Special syllabus requests

What is a special syllabus?

A special syllabus is a variation from the standard structure/modules of a course. It is needed where a student wants to take a particular module, usually a compulsory or core module, which does not appear in the standard structure of their new course, or where a student needs to be exempted from module requisites because of relevant prior learning. Where this is the case, and the department/school/centre is willing to support your request, they will advise you to submit an online form to request a special syllabus.

If you are considering submitting a special syllabus, there are some practical things that you need to consider first. There is different information for postgraduate research students.

Research your request

You should discuss your thoughts about a special syllabus with someone in your school/department/centre. If you want to add a module from outside of your current department, you should also speak to someone within the outside department.

Look into the module you wish to change to by looking at the module directory, talking to students on that module, and speaking to tutors.

If your special syllabus request is linked to a change of course you should also look at our Rules of Assessment for the new course to check whether there are any course-specific requirements which might mean that a special syllabus is not permitted.

Academic concerns

If you are considering changing module due to academic worries with your current module you might find it useful to seek academic support before changing modules.

Before submitting a special syllabus

This information applies to undergraduate and postgraduate taught students. Different information applies to postgraduate research students.

Before requesting a special syllabus you will need to complete your Module Enrolment process on the basis of what is already available to you. You must use the on-line system called eNROL to do this. Details of when eNROL is available to are on the Module Enrolment pages.

  • You must pick modules for all the components from the standard offer, including the component(s) where you wish to choose a special syllabus instead. You should pick the closest fit to what you want from the normally available modules.
  • Special syllabus requests are always subject to approval from the relevant department(s) and the Faculty Dean. If your special syllabus request is not approved, you will continue taking the standard module you have chosen on eNROL
  • Making a choice from the standard range of options ensures that you are registered for the correct number of modules even if your special syllabus is not approved, and that you do not have a credit shortfall which might result in you having to repeat the year or cause other issues with your progress. Essentially it ensures that you have a ‘back-up plan’.
  • If you have not completed standard module enrolment you will not be able to submit a special syllabus request form
  • Please note, once you have had a special syllabus approved in term, you will no longer have access to change optional modules via eNROL. 

How to submit a special syllabus

Once you have discussed your plans and decided that you want to change your modules via a special syllabus, and ensured that you have completed standard module enrolment as above, you will need to make a formal request using the online special syllabus form. In order to submit the form you need to be a registered student at our University.

To complete the form you will need to be able to give the full module code(s) for the module(s) you wish to study. There is a look-up and links on the form to help you with this, but it is still a good idea to check the correct module code with the relevant department before you start your request.

It is important to use the correct code, as it contains information not only about which module is wanted, but also the level at which it is being taught. Some modules are taught at different levels and you need to make sure you pick the right one. An explanation of module codes is on the Module Directory pages.

Your request will be considered by your department, and the new department if your requested module is within a different department, and the relevant dean. The department(s) will consider the reason for your request and your suitability to study the requested module (prerequisites, corequisites and antirequisites, as well as any assignments or assessments)

If any of the relevant departments do not approve your request you will receive an e-mail to explain this.

Types of change and deadlines

Students should submit their special syllabus requests within the first 2 weeks of the term in which they are wanting to make the change, e.g., Autumn or Spring, and while all requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, if you make a request outside of the first two weeks it is less likely to be approved than one submitted earlier because you may have missed too much the teaching.

If your special syllabus is approved after the first two weeks of the term, it is your responsibility to catch up on anything you may have missed and to meet any conditions set by the department related to the change.

Whether a late request can be approved will depend on the type of request and will take into account the assignment deadlines for the module(s) involved.

If you have already submitted summative work in the module you wish to drop, the special syllabus request will normally be rejected because it can be considered to be circumventing the Rules of Assessment.

Changes involving a change of course

Scenario: You successfully complete the first year of course A but want to change to a specially approved version of course B, which requires a special syllabus to change one or more of your modules.

You will need to submit your request for a special syllabus after your request to change course has already been approved. The request will be carefully considered by the department and the Deputy Dean (Education) for the faculty. If you submit a special syllabus before, this will be put on hold until the Change of Course has been approved.

Professional accreditation considerations

If your course is subject to professional accreditation you may still be able to request a special syllabus, but you need to be aware of any professional body requirements including any limitations on what modules or pass requirements are required on top of the University's own rules.

You should contact your department/school/centre with any questions about professional body requirements.

Special Syllabus Approval

You will receive a confirmation email if your special syllabus has been approved. Special syllabus request can often take around 2 weeks to be approved, because of the number of Departments involved in the request. Therefore, we encourage you to submit your request as soon as possible, so as not to impact on your studies too much.

Please remember you must still attend all your current modules, as well as your intended module, while your special syllabus is considered, otherwise you may fall behind if your request is not approved. 

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