Guidance for Cross-School/Faculty programmes, including Joint Honours
Updated September 2021. For a full PDF version of this guidance document, please see below:
The aim of this document is to provide guidance for cross-School/Faculty programmes including joint honours programmes. The guidance has been compiled drawing on current practice across the University.
For programmes where the two subject areas fall within one School, many of the guidelines here will not apply, though in some cases, ‘School’ can be replaced by ‘discipline group’ (or equivalent) within a School.
For programmes which cross between Schools, the term ‘admitting School’ is used for the School which bears administrative responsibility, and ‘partner School’ refers to the other School which forms part of the cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programme.
Below is a list of principles intended to aid the smooth operation of cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programmes:
- Responsibility for each cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programme normally should rest with the admitting School.
- Each cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programme should be allocated a Programme Director and named administrative support, normally within the admitting School.
- For programmes which span more than one School, there should be at least one academic and one administrative/PS staff member) in the partner School who has special responsibility for the programme and who acts as the main contact for the Programme Director in the admitting School.
- Ideally there should be one dedicated handbook for any cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programme. Should there be an instance where one handbook is not feasible, then the Administrator in the admitting School will be responsible for ensuring that handbooks are exchanged with the contact person in the partner School in good time to allow comments to be made and acted upon before the final version is printed/published online. Both handbooks must make explicit mention of the cross-School/Faculty joint honours and the programme handbook from the admitting School must contain detailed information about the structure of the programme.
- The admitting School should be responsible for putting the information together, ensuring that relevant information from the partner School is included. A draft version of the handbook should be sent to the contact staff members in the partner School in good time to allow comments and any amendments to be made before the final version is published.
- Each cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programme should be the responsibility of a programme committee, usually within the admitting School. Alternatively, there can be a separate programme committee with equal representation between the two Schools. It is not considered necessary to have a separate programme committee for each cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programme; rather the programme can be dealt with by an already established programme committee so long as each programme can be given sufficient consideration.
- Changes to programmes should be dealt with by the relevant programme committee and, if necessary, communicated to the partner School immediately. The partner School must communicate smaller changes, i.e. changes to reading lists, etc, to the admitting School, so that these can be communicated to students.
- It should be the partner School’s responsibility to enter the exam results onto Campus Solutions so these results are immediately accessible to the admitting School.
- Exam Boards can be arranged in a parallel way to the programme committee, either as a cross-School/Faculty or joint honours committee or as part of the Exam Board of the admitting School. In the latter case, the contact person in the Partner School should be invited to attend the Exam Board. The responsibility for decisions relating to progression, graduation and degree classification rests with the Exam Board. If this Board sits within the admitting School, then that School has the final power of decision. In order to ensure consistency, decisions relating to mitigating circumstances relating to specific course units should be taken by the mitigating circumstances panel based in the admitting School.
- It is important that there is appropriate representation at Exam Boards to ensure each student is fairly represented. Partner Schools should always be represented at the ‘admitting School’s’ Exam Boards where decisions are taken about the progression of students on cross-School or Faculty programmes.
- Cross-School/Faculty and joint honours students should have an allocated academic adviser. Advisers would normally be allocated from the admitting School, but each student should also have a named contact person in the partner School.
- During induction, first year students should have the opportunity to have a meeting in both Schools and the timing of the two meetings should be communicated between the Programme Director and administrator, and the contact person in the partner School, in order to avoid clashes.
It may be that some students of cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programmes may lack the sense of belonging to a School experienced by students based in a single School/Faculty or single honours students. Anything that can be done to mitigate this and aid retention is encouraged. Drawing on existing good practice across the University, the following may help to ensure this:
- Where possible, cross-School/Faculty and joint honours students should be given the opportunity to engage with a peer mentor who is a student enrolled on a cross-School/Faculty or joint honours programme themselves. It is proved that peer mentors can be of considerable help especially in induction week and during registration, a process which can be more complex for cross-School/Faculty and joint honours students.
- For larger cross-School/Faculty and joint honours programmes, a dedicated induction programme, introductory library tour and separate staff-student meetings may be necessary.