Concessions, programme changes and interruptions

Minor and major changes to programmes of study (including extra and class-only courses), repeat years, interruptions.

Students sometimes wish to take courses that don't fit their degree requirements, but are reasonable variations. (See `Minor Concessions' below.)

Students sometimes wish to take extra courses.

Students sometimes wish to change their degree programme, either within our range of degrees, or to another subject entirely.

Students sometimes need to repeat a year, usually for medical reasons.

Students sometimes wish or need to suspend their study for a semester or a year, either because of illness, or because of major external commitments such as a (relevant) business, or international level sporting representation.

All of these procedures require the positive engagement of the Personal Tutor.

Authority to make changes

Some changes you are authorized to make yourself; some changes require approval from the School Curriculum Approval Officer (inf-scao@inf) or from the Senior Personal Tutor (inf-st@inf); and some changes require approval from College. The necessary authorizations are summarized below in each section: make sure you get them. You must not approach College directly.

Procedural requirements

Taking non-standard courses requires obtaining permission from the School Curriculum Approval Officer, who will copy the ITO asking them to record the concession on Euclid. It is then your job (for non-Honours students) or the ITO's job (for Honours/Masters students) to enrol the student for the courses in the usual way.

Interruptions, and sometimes degree changes, require making alterations to the student's record on Euclid. This cannot be done directly, but must be done by filling in the "Request a Change to Programme Details" form available from the Actions button in the Programme tab of the student's Euclid record. Obtain necessary permissions before doing this. Please ensure that you add "ito@inf.ed.ac.uk" to the "Send copy of request to staff email:" field of the form.

Extra courses

For non-Honours years, you can give permission for your tutees to take up to 40 credits of additional level 7/8 courses. No formal concession is required, but you should note on Euclid that you have discussed with the student whether they can cope with it, and agreed it. The 40 credit limit includes any courses taken class-only.

Honours students may be allowed to take up to 40 credits of level 7/8 courses, or 10 credits of level 9/10/11 courses, but this requires College permission, which should be sought through SCAO.

MSc students may, with College permission sought through SCAO, take up to 20 extra credits at any level.

All students can take extra courses class-only, i.e. as an observer, with the permission of their Personal Tutor.  As a courtesy, the consent of the course organizers should be obtained. Undergraduate students may take up to 40 credits class-only (but counting also any additional courses taken for credit); MSc students up to 60. (For MSc students, university regulations require the consent of the Programme Director, but in Informatics this is delegated to Personal Tutors.)

Minor concessions

Formal concessions are required for any student who wishes to take a combination of courses that does not match the Degree Programme Table for the degree. We are usually pretty relaxed about this, as long as it's a request that makes academic sense. The most common cases are:

  • A student on a CS degree who wishes to take one more AI course than their DPT allows, or similar.
  • A student wishes to take a course for which they do not have a formal prerequisite (perhaps because they have switched degree, or perhaps because they studied abroad). In this case, the course lecturer's approval should be sought first, and this approval noted in the concession request.

To obtain these concessions, fill in the School's Concession Request Form.

Repeating a year

Repeating a year is a concession, granted by the Senior Personal Tutor at the request of the Progression Board, sometimes requiring College approval. Once permission to repeat a year has been granted, you should fill in the Euclid form to implement it, using the "Year of Programme Only" option (unless there is also a change to the degree programme).

If you are discussing the possibility of a repeat year with one of your tutees, you should bear the following in mind:

  • Repeat years can be, and usually are, taken "in attendance", i.e. fully engaged just as in a normal year. However, they can also be taken "assessment only", and in cases where a repeat year is needed simply because of academic failure, students may be required to repeat assessment-only.

    A student on an assessment-only repeat year does not pay tuition fees, just a matriculation fee. They must check the funding situation with their funder, or with The Advice Place. They should be able to retain their eligibility for council tax exemption, but will need to see Student Administration about this.

  • For students taking a repeat year in attendance, the definition of "full-time student" is taking 90 or more credits in the academic year. If a student takes a repeat year with fewer than 90 credits, they should be able to retain their eligibility for council tax exemption, but will need to see Student Administration about this. Again, they should check funding with their provider or The Advice Place. Our current understanding is that SAAS will fund part-time repeat years like any other repeat year.
  • Students taking a full repeat year still need to check their funding situation. The current (August 2015) situation is that SAAS will in any case provide 5 years' funding, so a repeat year is covered by this. English students can obtain another year's loan from Student Finance England for a medically justified repeat year. Wales and NI are not known. However, students must check their individual cases themselves with their funding provider; you should not offer any further advice, save to refer them to The Advice Place and their funding body.
  • Repeat years for students on Tier 4 visas require College approval, and are subject to restrictions. Students are currently permitted a repeat year by the Home Office, but must re-take all and only the courses they failed. You must not offer any advice on immigration matters; students should contact the International Office.

Filling in the Change form

For a repeat year on the current degree:

  1. Press the Request button for `Request Year of Programme Change'.
  2. Select `yes' for `Is this to take effect...'. Check that the effective date shows as 01/Aug/NNNN for the start of the current session - if not, change it.
  3. Select `Yes' for `Is the student repeating a year?'. For the reason, select Medical for Special Circumstances with medical/counselling documentation, Compassionate for SCs involving bereavement/family illness, or Academic for simple academic failure.
  4. Select the new year of study to be the year they've just failed to finish.
  5. Select the Mode of Study. If the student is taking 90 or more credits in attendance (not counting any individual courses that may be taken exam-only), this is `Full-time full session'. If the student is taking some credits in attendance, this is `Part-time full session'. If the student is taking all courses exam-only (or coursework-only, or assessment-only), then this is `Exam only - prev FT' (or PT in the rare situation that the student was already part-time).
  6. In the `Additional Info' box, write "Repeat authorized by Senior Tutor", or "Repeat authorized by College" as the case may be.
  7. Enter `ito@inf.ed.ac.uk' in the `Send copy of request ...' box.
  8. Check everything carefully, and press `Save'.

Degree changes

Changes within Informatics-owned degrees

The most common situations here are students switching out of a combined honours degree into single honours, and students switching between the various flavours of our single honours degrees, or on/off the MInf programme.

All changes require permission from the School Curriculum Approval Officer (inf-scao@inf.ed.ac.uk). This should be sought by email (including, as always, the student's UUN in the Subject header). Trivial changes such as between BSc and BEng will always be approved; changes of subject area (e.g. CS to AI/CS) may require discussion, and concessions to allow the student's previous study to be valid for the new programme. SCAO will advise on these matters. In this case, the SCAO will usually ask the ITO to implement the change, although in some cases you may be asked to do it yourself.

Changing to/from the Ordinary degree

Students who do not pass the Honours hurdle in UG2, and who then fail to make the re-admission hurdle in UG3, and who then need to take re-sits to complete an Ordinary degree, are required to switch to the Ordinary degree after the June diet of UG3. If the UG3 Progression Board makes this decision, it is your job to implement the change. The degree title is "BSc Ordinary Sciences INF", and the degree code is UTBSCINFIS1F. Select the `Request Programme Change' button, and enter data appropriately.

Changes out to other CSE schools

In general, other schools will only accept students in good academic standing, though in exceptional cases it may be possible to get a concession. Negotiations should begin as early as possible with the receiving school.

Changes out to other Colleges

These are extremely rare, and will also require switching back to year 1 of study, save in the exceptional case of a student who is qualified for direct 2nd year entry in the receiving college. MVM will not consider a student who has ever failed a university course.  AHSS will consider applications from students who have failed up to 40 credits. Negotiations must begin early (the AHSS deadline for transfers in is usually 1 April, or late January for eduation and nursing), and must follow the protocols of the receiving college. Contact their College Office for details.

Interruptions of study

An Authorized Interruption of Study "stops the clock" for a student, and is usually granted when a student has a long term illness (or other condition) that will take a semester or a year to deal with. It is also used when a student wishes to take a year out to pursue a relevant business etc. activity (such as running a start-up), or wants to take time out for, e.g., training for a World Championship or Olympic event.

If you think an interruption may be appropriate,  consult the Senior Personal Tutor. In summary:

  • for home/EU non-Honours undergraduate students who have not previously had an interruption, you can record an interruption for reasons beyond the student's control (including medical, personal or financial difficulties) using the Euclid form on your own authority. However, we recommend discussing with the Senior Personal Tutor first. Please note that
    • Interruptions cannot be retrospective.
    • Interruptions cannot be given for the summer; they should start during a semester, and end at the start of the next or next-but-one semester.
    • You cannot grant an interruption for student interests (sport, arts, business).
    • You should retain documentation to justify the interruption.
  • In any other case, College permission is required, and you should go through the School Curriculum Approval Officer or the Senior Tutor. (The Senior Tutor is recommended for medical/personal reasons, especially if the student already has a history.) Full documentation will be required, as for Special Circumstance applications.