Academic matters - Undergraduates
All students admitted to the College have been chosen in academic competition by the College Tutors in their subject, who will be involved in their teaching throughout the course. It is the start of a relationship much valued at Oxford.
What is expected of you
All undergraduates are required to maintain a ‘satisfactory academic performance’ while on course.
This means that students will:
(i) Keep the residence requirements laid down by the University except where formal permission is obtained from the Senior Tutor in advance.
(ii) Pass the First Public Examination by, at least, the second attempt.
(iii) Attend all tutorials, classes, lectures and other required academic engagements, including practicals, except where permission is obtained, preferably in advance, from the tutor(s) concerned. In particular, students are expected to attend start-of-term and end-of-term meetings with their tutors (as required). If you are prevented from attendance by illness or other urgent cause, please tell your tutor as soon as possible (preferably in advance).
(iv) Maintain open and honest communication with tutor(s), College Officers and College staff at all times.
(v) Produce all academic work with the regularity required by the tutor(s), except where permission is obtained, preferably in advance, from the tutor(s) concerned.
(vi) Sit one or more collections (College Examinations) at the beginning of each term, as required.
(vii) Produce work of a standard commensurate with their individual ability and circumstances and appropriate to the stage they have reached in their course. In most cases this will be of at least 2.1 standard and continued work of a low 2.2 standard, or below, may trigger the College’s academic monitoring procedures (see appendix 4).
Students are expected to recognize that they are engaged in full-time study, and other activities (sporting, social or work experience) should not be prioritised above academic work.
Academic work during vacations
In vacation: Our formal terms are only eight weeks long, so you need to do substantial academic work on your own in each vacation according to your tutors’ guidance.
What else you do in the vacation is your own affair, so long as it has no detrimental effect on this academic work and on any vacation assignments set.
If you find that the financial pressure to do paid work in the vacations is preventing serious academic work, you should apply for help from the Loans & Grants Committee (financial assistance).
A conscientious commitment to academic work is expected throughout a student’s time here and is a condition of continued membership of the College.
Participation in an academic community, both at Wadham and at the University, is designed to enable students to fulfil their intellectual potential and, as such, students are admitted as active citizens who have both responsibilities and duties towards a shared goal. All students should therefore produce work of a standard appropriate to their particular level of academic ability and attend all tutorials and classes fully prepared. This means participating in tutorials to their full potential, as well as producing evidence of preparation and written work carried out before the tutorials and classes which their tutors consider to be completely satisfactory in both quality and quantity.
Any request to re-arrange a tutorial time can only be accommodated in exceptional circumstances, and at the discretion of individual tutors. Students are further reminded of the common courtesies expected of them in classes and lectures, and are asked that where they wish to use electronic or smart devices in classes for genuine academic purposes (e.g. note-taking) they request permission from the tutor beforehand.
Normally admission to Wadham indicates that a student is judged intellectually capable of securing a 2:1, or better, at the end of their course and, unless there are mitigating circumstances, this is the level of work to which all students should consistently aspire.
Progress is checked regularly, by tutors in weekly tutorials and termly examinations (‘collections’). You will be kept informed of how you are doing by your tutors throughout the term and, more formally, at end-of-term report meetings.
‘Collection’ is the term used for two distinct events: internal College examinations and a structured discussion with the Warden.
(i) An internal College examination
All undergraduates may be required to sit collections in the week before term. These examinations normally take place on the Friday and Saturday of that week and are usually set on the work covered during the previous term and/or vacation. Collections may be set at any other time if the Tutorial Board or an Academic Panel requires it.
Collections sat at the beginning of a term will be returned with marks and feedback as soon as possible in the term in which they are sat; in the case of those taking University examinations in that term this will be before the end of 2nd week. Where the return is going to be delayed until the later parts of term, tutors are expected to warn students of this.
(ii) A structured discussion with the Warden
The Warden meets every undergraduate at least once in each academic year for a structured discussion about academic issues and, more broadly, about College life.
Coping with problems
If you have a problem affecting your academic work, you should take the earliest opportunity to talk it over.
In the first instance, it is best to discuss matters with the subject tutor concerned. If for any reason this is difficult, then there are other lines open for obtaining help and advice: the Senior Tutor, the Tutor for Undergraduates, the Welfare Dean, the Chaplain or the Welfare Advisor (see Health and Welfare). Tutors well understand difficulties with work caused by ill health or personal problems, and will be willing to make reasonable adaptations accordingly. Wadham’s chaplain is appointed in part for their ability to assist in this way, and their assistance is forthcoming irrespective of creed or its absence. However, you must realise that your degree depends on reaching a defined standard in University examinations, and this ultimate requirement cannot be reduced by tutors. If a student’s problems are too complex for the student and tutors to solve alone, the Tutor for Undergraduates may appoint an Academic Panel in order to formulate solutions.
Academic monitoring and discipline
If a student’s work or attendance is unsatisfactory on grounds not entirely covered by or other than those envisaged above, then the tutor will give an informal warning.
If a student’s work or attendance is unsatisfactory on grounds not entirely covered by or other than those envisaged above (see ‘Coping with problems’), then the tutor will bring this to their attention through informal discussion and by taking reasonable measures as they see fit.
If deficiencies are not then made good voluntarily, the College has more prescriptive procedures to attain the same goal. Resort to formal means of dealing with persistently inadequate work is rarely found to be necessary, but if a student’s academic performance is deemed to be inadequate, then this may trigger Stage Two of the Academic Monitoring Procedures.
Formal action starts with a report from the tutor(s) to the Tutor for Undergraduates. The Tutor for Undergraduates will usually be able to resolve the situation by meeting with the student and perhaps initiating a period of monitoring in the form of fortnightly reports from the student's tutors. Occasionally a student will be issued with a formal warning, or be required to appear before an Academic Panel. Anyone subject to such formal proceedings is issued with details of the procedure and of their obligations and rights (including the rights of appeal). For further information about the Academic Monitoring Procedures, please see appendix 4.
Occasionally, a problem with academic work may cause a student to feel unfairly treated or inadequately helped by a tutor. It is always best to talk this through with the person concerned, or, failing this, with another tutor in your subject. If, for any reason, neither recourse is possible, the Senior Tutor or the Tutor for Undergraduates is always willing to listen sympathetically and in confidence, and to advise or to mediate personally if this seems appropriate. This is part of their job. If a direct approach seems too daunting, an SU officer or the Chaplain may be in a position to offer support and may attend any meeting if you so wish, provided confidentiality can be safeguarded.
Support from Graduate Study Advisors
The College has four Graduate Study Advisors who can provide undergraduates with guidance on study skills; this will not be subject specific, but they can help with issues such as organising your reading productively, planning essays or getting to grips with statistical analysis.
Each of the four GSAs covers a particular set of subjects and holds office hours each week. If you would like to arrange a half-hour meeting with them, please visit the Study Advice webpage and e-mail them directly.
The College takes a very serious view of plagiarism. While tutors recognise that it can take time to learn how properly to present the ideas of other authors, it will not tolerate such practices as the submission, as a student’s own work, of essays or other material from the internet, the purchase of material from other students, the un attributed copying of material from other students or from books or journals, or the representation of the work of others as one’s own.
Suspected cases of such practices will be referred to the Senior Tutor and the Tutor for Undergraduates and may lead to serious academic and/or other sanctions. Students should familiarise themselves with the University guidance at http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/goodpractice/.
Disabilities, dyslexia and specific learning difficulties
If a disability (whether a physical disability, a mental health condition or a specific learning difficulty) means that you have particular requirements, it is helpful for the College to know this as soon as possible so that it can support you, both academically and in terms of any domestic needs.Accessibility guide Disability support Disability advisory service Common Framework on Disability
You are therefore encouraged to discuss any condition with the Senior Tutor, Academic Administrator, Domestic Bursar, or your tutors, as appropriate. Whilst disclosure might be recommended, all officers will respect confidentiality as far as safety allows.
Alternative Examination Arrangements
It is important that all students who have received extra time in previous examinations, for example for dyslexia, advise the Academic Administrator (email@example.com) in their first term: an application has to be made for similar dispensation in any University examination.
Read Wadham's equality policy (Appendix 8).
Undergraduates read for, to use the local terminology, a ‘First Public Ex amination’ (FPE) and, if successful, proceed to a ‘Final Honour School’ (FHS).
The courses and examinations are defined and organised by the appropriate faculties within the University, and set out in the University Examination Regulations available here: http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/examregs/. Make sure you are familiar with all relevant parts of it. Note that changes are made from year to year and be sure to consult the version relevant to your 'start date'. In some subjects the regulations are supplemented by more detailed statements circulated to students by the appropriate Faculty.
Entering for University examinations
Several months before you are due to sit an exam you will be e-mailed by the University and asked to confirm which papers you will be sitting by completing an online form. Failure to respond to this request for information by the specified deadline will be penalised: at the least, a fine levied by the University, at worst, exclusion from the exams in question. In most cases, late applications for dispensations will not be considered by the university.
Illness affecting examinations
If your work before, or during, a University examination is affected by illness or other exceptional circumstance, the Senior Tutor or Academic Administrator should be informed immediately so that the examiners can be notified in good time. A medical certificate, signed by a College Doctor, is required.
The First Public Examination
This consists of either a Preliminary Examination (‘Prelims’) or Moderations (‘Mods’) or (in Medicine) the First BM Part 1, and for most subjects takes place at the end of the first year. All undergraduates (apart from those with Senior Status) are required to pass in order to stay in Oxford and go on to a Final Honour School (‘Schools’ or ‘Finals’). Failure is unusual, as befits our entrance standards; when it does happen it suggests severe difficulties with the course, and indicates that a student may not be suitable to continue. The student may therefore be advised informally that to remain here would be a pointless ordeal. It is sometimes possible then for tutors to help find a place for a fresh start at another university. In any event, students are advised to talk, in the first instance, to their tutors.
All those who have failed the First Public Examination have their cases considered by the Tutor for Undergraduates (or Senior Tutor in their stead). Normally one re-sit will be allowed to those who have failed the Examination. The Tutor for Undergraduates may also set conditions, including collections, beyond that of passing the re-sit. Students are invited to write to the Tutor for Undergraduates to explain their case and may appeal against any decision. Students are advised to consult the College’s Academic Monitoring Procedures for further information.
Final Honour Schools and other examinations
Most students sit a single set of final examinations at the end of their course. Some subjects, however, mainly in the Sciences, have split finals, and other intermediate examinations. An Academic Panel may be summoned to consider the cases of students who perform badly in (this would normally translate as having an average university standardized mark below 40), or fail, any of these University examinations in their second year, or in the third year of a four-year course.
Providing feedback on teaching in College
The College hopes that its students will talk freely to their tutors about their education.
Students are encouraged to say what parts of the course they have particularly enjoyed or have found difficult, for example, and to offer any suggestions they may have that will help a subject or an individual tutor provide better tuition for undergraduates in the future. To a large extent this happens best informally; however, if a student feels awkward about approaching a tutor directly, they may wish to talk, instead, to the Senior Tutor or the Tutor for Undergraduates.
The College also asks students to provide written feedback and self-assessment regularly during their course. If a student so chooses, comments on the feedback form will be passed to their tutor(s) only in an anonymized form. A student should bear in mind, however, that it may be easier for a tutor to find an effective way to act on these comments if students identify themselves, or if students raise the issues with their tutor(s) directly. The regular submission of self-assessment forms enhances the value of end-of-term report meetings with tutors, and aids a students’ academic development in general.
Students will receive an invitation via email to complete feedback and self-assessment questionnaires at regular points throughout their course. It is expected that students will fill in these feedback and self-assessment forms at least once a year.
Changes to your course
Undergraduates are admitted specifically for a particular subject, but a request to change course may be considered.
For the College to agree, tuition must be available, and the tutors concerned must be satisfied that the applicant is sufficiently well qualified and strongly motivated to do well at the proposed subject. Changes are not usually permitted into courses for which the College does not admit students. Changes are usually not possible where a significant part of the new course, or a necessary University examination, has been missed, so a student considering a transfer should consult the relevant tutors at the earliest possible stage. If the First Public Examination in the student’s present subject is imminent, being allowed to change will normally depend on doing well in it.
The first rule if you are thinking of changing course is to act swiftly - the passage of time will only make it more difficult. Secondly, while an informal approach to a tutor in the subject to which you are thinking of moving is entirely appropriate, if you decide to apply to change subject, then you should write to the Tutor for Undergraduates with your request, and you should ensure that your present tutors are aware of your doing so. A decision on whether or not to approve the change will be made by the Tutorial Board and will only be given with the approval of the tutors in the subject into which a student is moving, the tutors of the subject from which the student is moving, and the Tutor for Undergraduates.
Moving from 4-year to 3-year courses
A decision to take either a 3- or 4-year course, in subjects where the choice is possible on-course, is taken as unalterable after 4th week of the Michaelmas Term of the third year, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Withdrawal and suspension
Students who are considering withdrawing from their course, or who might wish to investigate the possibility of suspending their studies for a specified period of time should talk to their tutors and to the Tutor for Undergraduates at the first opportunity.
Suspension is normally agreed only on medical grounds, and after very careful consideration. Grounds for suspension may include ill-health, pregnancy, childcare commitments, or exceptional personal circumstances. The University rule is that candidates will not normally be admitted to its final examinations after the lapse of more than three extra terms. Students are advised to consult the College’s Guidelines on Suspension for further information.
Withdrawal from Examinations
Permission to withdraw from exams will only be given by the Senior Tutor in cases where there is immediate and urgent cause and students should not assume that permission to defer exams to a subsequent year will be granted. The College is not able to guarantee that accommodation will be available during the period of any deferred exams, nor would permission to return on-course (for revision etc.) prior to such exams be likely to be granted.
Terms of undergraduate suspension
A variety of grants are available to undergraduate students. Details of all funds and application forms are available on the Undergraduate Finance page. Summary overview below:
Vacation residence grants
If you are advised by your tutor to stay in Oxford during vacation in order to study or if you are required to stay for examinations, then some help with your extra costs may be available from the College. [Undergraduate students are eligible, with the exception of students reading for Second BM]. Application forms are available on the College website here .
Each application may be in respect of periods of up to 14 days. Applications must be authorised in advance by a tutor who also has to certify, after the vacation, that the work has been done in Oxford as claimed. Applications should be sent to the Accommodation Officer by Saturday of week 2 in the term following the vacation stay.
The College has a number of funds to support students in their academic work and encourages students to apply for awards from these funds. This includes, but is not limited to, support towards the cost of course related travel abroad, such as the year abroad for language students, the elective period for students of Clinical Medicine, and compulsory field trips. The application deadline is Friday of week 5 in each term. Applications are made to the Finance Office. Please familiarise yourself with the funds available and how to apply by reading the information here and here .
For language students, it may be possible to receive a reimbursement of 50% of their OPAL course fees – please see details on how to apply here.
Thanks to the generosity of Lord and Lady Moser, the Warden has funds at his disposal to support study of music or the visual arts by students not reading for degrees in these subjects. Help may be available for lessons or to visit exhibitions, for example, but not to support performances. Apply to the Warden, who will consult your tutor.
Please note that Wadham Travel grants are intended for non course related travel with a serious educational or cultural purpose. The application deadline is Friday of 11th week in Hilary Term. Applications are made to the Academic Office. Successful applicants are required to write short accounts of their travels (about 1,000 words) and submit them to the Academic Office in the first week of the term following the trip. If a grant is not thus accounted for, or if it has been used for purposes other than those for which it was given, the College will require repayment. Please see details of funds and how to apply here.
If you find yourself in a situation of financial difficulty, or anticipate having such difficulties, you should arrange to meet with the Finance Bursar or Domestic Bursar as soon as possible. In the first instance, please contact the Finance Bursar’s PA Katarina Bjurstedt for an appointment (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can find details about the options available to students in cases of financial hardship by clicking the link below and reading the section entitled ‘Financial problems’:
College prizes and scholarships
Wadham College offers a variety of scholarships as well as prizes to reward academic success.Funding support
Scholarships and Exhibitions
Scholarships are awarded on the basis of tutors' nominations in recognition of continuous work of a first-class standard, and for distinguished performance in the First Public Examination. Since Michaelmas Term 2015 the College has also made annual awards of Exhibitions for undergraduates. Students will be elected to Exhibitions, on tutors' nomination, on the basis of tutors' discernment of performance at an appropriately high level. Scholarships and Exhibitions are each held for one year only. Fresh nominations and elections are made each year. Full details of the College's policy on Scholarships and Exhibitions can be found in the Appendices to the Student Handbook.
College prizes – examination prizes
The College has a number of prizes which are awarded for outstanding performance in University Examinations:
• First Class in Finals (£100)
• First Class in MMath and MMath Joint Schools (£75)
• First Class or Distinction in Mods or Prelims (£75)
• Distinction in First BM Part II (£75)
In addition, the College also awards a number of named college prizes or examination results in certain subjects. These include:
• The Collington Prize for the best performance in Mods or Prelims in a science subject
• Prize in Maths for the best performance in Finals with a Maths component
• Prize in Philosophy for the best performance in Finals with a Philosophy component
• The Eshag Prize for the best performance in PPE Finals
• Ockenden Prizes for best FPE performances in German and Russian
• The Peter Carter Prize for best performance in FHS Law
• Rex Warner Prize in Classics for best FPE performance in Classics and related joint schools
• Derow Prize in Classics for best FHS performance in Classics and related joint schools
• Christina Howells Prize for best FHS performance in French and related joint schools
• Sukumar Prize for best final-year performance in Physics and related joint schools
• Corcoran Prize for best FPE performance in Maths and related joint schools
• Penrose Prize for best performance in second-year Maths and related joint school exams
• Woodhouse Prize for best performance in third-year Maths and related joint school exams
• Keith Dyke Prize for best performance in Part I exams for FHS in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Cheney Prize for Essays in Arts and Social Sciences and College Prize for Essays in Sciences and Mathematics
The College awards these two prizes for written work of exceptional merit in either the Arts and Social Sciences or Sciences and Mathematics. For details of when and how to apply and the competition rules, please see College website.
Rex Warner Prize for Prose, Poetry and Translation
The Rex Warner Prize is awarded for any creative writing (prose or poetry) or translation. For details of when and how to apply and the competition rules, please see College website.
The Birkenhead Prize for skill in public debate
Students will be invited to book onto a ceremony at the start of their final year. Once this has been confirmed by the University, the College will contact students about practical arrangements.Graduation
Going on to postgraduate work
If, by your final year, you wish to read for a higher degree or diploma at Oxford or elsewhere, you should first consult your tutors. The College is usually pleased to continue the membership of a Wadham student accepted by the University for postgraduate work here but is unable to reserve places for Wadham undergraduates, who are thus advised to apply early.
Admission to Oxford’s postgraduate courses is decided by the appropriate Faculty, Sub-Faculty, or Department committee, to which applications are forwarded by the Graduate Studies Office, Wellington Square. Applicants should inform the Academic Office of their intention if they wish to continue at Wadham.
Transcripts should be ordered from the University. On-course transcripts will show your academic achievement to date but will not include a final classification.Student status and transcripts