FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(For use by Partner College staff)
Q.Should students contact the Faculty directly?
A.All contact from students should be made via the Partner. Any query received directly from a student will be re-directed to the Partner for response.
Q.Who should I contact at the University?
A.In order to ensure effective communication it is important that Partners direct queries to the relevant dedicated email address. These emails are managed by dedicated members of the academic programme support team and a timely response will be provided, usually within 24 hours. Email addresses are as follows:
Please do not cc individual members of University staff into your email queries, as these will/may not be responded to by the individual member of staff (due to annual leave for example).
Applications and Enrolment
Q.How do students apply or obtain further course information?
A.For further course information or to apply for a programme students should be advised to visit our website.
Q.How much do distance learning programmes cost?
A.Fee's vary between Partners, for further information students should be advised to please contact the relevant Partner.
Q. Who should a Partner contact at the University regarding a student fee, certificate or any other finance query?
A.Partners should e-mail the
Q.Where do I find information on the programme?
A.A wealth of information relating to the University, Faculty, Programme and Modules is available to download from Confluence, the University’s Virtual Environment. The Confluence site has been created specifically for the programme co-ordinator. This site is an extremely valuable resource to centres and, as it is continually updated and is used by the University to communicate key information to partners, should be viewed on a regular basis.
Q.How does a student take a leave of absence or withdraw from the programme?
A.Any student wishing to withdraw or to request a leave of absence from the programme must inform the Partner’s programme coordinator and complete the relevant form. Once complete, this form should be forwarded to the programme administrator at the University for processing. The form must be completed in advance and include details of the last day of attendance and expected return date for leave of absences.
Q.When will the assessments be available?
A.A full schedule is available to download from the Sunspace Tutor Site which shows the assessment scheduling. Assessments are released on the tutor sunspace site for download normally 8 weeks in advance of the hand-in/exam date.
- When and how will students need to register for upcoming assessments?
A. The Programme Administrator will email a spreadsheet list of registered students to the Partner 4 weeks prior to an assessment period. The schedule provides specific dates. This list will be downloaded from the University’s student record system and we will ask Partners to indicate on the spreadsheet the assessment that the students will submit at the forthcoming assessment period. This assessment registration spreadsheet must be returned to the Programme Administrator no later than 3 weeks before the start of the assessment period. No Assessment Request Forms are required.
- A student has registered for assessment but at the last minute was unable to attend the exam due to unforeseen circumstances – will they need to submit mitigation?
- Due to the flexible nature of the programme, as long as the University are informed, the assessment registration will be cancelled and therefore mitigation is not required.
Q.How many attempts do students have at a module?
A.Students have a maximum of four attempts at a module. The first assessment and re-assessment is included in the fee; subsequent assessments (ie third and fourth attempt) incur a cost of £75. The maximum mark obtainable at the second, third and fourth attempt is 40%.
Marks and Classifications
Q.How are marks agreed?
A.Assessments are first marked, then moderated by the Module Leader and a sample sent to an External Examiner for external verification. Marks are then ratified by a Module and a Programme Assessment Board.
Q.How will centres be advised of marks?
A.A spreadsheet of results is forwarded to Partners after each assessment period. It is the Partners’ responsibility to forward marks to students in a timely manner. Individual student feedback is published on the tutor site on sunspace for Partners to download for their students. Individual student transcripts will also be sent in hard copy via recorded delivery the week following the Assessment Board. The schedule provides specific dates.
Q.A student has asked why their marks do not appear on Evision but their friends’ marks do?
A.Students should be discouraged from accessing marks via Evision as it is not a reliable source of information during assessment periods and the marks which may appear may be subject to change.
Q.The mark given on the feedback sheet differs from that provided on the results spreadsheet and student transcript. Which mark is correct?
A.The mark provided on the results spreadsheet and student transcript is correct. Any mark indicated on the feedback form is pre-moderation and is therefore still subject to change and ratification by the Assessment Board. The mark indicated on the results spreadsheet/transcript has been moderated and ratified by the Board. This information should be considered when releasing feedback to students.
Q.What if a student does not agree with a mark given (Academic Appeal)?
A.A student can only make an Academic Appeal on one of the three grounds listed below. An Appeal cannot be made on the basis of disagreement with academic judgment. Disagreeing with the academic judgment of a marker or an Assessment Board or Research Degree Panel in their decision about the merits of an individual piece of work, or of overall performance does not constitute grounds for an Appeal, and any submissions on this basis will be rejected. Grounds for Appeal are:
i) That the student can demonstrate that there has been an administrative error, that proper process has not been followed, or that the academic decision (including decisions on accreditation of prior learning) was not arrived at in accordance with the regulations of the programme, in a way which is relevant to the outcome of the academic decision. An Appeal will only be considered where any such error has a direct bearing on the outcome of the assessment decision which is the subject of the Appeal.
ii) That student performance in assessment was adversely affected by illness or other factors which the student was unable, or for valid reasons unwilling, to communicate to the Assessment Board or Research Degree Panel through the established procedures for managing extenuating circumstances.
It is the student's responsibility to ensure that any extenuating circumstances are properly communicated through these established procedures. If a student submits evidence of such circumstances after the assessment decision has been reached, and there is no good and valid reason for not having submitted them at the right time, then the Appeal will not be considered.
A Board or Research Degree Panel is required to consider extenuating circumstances presented properly to it, and if it has not done so, then this is grounds for Appeal. However, once that information has been considered by a Board or Research Degree Panel, the decision that body makes about a student's academic performance, taking into account all of those circumstances presented to it, is a matter of academic judgement, and cannot be grounds for Appeal.
ii) If the student has been found to have committed an offence under the infringement of assessment regulations, and the student considers that the penalty imposed as a result of that infringement is unreasonable.
If a student believes that they meet one or more of the criteria outlined above they are required to complete the University’s Academic Appeal Form and submit this via the Partner to the University for processing. The Academic Appeal Form can be found using the following link:
Q.Can a student redo a Module to get a higher mark?
A.A student who has passed a module at the first attempt may not re-take the module in order to achieve a higher mark on the Module or a higher classification on the Programme, unless the students performance is judged to have been affected by extenuating circumstances.
Q.How are final classifications agreed?
A.The Operations Manual provides a link to the University Regulations. This document provides information on the grading and classification process. Full details are also provided in the Student Handbook. Top-up degrees are classified on the basis of a weighted mean average of the marks for the best 100 credits obtained at stage 3.
Q.What decisions can the Board make about a students’ progression?
A.The Board’s decision on students’ progression is based upon a number of considerations. Students must be seen to engage in assessments whilst registered on the programme (unless on Leave of Absence) in order to be allowed to continue with their studies. Students must have completed the minimum study period in order to be considered for an award. The Programme Assessment Board can make a number of decisions on student progression, the most common being;
ii)Required to withdraw (an interim award will be made whenever possible)
iii) Decision held until next academic year (continue on programme)
Q.What is the minimum study period?
A.Each programme has a minimum period of study a student must complete before becoming eligible for an award, these are;
BABM – 9 months of study from initial registration
BAAFM – 9 months of study from initial registration
MBA (full-time students) – 7 months of study from initial registration
MBA (part-time students) – 14 months of study from initial registration
TOURISM – 8 months of study from initial registration
Q.What is the maximum study period?
A.University regulations state; ‘The maximum period of registration on a programme of study is three times the normal registration period’. Therefore, a one-year top-up programme must be completed within three years of study. Any student failing to complete the programme before reaching the maximum registration period will be required to withdraw at the Assessment Board (an interim award will be made where available).
Q.If a student is withdrawn from the programme, can they be re-instated?
A.A student’s eligibility for re-instatement will depend on the reason for their withdrawal. Students failing to engage in assessments on the programme must provide adequate reason for not doing so in order for re-instatement to be considered. Students who have used all available attempts in a particular module and have received an interim award are not eligible for re-instatement. Students withdrawn having reached the maximum registration period are not eligible for re-instatement.
Transcripts and Certificates
- When will we receive student transcripts?
- The Schedule provides the dates when transcripts will be sent after each assessment period. Transcripts will not normally be provided at other times during the year. Transcripts are also available to download from Sunspace after each assessment period along with student feedback.
- I have not received a particular student transcript although others from my centre were received – why is this?
- Is this student currently enrolled with the University? Transcripts of results are not available to students who are not yet fully enrolled or have not re-enrolled for a further academic year. These students are shown as PROV or PREV on the fortnightly student status download.
- When will students receive their Certificates once the Degree is awarded?
- It takes approx 6-8 weeks after the decision of award obtained is entered into our record system for the Degree Certificate to be printed by the Conferment’s Department. This is then forwarded to our Administration Department where our Finance team check fee conditions of all eligible students before Certificates are released to Study Centres for issue to students. Dummy certificates will be presented to students attending a Graduation Ceremony – all official certificates must be released via Study Centres.
Q.I have not received a particular student Certificate although others from my centre were received – why is this?
A.Has the programme of study been completed? If yes, have all the students programme fees been paid to the University? Certificates are placed on hold at the University until all fees are received for an individual student, if you believe a certificate should have been released but has not please contact email@example.com .
Q.The name on the student certificate is incorrect.
A.The fortnightly student status spreadsheet provides Partners with opportunities to check the information held by the University student record system. If the University has not previously been informed of an inaccuracy there will be a re-print change of £35 per certificate.
Q.Which Graduation Ceremony can students attend?
A.The Ceremonies are formal celebrations of the achievements of our graduating students – a special occasion for students to share with their families. There are two Graduation Ceremonies at the University each year, Summer and Winter. Specific dates can be found on the Graduation website
Q.How will students be notified if they are able to attend?
A.All students of the University of Sunderland are able to attend a Graduation Ceremony. Eligible students will be sent invitations to attend the ceremonies. Invitations will be sent by email to University email accounts and will include the date and time of your ceremony and other important information regarding the application process.
Q.When should students book a place at the Ceremony?
A.Students must complete an online booking form in advance of receiving marks and in anticipation of being successfully in all final examinations / assessments. It is vital that the Department receives the completed form by the deadline dates given.
Q.A student has booked a place at the Ceremony but has not passed all final examinations / assessments.
A.Refunds for any purchased guest tickets will be processed automatically in the week following the ceremonies for any student who is unsuccessful in their final assessments. The student will, however, be able to book a place at the next Ceremony.
Q.A student has not booked a place at the Ceremony and the deadline dates have now passed.
A.Unfortunately, students who have not submitted the online booking form by the date given will be unable to attend the upcoming Graduation Ceremony. The student will, however, be able to book a place at the next Ceremony.
Q.Who should I contact regarding Graduation Ceremonies?
You should contact the Graduation Department directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The department may then contact the Faculty to obtain specific information relating to individual students.
Q.Where can I obtain further information of the Graduation Ceremony?
The Graduation Department have provided a comprehensive source of information in their ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ which is available via the Department Website