Assessment (UG and MSc)
These pages explain the marking schemes and the methods of assessment that are used to assess students' work and progression through the undergraduate and MSc degree programmes. There are also guidance notes.
Assessment schemes (Programme specifications and Awards of Honours)
Undergraduate: 2019-20 entry onwards (new curriculum): detailed information on marking schemes, coursework and examination weightings, year weightings, and final degree classification is set out in the programme specification for your degree
Undergraduate: 2018-19 entry or earlier: Detailed information on marking schemes, coursework and examination weightings, year weightings and final degree classifications, is set out separately in the undergraduate Award of Honours documents below.
MSc: detailed information on marking schemes, coursework and examination weightings, year weightings, and final degree classification is set out in the programme specification for your degree
A general summary of the various methods used for assessment throughout the course.
(Details of the assessment for individual modules can be found in the module descriptions, organised by degree programme / year of study).
- Mid-module tests and end-of-year written examinations test the ability of candidates to solve numerical problems, to provide reasoned explanations of engineering choices and to compare and contrast features of systems.
- Mid-term Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Wiseflow tests will give you an indication on how well you understand materials taught in particular module. These will generally be multiple choice questions (MCQ) and will last for 50min. Students should familiarise themselves with Rules and Regulations of BYOD tests.
- Coursework essays are set for topics in the business, commercial and ethical domains.
- Application of engineering principles is assessed in projects by oral presentation of ideas and main conclusions and written reports on design, implementation and testing.
- Some modules are assessed partially or entirely by coursework. There may be short written problems, lengthier exercises or the use of software tools.
- Numerical problem solving skills are assessed as part of the examination process. Coursework that requires use of design or simulation software is assessed through written reports.
- Ability in computing laboratory exercises are assessed through computer-based tests. Experimental skills in electrical laboratory are assessed through oral examination, formal laboratory report or computer-based exercise as appropriate.
- Projects test a range of practical skills and project reports and presentations are assessed for evidence of these.
- Presentations and reports are also used to assess communication skills, reasoning (in answer to questions) and planning and management of complex individual tasks or of group tasks.
Attendance and coursework submission
Regular attendance and submission of all coursework on time is seen as essential to success on our degree programmes. If your attendance or coursework is poor, we will warn you. If you fail to improve we can require you to withdraw from college before the end of the year and before you have sat any exams. This is explained in Appendix 1 of the general regulations. Coursework deadlines must be strictly observed.
For guidance on late submission of assessed work please see the Imperial College Late Submission Policy document.
Exceptions can only be granted by the Senior Tutor. Decisions will be based upon receipt of completion of the online mitigating circumstances form, and the procedures are described below. Please contact the Senior Tutor in case of doubt.
Coursework feedback - Department policy
Students receive written feedback on submitted coursework. Coursework is returned within 10 working days unless the nature of the assignment has led to different period being defined. Students receive feedback on all written submissions except for the final report of the final year project. Feedback on the final year project is given during the intermediate stages. When students give a presentations or are examined orally, feedback is normally given at the end of the item. Tutors provide their tutees with feedback during one-to-one interviews once a term.
Monitoring of coursework return and feedback is the responsibility of the year organisers (who report to the Director of Undergraduate Studies). Students are encouraged to raise any problems with the relevant Year Organiser via their Student Reps.
Marks obtained in any assessment may be moderated at the discretion of the board of examiners.
These explain in detail how and why students' marks may be moderated.
Moderation might be applied for two reasons:
- If when considering the marks for that unit of assessment, the examiners determine that there is an abnormally high number of failures or an abnormally high number of A grades. Marks are scaled using a piece-wise linear formula that scales the upper or lower need of the class to achieve a given number of A grades or failures (without affecting the rank order list of candidates).
- If when considering the marks for a unit of assessment that was an optional module, the examiners determine that the candidates taking that option showed results significantly higher or lower than would be expected from their other results. This is assessed by considering the average mark on the module and the exclusive average of the marks obtained by those candidates on their other modules. Corrections are made by adjusting the mean of the marks.
Moderation can be applied to lecture modules, laboratory work or projects. It may therefore happen that the mark recorded on the end-of-year transcript for a module assessed by coursework is different from sum of the marks of the individual items making up the assessment of that module.
Exam and coursework failure
The Examiners, at their annual meeting in July, may require failing students to withdraw, or they may condone a failure caused, in their opinion, by extenuating circumstances. The regulations state: In the case of failure in an examination, the Head of Department, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Tutor will decide (in the light of the results declared by the Examiners, the student’s academic performance on the course, and the existence of any extenuating circumstances) whether the student shall be required to withdraw from the College.
The decision will be reported to the Academic Registrar within five working days for formal communication to the student within ten working days. This means that if you fail, you will be required to withdraw from College, unless the Examiners decide to offer you a re-sit opportunity. You can not count on being offered re-sits.
Mitigating circumstances affecting progress
For details on mitigating circumstances and the online form visit this page.
Progression to each year of the degree course
The BEng degree consists of three "parts" corresponding to the three years; the MEng degree is made up of four "parts". You cannot register for a year of a degree (a "part") until you have completed the previous one. You cannot, therefore, carry forward a failed subject nor can you re-sit a second year exam while in third year. There is an additional requirement for progression for an MEng degree at the end of Part 2: please check the relevant Award of Honours documents.
Imperial College awards honours degrees (not "pass" degrees). The classification of honours for all students is decided at the Examiners Meeting in July on the basis of your marks for all parts of the degree course. If your marks exceed the stated borderline for a classification (as set out in the Award of Honours document) then the award is made.
If your overall mark after Part III BEng or Part IV MEng is marginally below the minimum mark for a higher honours classification your case will be reviewed by the Board of Examiners to see if the class of degree can be raised. For further information on this you should refer to the College 2018-19 Regulations (students starting in 2018-19 or earlier), or the Single Set of Regulations (students starting 2019-20 onwards)