UCL.

New undergraduate (UG) condonement regulations

We expect UCL students to pass all of their modules. However if they are generally doing well, UCL may allow a student to progress or to be awarded a degree if they have a small number of failed modules.

A new set of UG regulations replaces the previous system permitting students to carry forward and graduate with a failed course unit. 

Relevant section of the Academic Manual for further information

New undergraduate (UG) classification regulations

UCL is introducing new, standardised Classification regulations for first year UG students. The former regulations, variations and derogations will be phased out for finalists and progressing students. 

Relevant sections of the Academic Manual for further information

Standardised calculations

In order to ensure that calculations are as accurate as possible, the regulations have been standardised for all programmes. This includes marking scales, pass marks, condonable ranges, borderlines, rounding, decimal places, averaging and how we calculate module results, progression, award and classification.

Relevant sections of the Academic Manual for further information

Improved extenuating circumstances regulations

UCL regularly reviews the Extenuating Circumstances process to help us support students when something unexpected happens. This year there is a new Extenuating Circumstances Form, clearer guidance about the evidence which students need to provide, and new mitigation options for the EC Panel.

Relevant section of the Academic Manual for further information

Arriving late at an exam

If students miss the start time of a written examination, they will now be permitted to enter the hall up to 45 minutes late (previously 30 minutes) and the invigilators will no longer try to rearrange the exam in the department within the remaining timeframe. As before, late arrivals will have the time deducted from their exam. If students are late due to illness or other Extenuating Circumstances (ECs), they will need to submit an EC Claim within one week of the affected exam.

Relevant section of the Academic Manual for further information

Examination irregularities and plagiarism

UCL has welcomed calls for tougher action against so-called ‘essay mill’ companies, which can charge students thousands of pounds to write customised essays. UCL strictly forbids the use of ghost-writing agencies and anyone who makes use of these services is liable for an academic penalty.

The university uses a sophisticated detection system (Turnitin®) to scan work for evidence of plagiarism.

To support this, the Examination Irregularities and Plagiarism Procedure now explicitly includes self-plagiarism, contract cheating/ ghost writing and the falsification of Extenuating Circumstances evidence.

Relevant section of the Academic Manual for further information