UCD

User's Guide to the General Regulations:

2017 / 2018 Academic Session
Your Path is: Home / Semesters and Workload

What is a semester?

The taught programmes of the University will normally be based on two teaching semesters, Autumn and Spring.  Semesters are 15 weeks long and are broken down as follows:

  • 12 weeks of teaching and learning
  • 1 week of revision
  • 2 weeks of revision and assessment

(General Regulations 2.1, 2.2)

 

Can a module be longer than a semester?

All teaching, learning and assessment activity associated with a module will normally be completed during one formal semester (i.e., during the 15 weeks).  However, it is recognised that certain activities, such as field work, clinical teaching, professional or work experience, may take place outside, or be spread across, the formal semesters.  This will be permitted, subject to the approval of the University Programmes Board.  
(General Regulations 2.1, 2.2)

Modules may be a year long (i.e. delivered over more than one semester) in very exceptional circumstances where there are clear educational reasons.  These must be approved by the University Programmes Board.  Approval of the University Programmes Board is not required to offer graduate taught dissertation and research project modules over more than one semester or in the summer term.
(General Regulation 2.1)

What does student workload refer to?

Student workload is the amount of time spent by students on university study. It includes both scheduled contact time (lectures, tutorials, laboratories, workshops, etc.) and individual (or group) study. It is measured through the allocation of credits.

 

  • Where a Programme Board determines that the overall workload for a particular student in a particular semester or academic session is unsustainable, the Programme Board will require such a student to adjust their workload.


Student workload vs. student effort:
student effort refers to all time a student spends on a module (General Regulation 1.2) and student workload refers to the overall time, measured through the allocation of credits, a student spends (on all their modules) in a semester and academic session. (General Regulation 2.3)

 

 

What is the expected workload for a full-time undergraduate student?

The normal workload for a full-time undergraduate student is 60 credits in a standard two-semester session.  That is normally broken down into 30 credits or six 5-credit modules each semester. 
(General Regulation 2.3.1) 

 

 

There is some flexibility in this workload insofar as that full-time undergraduate students may pursue a greater or lesser number of credits per semester.   The table below outlines the minimum and maximum credit allowances per semester and per academic year for full-time students. 

 

   Credits per semester  Total Credits per academic year
Minimum   20  50
Maximum  40  70*


*Undergraduate Programmes that exceed the 70 credit/year maximum must be approved by the University Programmes Board.


In certain prescribed circumstances a Programme Board may permit exceptions to the minimum and maximum workload requirements.

Permission may be given to a full-time student to register to less than 20 credits in a given semester where this is necessary to facilitate completion of a degree programme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happens if a full-time undergraduate student cannot take at least 20 credits in one semester or a total of 50 credits per academic year?

Permission may be given to a full-time undergraduate student to register to less than 20 credits in a given semester where this is necessary to facilitate completion of a degree programme. In all other cases, a student taking less than 20 credits in one semester or 50 credits per year must register as a part-time student.
(General Regulation 2.3.1)

What is the expected workload for a part-time undergraduate student?

Undergraduate students that are registered to a programme on a part-time basis must register to and attempt modules equivalent to a minimum of 15 credits each semester unless exempt from this restriction by the Programme Board. 
(General Regulation 2.3.2)

What is the expected workload for a full-time graduate student?

The normal workload for a full-time graduate student is 30 credits per semester/term, up to a maximum of 90 credits in a full calendar year.

(General Regulation 2.3.3)

There is some flexibility in this workload in that full-time graduate taught students may pursue a greater or lesser number of credits per semester.   Students may take a minimum of 20 credits and a maximum of 40 credits per semester, subject to the approval of the relevant Programme Board.

What is the expected workload for a part-time graduate student?

Graduate students registered to a programme on a part-time basis must register to and attempt modules equivalent to a minimum of 30 credits per academic session, i.e. a minimum of 30 credits across a calendar year, unless exempt from this restriction by the Programme Board.
(General Regulation 2.3.4)

Can students earn credit for taking additional modules?

A student may register for additional modules beyond the normal requirements of their programme, provided they do not exceed the acceptable course loads noted above (i.e. 40 credits in a single semester, 70 credits in a two-semester session, and 90 credits in a calendar year). 

 

These additional modules can either be:

  • Programme modules (from the approved programme of study); or
  • Extra credit modules (non-programme modules that are essentially electives).

 

(General Regulations 2.3.1, 2.3.2 and 5.15.9)

 

A student will receive credit for any additional modules that are completed and passed.  However, only credit from programme modules can be accumulated towards the award of the degree. Note also that the University will levy an additional tuition fee on students taking extra credit.

(General Regulation 5.15.9)

 

Will students have to pay for additional modules?

Yes.  Students will be charged for these additional modules on a per module basis.

For more information on fees, please see:
http://www.ucd.ie/registry/adminservices/fees/index.html
(General Regulation 5.15.9)

 

Will these additional modules count towards a student’s GPA?

he student's transcript and Diploma Supplement will show grades for all modules taken, and credit will be awarded for all modules completed and passed, including additional modules. However, only programme modules will count towards the Stage GPA and Award GPA.

(General Regulation 5.15.9)

 

 

Auditing Modules

Students can register for modules for audit, including where they are already registered to take the maximum amount of credits permissible. Where a student registers to a module for audit:

  • The student can attend the module,
  • However, she/he is not required to take any assessment associated with the module,
  • They are not awarded credit or a grade for the module, and
  • The module will not appear on either the transcript or Diploma Supplement.

 

The School decides which modules can be taken for audit, permitted on a space-available basis. Students should contact the relevant Module Co-ordinator to request permission to audit a module.

(General Regulations 1.2.1)

 

For further information on auditing modules and how to register for a module for audit, please contact the relevant Programme Office or Graduate School Office. 

Contact details for Programme Offices can be found at: http://www.ucd.ie/programmeoffices.htm

Contact details for Graduate School Offices can be found at: http://www.ucd.ie/graduatestudies/collegesandschools/  

Can students register for multiple programmes?

Normally, students may not be registered full-time and concurrently to more than one programme within the University, and may not be registered full-time to a programme within the University while registered full-time to a programme outside the University.

With the approval of the relevant programme boards, students may be registered part-time and concurrently to a maximum of two programmes, or may be registered part-time to a maximum of one additional programme while registered full-time to another programme. Students may undertake CPD activity while registered full-time or part-time to a programme.

In all instances of dual registration the student must obtain the agreement of the relevant programme boards overseeing both programmes (or CPD activity) and the request for dual registration must be submitted on behalf of the student to the University Programmes Board for noting, and the student shall be subject to the provisions on workload contained in General Regulation 2.3*. Any exception to these provisions requires the approval of the University Programmes Board.
(General Regulation 2.7)

In instances where students are registered concurrently to more than one programme, and with a view to ensuring that the student successfully completes both programmes, it is important for students to be cognisant of the associated workload demands. Registration to multiple programmes may not be used as a rationale for applying for extenuating circumstances in the context of either programme.

 

* With regard to General Regulation 2.3 and the provisions on workload please see the following User's Guide FAQs:

  • What does student workload refer to?
  • What is the expected workload for a full-time undergraduate student?
  • What is the expected workload for a part-time undergraduate student?
  • What is the expected workload for a full-time graduate student?
  • What is the expected workload for a part-time graduate student?

 

What must a student do to obtain a leave of absence?

If a student wishes to obtain a leave of absence from the University, he or she must apply to the Programme Board (for undergraduate programmes) or Graduate School Board (for graduate programmes) for permission, in advance of the leave of absence.

Retrospective leave of absence is not normally permitted. However, a student may apply for retrospective leave of absence to the Programme Board (for undergraduate programmes) or Graduate School Board (for graduate programmes).

(General Regulation 2.5).

Also, please refer to the Policy on Leave of Absence for further information on applying for a leave of absence and the possible implications of same.

 

 

 

What happens if a student wishes to withdraw from their programme?

Where a student wishes, before they have completed their programme, to withdraw permanently from their programme and from the University they must notify, in writing, the Programme Board (for undergraduate programmes) or Graduate School Board (for graduate programmes).

(General Regulation 2.6)

Further information on withdrawing, including other options and applying for re-admission, can be found in the UCD Withdrawal Procedure.