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Part III and MPhil assessment

After consultation with course managers, senior examiners and course reps, the HPS Degree Committee has endorsed the following general adjustments in recognition of the considerable disruption caused to your work by the COVID-19 pandemic:

i) All dissertation deadlines (Part III, HPSM MPhil, HMS MPhil) are extended by two weeks for all students. Further extensions will be granted in individual cases when they are deemed necessary.

ii) For Part III and HPSM MPhil students an alternative system of weighting will be used to determine the overall course mark. The examiners will calculate an overall mark based on a 50% weighting for the dissertation AND an overall mark based on a 35% weighting for the dissertation. The final mark will be the higher of the two alternatives.

iii) A similar system will operate for HMS MPhil students. The examiners will calculate an overall mark based on a 60% weighting for the dissertation AND an overall mark based on a 40% weighting for the dissertation. The final mark will be the higher of the two alternatives.

iv) Maximum word limits will not be reduced, since in some cases this would make it harder for students to refine their dissertation projects. However, some dissertation projects will be significantly curtailed in their scope. The HMS MPhil currently has a lower word limit of 10,000 words, which will be reduced to 8,000 words. The HPSM MPhil and the HPS Part III have no lower word limit, and none will be introduced now. We stress to students and assessors that the current maximum limits (12,000 words for HPSM and HPS Part III, 15,000 for HMS) are not targets, that shorter pieces should not be penalized simply on the basis of length, and that a much shorter dissertation, e.g., of 8,000 words, could be awarded a starred distinction.

v) Students may append at the start of their dissertations a brief explanation drawing the assessors' attention to materials that they would ordinarily have consulted but were prevented from doing so by the disruption. This explanation should not exceed one page and will not figure in the word count.

All students should consult with their supervisors regarding changes that may need to be made to their dissertation plans in light of closures of archives and libraries, inaccessibility of field sites and so forth.

These measures will not fully mitigate all the difficulties students may face. Some students will have experienced difficulties relating, for example, to their access to suitable working space, their physical and mental health, and their access to internet resources, that may be unique and/or exceptional. Students in these situations should continue to make use of existing forms of support and adjustments, which can be accessed via their College tutors, course managers and supervisors.

If you have any questions about the specific details of these proposals then please address them to the relevant course manager in the first instance:

  • Salim Al-Gailani and Agnes Bolinska (HPSM MPhil)
  • Riana Betzler (HPS Part III)
  • Jacob Stegenga (HMS MPhil)