Exams Provisional award FAQs

During periods of widespread and significant disruption, the University seeks to ensure that students are not academically disadvantaged at module and programme levels due to the potential impacts of such disruption. It is recognised that due to the ongoing industrial action, some students may only have partial marks for module components rather than a whole module mark.

To mitigate these circumstances, University Senate guidance is in place, designed to support Boards of Examiners in progression and award decisions under such circumstances. This framework is in place to ensure that appropriate outcomes and decisions are made for our students, whilst upholding academic standards. Boards of Examiners have the discretion to exercise academic judgment and to reach decisions that they consider best reflect students’ academic performance.  This includes the option for Boards to return a decision of provisional award, where there has not been sufficient information available to return a final degree classification decision.

Where a provisional award decision has been returned by the Board, you will be eligible to attend your summer graduation ceremony and receive your provisional award certificate. 

If you are given a provisional award/certificate, your degree certificate (which is the official permanent certificate) will be issued once the industrial action is over and we have had the opportunity to ratify your marks* and confirm your final degree classification. Your provisional award will be an indication of the minimal award you can expect to receive. You may be awarded a higher classification, but your final classification will never be lower than the provisional award.

*Please note: unapproved marks will not appear on Pegasus until after all of the Exam Boards have taken place, which is likely to be toward the end of June.

The current University College Union (UCU) mandate for action short of a strike, which includes the Marking and Assessment Boycott, extends until October 2023. The University will update students should there be any change to the current action.

The University Senate has approved the following guidance and procedures for use within the Faculties/Departments/Schools, in the event of periods of disruption, which covers incomplete marks return and assessment:

  • Procedures for Markers and Boards of Examiners in the Event of Disruption, including Supplementary Guidance to Boards of Examiners for AY 2022-23;
  • Formal Assessment Period: Guidance in the Event of Significant, Widespread Disruption
  • Guidelines to Support the Learning and Teaching of UG and PGT Students During Periods of Widespread, Significant Disruption
  • Covid 19 Impact Statement: Guidance for Supervisors, PGRs and Examiners

The formal Guidance and Procedures are designed to ensure that, where there are events which may result in disruption at a student cohort level, there is a framework in place to enable Boards of Examiners, with the authority of the University Senate and Faculty, to make progression decisions and approve awards for our students.

Boards of Examiners will seek to facilitate and support student progression. Boards of Examiners have the discretion to award personal credits, or facilitate progression where no mark has been returned for the module due to assessment(s) being unmarked (UM) or where a partial mark has been returned (PM). The Board will utilise this discretion appropriately, and in line with the requirements of your academic programme of study, and the regulations.

The University understands this is an anxious time and encourages you to contact the Disability & Wellbeing support services and/ or speak to the Strath Union Advice Hub.

Boards of Examiners can award ‘personal credits’ to help support your progression to the next stage of your studies. In order to achieve a degree, students have to gain the required number of credits (at the right level) as set out in the General Academic Regulations. Credit is gained when a module is passed. If a student is short of the required number of credits, they cannot usually achieve the award they are aiming for. During this period of disruption, where you do not have a module mark, you will be given the credits as ‘personal credits’ to allow you to progress to the next stage of your programme. Where you have been awarded personal credits for a module(s), you are not required to resit this module(s).

If you have been awarded personal credits, it will show on your transcript beside the row that says ‘Credit awarded through previous study and experiential learning’.

Students must resit any module which shows as a fail and for which credits have not been added. This includes any module which has a PM (fail).

You are not required to resit any module you have been awarded a ‘pass’ for. Therefore, you do not need to take a resit for any module with a PM (pass) or UM.

While UM will show as a fail, the Board may have awarded a discretionary pass and awarded credits for this. A Pass by Compensation does not require a resit. If you are in any doubt, please check with your subject/programme leader.

If you have been given a ‘Pass’ decision, the Board of Examiners has approved your results and awarded you all required credits to progress to your next year of study. You do not need to resit any module. If you have any UM marks, you will have received personal credits for this module.

If you have received a Pass decision, then while your letter indicates 20 credits short, the Board of Examiners has awarded you 20 personal credits for this UM module and you will see the true credit total on your Pegasus record.

For some professionally accredited programmes, the impact of the marking and assessment boycott has meant a Progress decision by the date of the Board of Examiners was not possible. In these cases, students have been given a ‘Decision deferred’ until a progression decision can be taken.

No, supervision is not covered by the Marking and Assessment Boycott.

The University will try to make marks available as soon as possible. This will depend on when individual members of staff end their participation in the Marking and Assessment Boycott or on the official ending of the boycott by the UCU. The University cannot predict when this will happen but will support Boards of Examiners to reconvene at the earliest possible point to finalise award and classification decisions.

The University has Senate approved procedures and guidance to ensure marking is carried out in line with rigorous academic standards and is based on clearly defined assessment criteria. The rationale for decisions taken by Boards of Examiners is recorded in all cases.

A provisional award is an award of the University Senate, representing the partial attainment of a student. Where the number of missing marks means there is insufficient evidence to support a clear award and classification decision, Boards of Examiners, using discretionary powers awarded by University Senate, can make a provisional award. This means that where students have demonstrated that they have successfully fulfilled the necessary criteria for obtaining an award at a lower level, based on their existing academic attainment, they will be issued with a provisional award. For undergraduate students, including students registered on integrated masters’ programmes, a provisional award of Ordinary degree may be issued; in the case of postgraduate taught students, a provisional award of Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters may be issued. A provisional award will enable students to graduate, and the final classified degree award will be confirmed to each student as soon as the relevant assessment information becomes available, and Boards of Examiners have confirmed the final outcome.

A provisional certificate is an official document issued by the University as an interim measure until the final degree classification decision has been approved by the Board of Examiners and the degree certificate can be issued. It serves as temporary proof that you have successfully fulfilled the necessary criteria for obtaining a degree, and can attend graduation.

Following the Exam Board, your decision will be released on Pegasus and the Strath Mobile App and you will know at that stage if you have received a provisional award, as your award letter will show that you have a “Provisional Award” decision. Your provisional certificate, when you receive it, will have the words "Provisional Award" (in brackets) on the award title.

If there has been no impact of the marking and assessment boycott on the assessment in your modules, your degree will be classified as normal. If there are missing marks or partial marks and a degree classification has been made, it means the Board of Examiners is confident, having looked at your marks across all modules that a classification can be made. The rationale for decisions taken by Boards of Examiners is recorded in all cases.

Boards of Examiners are empowered, through Senate, to use their academic judgement to award and classify degrees and in doing so explore the contribution of the unmarked assessments to the credit-weighted average in determining whether a confident classification is possible. The Board of Examiners cannot award a degree without sufficient evidence of attainment that is measured through the number of credits the student has passed and their credit-weighted average. The rationale for decisions taken by Boards of Examiners is recorded in all cases.

Yes, we will mark all modules which have missing marks as a result of the marking and assessment boycott. For those students with a degree classification, an updated transcript will be made available to you once all marking has been done.

An aimed award is the award for the programme on which you are studying. e.g. BA with Honours in Psychology.

An alternative award is an award that is of the same SCQF level as the aimed award, but in an alternative or additional subject or area. This is also used for an award with an additional element that does not, as standard, form part of the named programme. e.g. BA Hons in Marketing with International Study on a BA Hons Marketing programme.

This BA Award is a recognised award that can be conferred by the University in accordance with our Regulations. The BA Humanities and Social Sciences can be awarded to any student on the BA Humanities and Social Sciences (on all named pathways) who achieves 360 credits.

If you have been given a Provisional Award, meaning that the Board of Examiners were unable confirm a degree classification, you can appeal the decision of the Board once your final marks are approved and your degree classification is finalised.

If you have been awarded a degree classification and you submit an appeal and then graduate before the appeal process is concluded this will be taken to mean that you have withdrawn the appeal and it will not thereafter be considered, as is standard practice within the Personal Circumstances and Appeals Procedure.

Yes, if you have enrolled to attend graduation you'll be able to attend your Summer graduation ceremony along with your classmates and your name will be included in the programme and press lists (if you have asked to be included). If you would prefer to defer to attend the Winter graduation ceremonies please email graduation-enquiries@strath.ac.uk to request this no later than 5 working days before your scheduled Summer ceremony date so that you can be removed from programmes/press lists etc.

All students who are eligible for graduation, will have the opportunity to participate within the summer graduation ceremonies.

Students who have received their classified degree outcome, will receive a certificate with the classification awarded.

Students who have received a Provisional Award will receive a Provisional Award certificate, along with a letter of explanation.

If you attend a graduation ceremony you will be presented with your provisional certificate at the ceremony. If you chose to graduate in absentia then the provisional certificate will be posted to you. If you have deferred you will not receive a certificate until you graduate.

Yes, you will be able to view your provisional certificate online after your graduation date, and when we have had the opportunity to ratify your marks and confirm your final award classification, you will have access to your final certificate online.

As soon as relevant assessment information becomes available and Boards of Examiners have reconvened to confirm the outcome, the final degree award classification will be communicated to you, and we will post your updated final certificate to you. 

Important: Your final certificate will be sent to the home address you have provided on Pegasus so please make sure this address information is up to date with an address that you will still be able to receive mail to after you leave.

No, you can only participate in one graduation ceremony. If you have a Provisional Award but would prefer to defer your graduation to later in the year at the next scheduled graduation ceremony please email graduation-enquiries@strath.ac.uk no later than 5 working days before the date of your summer ceremony so that your name can be removed from the graduation schedule.

Provisional certificates are widely recognised and accepted by both universities and businesses, but should they require verification of your award then they should contact verification@strath.ac.uk.

UK Visas and Immigration will not accept provisional documents and the final degree certificate depends upon the Board of Examiners meeting and confirming your degree classification. This will be dependent upon the availability of missing marks and the Industrial Action.

Students have until the end date of their current student visa permission to make their Graduate Route visa application. For most students, even if marks are delayed, the wrap-up period, built in to give you additional time after completing studies, should allow time for your award to be confirmed and then apply for the Graduate Route visa. Please refer to the detailed guidance on our Graduate Route web pages.