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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

3.5.3: Module and Credit Framework


1. Durham University has adopted a credit framework for its taught programmes in line with its own mission and definition of standards and taking into account as points of reference the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) and the Higher Education Credit Framework for England and Wales.

2. In drafting the University's credit framework and the regulations by which that framework is put into practice we have taken into account the need to assure ourselves that:

a. standards are consistent across subject areas;

b. standards provide logical progression between levels of modules and awards;

c. our credit framework articulates with national guidelines;

d. awards are made to students as the result of a defined learning experience within Durham University which justifies the award of a Durham qualification;

e. students are rewarded appropriately for successful study but are offered learning opportunities to redeem failure early in their programme of study;

f. an appropriate degree of flexibility is allowed to those designing the curriculum, to provide for:

  • a choice in line with students' abilities and interests;
  • for specialist modules reflecting areas of research expertise and reinforcing the link between teaching and research in the curriculum. Such modules may be taken by relatively few students but it is important that these opportunities be provided and that the modules are viable.

3. The Durham University framework adopts credit as the currency in which student achievement is defined. Credits are gained when modules are successfully completed and a module is therefore defined in terms of the number of credits which each is worth, as well as in terms of its level, learning outcomes, title and content. Successful completion of a module indicates that a student has achieved the learning outcomes specified for that module. The credits gained are at the level of the module concerned and the regulations indicate how many credits must be gained and at what level to achieve any given award.

4. The University operates at HE levels with a basic module valency of 10 or 20 credits at undergraduate level, and 15 or 20 credits at taught postgraduate level. We believe that this allows student learning to be defined and assessed within a unit which is small enough to provide a clear structure but large enough to minimise the dangers of excessive fragmentation of the subject area. It also provides for some economies of scale in learning and teaching and in assessment: larger modular units give students more scope to make links between different elements of the subject area within the same module and for this to be assessed; smaller modules can fragment the subject and deny students the opportunity to take an overview of the material.