Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 16 Feb 2021

Creating courses

Creating a part-time undergraduate course


This chapter will tell you how to create a part-time undergraduate course.

It covers everything you will need to know before you start adding these courses to CMS, including:

  • eligibility
  • academic year and course duration
  • term dates and holidays
  • qualifications
  • course credits and intensity

Scottish designated part-time courses

SAAS has confirmed that they do not need providers to upload part-time courses that are designated for Scottish Domiciled students.

When you roll your courses over, you should ensure that Scottish designation is not selected. You do not need to roll over courses that are Scottish designation only.

Eligibility

To qualify for part-time fee and maintenance support, the student must undertake a designated part-time course. They must also be studying at a course intensity of at least 25% to get a Maintenance Loan or a Tuition Fee Loan.

A designated part-time course must be:

  • at least the duration of one academic year
  • ordinarily possible to complete in no more than 4 times the period it would take to complete the full-time equivalent where the course begins on or after 1 September 2012

You can find more detailed information on course eligibility in the guidance chapters on the SFE practitioners’ website.

Academic years

The regulations define the academic year as a 12-month period beginning on either 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July. The date depends on when the course started.

This means that the maximum funding we can award to a student starting in September or October, for example, covers the academic year from 1 September until 31 August the following year. This applies to Tuition Fee Loans, Maintenance Grants and loans for living costs.

If a course runs beyond the end of the academic year, students will not be funded for the period between the end of the academic year and the end of the last term.

Date course started

Academic year

Between 1 August and 31 December

1 September to 31 August

Between 1 January and 31 March

1 January to 31 December

Between 1 April and 30 June

1 April to 31 March

Between 1 July and 31 July

1 July to 30 June

 

Term dates

Term dates let us determine when and how much to pay your students. This depends on how long they are studying with you that year.

It is very important that the number of teaching weeks you enter on CMS is accurate. Teaching weeks are weeks when your students are attending lectures, doing course work or taking exams.

Term start dates

Your term dates should be linked to the season your course begins.

There are restrictions to how early a term can begin. This is to make sure students’ payments are spread out throughout the academic year.

 

Academic year start: Autumn (August to December)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 August

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 April

 

Academic year start: Winter (January to March)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 April

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 July

 

Academic year start: Spring (April to June)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 April

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 July

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 January

 

Academic year start: Summer (July)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 July

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 April

 

The only exception to this rule is the final course year, where you can compress term dates into the remaining period of attendance.

If a bank holiday falls at the beginning of April, the term 3 start date should be no earlier than 3 April. Our system schedules payments before the bank holiday, which means even if a term 3 start date falls on 1 or 2 April, the payments will need to be processed in March.

You should not set the term start and end dates for a Saturday or Sunday when the course does not start or end on either of those days.


Course duration

It is important that you submit an accurate course duration as this affects the funding entitlement of your students.

For part-time undergraduate courses you should enter the 'full-time equivalent' (FTE) duration of the part-time course you are submitting. You should not enter the duration of the part-time course itself.

If you do not have a full-time version of the course, you should enter the duration that the full-time course would be, if there were one. For example, a degree is ordinarily completed within 3 years when studied full time. Therefore, where you have a part-time degree course but no full-time version, you should add your part-time course as 3 years FTE.

When you enter a part-time undergraduate course, you can choose a duration of either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 years full-time equivalent:

  • part-time courses with a duration of 1 year FTE – can be studied up to 4 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 2 years FTE – can be studied up to 8 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 3 years FTE – can be studied up to 12 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 4 years FTE – can be studied up to 16 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 5 years FTE – can be studied up to 16 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 6 years FTE – can be studied up to 16 years

It is your responsibility to ensure your students are aware of the actual duration of the part-time course they will be attending.


Common durations of full-time courses

Ordinary full-time duration – 1 year:

  • Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Honours degree (1-year top-up)
  • Honours degree (1-year intercalation)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

Ordinary full-time duration – 2 years:

  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • Foundation degree
  • Honours degree (2-year top-up)
  • Honours degree (condensed)

Ordinary full-time duration – 3 years:

  • Ordinary degree
  • Honours degree (full course)

Ordinary full-time duration – 4 years:

  • Honours degree (with integral foundation year)
  • Honours degree (with integral placement year)
  • Honours degree (with study abroad year)
  • Integrated master’s degree

Ordinary full-time duration – 5 years:

  • Honours degree (with integral foundation year and integral placement year)
  • Honours degree (with integral foundation year and study abroad year)

Scenarios for deciding part-time course duration

Scenario 1

BA degree studied part-time over 6 years with the full-time version of the course completed in 3 years.

You should add this course to CMS with a duration of 3 years full-time equivalent.

 

Scenario 2

Integrated master’s studied part-time over 6 years with the full-time version of the course completed in 4 years.

You should add this course to CMS with a duration of 4 years full-time equivalent.

 

Scenario 3

HND studied part-time over 4 years with no full-time version.

The normal length that it takes to complete a full-time HND is 2 years. Therefore, you should add this course to CMS with a duration of 2 years full-time equivalent.


Scenario 4

BA (hons) degree studied part-time over 7 years with no full-time version.

The normal length that it takes to complete a full-time BA (hons) degree is 3 years. Therefore, you should add this course to CMS with a duration of 3 years full-time equivalent.


Fixed durations

If you offer part-time courses with a fixed duration (for example a 15-month or 18-month course), you should add these to CMS with a 1 year FTE duration. Returning students should apply to the one year course and you should submit a CoC with the remaining term dates to correct the application.

This will ensure your students receive the correct level of funding.

Do not split out these courses (for example, one course for year 1 and another course for year 2).


Freshers and exam weeks

Freshers weeks

We do not count Freshers weeks as weeks of teaching.

You should not include these in term dates unless your students are attending lectures, doing course work or taking exams.

If you want this week to be marked as the start of term for funding, then you must remove a week from your term length.


Exam weeks

You should include exam periods in your term dates, as they count within your overall teaching weeks. However, do not include periods where students are waiting for their results.


Holiday periods

You should account for holiday periods when entering term dates. Do not include them within any term.

For example, if a student started their course in October, we would expect the term dates to exclude the Christmas and Easter holiday periods.

In CMS we only need the start date and end date of each term. You should remove a week from your term length if you have a midterm holiday.


Semesters or terms?

Many universities and colleges operate on 2 semesters, rather than 3 separate terms.

We pay students at 3 points throughout their academic year, so we still need to maintain the 3 terms in our systems.

If you use semesters, you should create term dates that reflect your students’ study pattern as closely as possible. You could use any holiday periods in the second semester as a natural break for your terms.


Course credits and intensity

For part-time courses, we need you to enter the number of credits students will achieve when they complete the entire course. This will let us accurately assess their eligibility for Part-time Maintenance Loan (PTML) funding.

You should not enter the number of credits students get in an individual academic year.

Common full course credits

The below table gives examples of the most common credits achieved for an entire course. These are based on the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ). This is the credit system that we expect you to use on CMS.

Under FHEQ a year of full-time study generally equates to 120 credits. This is not always the case and the information you submit must be correct for the individual course as we will use it to assess the students' eligibility and entitlement.

 

Ordinary full-time duration (years)

Course qualification

Expected credits (based on FHEQ)

1

Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)

120

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

Honours degree (1-year top-up)

Honours degree (1-year intercalation)

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

60

2

Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)

240

Higher National Diploma (HND)

Foundation degree

Honours degree (2-year top-up)

Honours degree (condensed)

360

3

Ordinary degree

300-360

Honours degree (full course)

360

4

Honours degree (with integral foundation year)

480

Honours degree (with integral placement year)

Honours degree (with abroad year)

Integrated master’s degree

480

5

Honours degree (with integral foundation year and integral placement year)

600

Honours degree (with integral foundation year and study abroad year)

 

We appreciate that integral foundation, study abroad and work placement years do not traditionally have a credit value attached as is not a requirement to receive the honours degree (under FHEQ). However, we need one to accurately assess the student’s support entitlement.

Whilst we have used a nominal amount of 120 credits in the table above, the non-standard year should reflect the same credits as a standard year of the course.

Example

Where the honours degree is 390 credits over 3 years, we would expect that a 4-year version including a non-standard year (foundation, study abroad or work placement) would be 520 credits (390 + 1 year at 130 credits).

Validation in CMS will not let you save a course with a credit value of less than 20 or greater than 600.


Course intensity calculation for a Part-time Maintenance Loan

Students must be studying at a course intensity of at least 25% to qualify for a Maintenance Loan.

They will need to know the number of credits they will gain in the academic year when they apply. We use this to calculate their course intensity which then determines their entitlement.

The information on this page explains how we calculate it. It also explains how both the course duration and credit affect the end result.


How we calculate course intensity

Full-time equivalent (FTE) course credits divided by the number of FTE course years = full-time credit (for the year)

The number of credits the student will gain in this academic year = part-time credit (for the year)

(Part-time credit / full-time credit) X 100 = intensity of study (%)


Calculation scenarios

Scenario 1

Ryan is studying a part-time honours degree with an FTE duration of 3 years. The entire course gives 360 credits. In this academic year he will gain 80 credits. Ryan’s course intensity is calculated at:

360 / 3 = 120

80 / 120 x 100 = 67%

 

Scenario 2

Beth is studying a part-time HND with an FTE duration of 2 years. The entire course gives 240 credits. In this academic year Beth will gain 60 credits. Beth’s course intensity is calculated at:

240 / 2 = 120

60 / 120 x 100 = 50%

 

Scenario 3

Jo is studying a part-time bachelor’s degree with an FTE duration of 3 years. The entire course gives 300 credits. In this academic year Jo will gain 40 credits. Jo’s course intensity is calculated at:

300 / 3 = 100

40 / 100 x 100 = 40%