Exams

Information on the examination and assessment process at Ulster University.

All information pertaining to exams and coursework can be found within the Student Administration section.

If we don’t answer your question

If you have a question which is not answered here, please submit a query and a member of staff will be in touch.

Go to enquiry form  

No formal campus-based examinations in May/June or July/August

There will be no formal campus-based examinations in May/June or July/August 2021.

Based on our experience over the past year, and as we did last summer, alternative assessments are being designed and delivered to ensure that the academic integrity of each degree is preserved.

Our continued approach to design of alternative assessments incorporates a range of flexible options, to ensure students have ample opportunity to succeed.

Your questions answered

  • How will COVID affect assessment of my work and studies?

    The University continues to work to ensure that students whose studies may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are not disadvantaged at the point of assessment, while preserving the academic integrity of their award.

    As last year, there will be changes to assessment practice to allow us to graduate and progress as many students as possible within this academic year.

    Priority will be given to the final year of courses to ensure that award decisions are not delayed and as far as practicable, steps will be taken to protect student progression in a timely manner.

    Students will not be assessed on content or materials not delivered by any course or module.

  • How will this impact upon completion in 2021?

    Students can be reassured arrangements will be put in place to protect student progression, completion and award and every effort will be made to enable students to complete their courses as expected this year.

    We’ve worked hard to implement necessary adjustments to teaching delivery and your learning experience throughout this academic year.

    You should regularly check your course site on Blackboard and your emails for updates.

    Details on our approach to examinations and assessment can be found on these pages.

  • What will my alternative assessment be and when will it take place? 

    Where the usual assessments cannot continue as specified in certain modules/courses, alternative assessments have been prepared and will take place during May/June.

    Please check your course area of Blackboard Learn for specific details and your emails for regular updates.

  • What if I am unable to take my alternative assessment? 

    If you are unable to complete the alternative assessment in the usual May/June time-frame, you will be able to take it in July/August without penalty. The mark you receive then will count as a first sit, as if you had taken it for the first time in May/June.

    Your mark will not be capped, and you will receive the mark you achieve in the assessment.

    This will also be true for assessments that you were unable to take in the first Semester.

  • What happens if I fail my alternative assessment?


    First sit opportunities to retake your alternative assessment will be offered without any capping of marks, unless that failure is due to academic misconduct.

    If you have failed an assessment that was itself a resit from a previous year, you will be offered a further resit with capped marks.

  • What if I miss the deadline for my alternative assessment?

    In this context, we are giving students as much additional time to upload/complete alternative assessments as possible.

    Students who are unable to meet the deadline for submission of alternative assessments should contact their module co-ordinator and ask for an extension.

    If they are unable to meet the deadline at all due to health or personal reasons, they will be offered a first sit at a later opportunity.

  • I don’t want to take the alternative assessment. Can I take the examinations instead in August?

    Ulster University will not hold formal campus-based examinations in August.

    Students who have been unable to complete alternative assessments in May/June, will be able to take the alternative assessment for 31 July 2021.

    However, if the alternative assessment is an online examination, this will take place online between 11-19th August and the date will be communicated to you by your module coordinator closer to the time.

Awarding of Marks

  • Why is the University not awarding marks based on work completed to date?

    To successfully complete your course, you must demonstrate that you have met all the course learning outcomes.

    Alternative assessments are being designed to ensure that you have the opportunity to pass all the essential learning outcomes for your course and to support you as you progress through your programme of study to a successful career.

  • Are there any changes in the arrangements in relation to plagiarism because of the other assessment variations in response to COVID-19?

    The current processes for dealing with all forms of cheating, including plagiarism, remain unchanged.

    If you are uncertain about these procedures, you can find details in the Policies and Procedures section of Student Administration pages.

  • When will I get my marks?

    Our staff continue to work exceptionally hard in delivering teaching online, to support you and to provide alternative assessments to enable you to continue to progress and graduate as planned.

    In that context, marking may take slightly longer than usual, but all coursework will be marked as soon as possible, however you should receive coursework marks within 20 days of submission.

    If you do not receive your mark within this timescale, please contact your module coordinator in the first instance.

    Module results will be released online on 9 July 2021.

    If you are retaking one or more pieces of assessment you can expect to receive the marks for resubmitted coursework or retaken examinations on 7 September 2021.

  • How do I know marking will be fair?

    All assessment continues to be marked and moderated by qualified staff and is subject to scrutiny by External Examiners.

  • What if I am not happy with the mark I receive?

    Whilst there is no appeal against academic judgement you have the right to appeal, in appropriate circumstances, against a decision of a Board of Examiners or a Faculty Board or a Campus Progress and Award Board.

    An appeal must be based either:

    • on evidence of extenuating circumstances relevant to your progress which in your view was not in the possession of the Board of Examiners when it made its decision (SA1 appeal)
    • on a procedural or other irregularity associated with the decision (SA2 appeal).

    Appeals must be submitted within seven working days of the publication of the Board of Examiners decision on the web.

  • How will be degree classification be calculated?

    The University changed the way it calculated degree classifications for all new entrants from 2018/19. Previously degree classifications had been based on 100% final year (level 6) marks.

    The new algorithm takes 30% of marks from level 5 (year 2 in a full-time course) and 70% from level 6.

    However, the University recognised the potential impact of the pandemic on student performance and if you are in your final year of study for an undergraduate degree, both algorithms will be applied to your results and you will receive the most favourable outcome.

Retakes and Reasonable Adjustments

  •  I am due to retake a module from Semester 1 / last year.  When will I retake it? 

    Alternative assessments have been set for students to retake in July/August where possible.

    Please see Blackboard Learn for details specific to your course.

    You can continue to contact your Module Coordinators and Course Director by email but please allow a little extra time for them to get back to you.

  • I have a piece of coursework which I have to re-sit/retake because I wasn’t able to submit on the due date. When do I have to resubmit coursework?

    All coursework being resubmitted should be submitted by 31 July and if you have submitted an ECI detailing the extenuating circumstances that prevented submission by the deadline you will be able to submit as for the first time for an uncapped mark.

  • I have a disability and I receive additional time or support to complete assessments.  Will I continue to get this support?

    Your Reasonable Adjustment Recommendations (RAR) will be taken into consideration by Course Directors and Module Coordinators when devising alternative arrangements for assessment.

    There will be different types of alternative assessment used across different courses and schools and if your existing adjustments cannot be accommodated for online assessment e.g., non-medical help (scribe, reader and prompters) your Course Director will contact you to discuss this.

    If you have any concerns about your ability to complete the mode of alternative assessment put in place by your course team, you should discuss this with your Course Director or Module Coordinator in the first instance.

    You can also discuss this with your AccessAbility Adviser in the Student Wellbeing team, although they will not have access to the course specific information.

    You can contact them via email or request a telephone appointment by emailing studentwellbeing@ulster.ac.uk

    If you are currently getting one to one support such as a Dyslexia Coach, Mental Health Mentor, Study Skills Coach or Notetaker this will continue remotely via Skype/Zoom etc where possible within your existing allocation of hours.

    If you have any issues with your one-to-one support, you should contact the Register of Support Providers on supportregister@ulster.ac.uk

  • What if I wish to defer/take Leave of Absence from my course?

    We recognise that for some students, this may be the preferred option and the usual procedures through which to apply for a deferral will continue to be available. The financial implications of any such decisions will vary, depending on your individual circumstances.

    The assessment options being made available are designed to avoid students unnecessarily incurring additional time and cost by having to extend their period of study, and to enable all Ulster University students to stay on track and complete their course within the normal timescale.

Summer 2021 Graduations

Graduation is a memorable milestone for our students and their families and an important event in the calendar for the wider University community too.

Over the past year we had to take the difficult decision to postpone physical graduation ceremonies and deliver virtual celebrations in recognition of our students’ achievements.

In the context of the pandemic and the restrictions that remain in place to keep our community safe, our approach remains the same as we prepare to celebrate with our students this summer.

Whilst we must delay holding physical graduation ceremonies for the class of 2021, we are committed to offering physical ceremonies for our graduating classes when it is safe to do so.

Although graduation is currently different, we will be working hard to deliver a special occasion for our summer 2021 graduands.  If you are final year student, you will be invited to share your views through our focus groups in partnership with UUSU to help inform our planning for this summer’s celebrations.

Further details will be available on our Graduation Website once the plans for summer 2021 are confirmed.

  • I am a final year student.  Will I still be able to graduate in July 2021?

    The graduation ceremony is a special milestone enjoyed each year by the whole University community. However, due to the extensive COVID-19 restrictions remaining in place, the University has decided that it must delay holding physical graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021.

    We appreciate that this is an important and treasured moment for graduates and their families and are actively reviewing options for offering physical ceremonies for our graduating classes in the future when it is safe to do so.

    The graduation ceremony itself it is not required for you to receive your degree from Ulster University.  Once you have successfully completed your studies, your degree will be awarded, whether physical ceremonies take place or not.

    All academic awards are conferred by the University Senate which is continuing to meet and to make all necessary decisions.

    For students eligible to graduate, your award will still be conferred in the summer, and information will be given in due course regarding the issue of your degree certificate and transcript.

  • With the NI Executive implementing its pathway to recovery, why is it not possible to run physical graduation ceremonies this summer?

    Our delivery of teaching and all aspects of university life is determined by the NI Executive guidance and regulations, and our plans are flexible so that we can be responsive.

    It remains unlikely that the pathway would accommodate or permit mass public gatherings by early summer and given the social distancing measures that would be most likely need to remain in place to keep us all safe.

    Whilst we understand that it is disappointing not to attend a physical ceremony, the safety and wellbeing of our students, their families, and our staff, is our top priority.

    We are committed to capturing student feedback and to working closely with the Students’ Union to plan a different, but still special, occasion for our graduating class of 2021.