Your Learning

The impact of coronavirus raises a lot of questions within our University Community and we have answered as many as we can below; updating these as the situation evolves. Please email student.centre@bucks.ac.uk if you have any other queries that are not answered below and ensure you follow our official social media channels for immediate updates.

You’ll have face to face on-campus teaching wherever it’s possible to do so, whilst staying COVID-safe. We’ve reviewed every course and module to ensure you continue to receive the best possible learning experience. Nearer to your return date, we’ll provide you with all the detail about where and when your teaching will take place.

Please don’t worry about assessments – they’ll be adapted to ensure that you can demonstrate you’ve met the learning outcomes for your course. And your tutors will be there to support you all the way. We’ll also provide flexibility, enabling you to keep up with your studies whenever and wherever suits you. Through our virtual learning environment, you’ll be able to access all of your module materials, the library’s full catalogue, free software and academic support.

It’s still not clear when large gatherings of people will be permitted, or when our Graduation venue will be able to reopen. We also don’t want to make changes that could spoil the experience for you and your guests, and so we’ve taken the really difficult decision to postpone this September’s Graduation ceremonies until summer 2021.

Please don’t worry, it’s only your ceremony that’s being postponed. The Award Boards of Examiners will be held in July as normal. You’ll graduate with your award as scheduled, and you’ll receive your certificate in early autumn as usual. We want to make sure that nothing stops the future you’ve been working so hard to prepare for since joining Bucks.

Plans for next summer are already underway, and we’re working with Bucks Students’ Union and in addition to the ceremonies next summer, we will bring our final-year students together virtually in September to celebrate their achievements. We’ll keep you updated as plans progress and dates are set. In the meantime, you can view the latest information on our Graduation pages which includes some specific FAQs.

Yes. We want to reassure students that our No Detriment Policy (No Detriment – Short Guide), previously known as Exceptional Regulations, means your overall grade for the year can’t go down. Unlike some other universities, we’re not freezing grades, so you still have the opportunity to improve on your grades through your final semester assessments.

We’ve adjusted these assessments where necessary to ensure you can demonstrate all that you’ve learned, and to acknowledge the impact of the government’s social distancing measures on your studies. However, you do need to continue with the assessments set by your tutors and let them know if you need support.

Every year your grades are considered against regulations to confirm whether you have passed the year, progressed to the next Level, or achieved your qualification. This year we have additional regulations to be used alongside those already in place as a safety net, allowing us to expand the way in which these decisions are taken, and you are given the results you deserve.

Each Examination Board will act on your behalf -using the best measure allowed under the regulations for your individual situation - to address any negative impacts, whilst making sure standards are maintained and that you can be confident in the value of your qualification. Remember it’s in your best interests to continue to work on and submit your assessments so that you have every chance of raising your overall grade, and that the measures we have in place can be used to your best advantage.

As with all other Universities, and to ensure the validity of your award, we will continue to ensure that our decisions are in line with Higher Education sector and Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body requirements.

For final years, we will ensure that there is no detriment to your overall grade as a result of the Covid 19 situation. The No Detriment Policy (short guide available) acts as a “safety net” to ensure your final grade is not negatively impacted by the marks you receive for assessments submitted after 26 March 2020, and that you will not receive a grade lower than the one you would have achieved based just on work completed in the first half of your final year. Therefore, as long as you pass your modules, final assessments undertaken this summer can raise (but not lower) your final grade and classification.

Modules taken in Semester 2 (February to June) still count towards your overall grade and the marks you receive may raise it. So, it’s in your best interest to continue with your studies and to submit your assessments. You still need to achieve all 120 credits for the year to get an Honours qualification or a Foundation Degree.

In order to receive an Honours award or a Master’s degree, you must achieve a pass mark for the dissertation (or equivalent for your programme). This is because, as the independent piece of work, it is a key element of the degree and it is important to maintain this to ensure that graduates can demonstrate that they have achieved this when seeking employment. It is also essential in demonstrating you have met the programme learning outcomes in order to meet national benchmarks in relation to UK quality and standards. For these reasons the dissertation cannot be compensated.

In some cases we will use compensation – that means we can award credit for modules which have been failed where you have performed strongly elsewhere in the year. Compensation for modules which have not achieved a pass mark may be used where possible, and where you would not be disadvantaged. We cannot use compensation where no assessments have been submitted for a module. Some courses with Professional Body requirements (for example Nursing) may not be allowed to apply compensation and you should check with your course team.

If you have failed modules, and where compensation cannot be used, a further safety net is available: you will be given another attempt at the assessments for a full mark rather than a capped one, so your work will not be penalised because you have to take it for a second time. While there would be a delay in you receiving your award (the normal deadline for reassessment coursework is in August and for dissertations in January) you will have the opportunity to achieve the best grade you can. The No Detriment Policy remains in place when Boards consider your reassessment marks and make your award.

For progressing students returning for the 2020/2021 academic year, University exam boards will continue to take into account the impact of the pandemic on modules taught and assessed during the national lockdown.

The No Detriment principle - that you will not receive a grade lower than the one you would have achieved based just on work completed in the first half of the year - will be applied to Level 5 students where their modules will form a proportion of the overall grade at award stage.

For all progressing students we will use compensation where possible – that means we can award credit for modules which have been failed where you have performed strongly in other modules - meaning that no reassessment would be needed and you can progress to the next level of your course. But you must have made an attempt at all modules. Some courses with Professional Body requirements (for example Nursing) may not be allowed to apply compensation and you should check with your course team.

Where compensation cannot be used and you have to be reassessed, it will be for the full mark rather than a capped one.

You will be allowed to progress to the next Level trailing up to 30 credits from your current year: you will need to retake assessment for trailed modules in order to complete the Level during your next year. You will be given the opportunity to take the assessment during the referral period, and you would be strongly advised to do so before the start of the next academic year. Some courses with Professional Body requirements (for example Nursing) may have different progression rules and you should check with your course team.

Examination Boards can in certain circumstances award credit for modules which have been failed where you have performed strongly in other modules. This is called compensation. It cannot be used where you have not submitted any work for a module, nor for modules which are excluded from compensation such as dissertations (or equivalent), pass/fail modules, or modules where all elements have to be passed. Some courses with Professional Body requirements (for example Nursing) may not be allowed to apply compensation.

It is important that you meet the requirements of the PSRB and so – as in all other universities – some elements of the policy won’t be able to be applied in the same way. Your course leader will be able to explain further how this applies to individual PSRB courses.

The Government is doing all it can to keep staff and students at our Universities safe during this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on people's education. It has published answers to frequently asked questions about how the coronavirus may impact high education. These can be found here.

Yes - if you have been set coursework, you should continue to work on this as usual and submit online by the agreed deadline. Any changes to coursework requirements because of the impact of Covid-19 will be communicated via Blackboard. If you have any concerns, please contact your course tutor.

We set deadlines so that students don’t have to submit assessments for different modules all at once, so it’s best if you plan to hit the original dates given on Blackboard. Don’t worry though if you’re struggling to meet the deadline because late submission is still allowed. You can hand in assessments up to 10 working days after the original submission date. During the Covid-19 emergency period, late submissions will be given the full mark and not capped at 40%. This means that those who need it can take advantage of these two-weeks. You should let your tutor know if you will be using the late submission point.

If you find you might struggle to meet the late submission point, you should contact your tutor to see if you can have an extension – this would not normally be for more than 15 working days beyond the original (not the late) deadline.

Please note that late submissions are available for first assessment opportunity points, but not for reassessments.

Our priority is to make sure that you're able to complete final projects and dissertations. We've informed you where we've changed assessment methods because you can't access equipment at our campuses due to the Government's social distancing guidelines.

Please be assured that we're doing all we can to enable and encourage you to complete your final assessments so that you can receive your degree on time. We promise that:

We will take into account the extraordinary and challenging conditions under which you're preparing for, and taking, your final assessments when we mark them. This includes where you haven't been able to complete experimental laboratory projects and other empirical studies.

You will be provided with the opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned.

You will continue to receive regular online supervision for your dissertation/project.

The University recognises that all students will be affected, directly or indirectly, by Coronavirus. We have therefore decided that you don’t have to submit Mitigating Circumstances claims and that all reassessment set for the remainder of the academic year will be given the full mark and not be capped at 40% (where passed). This takes into account the impact of Covid-19 on you all; allows you to concentrate on your studies rather than completing claim forms; and stops you having to seek evidence, especially from the NHS.

However you should still continue to let us know if you test positive for Covid-19, or are self-isolating by contacting thestudentcentre@bucks.ac.uk. Students at Partner Colleges should follow their own reporting arrangements.

If you have an allegation of academic misconduct - for example plagiarism - then the normal Academic Misconduct process will be followed. Where the allegation is proven, then the penalty will stand; this means that if the penalty requires reassessment for a capped mark and then a mark reduction, that will still apply.

Your School teams and lecturers are now communicating with you directly via email and Blackboard to provide you with information in real-time.

Please follow the guidance issued where you’re studying.

Please follow the guidance issued by your employer.

The University will provide a package of support for students who have interrupted their studies which will include access to the virtual learning environment, restricted access rights to the Library as an external borrower and, after the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, general access to University buildings. This includes visiting the Students’ Union facilities, school offices, and Gateway building, but excludes labs, workshops and classrooms.

Your Results and Employability

Whether you are waiting to hear if you can progress into the next year of your course or expecting your final award, you will receive your results for this academic year online, through a new portal, instead of by post. For Nursing and Allied Health students, interim board results will still be posted on Blackboard, as usual, but your final results confirming that you can progress into the next year or what award you have been made will be on the portal. At Bucks we release results for each course as they become available, after the Boards of Examiners have met during June and July. We’ll email you a link and a guide to the Results Portal once your results are ready. You’ll be able to access the portal by using your Bucks login. Please contact IT@bucks.ac.uk as soon as you can if you don’t know your login details, and remember that you can reset your password online via this link.

The Results Portal will contain all the information you require regarding your results this year, but you can also find out more information under Results on our Academic Advice pages.

If your results are not what you hoped and you need to resubmit, help and support is there for you. You can contact your module or personal tutor or the Learning Development Unit LDU@Bucks.ac.uk. In addition, if you are struggling with your mental health please contact us, see ‘Your wellbeing’.

We appreciate the challenges all graduates face as they enter the highly competitive employment market, so we’re offering you the opportunity to pursue a postgraduate Certificate of Business Leadership after you complete your degree. Open to graduates of all disciplines, it’s been specially designed to boost your career prospects, and is offered at no cost to you.

It’s a distance-learning programme with an emphasis on developing your skills in problem solving, creative thinking, leadership and management. Applying knowledge in practice is a hallmark of this programme, as is true for all courses at Bucks. Find out more here. If you need more advice about your career or concerned about next steps, please contact careers@bucks.ac.uk.