Progression within the curriculum and learning outcomes

The principle of progression has been designed into the curriculum. The compulsory modules delivered in the first semester are designed to provide a foundation for all students on the programme irrespective their choice of pathway. These modules generate subject knowledge and understanding, and provide students with the opportunity to develop disciplinary and professional skills, as well as transferable skills that are essential for successful study. In each of the compulsory modules (each representing 10 M level credits), students are given the opportunity to work on assignments relating to publishing in different formats and different platforms (e.g. books, magazines, CD-ROM, online).

Three alternative compulsory modules (each representing 10 M level credits) focus on publishing specialisms which include: books, magazines and newspapers.

A choice of an acceptable module (representing 10 M level credits) out of two options completes the first semester studies.

After completing 6 modules (each representing 10 M level credits) students have accumulated 60 M level credits and may exit with a PGCert (OBU/MSUPA).

In the second semester students take a further four modules: three alternative compulsory and one acceptable (again representing 10 M level credits each). Students must choose an additional module from the three available acceptable modules, and this enables specialist expertise to be developed according to the student’s needs and personal interests. All students for MA are required to take the compulsory module on New Product Development (20 M level credits).

After completing the modules of the second semester and dissertation module that includes research methods training students exit with:

MA (OBU) / PGDip (MSUPA) in Publishing

As students progress through the programme, greater emphasis is placed on independent learning, more complex problem solving, and research orientated tasks. Learning outcomes in each module have been written with reference to appropriate level descriptors.

All of the learning outcomes specified in the profile are taught, practised and assessed within the compulsory and alternative compulsory modules, whilst acceptable modules are used to broaden and deepen students’ achievement of the learning outcomes. Appendices show how learning outcomes are mapped across the programme.

Assessment criteria

Level M descriptors

Level M, or Master’s level, modules are assessed according to assessment criteria that expect students to have achieved a standard of learning that goes beyond the advanced, or undergraduate level. At a Master’s level, students will have acquired a very high level of technical and professional skill, and have a highly developed understanding and knowledge of their application in publishing. They will be able to create and sustain complex research projects informed by knowledge and understanding of developments at the forefront of publishing. They will also be able to manage effectively their own learning, and be able to challenge the limits of their own learning.

Additionally, students will be able to:

• apply the methods and techniques they have learned to consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, to analyse and evaluate effective strategic options and to initiate and complete complex and innovative projects

• critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete); formulate hypotheses and articulate research methods to test these hypotheses; make judgements and to frame appropriate questions to arrive at a solution, or a range of possible solutions, to a problem

• communicate problems, and solutions to specialist and non-specialist audiences, at an appropriate professional level in a wide ideas variety of written and verbal forms

Level M – assessment criteria

Distinction (70%+)

An assignment is likely to receive a DISTINCTION if it demonstrates a superior level of achievement against the above descriptors.

An exceptional performance (80% and above)at Distinction level will surpass that associated with 70-79 level in at least one of the following areas:

• development of originality in conceptual understanding; use of methodology, or application of knowledge

• originality of critical evaluation of current research

• sophisticated understanding of research methodology and its implication

• mastery of a significant body of data

Such work is likely to fall comfortably within a level of performance characteristic of a research-level degree, or would merit publication in a journal of high standing. The work will be exceptionally well-written and presented.

A superior performance (70-79%)at Distinction level will surpass that associated with 60-69 level in several areas, such as the following:

• original interpretation of current knowledge, innovative application of established methodology, or conceptual understanding

• subtlety of interpretation

• power of critical analysis

• critical evaluation of current research

• understanding of research methodology and its implication

• mastery of a significant body of data

Pass (50% - 69%)

An assignment is likely to receive a PASS if it demonstrates a good level of achievement against the above criteria.

A good performance (60-69%)at pass level may include superior performance in some areas, but are not as consistent, as widespread or as fully demonstrated as at the Distinction level. Performance at this level surpasses that at 50-59% in several areas, such as the following:

• use of information sources beyond standard secondary sources

• clarity and coherence of argumentation

• critical insight and evaluation

• analytical strengths

• control of data

Satisfactory performance (50-59%)at pass level will:

• demonstrate a reasonable grasp of the principal materials relevant to the subject and link them into an at least partly sustained argument from premises to conclusions

• have an overall logical structure

• display evidence of analytical or critical thinking in the handing of sources and information

Failure (below 50%)

An assignment is likely to receive a FAIL if it demonstrates poor achievement against the above criteria.

A referred assignment (25-49%)will fail but be eligible for resubmission if it:

• presents some, but not enough, material relevant to the subject

• is significantly incomplete or imbalanced

• does not have any coherent structure

• is poorly written and/or presented

(Note: A failed assignment with a mark of 25% or higher may be eligible for resubmission at the specific discretion of the Programme Examination Committee, but, if such discretionary submission is not allowed, the assignment will fail.)

A failed assignment (24% and below)will:

• display minimal knowledge of the subject

• show major errors or omissions, or substantially irrelevant material

• lack any overall structure

• be characterised by unsupported assertion rather than argumentation

• not acknowledge sources

• be unintelligible in expression and/or very poorly presented

Note: Failure in an assignment

If you fail one piece of work in a module but the total marks given for the module still equal a pass mark, your tutor may still be able to award a pass for the module overall on the basis of the total marks for all work done for the module.

If you fail a piece of work or the whole module with a mark of 35% or more, your work may be given a REFER grade, and you may be allowed to resubmit work or produce additional work to remedy the failure. In this case the tutor will notify you in writing of the work to be done. In the case of a module in which you have initially been given a REFER grade, the maximum mark that you will be awarded for the module will be PASS 50%. If the conditions set be the tutor are not met within the time limit set by the tutor, the module will be converted to a FAIL.

Poor performance

If you fail a module, either outright or after re-assessment, you will not be allowed to proceed with the programme though you may be eligible to graduate with an intermediate award of PGCert (OBU/MSUPA) if sufficient module credits have been obtained

A student who fails to submit a satisfactory dissertation proposal in the course of module P023 research methods training will be advised to withdraw from this module and proceed to the award of PGCert (MSUPA)/PGDip (OBU).

Assessment methodology

Continuous assessment takes place throughout the course. There are no formal examinations but there are a number of timed test activities in appropriate modules.

A wide variety of assessment methods are used which include: report writing, practical projects, case studies, group-work presentations, group reports, workbook questions, individual presentations and class tests.

Assessment methods within each module have been designed to enable students to demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes for that particular module. On some modules student peer assessment of presentations and/or written work contributes to the final marks awarded for the course work.

All dissertations are double marked internally and all assessed work is sampled and moderated both internally and by the external examiner.

The teaching, learning and assessment strategy has been designed to take a holistic view of the programme, and particularly in the two compulsory modules taken by all MA/PGDip/PGCert students, assessments complement each other to ensure that assessment methods are wide ranging and challenging.

Feedback on the effectiveness of our teaching, learning, and assessment strategy is monitored through a combination of student evaluation at the end of each module, staff meetings to analyse student evaluations across the programme, external examiner feedback, and both MSUPA and OBU moderation procedures, to which the School is fully committed.

The pass mark for all work is 50%, and a distinction is awarded to all work with a mark over 75%. An MA with Distinction will be awarded to any student with over 75% in two thirds of the credits (i.e. 120 out of 180). MSUPA marking system refers to OBU in the following way:

5 4 3 2 2F 70-100% 60-69% 50-59% 25-49% Below 25%


MSUPA has sophisticated e-learning facilities with the databases, which contains e-books and tests relevant to a number of modules.

Students have also excess the British Council library and its resources and to databases of different industry associations. Students receive all the detailed information on these possibilities during the induction week.


The PT School with respect to its possibilities is committed to the OBU’s strategy for widening participation, and encourages applications from under-represented groups and those from non-traditional backgrounds, through activities ranging from school visits to short courses.