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Regulations for the Undergraduate Final Year Project

Introduction

The Undergraduate Final Year Project (FYP) is central to the University’s commitment to providing research-led teaching and it provides students with an opportunity to develop independent problem-solving and research skills.

Whilst final year projects can take many forms across the discipline areas, all FYPs should contain an element of independent research and opportunity for student reflection and should involve training of research skills in the discipline. The output should demonstrate ability in generating intellectual and academic ideas and evidence of understanding their application.

General

1. These regulations and department-specific guidelines must be made available to students registered for the FYP. Departmental FYP guidelines should be provided in departmental handbooks and/or any other relevant documents, which must be kept up to date by departments on an annual basis.

2. These regulations and guidelines relate to ALL undergraduate FYPs.

3. Every undergraduate programme must include a FYP which is worth at least 10 credits at XJTLU level 3 (FHEQ level 6). The FYP is a single module that normally spans both semesters of Year 4 of the undergraduate degree. Students should devote at least 25% of their final year of study to their FYP, which is equivalent of 300 learning hours, and proportionally more time where the credit value of the FYP module is greater than 10.

4. The FYP is a compulsory module for the award of an XJTLU undergraduate degree. Therefore, students who fail the FYP are not eligible to receive the XJTLU degree. They would remain eligible to be considered for the University of Liverpool undergraduate degree in accordance with the ‘System for the Classification of Four-Stage University of Liverpool Undergraduate Degrees Undertaken at XJTLU’.

5. A re-sit opportunity, normally at the next ordinary sitting, must be provided for students who fail the FYP at the first attempt. In permitting an opportunity for re-sit, the Board of Examiners, after taking any advice necessary, must determine if the FYP should be re-submitted or a new FYP topic should be undertaken, and prescribe appropriate timescales for re-submission. No re-submission period should exceed the normal timescale for completing a FYP and should be consistent with making either minor modifications for re-submission of the existing FYP, or submission of a new FYP topic. It is expected that, under normal circumstances, re-submission of the existing FYP would be determined by the Board of Examiners.

6. The University expects that all final year projects will be conducted under the highest standards of research integrity. Final year projects involving human participants, human material or human data must be undertaken in a way that safeguards the dignity, rights, health, safety, and privacy of those involved. These safeguards are overseen by the University Research Ethics Review Panel.

Academic standards of the Final Year Project

7. Departments must publish their own qualitative marking descriptors for the FYP which must be aligned to the University’s undergraduate marks scale and marking descriptors. These are incorporated in the University’s Academic Policies and Procedures Handbook. The marking descriptors for the FYP will describe what each mark range represents in terms of student achievement in that particular subject.

Final Year Project Supervision

8. All final year UG students will be assigned at least one supervisor for their FYP with appropriate expertise in the subject of the FYP. Departments will decide how supervisors are assigned and are responsible for informing students of how this is done.

9. Where a student is studying on a joint-subject programme, belonging to two (or more) departments, the supervisor will normally be assigned from the department from which the student has chosen to undertake the FYP.

Responsibilities of supervisors

10. Supervisors must meet regularly with their supervisees, which is normally on a weekly basis. Whilst it is the responsibility of the student to make contact with their supervisor to agree meetings, supervisors must take all reasonable steps to encourage students to engage in the supervisory process. Reasonable steps include writing to students requesting meetings if the student has not made contact to arrange regular meetings and reporting non-engagement of students to the Head of Department, or nominee.

11. Supervisors are required to provide advice and guidance to students on progress made on the project and on specific aspects of the project. They are required to read drafts of chapters, log books and review any creative or design work produced and review interim reports or presentations, providing timely, detailed, written feedback.

12. Supervisors should provide advice and guidance to students on how to avoid committing plagiarism and other acts of academic misconduct such as collusion or fabrication of data, in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures.

13. Supervisors must advise students of all ethical issues surrounding their research project, and, where appropriate, they must ensure that students go through the process to obtain formal approval of the research by the University Research Ethics Review Panel, as outlined in the ‘Procedures for the Ethical Assessment of Undergraduate Final Year Projects Involving Human Research’ (Appendix C).

Responsibilities of students

14. Students are required to arrange regular meetings with their supervisors and should be prepared to discuss progress made since the previous meeting, outline plans for the next two or three weeks, and ask for advice on specific aspects of the project, as required.

15. The FYP submitted is the responsibility of the student and it must be the student’s own work. This does not prevent students engaging in group work in the initial stages of any project, where this is appropriate. Supervisors are not responsible for the submission of the project but act as advisor to the student.

16. If a student wishes to make a complaint about their supervisor, they should do so to their Head of Department in the first instance, in accordance with the University’s Student Complaints Procedure. Any complaint made by a student about a supervisor must be taken seriously, unless there is evidence to suggest that it is vexatious. In exceptional circumstances, such as a previously verified breakdown in relationship between the student and the supervisor, remedies should be sought, including finding a replacement supervisor. Where a student remains dissatisfied with any remedy provided by the department, they are entitled to escalate their complaint, in accordance with the Student Complaints Procedure.

Structure of the delivery of Final Year Project

17. The structure of delivery of the FYP, the timeline for submission of sub-components of the FYP and the deadlines for submission of interim reports and final submission will vary from department to department. An indicative structure, showing timelines against various activities can be found in Appendix A.

18. Whilst the structure of the FYP, timelines and various mechanisms for monitoring students’ progress through the FYP will vary, departments must provide the following:

  1. published information to students about how the FYP is structured and the timelines for various activities;
  2. an introductory talk to students describing how projects and supervisors are allocated, the timescales involved in completing the FYP and how they should engage with their supervisors and an explanation of how feedback will be given;
  3. at least one review of each project, normally at the end of semester one, which could be a review of an interim report or other appropriate mechanism;
  4. tailored additional support to students who are having difficulty in making satisfactory progress with their FYP;
  5. mandatory lectures on topics such as literature review, research design, data analysis, research methods and how students can avoid committing acts of academic misconduct such as plagiarism, fabrication of data and collusion with others;
  6. advice and guidance to all students about the need to obtain approval for their research by the University Research Ethics Review Panel, where appropriate.

Marking and Moderation

19. All components (items of assessment) contributing to the overall FYP must be double-marked in accordance with the University’s ‘Academic Protocol for Double-Marking’.

20. All FYPs are subject to internal moderation.

21. The process for double-marking including the use of a third marker must be undertaken in accordance with the Academic Protocol for Double-Marking.

22. The supervisor(s) of the FYP may be the first marker and, where this is the established practice in the department, care should be taken to ensure that there is consistency of this approach for all students, wherever possible.

23. For all summative marks, the marker(s) will use the University’s Assessment Form. A copy of this form can be found in Appendix B. This Assessment Form will be used to record marks and will assist in providing feedback to students and in the internal moderation process. Markers should be mindful of the fact that students will be entitled to see the Assessment Form used in the evaluation of their work.

 

Appendix A – Sample FYP structure and timeline

End of Year 3

Introductory lecture

 

Department holds a lecture for all students, outlining the aims of the final year project, and providing a description of the phases of the project, the character of supervision, and the assessment.

End of Year 3 or beginning of Semester

1, Year 4

 

Project Choice

 

Model A: Department identifies supervisors and projects, and invites students to express an interest in the projects.  Department assigns students to projects, taking into account as much as possible, student choice.

 

Model B: Department invites students to propose projects, and invites academic staff to express an interest in supervision. Department assigns students to projects, taking into account as much as possible, student choice.

 

In the case of programmes offered jointly, care will be taken to balance the workload appropriately amongst supervisors. Where the programme director cannot identify sufficient projects or supervisors that address student needs, the heads of department will be alerted and find a solution. 

 

The appropriate Board of Examiners for the final year project will normally be the Board of the department to which the supervisor belongs. Departments should consider the feasibility of offering more than one module code for final year projects in the final year.

Semester 1, Week 9

Project outline or specification 

10%

This specification (6-10 page, or as stipulated by the department) will provide a clear idea of what the project comprises, and include a well-defined plan showing how the project will be carried out. It should include a risk assessment, indicating the major challenges in carrying out the project, and what new skills will be required.

Both semesters

Log Book

Included in the assessment

of the final report

For some departments, students are required to keep a chronological log, detailing research and/or experiments undertaken

Semester 2, week 2

Interim Report or presentation

10%

As defined by department

Semester 2, week 13

Oral presentation

10%

Oral presentation, followed by a question and answer session.

Semester 2, week 14

Final report

70%

A final report, essay or dissertation of a length defined by the department.


NB. Appendices B and C are separate documents.

(Last review date: 18-Aug-2023)

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