ACADEMIC EXPECTATIONS FOR
WHO IS THIS LECTURE FOR?
•New overseas undergraduate students.
•Study Abroad students.
•International Exchange (non-EU) students.
•Erasmus (EU) students.
•New overseas postgraduate students.
YOU ARE NOW ROYAL HOLLOWAY STUDENTS
•For degree enrolled students, this is obvious, but you will be studying in a new or different
•For Study Abroad, International Exchange and Erasmus students: whatever your
expectations of study were at your home university, please leave them behind. You will be
treated in every important respect as if you are degree-seeking students at Royal Holloway
THE ROYAL HOLLOWAY DEGREE
•Three years BA/BSc (Hons): no base degree
•Highly structured and focussed programmes
•UK students generally enter a specific degree programme from the start
•Many students will take ALL of their courses in one Department only
•Very few multidisciplinary programmes (European Studies an exception)
IMPLICATIONS FOR STUDY
•Very few multidisciplinary electives taken outside the main Departments of study by degree
•Students committed to a course of study from the start - very few swap programmes.
•Some combination of subjects are unheard of as degree programmes (e.g English and
IMPLICATIONS FOR STUDY
•For Study Abroad, International Exchange and Erasmus students, your ‘home’ department is
Royal Holloway International.
•You will also have Study Abroad and Erasmus Advisors in each of the academic department
in which you are studying.
•Degree-seeking students will have a ‘home’ academic department.
REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDY
•For undergraduate degree seeking students, a maximum of four course units will be
permitted in any one academic year.
•For Study Abroad, International Exchange and Erasmus students, a minimum of one and a
half course units a term and a maximum of two.
CONTACT HOURS AND ORGANISATION OF STUDY
•Will vary between - and even in - Departments: but the general pattern of study is two hours
a week per course (one hour of lectures; one hour of classes/tutorials).
•Sciences may have more contact time (especially where labs are involved; two-hour
seminars are also common - especially with performance courses).
•Generally, students will have an average of eight contact hours a week.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
•A great responsibility on you to direct your own private study - students at Royal Holloway
'read' for their degrees.
•Use the consultation times of the permanent members of staff teaching or supporting you.
•We require you to attend all scheduled classes.
•If you do not speak English as a first language, there is language support available at Royal
THE GRADING SYSTEM
Traditional British system is used -
• Fail - below 40%;
• A Third (III) 40-49.99%;
• A Lower-Second (IIii) 50-59.99%,
• An Upper-Second (IIi) 60-69.99%;
• A First (I) - 70% and above
Most degree-seeking students can aspire to an upper-second through effort and application.
First class marks are given, but only as the result of exceptional work and consistent
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT?
•Marks over 80% are exceptionally rare (mainly given in the Sciences).
•A mark of 68% represents an excellent return on effort.
•Study Abroad, International Exchange and Erasmus students should check what credit your
home institution will give you for your study here and how they will convert your Royal
•Generally, taught Masters run over 11 months and have a similar structure to undergraduate
•The grading system does vary – please check with your department: Distinction, Merit, Pass
and Fail are common grades.
•Postgraduates also ‘read’ for their degree and the importance of independent study cannot
be emphasised too strongly.
•Postgraduate degrees by research rely on an effective, professional relationship between the
student and the supervisor.
•Taught training may form part of your research degree at Royal Holloway; check with your
department. The Graduate School runs generic and tailored research skills courses – confirm
with your department which one you should attend.
•Students initially register for an MPhil and work towards an upgrade to a PhD.
•Some programmes are self-contained Masters by research at MPhil level.
•The expectation is that students seeking a PhD will submit and complete within four years of
•Self management of research over that time is an essential skill to acquire, to complement
departmental academic supervision.
Good luck and enjoy your time at Royal Holloway, University of London.