Coronavirus

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the full list of regulation changes made in light of the Covid-19 outbreak?

The full list of regulation changes were made available from Tuesday 28th April 2020.

Where can I find the website that informs students of the regulation changes?

The assessment changes due to coronavirus website informs students of regulation changes.

Will students get a mark for each module?

Yes a mark and a grade will be provided for each module a student has taken this year. 

What are the changes specific to the LLB?

The LLB has different regulations to other programmes and the full list of changes is available online. Please refer to the LLB specific changes rather than the questions in this FAQ for updates on the LLB.

What are the revised weightings for year averages?

For each year of study, the ‘year average’ for 2019/20 will be calculated excluding the lowest 3o credits.

For undergraduate programmes (except the LLB, MBBS and BDS) the year average will be calculated using the best 90 credits (out of 120)

For postgraduate Masters degrees (MA/MSc/MRes/MBA/MPA) the average will be calculated based on the best 150 credits (out of 180).  

The PgCert (60 credits) is an exception, and only the weakest 15 credits will be discounted.

Where a module has the lowest mark due to an assessment offence penalty, that module will not be excluded and we will look at the next lowest module. Where the lowest 30 credits do not fit within two 15 or one 30 credit modules (eg a 15 credit is lowest, then a 30 credit second lowest), the weighting of modules will be amended for the purpose of classification only (e.g. in that case, the 30 credit module would count only 15 credits towards classification).

What happens to module marks that are affected by an assessment office penalty?

Where a module(s) has the lowest mark due to an assessment offence penalty, that module(s) will not be excluded from the year average.  Instead the next lowest module(s) will be discounted. 

What happens to the recalculated year average if the lowest 30 credits do not fit within two 15 credit modules or one 30 credit module?

This situation will arise if a student’s lowest marks are a 15 credit module followed by a 30 credit module.  In this instance the weighting of the modules will be amended for the purpose of calculating the year average and the 30 credit module would count towards only 15 credits of the classification.

Have the degree classification algorithms changed?

The calculation of the 2019-20 year average has changed to exclude the lowest 30 credits but the weightings of the years in the degree classification algorithms have not changed.

The zone of consideration has changed and all students within 1.5% of a classification borderline will now fall into the zone of consideration. Students within 1.5% of a classification borderline and who have at least half of their final year credits being used in classification at the higher level will be raised to the next level. For example for a BA/BSc/BEng  45 of the best 90 final year credits would need to be at the higher level, rather than the usual 60 of 120. A student with fewer than half of those credits at the higher level cannot be raised to the next classification band, even if they are within 1% of the border as this would not represent adequate evidence of attainment at that level.

How many credits do students have to pass to qualify for their award?

The revised degree credit requirements are

BA/BSc/BEng– students must take 360 credits and pass 270 credits with at least 30 credits passed at level six.

MSci/MEng – students must take 480 credits and pass 360 credits with at least 30 credits passed at level 7

FDCert/Graduate Diploma/intercalated BSc or BMedSci – students must take 120 credits and pass 90 credits

In addition to these requirements, to qualify for one of these awards students must achieve a minimum College Mark of either 40.0 or 50.0 (depending on the programme – this requirement has not changed as part of these alternative arrangements).

What should I do if I cannot find the information here and I do not know the answer to the student’s question?

There is some template text below on how to answer questions where you do not know the answer. If you would like a question added to this site please email it to sas-ds@qmul.ac.uk and we will do our best to upload a template answer. Please do not provide an answer to the student’s question unless you are satisfied that the answer is correct. It is absolutely fine to tell the student that you are not sure of the answer but that you will get back to them as soon as possible. You should send a holding reply so the student does not think that their email is being ignored:

“Thank you for your email. I will be consulting with other staff within the university and we will get back to you as soon as possible.” 

If you expect another person to be replying to the student you can also add in:

“I have forwarded your email to [insert name] and they will be replying to you within [for example three working days].”

A student has reported to me that they are feeling very depressed and have mentioned suicidal thoughts. What should I do?

Members of staff who have concerns about the mental health of a student should refer to our guide on supporting students in urgent situations.

As it is unlikely that the student will be on campus, follow the advice on page four of this document, i.e. email dds@qmul.ac.uk a record of: what happened, who else was involved and the student’s name and contact details as soon as possible. The mental health team within DDS will liaise with emergency services, A and E and other relevant agencies, and will contact the student to offer support.

You can also send students the page on the Advice and Counselling website entitled ‘Help in a Crisis’.

A student taking my module says that they have exam arrangements, e.g. extra time. Do they still get these arrangements for the online / alternative assessments?

For those students being given 24 hours or more to produce their assessment, there is no need to add expand the time period for students with what are known at Queen Mary as Examination Access Arrangements, as this should cover all students’ needs. As this is a great example of inclusive practice, it should negate the need for most, if not all, individual reasonable adjustments.

Any students being given online timed assessments will still need access to additional time, however; for example, a student with 25% additional time faced with a two-hour timed online exam will need to be allocated two and half hours to complete the assessment.

The Disability and Dyslexia Service will be writing to students with particularly complex exam arrangements to see if they require any further support from the university to complete their alternative or online assessments.

Do students still have to pass core modules?

Core modules (those that must be taken and passed – distinct from compulsory modules which must be taken but can be failed and/or condoned) must still be passed, as they are, by nature, fundamental to their respective programmes. However, the marks can still be excluded for the purpose of classification (see above) where core modules are among those with the lowest marks.

What are the progression requirements for students going into their next year of study?

MEng and MSci programmes normally require students to achieve a weighted aggregate mark of 60.0+ to progress to year four on top of the credit requirements. That threshold has been waived, but schools should communicate with students who they think would struggle at level 7 to discuss their options, and whether they might be better choosing to withdraw with a bachelors award.

Where a student currently on a bachelors degree wishes to change programme to the associated MSci/MEng, the usual requirements remain in place. There is no automatic right to transfer.

What happens to students hoping to do a year abroad next year (excluding BA Modern Languages)?

The usual regulations apply. A student must not have failed any modules, and must have a weighted average of at least 60.0 to be eligible. However, the 2019/20 year average that contributes to that weighted mark will exclude the poorest 30 credits worth of marks. Please note that we may find externally imposed limitations on whether students are able to go overseas in 2020/21 and students should select Queen Mary modules during module pre-selection so they have a back-up option.

What will the rules be for degree awards in future years where students have been affected by Covid-19 this year?

When continuing students complete (i.e. no earlier than the summer of 2021), their final marks will be calculated both including and excluding 2019-20, and, consistent with the ‘no detriment’ principle, the student will receive the higher of those two marks.

For a Bachelors student currently in Year 1, this would mean calculating their final mark based on a weighting of 1:3:6 and of 0:3:6, and taking the better of the two outcomes. For a Bachelors student currently in Year 2, this would mean calculating their final mark based on a weight of 1:3:6 and of 1:0:6, and taking the better of the two outcomes. (For students on undergraduate Masters degrees, we would use the best outcome from 1:3:6:6 and 0:3:6:6 or 1:0:6:6 or 1:3:0:6, depending on which developmental year corresponds to the academic year 2019/20).

This is, in effect, a double no-detriment approach. The marks for the weakest credits from the year will be excluded in all cases; where the recalculated year average would still bring the College Mark down, the whole year will be excluded from classification. Note that this only applies to undergraduate programmes.

What are the new rules for extenuating circumstances?

Several changes have been made to the extenuating circumstances regulations in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Students should continue to submit extenuating circumstances in the normal way through the completion of the extenuating circumstances form and submission to the relevant School. The potential outcomes for extenuating circumstances are the same as listed in the academic regulations with the exception of the time limit scenario listed below. As always we cannot give additional marks for extenuating circumstances.

Automatic Authorised Absences

If a student does not submit an assessment from mid-March 2020 they will be treated has having extenuating circumstances and awarded a first sit without penalty at the next opportunity. What would normally be recorded at 0NS (non-submission) should therefore be recorded as 0NA (certified absence) even if the student has not submitted extenuating circumstances. This change recognises that some students will be unable to either complete assessments or submit extenuating circumstances, and should reduce the burden on SEBs, and help to reduce the number of late extenuating circumstances claims and appeals requiring consideration from schools/institutes. This only applies only to assessments taking place in the affected period, not to assessments from earlier in the year, where 0NS marks will stand.

Documentary Evidence

Students do not need to submit any documentary evidence for any extenuating circumstances that have taken place since mid-March 2020. The removal of the documentary evidence requirement covers all forms of evidence including, but not limited to, medical certificates and death certificates.

Type of Extenuating Circumstances

The types of acceptable extenuating circumstances are broadened to include circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Students may claim extenuating circumstances for living conditions (such as being unable to study due to lack of study space), caring responsibilities, IT problems including lack of access to suitable IT, and financial hardship. Students may also make extenuating circumstances claims for undiagnosed medical issues relating to Covid-19.

Fit-to-Sit

The fit-to-sit rules have been partially lifted and students can now submit extenuating circumstances even if they have attempted the assessment. A student who has attempted an assessment may submit a claim for extenuating circumstances up to the SEB’s deadline for extenuating circumstances or the point at which feedback is given. Students cannot submit extenuating circumstances if they have been given the marks, or any indication of their performance, for the assessment. Feedback for coursework assessments should be given as usual; feedback for assessments replacing exams such as timed take-home assessments should not be given until after the exam board (as would be the case for exams in a usual year). This change to the fit to sit policy applies only to assessments taking place in the affected period, not to assessments from earlier in the year; in most cases that will mean assessments from March 2020 onwards. The provision applies only to submissions for the June/July SEBs for now, and will be reviewed at that point.

These extenuating circumstances provisions will be in place for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year including the late summer assessment period.

 

What happens if a student goes over time in their online examinations/timed assessments?

Students who go over the time limit for their examination/timed assessment are permitted to submit extenuating circumstances claims for consideration by the SEB. Some examples of potential extenuating circumstances for ‘going over time’ could include technical issues preventing the student from uploading the assessment at the stipulated time or disruption in their residence such as a fire alarm going off in halls at the time of submission, or urgent medical attention required by someone within their house.

Timed assessments including 24/48 hour ‘exams’/take-home assessments will cease to be valid measures of attainment after the submission deadline, and rather than deducting five marks a day for seven days, we will apply an immediate mark of zero (which, again, can be waived with ECs). This is provided for by the standard late work penalty (regulation 3.48.ii).

When will the Subject Examination Boards and Degree Examinations Boards take place and when will students get their results?

Undergraduate SEBs will be held between 6th-17th July 2020.  The undergraduate DEBs will be held on 24th July.  The release dates for provisional results will be set by Schools (as they are every year).  Confirmed results will be released on XXX.

Postgraduate SEBs will be held between 6th-27th July 2020.  The postgraduate DEBs will be held on 4th August 2020.  The release dates for provisional results will be set by Schools (as they are every year).  Confirmed results will be released on XXX.

If a student’s provisional results indicated that a module has been failed should they prepare to resit in the late summer exams?

Yes, it is strongly advised that the student takes the resit at the earliest available opportunity. If the student appeals the result, in all appeal cases, the original outcome is final and not varied until and unless a successful appeal results in an alternative decision.

On what grounds can a student appeal against an exam result?

A student may appeal on the grounds of procedural error and/or exceptional circumstances. Full details are available on the ARCS Guidance Page. It is not possible to appeal matters of academic judgement, or to appeal provisional results. If students have questions about their marks or feedback, they should speak with the School/Institute in the first instance.

Will there be any special notation on students’ transcripts to indicate that assessment took place during the Covid-19 pandemic?

It is expected that a general statement will be added to the transcripts of all students taking assessments this academic year. This text is being developed in conjunction with a number of other Russell Group universities, and is likely to read: “During 2019/20 all UK universities were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, this seriously affected assessment methods and the delivery of teaching. This should be taken into account when considering student outcomes for the 2019/20 academic year.”

A Covid-19 specific grade/code will be developed for those modules where students had elected not to complete the alternative assessments for up to 30 credits in Semester B. The new code will be displayed against the modules on the transcript, alongside the general statement. Further details on this will be released as soon as they are available.

A student wants to know if they can still access counselling support during the Coronavirus shutdown. What can I tell them?

The Advice and Counselling Service are offering MS Teams / phone conversations with students typically lasting around 20-30 minutes. These conversations will offer students a supportive dialogue, rather than a counselling session. During the conversation students can share their current concerns with a counsellor and have an opportunity to think about their situation from an emotional/psychological perspective. They will also signpost students to specific online resources (including free to use online programmes).

Many of the counsellors are also in the process of acquiring the requisite qualifications to be able to offer counselling support remotely.

A student I am supporting would like to find out if they have dyslexia. Is this still possible?

Students can still complete the online screening questionnaire hosted by the Disability and Dyslexia Service, but until government advice on social distancing changes they will not be able to refer students on for formal assessment, which can only be done face-to-face.

The Disability and Dyslexia Service provide a screening questionnaire and can refer any students who complete the screening for assessment once the current situation changes.

A student has said that while they can take their exam at home, their disability means that they need access to specialist software. What should I advise them?

Please refer them directly to the Disability and Dyslexia Service on dds@qmul.ac.uk. It may be that one of the advisers within the service needs some information from the student’s School or Institute, but wherever possible they will try to resolve the situation directly with the student.

A student I am supporting needs some advice on their financial support. How do they contact an adviser and in which department?

The welfare advisers within the Advice and Counselling Service are offering students appointments using MS Teams or the telephone. As the Advice and Counselling Service have traditionally relied heavily on paper-based system (this should change in time for September 2020) they may not be able to offer students as much advocacy as they would in ordinary circumstances, but students should be advised to contact them using the Advice and Counselling webform.

Do I need medical evidence for extenuating circumstances claims?

You do not need to provide any documentary evidence for extenuating circumstances for the rest of 2019/20.  

Can I put in an extenuating circumstances claim for non-medical issues relating to Covid-19?

Yes you can put in extenuating circumstances claims for non-medical issues relating to Covid-19. Students can put in extenuating circumstances claims for domestic issues relating to Covid-19 (such as cramped living conditions), IT problems, issues arising from employment and generalised anxiety. It is important to remember that extenuating circumstances claims cannot result in increased assessment marks, they can only be used to request a ‘first sit’ at an assessment or to request an extention an assessment deadline.

Can students request to move into on-campus accommodation if they cannot study in their family home?

Yes, students can still apply to move into on-campus accommodation and you will need to fill in the application form. If you were already living in halls this year and want to move back in then you do not need to complete the application form, you just need to email residences@qmul.ac.uk. There may be a short delay in processing your application as we have been approached by the NHS and Tower Hamlets to house key workers so we need to work out the plan for housing essential workings before we can allocate rooms.

Please make sure you check all the government guidance before moving back on to campus. You will need to check the latest government rules around movement to ensure you are allowed to leave your current location before moving into halls. 

Will leaving the country affect student visas? Will they be able to return to the UK?

The Advice and Counselling Service have a site dedicated to answering questions about student visas, which you should direct students to.

We’re linking to the site rather than giving the template answer here as the site is being continually updated with latest information. It’s important to note that only qualified staff are allowed to give immigration advice (this is a legal requirement, not just a QM policy) so please make sure you direct students to the Advice and Counselling site. If students want to contact the Advice and Counselling Service with a specific question about their visa which is not addressed on the web link they can do so.

Will Queen Mary be providing refunds because of Coronavirus?

We worked hard to put all our education online within a three week period, so that we could comply with government lockdown rules and students could engage with their studies from home. We are listening to students’ feedback on their learning experience, making improvements, and ensuring that all content is covered and suitable alternative learning approaches are offered wherever possible.

In addition, all other student facilities covered by tuition fees, such as library and wellbeing services, are available online. For these reasons, in line with other universities, we do not believe any refund is appropriate.

We appreciate that for many students, engaging with studies from home can be challenging. Queen Mary is there to support you, through your School/Institute and our wellbeing services.

Will there be accommodation refunds?

We have provided flexibility in our accommodation policy to address potential difficulties with visas, flights and other challenges.

While our residential licence agreements begin on 12 September, the £300 deposit paid holds the room until 26 September. After this date, if your arrival is imminent you will be able to pay an additional supplement to hold the room, or pay the residential fee due for Term 1 in full in accordance with your licence agreement.

Alternatively, you can contact Housing Services to cancel the booking and be placed onto a list for a ‘late arrival’ room allocation. You need to let Housing Services know as soon as your travel plans are confirmed so that a new room can be allocated starting from your confirmed arrival date, subject to room availability.

This means that you will only pay for the room from your revised arrival date and new room allocation. The deposit paid for the original room offer will be carried forward to the new room allocation.

You will not be liable for residential fees for the room you cancelled, as long as you follow the instructions sent to you by Housing Services.

You will be liable for residential fees in full from the start date until the expiration date of any residential agreement that you accept. It is therefore imperative that you keep Housing Services informed about your travel plans, cancelling any booking that does not suit your arrival date.

We believe this policy provides a fair balance between providing flexibility for our international students during a time of uncertainty and ensuring that our sought after on campus accommodation – highly valued by our students – is utilised as effectively as possible and not left empty when it could be occupied by an applicant who has already booked travel to arrive in London in September.

Third party accommodation providers, such as Unite, are operating their own residential liability arrangements with students and you should contact Unite directly for advice if you have a booking at Sherren House.

How can students access QMPlus on their mobile phone?

Instructions for students on accessing QMPlus on mobile phones is available online.

 

What can students do if they run out of mobile data?

During the revision and assessment period, students are likely to be using more data than normal (both in terms of QMPlus revision, downloading materials, streaming recorded content and uploading content). Most broadband subscriptions offer uncapped data usage. Students on broadband packages are advised to check the details of their contract for peace of mind. Provisions around the UK gives further information.

If students use a mobile phone as the sole way to access the internet, then most contracts are capped on data usage and using extra data can be really expensive:

  • For revision – over a 1 month period students may access previous lecture recordings, YouTube videos etc.  The data consumption could be as high as 50GB and an average student has 2GB per month free, so would need an additional 48GB.  Where students completely run out of data, they could be charged an extra £20 for every additional Gigabyte they consume = £960 (+VAT)
  • For each assessment we estimate the data consumption would be lower at 5G. Hence it could cost roughly £60 (+VAT) per assessment if they’ve run out of data.

However, a neat solution, rather than paying the above is supplementary monthly SIM cards which offer “unlimited data” can be purchased for your phone. A SIM card can be posted to the user free of charge, they activate it online and pay around £25 for one month of unlimited data – and then use it no further*.

*Check the various PAYG and contractual offerings on different UK mobile networks. Be aware that some mobiles are “locked” to a particular network provider depending on the circumstances of the original purchase (e.g. as part of a contract) which would require you to find a PAYG deal on the same mobile network. If not possible, your existing provider can provide you with a Network Unlock Code (some do so for free when asked). Otherwise, these codes can be purchased elsewhere. How to unlock a mobile phone provides further information. 

How can I access specialist software that I need for my course?

Some specialist software is available through the Queen Mary ‘appsanywhere’ service where a full list of available software is provided. 

Where can I find further information?

The Queen Mary Coronavirus advice and updates website provides information and guidance for Queen Mary University of London staff, students and visitors. It is updated regularly.