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Academic choices





What is an adviser of studies?

Your Adviser of studies (sometimes just called Adviser) is a member of academic staff who approves your module choices. They will also advise on keeping degree options open for as long as possible, and help you understand any relevant aspects of academic regulations.

You must meet your Adviser of studies at the start of the academic year. You won't normally have other regular scheduled meetings, but if necessary you can contact them for academic advice at other times.

Who is my adviser of studies?

To find out who is your Adviser of studies, check the online academic advising system, accessible via MySaint. Advisers of studies are usually allocated in August. See also the current list of Advisers of studies.

If you have an urgent advising-related problem that can't be resolved with your Adviser of studies, you can contact the relevant Associate Dean (Arts & Divinity) or Associate Dean (Science).

How do I contact my adviser of studies?

See Who is my adviser of studies?

What is advising?

The academic advising process provides students with the advice necessary to make appropriate academic choices and to address academic problems if they arise. The main point of contact is the Adviser of studies.

When is advising?

All undergraduate students in the Faculties of Arts, Divinity and Science must meet their Adviser of studies at the beginning of each academic year (or in January if not studying in St Andrews during semester 1).

Attending the advising meeting is a compulsory part of the matriculation process, which must be successfully completed in order to become a registered current student. Until your module choices are approved by your Adviser of studies at this meeting, and validated in the academic advising system, you are not officially enrolled in those modules.

Advising meetings take place online during orientation week and the preceding week.

Postgraduate taught students may be required to see their Adviser of Studies at the start of the year, please contact your department on arrival. Your Adviser of Studies will discuss and validate your module choices to ensure they are appropriate to your intended degree programme.

Where is advising?

See When is advising?

Do I have to attend advising?

Yes, unless you are studying Medicine. All undergraduate students in the Faculties of Arts, Divinity and Science must meet their Adviser of studies in orientation week or the week before (in September, or in January if not studying in St Andrews during semester 1).

If you fail to attend academic advising, you may be required to leave the University.

An exception to the requirement for a compulsory meeting can be made if you are entering fourth or fifth year of an Honours programme and you are not on academic probation, or returning from an external placement, study abroad or leave of absence: by mutual consent with your Adviser of Studies you can confirm your module choices by email. Both you and your Adviser of Studies still have the right to request a meeting.

What is pre-advising?

As the name suggests, pre-advising takes place before the main advising meeting at which your module choices will be approved.

Pre-advising is an online process during which you submit your provisional module choices via the academic advising system. This helps you plan your academic programme for the next year, and saves time with data entry during the advising meeting. It also helps schools with planning if they have a rough idea how many students are likely to take each module. Choices submitted during pre-advising are not binding: you can change your mind any time up to the advising meeting (and indeed afterwards, up to the re-advising deadline).

You must complete pre-advising before attending your advising meeting. Your Adviser of studies may send you away again if you have not done so, telling you to make your choices and then make another appointment.

New students complete pre-advising in the summer before arrival (or January, for those arriving in semester 2); returning students complete pre-advising in June of the preceding academic year.

When is pre-advising?

See What is pre-advising?

What is re-advising?

It's possible, particularly if you're taking a module in a subject that you haven't studied before, that after attending the first couple of lectures you'll decide that the module isn't for you. The re-advising period is a short time during which you can make any changes to your module selections that you like, subject to approval of your Adviser of studies. The re-advising period begins at the start of each semester, and ends at midday on Monday of week 2 of semester 1 and Monday of week 2 of semester 2.

Changes to semester 2 module choices made at the start of the academic year can be made before or during the semester 2 re-advising period.

When is re-advising?

The re-advising period begins at the start of each semester, and ends at midday on Monday of week 2 semester 1 and Monday of week 2 semester 2.

How do I access the advising system?

The online academic advising system is used by undergraduate and taught postgraduate students to make their module choices. The system is accessible via MySaint.

How do I access my module timetable?

Log into MySaint and select the Events tab in the menu bar. Your personal timetable should be displayed.

When will my modules appear in other IT systems?

When your Adviser of Studies has approved your module choices, they will show with a solid 'tick' in the advising system, and your 'advising status' will be 'confirmed'. At this point, your choices are recorded in the main student database. It takes some time for the information to be transferred to other IT systems:

  • MMS, Moodle and personal timetables are updated at 6am each day
  • the student record card is updated three times per day (early morning, lunchtime, early evening)
  • personal timetables are updated twice per day (Mon-Fri)

If you think there is a problem with confirmed modules not showing up in other systems after these times, you should contact for MMS, Moodle and student record card, and for personal timetables (please allow two working days for new or changed modules to show on your personal timetable).

What is matriculation?

Matriculation is the process of registering as a student with the University and is compulsory for all students, every academic year.

The online matriculation page is accessed through MySaint. Registry will send access details to your University email address in August (or January for semester 2 entrants and those returning from leave of absence).

What is visa confirmation?

See visa confirmation.

Which modules should I take?

See: choosing modules. You can find detailed information on each module in the module catalogue.

How many modules should I take?

Most students take six modules in first year, but the rules are specified in terms of numbers of credits. A normal full-time undergraduate credit load is 120 credits per academic year, with 180 for postgraduate Masters programmes. In first year, most modules are 20 credits each.

How many credits should I take?

See How many modules should I take?

Can I take an extra module?

If you are a full-time student, you will normally take 60 credits per semester. You can take more than the normal credit load, with permission of your Adviser of studies, subject to the absolute maximum of 160 credits per academic year (enrolled, whether or not passed). You should think very carefully before taking more credits than required, since the additional work-load may adversely affect your grades.

Can I take any module I like?

See What is module availability?

Can I take extra credits?

See Can I take an extra module?

Can I take fewer credits?

The normal credit load for full-time students is 60 credits per semester. The absolute minimum number of credits that you can take and pass in any semester is 20, to avoid academic probation.

You must take a minimum of 80 credits in any academic year in order to remain registered as a full-time student, and these must be reasonably balanced across semesters. Failure to do will result in you being re-registered as part-time, which may have implications for fees, funding, council tax liability etc. You cannot study on a student visa as a part-time student.

If you wish to take less than 120 credits in an academic year, you should discuss this with your Adviser of studies.

Can I take a reduced credit load?

See Can I take fewer credits?

Can I take modules with clashing timetables?

You can't take a combination of modules for which the timetables clash significantly (with some possible exceptions). If you discover that you have a timetable clash, you should contact your Adviser(s) of studies immediately.

Do I have to take more than one subject?

You must take the modules specified in the programme requirements for your registered degree programme. Usually you have some flexibility to choose other modules to make up the normal full-time credit load of 60 credits per semester. It's up to you whether these are in the same subject (although in many cases there won't be a full load available in one subject anyway), but in general it's a good idea to take another subject or two in order to keep your degree options open, in case you change your mind, or don't do well enough in your original subject to progress to Honours. Your Adviser of studies can offer advice.

Can I take an evening degree module?

Only if you are registered on a part-time evening programme (Combined Studies); these modules are not available to other students. The modules can be identified by the second digit of the numerical part of the module code being 9.

Can I take a second year module in first year?

Usually not, unless it is specified in the programme requirements for your degree programme. If you think you have a good reason to do so, and have any necessary pre-requisites, you should discuss with your Adviser of studies.

Can I take an Honours module in second year?

Usually not, since you can't take any 3000-level module before you have gained 200 credits, including at least 40 at 2000-level. It also wouldn't usually make sense. Any 3000-level modules taken before entering Honours are not included in the final degree classification, and the credits don't count towards the credits required within Honours.

Can I take Arts modules if I'm a Science student?

Yes, as long as you take the modules you need for your registered degree programme, you can also take modules in the Faculties of Arts and Divinity (but not in Medicine), subject to any pre-requisites and availability restrictions.

Can I take Science modules if I'm an Arts or Divinity student?

Yes, as long as you take the required modules for your current registered degree programme, you can also take modules in the Faculty of Science (but not in Medicine), subject to any pre-requisites and availability restrictions.

Can I take a 4000-level module if I'm doing a General degree?

Yes, as long as you have permission from an Honours Adviser in the school offering the module.

What is a pre-requisite?

Many modules have pre-requisites, which define the prior knowledge or studies needed to take the module. In most cases this is expressed in terms of passes in other St Andrews modules, though it may also involve external exam passes such as school exams. If you believe that you are appropriately qualified through some other route, you can discuss this with your Adviser of studies. Permission from the school concerned and also your Adviser of studies is required to waive a pre-requisite.

Pre-requisites are listed in the module catalogue. There are also anti-requisites, which say that you can't take both of a particular pair of modules.

What is an anti-requisite?

An anti-requisite is a rule attached to a particular module, which says that you can't take this module if you have already passed some other module, or have a particular qualification.

It's worth checking anti-requisites carefully before choosing a module. If it has an anti-requisite that you've already passed, then you won't be able to take it. Or it might be that taking this module means that you won't be able to take the anti-requisite in the future.

Can I take a module if I've failed a pre-requisite?

Normally no, the pre-requisite module must be passed first, although the School offering the module has discretion to waive the pre-requisite if they consider it appropriate.

Can I take a module if I haven't taken a pre-requisite?

Normally no, the pre-requisite module must be passed first, although the School offering the module has discretion to waive the pre-requisite if they consider it appropriate.

Can I take a module at the same time as a pre-requisite?

Normally no, the pre-requisite module must be passed first, although the School offering the module has discretion to waive the pre-requisite if they consider it appropriate.

Can I take a module again?

Yes, if you haven't previously passed the module. No, if you have previously passed the module.

What are programme requirements?

The programme requirements define the compulsory and optional modules for each degree programme. In discussion with your Adviser of studies you must make sure that you take modules that are compatible with your degree programme.

Can I take a joint degree if it's not in the programme requirements list?

No, the programme requirements list all of the degree programmes that are currently available.

Can I change modules?

You can change your mind about the modules that you are taking, subject to approval of your Adviser of studies, up to the end of the re-advising period. To request a change, get in touch with your Adviser of studies either in person or via email. If they approve the change, they will update your module choices in the academic advising system. It's possible that you won't be able to change into a module that is very popular, because it might already be full, even if you meet the requirements to take it.

After the end of the re-advising period, you cannot change your module choices for the current semester unless there are genuine extenuating circumstances. Simply changing your mind, perhaps because the module is more difficult or less interesting than you expected, would not be considered extenuating circumstances. If you believe that you do have a significant case for being allowed to make a late module change (either adding or dropping a module), you should discuss this first with your Adviser of studies. They do not, however, have authority to approve late changes, and you will need to ask them to escalate a request to the appropriate Associate Dean or Associate Provost.

If you are allowed to enrol in a new module after the start of semester, it is entirely your responsibility to catch up on any material that you have missed, and to find out from the school what arrangements are necessary for tutorials, coursework etc.

If you decide at any time during semester 1 that you want to change your module choices in semester 2, you can discuss this with your Adviser of studies at the beginning of semester 2. Your Adviser won't be able to make any changes until the Advising system reopens in January.

The official rules are given in the policy on Changes to Studies.

Can I drop a module?

See Can I change modules?

Can I change degree?

Yes, in some circumstances. Your Adviser of studies can approve a change to a different degree programme, after the end of your first year of study. Obviously, you will only be able to change if you have taken the necessary modules for the new degree, and there is still time to complete the new degree within the time limits.

If you have accepted an offer for a specific undergraduate degree programme, you cannot change degree until the end of the first year of study, and you must take the required modules for that degree during first year. Nonetheless, you may be able to choose modules in first year that will enable you to change at the end of the academic year.

Can I change faculty?

Yes, in some circumstances: if you have taken the necessary modules for the new degree, and have sufficient time remaining to complete the new degree. The semesters that you have completed in the original faculty are still included in the time limits for completing the new degree.

Can I change to direct second year entry?

If you are interested in direct entry you are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant school to discuss the advantages and disadvantages, and then to state your wish for direct entry in your initial application.

Nonetheless, some schools will consider requests for direct entry made when you first arrive in St Andrews. If you wish to make such a request, you should discuss this with your Adviser of studies at your advising meeting. The time limit for resolving such requests is the end of the re-advising period, though it is very strongly recommended that you sort things out during orientation week.

Can I change from direct second year entry to first year?

If you have accepted an offer for direct second year entry, it may still be possible to change your mind and revert to first year entry. If you wish to do this, you should discuss this with your Adviser of studies at your advising meeting. The time limit for resolving such requests is the end of the re-advising period, though it is very strongly recommended that you sort things out during orientation week.

Can I change to part-time study?

Undergraduate students must contact the Money Adviser in Student Services to discuss the financial implications of changing their mode of attendance before contacting the Registry Support Officer to make the formal request for their registration to be changed. Taught postgraduate students should contact the Registry Support Officer directly to discuss and make the formal request.

What do I need to do to get entry to Honours?

See the Honours entry policy. You can check which modules and grades are required for honours entry for your degree programme in the programme requirements list.

What do I need to do to progress into second year?

This can be confusing, as being in your second year of academic study isn't necessarily the same as taking second-level (2000-level) modules. If necessary due to not gaining enough credits in the first year of study, you can take one additional sub-Honours year (three in total). This is likely to affect the validity of your student visa, if you have one.

In your first year of study, the main considerations are:

  • gaining enough credits to avoid academic probation (at least 20 in each semester, and at least 80 in total, for full-time students)
  • passing the core modules that you need in order to take the 2000-level modules for your degree programme

Can I have extra time to finish my degree?

For Honours degrees, it's possible to take two additional semesters (six in total, if you start your degree with first year entry) to complete the sub-honours part. If you would like to do so, you should discuss this with your Adviser of studies, and take advice from the Student Services money adviser. If you are studying on a visa, you should also take advice from the Student Services international adviser, since you may need to reapply for a new visa.

The maximum time allowed to complete the Honours part of an Honours degree is fixed at four semesters for BSc and MA, and six semesters for Integrated masters degrees.

The maximum time allowed to complete the General degree is fixed at eight semesters.

Additional time is only granted in very exceptional circumstances. The times given above are for full-time study; more time may be available if you are studying part-time.

What is the time limit for finishing my degree?

See Can I have extra time to finish my degree?

Can I repeat a year?

Strictly speaking no, in the sense that all modules that you've taken remain on your transcript. You can't retake any module that you've already passed, though you can retake a failed module. However, see also Can I have extra time to finish my degree?

Can I appeal against a mark?

You can appeal against a mark for a particular piece of work, or an overall grade for a module. The allowable grounds for appeal are limited to extenuating personal circumstances (which were not already declared to the university, for good reason), or improper conduct of an assessment or application of academic regulations. You cannot appeal on the grounds that you disagree with an academic judgement. The time limit for submitting an appeal is five working days from the date of receiving the mark or grade.

See Policy on Student Academic Appeals.

Can I appeal against a grade?

See Can I appeal against a mark?

Can I appeal against not getting into Honours?

Yes: see the honours entry review policy. The only grounds on which you can appeal are:

  • extenuating personal circumstances significantly affecting your academic performance (for which appropriate academic adjustments have not already been made)
  • improper conduct of assessment or application of regulations affecting the decision not to permit honours entry

Can I try to get into Honours a second time?

For integrated masters programmes, you must meet the Honours entry requirements at first attempt. For BSc/MA/BD/MTheol programmes, it may be possible to take the required 2000-level modules again in the following academic year, as long as you can do so within the overall limit of 6 semesters at sub-Honours.

The Honours entry policy allowing this is restricted to students entering Honours in or before September 2023; more stringent requirements may be introduced for those entering Honours at a later date.

It may also be worth considering whether you could get into Honours in a different subject. Your Adviser of studies will be able to advise you.

See also the Honours entry review policy.

How long can I be absent from classes?

See absence.

Can I resit a module twice?

No, you cannot be re-assessed in a module more than once.

How do I get an extension for coursework?

See extensions for coursework/deadlines.

How is my degree classification calculated?

See degree classification.

What is an academic alert?

An academic alert is a warning sent to you if you are at risk of encountering academic problems. Alerts do not appear on your transcript; they are intended to give you early warning of potential problems while you still have an opportunity to address them.

What is a resit?

A resit is an exam taken as part of re-assessment in a module.

What is re-assessment?

Re-assessment provides an opportunity to repeat assessment of a module, if the original grade is 4 or higher, but below the pass threshold of 7. The details are specified in the module catalogue. Re-assessment may not be available for modules assessed solely by coursework.

At Honours and Masters levels, grades awarded at re-assessment are capped at 7.

If you fail a module at re-assessment, you are not eligible for any further re-assessment, though it may be possible to take the module again.

What is exam deferral?

Deferral of an assessment refers to taking it after the end of the corresponding semester. The module grade is then reported at a later module board. Requests for deferred assessment must be made to the Director of Teaching of the relevant school in advance of, or as soon as practically possible after, the published deadline or examination date. This is not a right and permission will be granted only when the school judges that genuine and compelling grounds for deferral exist. Appropriate written evidence will be required: self-certificates alone for examinations and class tests will not be accepted.

What is module availability?

The availability of a module defines which students can take it. Some modules are available to any student who has passed the pre-requisites (if any). Other modules are restricted in their availability, and can only be taken by students in a particular year or faculty, on a particular programme, or subject to some other restriction. Some modules have limitations on student numbers, and operate a balloting system to ensure fairness. Any such availability restrictions are listed in the module's module catalogue entry.

What is an Honours degree?

Honours degrees are offered in all faculties. These are undergraduate programmes, comprising a sub-honours part followed by an Honours part. Most programmes normally take four or five years of full-time study.

Honours degrees involve study at 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 level (and at 5000 level for some programmes).

What is a General degree?

The General degree is available in the Faculties of Arts, Divinity and Science, as MA (General), MTheol (General) and BSc (General). It can be completed in six semesters, with a maximum of eight semesters, and involves study at 1000, 2000 and 3000 level.

If you start on an Honours degree programme, but do not meet the requirements for entry to Honours, you may need to transfer to a General degree programme.

What is the difference between an Honours and General degree?

A General degree can be completed in six semesters of full-time study, as opposed to eight or ten semesters for an Honours degree. The General degree requires a total of 360 credits, including at least 80 at 2000 level and 60 at 3000 or 4000 level. Taking 4000-level modules requires permission from the relevant Honours Adviser.

What is the difference between MSc and MSci?

The MSc (Master of Science) is a one-year postgraduate programme, whereas the MSci (Master in Science) is a five-year undergraduate integrated masters programme.

What is the difference between MA and BA?

MA is the main Honours degree offered in the Faculty of Arts, and is equivalent to BA offered at many other institutions. St Andrews uses the title MA for historical reasons, in common with the other ancient Scottish universities.

St Andrews also offers the unique BA (International Honours) degree, in partnership with the College of William & Mary in Virginia, USA.

What is direct entry?

Some degree programmes in the Faculties of Divinity and Science offer the possibility of direct entry to second year, for appropriately qualified applicants.

The advantage of direct entry is that you can complete your degree in a shorter time. The disadvantages are a loss of flexibility, and greater academic risks.

What are advanced standing credits?

See advanced standing credits.

What is probation?

You will receive a probation warning letter if your module results mean that you cannot gain enough credits in the current academic year to meet senate regulations on minimum progression rates.

As you are now in breach of senate regulations, you can only continue your studies on probation, meaning that you must meet the probation conditions specified in the letter.

If you are already studying under probation, and you are now in breach of the conditions imposed previously, your studies will be terminated.

What is termination of studies?

Termination of studies is the final level of academic intervention, applied in situations where there is no feasible way to complete your degree within the time limits, or where you are already studying on probation and have not met the conditions of probation. If your studies are terminated, you cease to be a student at the University.

If you are informed that your studies are to be terminated, you will receive details of how to appeal against the decision, should you wish to do so.

What is leave of absence?

A leave of absence is a period of absence formally requested by the student and authorised by the University. These absences can be requested on personal or medical grounds. For undergraduates and taught postgraduates, this is normally taken in blocks of a year or a semester, but some taught and research postgraduates can take one-month blocks of leave during their dissertation and research postgraduates.

What is withdrawal?

Withdrawal involves permanently leaving the University. Requesting withdrawal is a final decision, and if you later reconsider you will be required to re-apply for re-entry in competition with any other entrant student. The time at which you choose to withdraw will have an impact on current fees and funding, as well as future funding, and in addition may incur a personal fee liability. If you have a student visa, your visa will be curtailed, and you will be required to leave the country. If you are in University accommodation, you will normally have five days to vacate this from the date that you withdraw. Each student's situation is unique, so it is crucial that you seek advice from Student Services and the Registry Officer on this.

What is a student visa?

Whether or not you require a visa to come to the UK to undertake a course of study at the University of St Andrews will depend upon your nationality, and the duration of the course you intend to study.

See advice and support information for further guidance.

If you have any other queries about visa applications, please contact the International Advice team at

What is S-coding?

S-coding is a process through which allowance can be made for special circumstances affecting the final grade for a module. It cannot be applied to modules at 1000 or 2000 level (except for students on the BA International Honours programme).

What is V-coding?

The V-coding policy allows, in exceptional circumstances, all grades received in a semester or year to be nullified. Such modules are marked as V without a numerical grade, with the effect as if the modules had never been taken.

V-coding is applied rarely, only in situations when all other options for academic progress have been exhausted. Students cannot request V-coding, but it may be offered by the Proctor or delegate where the circumstances are considered sufficiently serious to justify it.

What is fitness to study?

See fitness to study.

What is academic misconduct?

Academic misconduct is defined as a failure to adhere to the principles of good academic practice. Penalties include written warnings, reduction of module grades (in some cases to zero), and in extreme cases, termination of studies.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of taking another's ideas and representing them as one's own. It is one of the forms of academic misconduct that is forbidden under the policy on good academic practice.

What is good academic practice?

Good academic practice is explained in the Good Academic Practice policy, and in TGAP (Training in Good Academic Practice), a compulsory course all students must complete as part of the matriculation process. You can access TGAP in Moodle. See also good academic practice for further information.

What are lateness penalties for coursework?

See lateness penalty.

How do I make a complaint?

See complaints handling procedure.

Who is the Director of Teaching?

Ask at your school office, or try your school website.

Who is the Associate Dean?

See the lists of Associate Deans and Associate Provosts.