MARP 2017-18

Introduction to MARP

Purpose, Structure and Content

This chapter describes the Manual of Academic Regulations and Procedures (MARP) and provides an introduction to its content and protocol for use. The University’s academic regulations, policies and procedures are contained in MARP; non-academic policies, regulations and procedures are published elsewhere on the University’s website. In its entirety, MARP provides a comprehensive set of guidance which, in addition to being a necessary reference point for both staff and students, also sets out the University’s framework for managing, assuring and enhancing the quality and standards of its programmes and the student academic experience.

The Manual applies to all categories of student, all academic programmes, and all types of award, except where special regulations have been approved through the appropriate channels for specific types of provision, programmes and awards, or for specific groups of students.  It covers the following range of awards validated by the University (including those delivered on a collaborative teaching basis with partner institutions):

(a)    undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates (including foundation degrees)

(b)   postgraduate taught degrees, diplomas and certificates

(c)    postgraduate research degrees.

The Manual is divided into separate sections which form integral documents in their own right:

  • Introduction to the Manual
  • Study Regulations
  • Recognition of Prior Learning
  • External Examiner Procedures for Taught Programmes
  • General Regulations for Assessment and Award
  • Undergraduate Assessment Regulations
  • Postgraduate Taught Assessment Regulations
  • Postgraduate Research Regulations
  • Medical Degree Assessment Regulations
  • Plagiarism and Malpractice Regulations
  • Academic Appeals
  • Student Complaints
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement

Study regulations

This section contains regulations and procedures governing a student’s initial entry to the University including admissions, enrolment and registration and those which impact directly on students’ learning experience:

  • attendance and registration requirements
  • academic guidance, tutorial and learning support
  • academic discipline (including the procedures for Standing Academic Committee).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

This section sets out the University’s requirement for the formal assessment and approval of credit for learning gained elsewhere – whether through a formal programme of study or through informal (experiential) learning – for the purposes of counting this towards a Lancaster award.  RPL encompasses:

  • Credit transfer
  • Certificated learning (APL)
  • Experiential learning (APEL).

External Examiners for Taught Programmes

This section sets out the University’s requirements for the external examining of taught programmes (external examining for postgraduate research programmes is dealt with under the Postgraduate Research Regulations); including:

  • the selection, appointment and employment of external examiners
  • external examiners’ duties
  • induction, information and assessment work to be provided to the external examiner
  • external examiner reports.

Assessment Regulations

The assessment regulations provide the rules for the progression of students on a programme and the award of degrees, diplomas and certificates.  There are separate regulations for undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students.  The medical degree has a separate set of assessment regulations.  There are also General Assessment Regulations, which predominantly, but not exclusively apply to undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes. These general regulations set out the principles underpinning the University’s approach to assessment and its requirements for:

  • the setting and approving of assessment tasks
  • the role of departmental Assessment Officers
  • the administration of assessment (including the application of penalties for late submission)
  • the marking and moderation of assessment
  • the return of marked coursework
  • the operation of mitigating circumstances committees, examination boards and the Committee of Senate.

Plagiarism and Malpractice Procedures

This sectiondetails the principles and procedures for dealing with cases of academic malpractice (incorporating plagiarism) by students, including the penalties which may be applied.  This section is linked to the University’s Plagiarism Framework.

Academic Appeals

This section sets out the principles and procedures for the consideration of academic appeals by students; including the grounds under which a student may make an appeal.  The operational guidance on academic appeals, which is aimed at students, is published elsewhere on the University’s Student Based Services web pages.

Student Complaints

This section sets out the principles and procedures for the consideration of complaints by students; including the grounds under which a student may make a complaint.  Further guidance on complaints, which is aimed at students, is available on the Strategic Planning and Governance web pages.

Quality Assurance and Enhancement Procedures

This section sets out the University’s requirements at departmental, faculty and institutional level for the management, assurance and enhancement of its academic provision, including procedures for:

  • course (module and programme) design and development
  • course (module and programme) approval
  • monitoring and review (annual and periodic procedures)
  • collaborative teaching partnership provision

Standing of MARP and Compliance

The autonomy of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is mediated by legislation, external regulations and procedures, codes of practice and guidelines.  University regulations and procedures, including those contained in MARP, are therefore informed by, and comply and align with, the following:

(a)    principles of good practice, including those in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education;

(b)   national legislation;

(c)    higher education agency requirements, including those of funding bodies;

(d)   professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs) requirements.

Some sections of the Manual are explicitly described as ‘regulations’ and must be complied with.  It is expected that all processes and procedures will be adhered to at the institutional, faculty, departmental and individual levels.  Failure to comply with the Manual may result in actions which:

(a)          put the University at unacceptable risk;

(b)          significantly threaten the quality and standards of University programmes and awards;

(c)           run counter to principles of natural justice;

(d)          are in breach of external legislation; or

(e)          jeopardise the quality of the student experience.

The Manual also contains guidance on operational matters and/or links to additional supplementary documentation which is of relevance and may be of assistance.  Working procedures are also often devised and implemented at local level by professional services units, faculties, departments, institutes, and colleges.  Where pertaining to academic matters, such local procedures must be consistent with standard practice and the overarching regulations and principles as described in this Manual.

Senate Schedule of Delegations

In certain places, the Manual contains procedural references to decisions taken by “the body or officer/s with delegated authority from Senate”.  The Senate Schedule of Delegations details the body or officer with delegated authority to approve specific matters on behalf of Senate.

Related Policies and Procedures

In places, the Manual contains references to other policies and procedures and areas which, whilst not a part of MARP, are nonetheless relevant to particular aspects.  Links to such related documents and information are provided within MARP itself at the appropriate points.

Maintenance and Review

The Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC) has oversight of MARP and is responsible, on behalf of Education Committee, for the development, implementation and review of quality assurance policies, procedures and regulations contained in it. ASQC is also responsible, after appropriate consultation, for the approval of the University’s academic regulations governing all taught and research programmes leading to Lancaster University awards, whether delivered in Lancaster or elsewhere.

A designated administrative officer (currently the Head of Academic Standards and Quality) is responsible for ensuring that MARP is updated annually, reflects any changes that have been approved during the previous academic year and meets the requirement that MARP remains fit for purpose, accessible and trustworthy.

Significant new policies and procedures are generally reviewed about one operational year after they are implemented and thereafter at intervals to ensure they remain relevant and fit for purpose. On occasions a major development or project undertaken by the University may result in a requirement to review associated regulations, policies and procedures contained in MARP.

Application of MARP

MARP is published on an annual basis and, on a general level, the regulations and procedures contained therein apply to all students currently registered with the University or with a collaborative teaching partner.  However the assessment regulations which apply to each cohort of students (or individual student in the case of some postgraduate research programmes) will normally be those which were current for the academic year in which they enrolled with the University and any changes to these regulations which have been made since they were first enrolled will apply to new entrants only.  Any transitional arrangements for the application of new/amended assessment regulations to particular cohorts will be stipulated within the assessment regulations themselves. On an exceptional basis, a change to the assessment regulations may be made which is applied to students currently on a degree programme (which may also involve an in-year change to MARP).  Such changes may only be made where: 

(a)    this is to the clear advantage of students; or

(b)   the University deems the quality and standards of its awards to be compromised if the change is not applied immediately (which situation may arise out of a PSRB requirement).

Any changes to the University’s assessment regulations must have been considered and approved through the University’s approval procedures and to have included student participation in the approval process.  

Where the University intends to introduce a new set of assessment regulations which involve a fundamental change in the way progression and/or award are dealt with, the University will also ensure, that all new applicants are informed of this and are provided with the necessary information about the change.

Changes to programme-specific assessment regulations are dealt with according to the same principles, and require approval at institutional level as well as by the faculty teaching committee(s). Such changes are deemed to be Major Amendments to the programme and all applicants must be written to in order to advise them of these changes and relevant information for applicants, for example on the University’s web pages, amended accordingly.