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School of Geography

FAQs for Current Students

I'm a final year student and my result is on the borderline between a 2:2 and a 2:1, what does this mean?

The borderline classification policy has been amended so that All students within 1.5% of a classification borderline will now fall into the zone of consideration.  

If at least half of your final year credits being used in classification are at the higher level , your degree classification will be raised to the next level (eg, for a BA/BSc - this year, 45 of the best 90 final year credits would need to be at the higher level, rather than the usual 60 of 120).  

If you gain fewer than half of those 90 credits at the higher level, your classification cannot be raised to the next band, even if you are within 1% of the border as this would not represent adequate evidence of attainment at that level.

Where can I find the latest advice on COVID-19?

Queen Mary’s latest advice is found here. This is updated in line with government advice, which can be found here. For advice on travel see Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice here 

First Year - Marks, credits and progression

What are credits and how many credits do I need to progress?

Each module has a ‘credit weighting’, e.g., GEG4003 is worth 15 credits and GEG4004 is worth 30 credits. You study a total of 120 credits each year and 360 credits over three years. You are awarded the credits for a module only if you pass the module, i.e., obtain a module mark of 40.0 or greater.

Your ‘year average mark’ is obtained by taking the average mark for all modules studied during the year, weighted by the number of credits, e.g., a 30-credit module carries twice the weight of a 15-credit module. For 2019-20, an ‘adjusted year average mark’ will be calculated based on your best 90 credits only. (If your lowest marks are the result of an assessment offence penalty, those marks will not be excluded from the adjusted year average mark and the next lowest 30 credits will be excluded instead.)

To be allowed to progress from first year to second year, you would normally be required to:

  • study 120 credits in year one AND
  • pass a minimum of 90 credits in year one AND
  • achieve an adjusted year average mark for year one of 40.0 or higher.

For 2019-20 only, requirements b) and c) have been removed, i.e., you will be allowed to progress regardless of the number of credits you have passed, and regardless of your first-year average mark. But to meet the credit requirements for a Bachelor’s degree (BA or BSc) at the end of your three years, you will still need to pass a total of 315 credits, with 90 of those credits at Level 6. To keep you on track, we recommend that you aim to meet the usual credit requirements for year one, i.e., to pass at least 90 credits.

Will I still have to take any failed first-year modules in year two? 

The changes to regulations for 2019-20 will permit you to progress to second year regardless of how many modules you pass. But to ensure that you pass enough credits to qualify for a Bachelor’s degree (BA or BSc) and that you give yourself every opportunity to obtain a good degree result, we strongly advise you to

  • take ‘first sits’ of any modules for which you did not submit assessments, and/or
  • take ‘resits’ of any failed modules.

The module marks for ‘resits’ are capped at 40.0, whereas the module marks for ‘first sits’ are uncapped. First sits and resits should be taken at the next available opportunity, expected to be the Late Summer Resit/First-sit (LSR) examination period tentatively scheduled for mid- to late-August 2020.

What happens if I don’t pass 90 credits in my first year?

If you fail 30 or more credits in year one, you may be unable or unlikely to meet the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree by the end of three years. You will have a meeting with lecturers in the School of Geography to discuss:

  • the feasibility of submitting work for first-year modules in the LSR examination period, 
  • the feasibility of re-sitting or re-taking first-year modules, in addition to your second-year modules, in year two and,

We will also discuss any other factors impeding your studies and additional study support you may be able to access.

How will the university determine my final result and degree classification?

To be awarded a Bachelor’s (BA or BSc) degree at the end of your three years, you must:

  • study a minimum of 360 credits, including 90 credits at each of Levels 4, 5 and 6, AND
  • pass a minimum of 315 credits, including 90 credits at Level 6, AND
  • achieve a Classification Mark of 40.0 or higher.

The ‘Classification Mark’ is a weighted average of year average marks for years one, two and three with a usual weighting of 1:3:6. For students in year one in 2019-20, the adjusted Classification Mark will be based on a weighting of 1:3:6 or 0:3:6, whichever is better. Note that the year one mark used in the first calculation will be the 2019-20 adjusted year average mark (i.e., based on your best 90 credits).

Assuming you have met all the above requirements for a Bachelor’s award, your degree classification will be based on the adjusted Classification Mark as follows:

 

Adjusted Classification Mark

Classification

70.0 to 100.0

First Class (Honours)

60.0 to 69.9

Second Class (Honours) (Upper Division)

50.0 to 59.9

Second Class (Honours) (Lower Division)

40.0 to 49.9

Third Class (Honours)

Second Year | Marks, credits and progression

What are credits and how many credits do I need to progress?

Each module has a ‘credit weighting’, e.g., most modules at Level 5 are worth 15 credits. You study a total of 120 credits each year and 360 credits over three years. You are awarded the credits for a module only if you pass the module, i.e., obtain a module mark of 40.0 or greater.

 

Your ‘year average mark’ is obtained by taking the average mark for all modules studied during the year, weighted by the number of credits, e.g., a 30-credit module carries twice the weight of a 15-credit module. For 2019-20, an ‘adjusted year average mark’ will be calculated based on your best 90 credits only. (If your lowest marks are the result of an assessment offence penalty, those marks will not be excluded from the adjusted year average mark and the next lowest 30 credits will be excluded instead.)

 

To be allowed to progress from second year to third year, you would normally be required to:

  • study 120 credits including a minimum 90 at Level 5 in year two AND
  • pass a minimum of 195 credits across years one and two AND
  • achieve an average year mark of 40.0 or higher using the mean of the average marks for years one and two in a 1:3 weighting, AND
  • fail (after resit) no more than 30 credits in any one developmental year.

 

For 2019-20 only, requirements b), c) and d) will be relaxed, i.e., you will be allowed to progress regardless of the number of credits you have passed in year two and regardless of your year average mark in year two. But to meet the credit requirements for a Bachelor’s degree (BA or BSc) at the end of your three years, you will still need to pass a total of 315 credits, with 90 of those credits at Level 6. To keep you on track, we recommend that you aim to meet the usual credit requirements, i.e., to pass at least 195 credits across years one and two.

 

Will I still have to take any failed second-year modules in year three? 

The changes to regulations for 2019-20 will permit you to progress to third year regardless of how many modules you pass in year two. But to ensure that you pass enough credits to qualify for a Bachelor’s degree (BA or BSc) and that you give yourself every opportunity to obtain a good degree result, we strongly advise you to

  • take ‘first sits’ of any modules for which you did not submit assessments, and
  • take ‘resits’ of any failed modules.

The module marks for ‘resits’ are capped at 40.0, whereas the module marks for ‘first sits’ are uncapped. First sits and resits should be taken at the next available opportunity, expected to be the Late Summer Resit/First-sit (LSR) examination period tentatively scheduled for mid- to late-August 2020.

 

What happens if I don’t pass 195 credits across years one and two?

If you fail more than 45 credits across years one and two, you will be unable to meet the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree by the end of three years. You will have a meeting with lecturers in the School of Geography to discuss:

  • the feasibility of submitting work for second-year modules in the LSR examination period, 
  • the feasibility of re-sitting or re-taking second-year modules, in addition to your third-year modules, in year three and,

We will also discuss any other factors impeding your studies and additional study support you may be able to access.

 

How will the university determine my final result and degree classification?

To be awarded a Bachelor’s (BA or BSc) degree at the end of your three years, you must:

  • study a minimum of 360 credits, including 90 credits at each of Levels 4, 5 and 6, AND
  • pass a minimum of 315 credits, including 90 credits at Level 6, AND
  • achieve a Classification Mark of 40.0 or higher.

The ‘Classification Mark’ is a weighted average of year average marks for years one, two and three with a usual weighting of 1:3:6. For students in year two in 2019-20, the adjusted Classification Mark will be based on a weighting of 1:3:6 or 1:0:6, whichever is better. The year two mark used in the first calculation will be the adjusted year average mark (i.e., based on your best 90 credits for 2019-20).

 

If your year two marks are excluded from the adjusted Classification Mark (i.e., the 1:0:6 weighting is used), more than 85% of your degree result will depend on your marks in year three. Such a heavy reliance on year three performance is a risky strategy. To give yourself the best opportunity for success, we strongly advise you to submit as much work as you can, to the best of your ability. If you are struggling to complete assignments, then be sure to seek advice about applying for extenuating circumstances (ECs).

 

Assuming you have met all the requirements for a Bachelor’s award, your degree classification will be based on the adjusted Classification Mark as follows:

 

adjusted Classification Mark

Classification

70.0 to 100.0

First Class (Honours)

60.0 to 69.9

Second Class (Honours) (Upper Division)

50.0 to 59.9

Second Class (Honours) (Lower Division)

40.0 to 49.9

Third Class (Honours)

 

 

 

 

Third Year | Marks, credits and progression

What are credits and how many credits do I need to get my degree?

Each module has a ‘credit weighting’, e.g., GEG6000/GEG6212 is worth 30 credits; most other modules at Level 6 are worth 15 credits. You study a total of 120 credits each year and 360 credits over three years. You are awarded the credits for a module only if you pass the module, i.e., obtain a module mark of 40.0 or greater.

 

Your ‘year average mark’ is obtained by taking the average mark for all modules studied during the year, weighted by the number of credits, e.g., a 30-credit module carries twice the weight of a 15-credit module. For 2019-20, an ‘adjusted year average mark’ will be calculated based on your best 90 credits only. (If your lowest marks are the result of an assessment offence penalty, those marks will not be excluded from the adjusted year average mark and the next lowest 30 credits will be excluded instead.)

 

The ‘Classification Mark’, calculated at the end of year three, is a weighted average of year average marks for years one, two and three with a weighting of 1:3:6. For students in year three in 2019-20, the adjusted Classification Mark will be calculated using year average marks from years one and two, as well as the adjusted year average mark for year three (i.e., based on your best 90 credits from 2019-20). 

 

To be awarded a Bachelor’s (BA or BSc) degree, current third year students must:

  • study a minimum of 360 credits, AND
  • pass a minimum of 270 credits, including 30 credits at Level 6, AND
  • achieve an adjusted Classification Mark of 40.0 or higher.

Note that, for 2019-20 only, requirement b) is less stringent than usual (i.e., the normal credit requirement is to pass a minimum of 315 credits, including 90 credits at Level 6).

 

How will the university determine my final result and degree classification?

Assuming you have met all the above requirements for a Bachelor’s award, your degree classification will be based on the adjusted Classification Mark as follows:

 

adjusted Classification Mark

Classification

70.0 to 100.0

First Class (Honours)

60.0 to 69.9

Second Class (Honours) (Upper Division)

50.0 to 59.9

Second Class (Honours) (Lower Division)

40.0 to 49.9

Third Class (Honours)

 

Can I still get a Bachelor’s award even if I fail some modules at Level 6?

The adjusted Classification Mark used to determine your degree classification is based on your ‘best’ 90 credits studied, regardless of whether your ‘best’ marks were passes or fails. If you fail only 15 or 30 credits, then the marks on these modules will be excluded from calculation of both the ‘adjusted year average mark’ for year three and the ‘adjusted Classification Mark’ that is used to determine your degree classification. In other words, if you fail no more than 30 credits this year, your degree result will be unaffected by those fail marks.

 

If you fail more than 30 credits this year, the ‘best’ of the fail marks will have to be included in the calculations of the ‘adjusted year average mark’ and the ‘adjusted Classification Mark’. In other words, if you fail 45 credits or more, your degree result will be affected – in some cases quite severely – by marks on failed modules. For example, let’s say a final-year student passes only 30 credits and fails the remaining 90 credits. If that student had passed sufficient credits in years one and two, it might be mathematically possible to meet the credit requirements for a Bachelor’s award. But the adjusted Classification Mark would be calculated based on marks from 30 credits passed and the ‘best’ 60 credits failed. The fail marks would have a severe negative impact on the adjusted Classification Mark. The adjusted Classification Mark might fall below the minimum of 40.0 required, in which case the student would not be eligible for a Bachelor’s award. Even if the adjusted Classification Mark was 40.0 or higher, the student would likely be severely disappointed with the degree classification.

 

Remember, 60% of the adjusted Classification Mark is determined by year three. Hence, any fail marks included in your ‘best 90 credits’ will have a severe negative impact on your adjusted Classification Mark, and on your degree classification. To give yourself the best opportunity for success, we strongly advise you to submit as much work as you can, to the best of your ability. If you are struggling to complete assignments, then be sure to seek advice about applying for extenuating circumstances (ECs).

 

What happens if I don’t pass 270 credits across years one to three (or 30 credits at Level 6)?

If you fail more than 90 credits across years one to three, you will be unable to meet the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree. You will have a meeting with lecturers in the School of Geography to discuss the feasibility of submitting work for third-year modules in the LSR examination period. We will also discuss any other factors impeding your studies and additional study support you may be able to access.

 

If I can’t submit all my work to the best of my ability by the School Examination Board deadlines (18th May for standard coursework and 1st June for exams) will I have another opportunity to do so?

Yes, if you cannot or do not submit enough work to meet the credit requirements for a Bachelor’s degree, you will automatically have the opportunity for a ‘first sit’ of outstanding coursework and exams at the ‘next opportunity’. The ‘next opportunity’ is expected to be the Late Summer Resit/First-sit (LSR) examination period, tentatively scheduled for mid- to late-August 2020.

 

If I submit work in the Late Summer Resit/First sit period when will my degree be awarded?

Provided the LSR goes ahead as planned in mid- to late-August, then marks for your degree should be awarded by the end of September or early October. If you need confirmation of your degree before then (e.g., for an employer or Masters’ programme), your Advisor or Senior Tutor will be able to write a letter explaining the delay and marks awarded to date. 

I am submitting my IGS/PES. Do I need to submit a hard (paper) copy?

No. Hard (paper) copies of dissertations are no longer required. 

What is happening with exams?

All our exams have been converted to ‘seen-exam coursework’. You will submit seen-exam coursework to a submission drop-box on the module QM+ page (main 2019/20 exams) or on a ‘resit’ QM+ page (resit exams; details to be advised). The deadlines for submission will be 2 pm (British Summer Time) on the following dates, with application of a 14-day grace period. If you submit after the grace period has expired, you must apply for ECs.

  • Level 4 modules: Tuesday 5th May; with grace period, Tuesday 19th May
  • Level 5 modules: Wednesday 6th May; with grace period, Wednesday 20th May
  • Level 6 modules: Thursday 7th May 2020; with grace period, Thursday 21st May

Papers will be released via QM+ in Week 12, before or during the last teaching session. You will be able to ask questions about the assessment for a seven-day consultation period; all advice will be captured electronically and made available to all students via QM+. As for other items of coursework, you will be expected to provide in-text citations and full reference lists for your answers. All submissions will be checked for plagiarism via Turnitin.

To enable staff to access and read your submission on QM+, it is very important that you

  • Submit your answers as a single document in either Word (*.doc or *.docx) or pdf (*.pdf) format. Make sure you submit the document to the correct QM+ submission drop-box.
  • Use a font that is easy to read online. We recommend Arial, point size 11, or Calibri, point size 12.
  • Clearly identify the question(s) being answered. We recommend that you start your answer to each question on a new page and that you copy and paste the number and text for the question at the beginning of the relevant answer.
  • Use a filename that starts with your 9-digit student i.d. number and contains the module code, e.g., 123456789_GEG4005. If you are resitting for a previous year, please add that to the filename, e.g., 123456789_GEG4005_Resit_2018_19.
  • Do not put your name anywhere in the document or in the filename.

We recommend that you spend about 1 ½  to 2 ½ hours writing your answers (i.e., the same amount of time you would spend sitting an invigilated exam). Students with caring responsibilities, Examination Access Requirements or with limited access to computing facilities should have more than sufficient time to complete their assessments within the grace period. If extenuating circumstances prevent you from submitting an alternative assessment on time or you feel unable to complete the assignment, you should contact Catherine Mills to discuss an application for ECs. You will be advised of the School’s revised EC application process via separate email later today.

The Disability and Dyslexia Service will be writing to those of you with complex exam arrangements (e.g., access to assistive technology) during the week commencing 06 April to see if any of you require additional support in order to complete your assessments successfully.

How will my assignments be marked fairly given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic?

The School of Geography is committed to ensuring that no student is disadvantaged in their assessment outcomes as a consequence of the current pandemic and the transition to online teaching. Members of staff in the School have been instructed to mark your work on the basis of the teaching you have received, and asked to adjust their expectations as necessary. In advance of the Subject Examination Boards that confirm your final marks for the year, the School will take extra measures to review student achievement and progression in order to ensure that all students are being treated equally and sympathetically. 

I am finishing this year. Will I still get my degree?

The Principal has promised that any students expecting to graduate this year will get an award. Graduation ceremonies have been postponed, and new dates will be announced soon. 

See here for full details of how your final year will contribute to your degree classification.

How can I contact academic and other staff?

All staff are working from home, so the easiest way to contact them will be via email. Staff have been asked to provide details of alternative ways of contact they would like you to use in their email signatures – this may be via phone or Skype. Many staff are also moving to use Microsoft Teams – this software is also available to students to download (desktop, tablet, laptop, mobile), or use via a browser. Teams is a great way to communicate with staff and with each other during this time.  

Are Advice and Feedback Hours still running?

Yes, these are still running – see above for the best way to contact staff.

Is the Geography Building open?

The Geography building is now closed until further notice. All office and academic staff are working from home. 

What can I do about my mental health and well-being?

We understand that this is an extremely stressful time for everyone. Queen Mary remains committed to supporting students at this difficult time. Please refer to the University’s Advice and Counselling website or use the Big White Wall for online support. There is also information on what to do if you’re worried about coronavirus on Queen Mary’s dedicated web-pages and on the UK’s NHS website. Student Support Surgeries are still running remotely – please contact Catherine on c.mills@qmul.ac.uk to arrange to speak to her. If you have Microsoft Teams, you can also contact Catherine through that. 

What advice is there for PhD students?

Please consult the FAQs on the Doctoral College webpageand contact your supervisor and/or Director of Graduate Studies by email for further details. Supervisions should still take place remotely. 

I’m due to go on fieldwork for my PhD soon. What should I do?

At of this update, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is advising against all but essential travel to anywhere in the world. Therefore, all overseas fieldwork has been cancelled up until July 1st 2020 (this date may change). Fieldwork in the UK is subject to the latest government advice on social distancing – these measures are likely to be updated daily, so it is advisable not to make any arrangements for UK fieldwork in the near future. Face-to-face interviews, especially with vulnerable groups, should not take place; if possible, replace with online/Skype interviews. Visits to field sites to collect samples should not take place. If you have completed a risk assessment for travel after July 1st , this will need to be rewritten to account for the current crisis. If you are currently abroad on fieldwork, you need to make urgent contact with your supervisor; you will also need to submit a revised risk assessment. If you have concerns about how this will affect the progress of your PhD, please talk to your supervisor.  

What is happening with progression and degree awards?

You will find full information on Queen Mary's approach to assessment and progression here. The following summarises some key points, but please check the full guidance if your question is not answered below.

All non-final year students (including students on an integrated with-foundation degree programme) will be permitted to progress, no matter the number of credits that you pass.

However, you'll be contacted if you have passed insufficient credits to receive an award, and you will be advised to resit assessments in the 'late summer' period. The exact timings for resits will be dependent on the duration of the current pandemic, but they won't be the first two weeks of August.

If you weren't on track to progress – for example, if you'd already failed more than 30 credits in the Semester A exams – wewill discuss your options with you individually. But if you nevertheless wish to continue, you will be entitled to do so.

As continuing students, when you complete your degree programme (ie, no earlier than the summer of 2021), your final marks will be calculated both including and excluding all marks from the academic year 2019-20. Consistent with the 'no detriment' principle, you'll receive the higher of those two marks: the final mark that includes 2019/20 and the final mark that excludes any contribution from this year.

For example:

  • For a bachelors student currently in year one, this means calculating your final mark based on a weighting of your year averages for Years 1, 2 and 3 in the ratios 1:3:6 and of 0:3:6, and taking the better of the two outcomes
  • For a bachelors student currently in year two, this would mean calculating your final mark based on a weighted average (for Years 1, 2 and 3 respectively) of 1:3:6 and of 1:0:6, and taking the better of the two outcomes

In accordance with Queen Mary's approach to a 'no detriment' principle, the marks for the weakest credits from the year will be excluded in all cases; where the recalculated year average would still bring the final mark down, the whole year will be excluded from classification. Note that this only applies to undergraduate programmes, not part-time/multi-year postgraduate taught programmes.

If you are a year abroad student, see the specific guidance found at the link above.

What is happening with assessments?

Some assessments will be changing due to the pandemic and the inability to provide face-to-face teaching. Your convenor will be in touch with you about this, if they have not done so already.

Deadlines for assessments will remain as advised, but a 14-day grace period will also apply to all Geography (i.e. GEGXXXX) modules (including the IGS/PES) for work submitted on or after 26 March 2020. This means that no marks will be deducted if you submit up to 14 days after the advertised deadline (i.e. an assignment due by 2pm (UK time) on Friday 27th March 2020 can be submitted up until 2 pm on Friday 10th April 2020 (UK time)). 

When submitting an assignment after the published deadline but within the grace period, submit the assignment through QMPlus in the usual way. You should email the late submission team only if you submit your assignment after the grace period has expired. 

This applies to UG and PGT assessments.

I don't have a laptop and cannot afford to buy one. What can I do?

You can ask for support to buy a laptop through the University’s Financial Assistance Fund. See the link below for guidance on how to apply. Please note that the fund is for those who can demonstrate they are in genuine financial hardship. If you need support with your application you can contact Advice and Counselling here.   

Link to Financial Assistance Fund: http://www.arcs.qmul.ac.uk/students/finances/bursaries-grants-scholarships/financial-assistance-fund/.

If you are living in Queen Mary residences and do not have a computer, then IT Services can arrange for one of the University PCs to be moved into your bedroom.  Contact helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk about this.  Unfortunately, access to printing will not be allowed as we cannot ensure that adequate social distancing measures can be maintained.

What advice is there for undergraduates on student support and extenuating circumstances?

Please see this short video from our student support team (Philippa Williams and Catherine Mills) on support for undergraduate students. Download the Covid-19 UG Extenuating Circumstances Form 2020 [DOC 50KB].