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The below explainer relates to the 2019-2020 academic year No Detriment Policy.

UCL’s 2020 ‘No Detriment’ Policy 

Some universities have called it a ‘no-detriment’ policy, others have called it a ‘safety-net’; UCL have gone for Amendments to Academic Regulations for summer assessments 2020.

The ‘no detriment’ approach has been adopted by a number of other Russell Group universities, which means lots of other institutions understand this approach and are supporting their students in a similar way. The principle is to make sure that no student will be academically disadvantaged by the current situation, which includes the alternative teaching and assessment arrangements UCL have made. We’ve broken down how this new policy works for UCL students below.

Undergraduate Finalists

If you are in the final year of your undergraduate course, your final classification average mark will be based on the higher outcome of either:

  • Calculation with the final year average based on the best 50% (60 credits)
  • Calculation excluding the final year marks

If you are studying an integrated masters course and your dissertation module is heavily-weighted, UCL will use the best 60 credits for any modules you have studies (and this may include re-weighting the credits for your dissertation).

If your course uses a different method to classify your result or doesn’t use the final year average, this principle will be adapted for you so you are not disadvantaged.

No matter what your final classification is, all final year module results will still be recorded on your transcript.

Continuing Undergraduates (not first years)

This is very similar to the mitigation for undergraduate finalists. UCL will use the average based on the best 60 credits achieved during the year. This will apply to the final overall result for your 2019/2020 year and will also be used for progression on to some MSci and MEng programmes (if this applies to you).

At the end of your studies this average mark will be combined with your marks from other years to calculate your overall average for your degree. At the same time, UCL will do another calculation to work out an overall average mark without including your results from 2019/2020. You don’t need to worry about this, UCL have said they will use whichever of the 2 averages is higher to determine your final degree result.

Returning Undergraduates

If you are coming back from an interruption or are taking assessments deferred from last year, UCL will use your best 50% of credits taken in 2019/2020 for your average result. If any of the assessment you are taking is for a module worth 15 credits or less, UCL may not include this if it causes a lower average result for the year.

Taught Masters (Postgraduate Taught) Finalists

Your final classification will be based on the best 90 credits; this can be from taught modules or your dissertation.  You must pass or be condoned in all modules to complete the course.

You may have some marks/grades released to you during the summer period if your department holds an interim exam board, but this will be up to them. Results will not be finalised until the Autumn exam boards take place, which is when any decisions about condoning failed modules will be made. This may mean you are told you have failed a module but have to wait until the Autumn board to find out if this is being condoned or if you will need to resit. 

If you fail an assessment that cannot be condoned, you will be reassessed in January 2021 (which matches with the dissertation reassessment period). Your department may offer the reassessment earlier if they can, but results will only be fully processed after the main Autumn exam boards.

Other Graduate and Postgraduate Taught Degrees

For other postgraduate taught courses, UCL will base your classification on the best 50% of the total credits you have studied. This will mean:

  •  Graduate Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma: classification will be based on the best 50% (60 of the 120 credits);
  • Graduate Certificate and Postgraduate Certificate: classification will be based on the best 50% (30 of the 60 credits).
  • Masters programmes that are more than 1 year of study: for students completing in 2019-20, modules taken in 2018/19 will have been unaffected. For continuing students, any impact on 2020/21 is unknown, so UCL are planning that the highest 50% of the credits taken in 2019/20 will count towards classification (unless this would disadvantage you). If this situation continues into the 2020/21 academic year, then UCL may apply further mitigation for any credits taken next year.

If you are studying part-time, the best 50% of your credits taken this year will count towards your classification (unless this disadvantages you). Like the full-time courses, you must still pass or be condoned in all modules to pass the course.

If you are studying a flexible programme, UCL will use the best 50% of credits taken in 2019/2020 for your classification. If any of the assessment you are taking is for a module worth 15 credits or less, UCL may not include this if it causes a lower average result for the year. This also applies if you are returning from interruption to taking assessments deferred from last year.

MRes (Postgraduate Research)

The requirement for MRes finalists to achieve a specific mark in their dissertation to qualify for a Merit or Distinction is being removed for 2019/2020.

If you are studying an MRes programme that is progressing on to a doctoral programme (the ‘part of a 1+3’ arrangement), your Programme Director or Departmental Graduate Tutor will be looking at progression on a case-by-case basis if the usual qualifying threshold hasn’t been met.

Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

If you are studying an ITE course, you will be given an uncapped reassessment opportunity for any failed assessment taken in term 2 onwards.

As with MRes students, the need to achieve a specific mark to qualify for a Merit or Distinction is being removed for 2019/2020. You will also be given an extension to complete your dissertation.

No Late Summer Resits

The late summer resit period will only be used for deferred assessments. No ‘second attempts’ will be offered at this time. Reassessments for any continuing student will take place next academic year.


UCL have agreed that for 2019/2020 any modules that were non-condonable (meaning you had to pass them to progress to the next stage or complete the course) will be now be condonable.

The only time this won’t happen is if there is evidence that the learning outcomes of the module are linked to professional, statutory or regulatory body requirements that are not met by other parts of the course.

Undergraduate Progression

Usually, a student can only be condoned for 30 credits per year and a maximum of 60 credits across the whole course. This means if you fail 45 or 60 credits in a year, you would go into the late summer assessments to resit. If you failed more than 60 credits you would need to repeat the year of study.

However, UCL have changed the criteria for condonement for 2019/2020. Now you are able to:

  • Be condoned in 30 credits
  • Take up to 30 credits failed or deferred into your next year of study.

Please note, this is only allowed if your average for the year is over 40% (50% if you are in the Masters year of your MSci or MEng). If you don’t achieve this, you will simply repeat your failed modules in 202/2021 without progressing into the next year of your course.

There is a difference if your course is accredited by Professional Engineering Institutions; the amount of credits that can be condoned differs because of the professional, statutory and regulatory body accreditation. However, the same principle of condonement and taking up to 30 credits next year does apply.

If you want to, you can opt to resit out of attendance next year instead of progressing in 2020/2021 with additional assessments. This means you wouldn’t attend any classes next year and would only complete your outstanding assessments. You would then progress into the next year of your course in 2021/2022 instead.

Revised Timetable for Results and Exam Board Decisions

With all of the changes to exams and assessments, UCL have extended the exam period so it now falls after the end of Term 3 on 24 June 2020. First year undergraduates will also be submitting their ‘Capstone’ assessments by 30 June 2020. This means that the all the marking, moderation and exam board meetings will be taking place almost a month later than previously planned.

Results day will now be held on 6 August 2020.