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Memo from the Vice-Chancellor to Postgraduate students

12th July 2012

Changes to Assessment Rules


Dear student,


I am writing to let you know about changes being made to the University’s assessment rules.  The new rules will provide greater consistency and transparency, are in line with developments taking place across UK higher education, and have been developed to ensure that they can be understood by all.  The changes are being made as part of a wider University project that aims to enhance the feedback that students get on academic work, as well as improve the ways in which assessment is operated and managed.


After detailed discussions and extensive consultation with academic schools and a range of student groups, new rules for the classification of modular postgraduate degrees will be introduced across the University from 2012/13.  The most significant change is the introduction of a ‘merit’ classification, in addition to that of ‘distinction’.  The rules will be simpler for everyone to understand and will produce more consistent and equitable results for students.  They will further ensure that you can remain confident that your degree from Cardiff can provide a passport to future success.


 Why are we telling you this now?

We are making you aware of this now, so that you are clear as to how your degree will be calculated and to assure you that students will not be disadvantaged by the changes being made.


How do the new rules work?

The new rules do not significantly change the ways in which awards are calculated.  Your final mark will still be based on the average of your module marks and, where, appropriate, the marks you receive for your dissertation.  The new system will introduce:

Many of our degree programmes already make use of similar rules to the new system, so for many students this will mean little change.  Extensive analysis has shown that the changes being made will have very little (if any) effect on the degree that most students receive.


How does this affect me?

Your School will be contacting you at enrolment in September to explain the exact details of the changes they will be making.  Students on programmes that are not modular will also receive confirmation of their School’s award rules.  The changes will affect part-time taught postgraduate students who began their programme in session 2011/12, who will now be able to receive a degree with ‘Merit’ should they meet the requirements for this set out in Regulations.


Further Information

Full details of the new rules, and a series of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, can be found on our website at:


If you have any questions about the new system, please feel free to email Registry


I wish you all success and a very happy and relaxing summer,

Yours sincerely,



Dr David Grant