The normal academic year has 32 weeks divided into three terms of varying lengths. The dates of terms are published in the University Calendar. The University refers to specific weeks in the academic year using an alphanumeric week label scheme, for example:
|SA01, ..., SA08||Summer Vacation (ante teaching)|
|T1:01, T1:02, ..., T1:12||Autumn Term - Teaching|
|X001, X02, ...||Christmas Vacation|
|T2:00||Spring Term - Assessment Week|
|T2:01, ..., T2:11||Spring Term - Teaching|
|E001, E002, ...||Easter Vacation|
|T3:01||Summer Term - Revision Week|
|T3:02, ..., T07||Summer Term - Teaching / Assessment|
|SP01, SP02, ...||Summer Vacation (post teaching)|
The Department uses a slightly extended version of this scheme. Firstly, offset values maybe negative. For example, in 2012 'SA7' is the same week as 'T1:−1' but the latter is used to indicate the week before T1:00. Secondly, the leading zeros in offsets are optional, i.e. 'T2:03' and 'T2:03' refer to the same week.
Unless otherwise stated, these are the week numbers used in Department documents from August 2011 onwards. Further examples and year-specific dates are published in the 'Week Numbers' section of the University Timetable.
See also: Attendance Requirements,
Briefly, students progress through the various stages of their degree programmes by accumulating credits which are awarded for passing modules. For an undergraduate programme, 120 credits are required to pass a stage, corresponding to three terms of full-time study. As well as a number of credits (proportional to the workload) modules are assigned levels describing the difficulty of the academic content. A degree is awarded when a student has accumulated the required number of credits at certain minimum levels. The class of the degree is based on a weighted average of the marks received for each module. There is no automatic right to repeat a stage, or other period of study; each case is considered on its individual merits by the Dean.
The Department's Assessment Conventions contain more-detailed information.
Each degree programme comprises a set of modules. The term(s) in which any particular module is given is indicated in the description for that module. (See Module Descriptors.)
The lecture modules are supported by timetabled seminars and/or problems classes throughout the year. Timetables of lectures and laboratory classes are posted on notice boards at the start of each semester and can also be consulted, and personalised versions printed, using the University's WWW timetable system. A separate schedule of the specific modules covered in the problems classes will be provided.
Problems classes for Stage 1 and Stage 2 Physics undergraduates (dealing with core modules at levels 1 and 2) are held regularly on a weekly basis, except in those weeks in which a mid-semester test is held. A problem paper associated with a particular course is distributed a week in advance, allowing students time to attempt as much as possible before the class. Marks gained in problems will count towards the assessment of the associated modules. [See also the Code of Practice for Problems Classes.]
Level 3 and 4 modules which use lectures as the main means of delivery include problems classes within their schedule of timetabled hours; two one-hour problems classes is the norm for a 15 CATS (7.5 ECTS) credit module.
University Examinations are normally held straight after the Christmas Vacation, in Week T2:00, and during the Summer term in weeks T3:02-05. The results of the year's examinations will be considered by the Assessment, Progression and Awarding Committee (APAC) in week T3:07. The results of referred and deferred examinations will be considered at a September meeting.
Both teaching periods are followed by a substantial vacation during which students are expected to consolidate and revise their coursework.