Registration Regulations


The following regulations cover the process for registering on a University programme, the maximum duration of studies and how to change programme or withdraw.


1.1 Matriculation is the process of registering with the University as a student. Students must register for each academic year of their programme ie they must matriculate annually.

1.2 To be permitted to matriculate, students must produce:

  • originals of certificates passed and on the basis of which, admission to the University is being sought;
  • evidence of financial support, e.g. a letter of award confirmation from the Students' Award Agency for Scotland, from a Local Education Authority, or from a sponsor. Students are expected to have a reasonable expectation of financial support to allow them to complete their course.

1.3 Any false or materially misleading statement made in a student's application for entry to the University, or through the annual matriculation process, may result in that student being required to leave the University.

Declaration of Criminal Convictions

2.1 To safeguard the welfare of staff, students, visitors and the general public, Queen Margaret University will scrutinise any criminal convictions declared on the part of applicants for entry or by matriculating students.

2.2 Continuing students will be required to declare, as part of on-line matriculation, whether they have had any criminal conviction in the last 12 months. In the event of a positive response, the process set out in 2.3 below will be followed.

NOTE: Any student who is subsequently found to have falsified their self declaration will be subject to disciplinary action.

2.3 Where an applicant or a matriculating student has declared a criminal conviction, identified staff of the University Secretary’s Group will contact the applicant or student to ascertain the nature of the conviction, requesting further information, including the nature of the conviction, date of conviction, nature of sentence etc. The Head of Admissions for incoming students, or the relevant School Manager for continuing students plus the relevant Head of Division in certain cases will review this information and carry out a risk assessment using an established classification taken from the Health and Care Professions Council. The following criteria will be considered:

  • Programme requirements
  • Potential risk to other students and staff
  • Responsibilities to employers and the public
  • The rights of the individual and entitlement to rehabilitation

Serious cases may also be referred to the Dean for academic consideration.

2.4 The University Secretary will consider the recommendation from the risk assessment and will make a decision on admittance to, or continuation on, a programme.

2.5 Students will not be permitted to commence placements until the investigation into the criminal conviction has concluded.

2.6 Any appeal against a decision in this matter will be conducted through the established University procedures. In certain circumstances, the institution may have to refer cases to the relevant statutory body.

2.7 All Professionally qualifying programmes at QMU have a requirement for students to be screened through the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) process, via Disclosure Scotland.  The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme delivers on the provisions outlined in the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) (Scotland) Act 2007.

Below is a list of the QMU programmes which require a Disclosure Scotland check. The type of check will be determined on application and will be undertaken after an offer to study at the University has been made.

BA (Hons) in Education Studies

BA (Hons) in Education Studies (Primary)

BA (Hons) in Performance

Master of Radiography: Diagnostic

Master of Dietetics

Master of Nursing

Master of Occupational Therapy

Master of Physiotherapy

Master of Podiatry

BSc (Hons) in Public Health

Master of Speech and Language Therapy

Master of Radiography: Therapeutic

BSc in Paramedic Science

DipHE in Hearing Aid Audiology

MSc in Art Psychotherapy

MSc in Audiology (Pre-registration)

MSc in Diagnostic Radiography (Pre-registration)

MSc in Dietetics (Pre-registration)

MSc in Dramatherapy

MSc in Music Therapy

MSc in Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration)

MSc in Physiotherapy (Pre-registration)

MSc in Podiatry (Pre-registration)

MSc in Speech and Language Therapy (Pre-registration)

MSc in Therapeutic Radiography (Pre-registration)

PgDip in Person Centred Practice (professional pathways only)

PGDE Secondary (all programmes)

BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre and Film students may also require a PVG Scheme Record for working with Children, depending on their specialism/dissertation projects. These are normally applied for during the second year of study (for specialisms) or third year for Honours projects.

At the time of writing (September 2023), the standard fee is £59. If an applicant is already a PVG member (for both Children and Adult) then the update fee is £18.

International and EU students

2.8 International, EU and applicants who have lived outside the UK.

Applicants who have received an offer for one of the programmes in the list above who have lived outside the UK will be required to provide a Criminal Record Check from all countries outside the UK where they have been resident for a single period of more than 3 months, since the age of 16, in addition to joining the PVG Scheme.  Please note this needs to be provided before you can matriculate onto the programme.

Once you have matriculated, the school will provide you with a PVG application pack and aid you through the PVG application process.  For International or European applicants, this is in addition to a comparable check from the police in your home country.

2.9 The existence of a criminal record itself does not mean that a student is unable to join a course, but admission to particular courses may precluded by certain types of   convictions. 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

3.1 Individual students may be admitted to an advanced stage of a programme, provided that they have demonstrably reached the same general standard of educational development as achieved through earlier level(s) of the programme. There should also be a reasonable probability that prospective students will complete the programme successfully within its normal duration. Where other studies are used as the basis for selection, the Programme Leader or Admissions Tutor will have discretion to determine if it is necessary for each component in the omitted level(s) of the programme to be shown to have been covered.

3.2 Where admission to a level has been granted, students may further apply for specific credits as set out below. However, any credit approved under RPL and based on a specific episode of prior learning can be used only once on any programme of study.

3.3 The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) describes the use of prior learning, either as a formative tool as part of personal development or as a summative tool for the award of credit. The learning may have taken place either as part of a formal educational course or as part of an informal life or work experience outside formal educational settings. This acknowledges that there may be a stage of discussion, reflection and formative assignments, prior to any formal application for the accreditation of prior learning.

3.4 The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) refers to the process whereby students are awarded credit towards an award on the basis of previous learning, which may be either certificated learning or experiential learning.

3.5 RPL can be used either as a means of demonstrating the achievement of entry level or for gaining credit that can be transferred as either general or specific credit towards a programme of study.

3.6 The application will be assessed by the University in terms of its:

  • authenticity - that the applicant actually completed what is claimed.
  • directness - that the learning was specific and can be identified and categorised.
  • sufficiency - that learning reached a level to allow the applicant to fulfil the learning outcomes of the programme.
  • currency - that the learning is sufficiently recent to allow the applicant to fulfil learning outcomes of the programme.  Where experience from some time previously is referred to in a substantial way, e.g. more than five years has elapsed, the application will be assessed to determine whether the applicant has kept up to date with recent developments in the intended field of study.

3.7 The Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning (RPCL) refers to the recognition of prior learning gained from a formal course that has been previously assessed and/or accredited at higher education level.

3.8 The Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) refers to the process of assessing and credit-rating learning achieved outside formal education settings.

3.9 The minimum credit that can be awarded is 5 credits in the case of undergraduate Programmes, and 7.5 credits for postgraduate programmes. For the purpose of awarding credit, smaller volumes of learning may be incorporated into a single summative assessment submitted for the award of credit.

3.10 The University will grant specific credit to students by matching evidence provided by the student which demonstrates that they have fulfilled the learning outcomes of specified full modules in a validated programme on which they are registered. Students given specific credit for a module will then be exempted from this module and prohibited from undertaking a similar module.

3.11 Students may possess general credit awarded by other institutions for previous studies.  Part of these studies may be specifically recognised and given specific credit towards a programme of the University on the basis that they meet the requirements of a Queen Margaret University award.

3.12 The level and volume of general credit should be assessed based on the relevant level descriptors of the SCQF. Although  the volume of credit is not a simple mathematical judgement, one credit point is approximately equivalent to 10 hours of learning, including all learning activities, application through work based activity, reflection and assessment.

3.13 Students may be exempted from attendance in respect of part of a module where they can demonstrate prior learning of some but not all of the learning outcomes of that module. In such circumstances, students will be summatively assessed against the learning outcomes of the full module.

3.14 The only exception is where a programme option or elective exists.  Specific credit can be given on the basis of previous learning without precise matching of module learning outcomes, provided that students achieve the overall outcomes for an award.

3.15 The student’s claim for credit for a specific module may be assessed in a number of possible ways, and in the following order of preference. The student can:

  • provide evidence of passing an equivalent module elsewhere;
  • undertake the normal module assessment;
  • undertake an oral examination;
  • undertake another form of assessment, e.g. a challenge essay;
  • complete an approved learning contract;
  • submit a portfolio of evidence.

3.16 Where credit is awarded, it should be for evidence of the achievement of learning arising from the experience and not for the experience alone.

3.17 A student’s claim for credit for a specific module should be assessed by the same staff member who would normally assess performance on that module, unless that member of staff has previously acted as academic advisor to the student.

3.18 The record of the assessment of prior learning should be open to independent scrutiny by the same external examiners who assess performance on the specific modules or academic award.  The evidence submitted by students of prior experiential learning in support of a claim must be available for scrutiny by external examiners.  Boards of Examiners should be notified of those credits on student transcripts arising from RPL.

3.19 At least 50 per cent of the level at which a student enters a programme must be completed at Queen Margaret University in order to gain an award from the University.  Classification of awards may make use of grades given for prior learning: for RPCL, those grades are those given by the institution where the prior learning was accredited (adjusted to allow for differences in marking criteria); for RPEL, those grades may be given by Queen Margaret University.

3.20 As part of its programme review and annual monitoring processes, QMU may require programme teams to monitor, review and report on their use of the policies and procedures for RPL.

3.21 An approved learning contract may be used by a student to gain credit, based on an agreed piece of current independent learning. The credit gained may be general or specific. Learning contracts may be incorporated into individual or independent study modules.

3.22 Where a learning contract is used for the award of specific credit, the contract should indicate how the specific learning outcomes of the module(s) are to be demonstrated.

3.23 Where a learning contract is used for general credit, the choice of learning outcomes, together with the volume and level of credit should be made with reference to the SCQF framework.

3.24 A learning contract should include statements of: the level and volume of credit, the aims and learning outcomes, a plan of activities, details of evidence to be submitted by the student (report, essay, video, portfolio etc.), a marking scheme and a time plan.

3.25 The contract should be dated and signed by the student, the lecturer supervising the student and the programme leader (plus the representative of any external body in the case of work-based learning). A copy of the learning contract, together with the student work and marking sheet, should be made available to the External Examiner.

3.26 Boards of Examiners should be made aware of any marks/grades arising from learning contracts.

3.27 General credit may be awarded to students who can demonstrate learning through their fulfilment of a formal representative role in QMU, such as that of a student representative, or as a participant in a programme planning committee or review / validation event.

3.28 In order to gain credit for a representative role, students must agree a learning contract with the relevant Programme Leader or Head of Division and completed in accordance with section 3.21-3.26 above.


4.1 The maximum time for which a student may be registered on an undergraduate programme shall be two years longer than the planned duration of the programme, except in the case of a programme of one year's planned duration, when the total maximum period of registration shall be two years. Any periods of repeat study or deferral of studies are counted within the maximum period of registration. Any extensions to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes will be subject to approval by the Assistant Secretary (Registry and Academic Administration).

4.2 The minimum and maximum registration periods for standard taught postgraduate programmes are as follows:

  • Masters FT - 1 year minimum, 4 years maximum
  • Masters NFT - 2.5 years minimum, 7 years maximum
  • PgDip FT - 1 year minimum, 3 years maximum
  • PgDip NFT - 2 years minimum, 5 years maximum
  • PgCert FT - 1 semester minimum, 2 years maximum
  • PgCert NFT - 1 year minimum, 4 years maximum*

* For example, if modules run in Semester 2 only and student takes one module a year, or if modules run in alternate years.

However, the Professional Masters or PgDips may take between 12 and 24 months depending on the requirements of the programme. Therefore suggested periods are:

  • Professional Masters FT - 2 years minimum, 5 years maximum
  • Professional Masters NFT - 4 years minimum, 7 years maximum
  • Professional PgDip FT - 18-24 months minimum, 4 years maximum
  • Professional PgDip NFT - 3 years minimum, 6 years maximum
  • Professional Dissertation FT - 3 months minimum, 18 months maximum
  • Professional Dissertation NFT - 1 year minimum, 3 years maximum

Principles: Students are allowed 1 year out and then 1 further year to complete.

No programme may take longer than 7 years in total.

Students should refer to the individual Programme Specification for details.

4.3 A student's registration shall lapse if it is no longer possible for him/her to obtain an award within the maximum period of registration. The fact that the student has not yet completed the maximum period of registration shall not, in itself, entitle him/her to remain registered.

4.4 An award may be conferred subsequent to the expiry of the period of registration.

4.5 A student may apply for deferment of study either prior to entry, or after commencement of studies. Application should be made to the Programme Leader.

4.6 Once a student commences studies, deferment of studies will be permitted only where it remains possible for the student to obtain the relevant award within the maximum period of registration (see paragraph 4.1).

4.7 Only in exceptional circumstances will a student be permitted to re-enrol on the programme. This includes students who have been required, or have chosen, to withdraw from a programme, and who have not been granted a deferment of study. Students who have voluntarily withdrawn may be re-admitted for a higher award through the University's normal admissions procedures. Students who have been required to withdraw may be re-admitted through the University's normal admissions procedures a minimum of one year after the decision of the Boards of Examiners. Students can only be considered for readmission where it is still possible for them to complete within the maximum period of registration and where the student has not already exhausted all possible attempts on a core module. Students who indicate that they wish to exit with an Ordinary degree should apply directly to the Head of Division if they subsequently wish to proceed to an Honours degree.

4.8 Where the period of deferment of study begins during a level for which fees have been paid, no refund of such fees will normally be made.

Continuation of Registration

5.1 Full-time undergraduate students are expected to register on modules rated to a total of 120 Scottish degree credits in any academic year. They may with the agreement of the Programme Leader register on modules rated to a total of 100, 110, 130, 140 credits in one academic year. In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Examiners may recommend registration on up to 160 credit points in cases where a student is required to carry forward modules. Further, with the additional agreement of the funding body, they may register on modules rated to a total of 80 or 90 credits. Students registering on modules rated to a total of 70 credits or fewer will for all purposes be considered as part-time students.

Full time undergraduate students on Integrated Masters programmes will take between 140-160 credits per academic year.

5.2 The selection of an individual programme of study is the ultimate responsibility of the student subject to:

  • the rules determining pre-requisites and co-requisites for modules;
  • the availability each year of modules, and their time-tabling;
  • the advice provided by staff.

5.3 The choice of a student's programme of study is determined by the regulations set out in the programme definitive document in terms of the compulsory modules and the pre-requisites. Boards of Examiners may advise on, but may not determine, a student's subsequent programme of study.

5.4 A part-time student allowed to continue in registration and wishing to transfer to full-time study will have her or his application considered by the programme's Admissions Tutor. Transfer is not at the student's discretion.

Change of Study Programme

6.1 Students may change their agreed programme of study. Such change requires the approval of the Programme Leader(s) and Module Co-ordinators. This acts as a check that the student has a good reason for the change, the revised programme is still coherent, the necessary prerequisite qualifications are fulfilled, and that the registration period is still within the minimum and maximum allowed period.

6.2 If a student withdraws from a module before 25% of the duration has elapsed, he or she will be treated as never having been on the module. No fee will be charged.

6.3 If a student wishes to withdraw from a module after 25% of the duration has elapsed he or she will be treated as having registered on the module and will be charged a fee.

6.4 A student withdrawing from a module after 25% of the duration has elapsed may provide the module co-ordinator with a written explanation of reasons for withdrawal. If the module co-ordinator accepts these as valid extenuating circumstances, the student will suffer no academic penalty, i.e. the withdrawal will not count as a fail. The student will receive a transcript showing them as withdrawn and will receive no credit.

6.5 A student withdrawing from a module after 25% of the duration without providing evidence of extenuating circumstances will be recorded as a fail.

6.6 For the purpose of these regulations the term "module" is understood to cover all integrally assessed course components, whether designed in a modular format or not, i.e. it includes projects and placements where these are assessed.

6.7 Applications from students wishing to follow a programme of study leading to a general award of MSc, MA, MBA, MFA, PgDip or PgCert will be vetted by the School Academic Board or by the Programme Committee to ensure that the chosen programme exhibits relevance, academic coherence, and has the potential to lead to a dissertation in an area suitable to the level of award, appropriate to the interests and expertise of staff.

Choice of Study Programme - Postgraduate Study

7.1 Within the regulations set down for the Masters Programme overall and for particular awards, it is intended that the student will choose her/his own programme.

7.2 A student's choice of dissertation is subject to the agreement of the Programme Committee/Subject Area Panel and the dissertation supervisor. This agreement is given on the authority of the School Academic Board.

7.3 The specific agreement of the School Academic Board is needed by a student who designs a study programme which is undefined in subject area content and which leads to the award of a general Masters degree (MFA, MSc or MA).

7.4 It is expected that students will choose programmes and modes of study appropriate to their own particular needs. Students may register on individual modules without necessarily being required to register for an award, and they will be eligible for assessment and for an academic transcript of performance on the individual modules.


8.1 Undergraduate full time students are expected to register on six 20-credit modules, or equivalent, in any one academic year. (See 5.1 above for further detail and exceptions.)

8.2 Undergraduate students studying seventy credits or less, or equivalent, will be governed by such of the University regulations as affect part time students.

8.3 Students are expected to attend all timetabled events associated with their programme of study and must comply with the requirements of the University Student Attendance Policy.

8.4 Individual programmes may require a more detailed attendance policy. Attendance requirements for the satisfaction of a professional or registration body and on any modules should be clearly identified in the programme's student handbook. Programme attendance policies should be developed in consultation with module co-ordinators, where modules are accessed by students from various programmes. Students must acknowledge all attendance policies.

Associate Students

9.1 Students may be admitted to a module or modules or to a part of a programme as an Associate Student, without registering for an award. As with all other students their matriculation is undertaken by the University Secretary’s Group.

9.2 Where associate students are supplementary to an existing class and can be taught without the need for additional resources, approval for their admission will normally be given by the Head of Division responsible for the modules for which the students wish to register. However, where the number of associate students registered on a particular module is large, a special arrangement covering fees and additional resources for teaching and defined access to facilities on campus should be negotiated and agreed by the Dean of School. Such arrangements will apply where a separate class is provided or where special provision is made for teaching off-campus.

9.3 It will normally be the responsibility of the module co-ordinator to ensure that associate students fulfil the pre-requisites of any module on which they are registered.

9.4 Associate students will follow the same curriculum and, if they wish to be assessed, they will be assessed in the same way as (and usually together with) students taking the module who are registered for an award. The same Board of Examiners shall, at the same meeting, consider the results of all students assessed for a given module. The grades achieved in the assessment will be recorded and students will be eligible for an academic transcript.

9.5 Associate students have access to the same appeals, disciplinary and complaints procedures as other students.

9.6 The standard of the teaching will be assessed through the use of QMU teaching staff and the QMU Board of Examiners. Should students use facilities in another establishment, the Programme Leader responsible for the module in QMU should lodge an affirmation with the Division of Governance and Quality Enhancement to the effect that the conditions and facilities are conducive to the proper pursuit of the module.

9.7 Associate students will normally be charged the fee for the module taken or a pro-rata fee in relation to the portion of a programme being followed, and have access to all the University facilities.

Current Students Information

For more information on matriculation, examinations, graduation, tuition fees or smartcards contact: Registry.

For more information on submissions, absences, extenuating circumstances, placement administration or module selection contact: Academic Administration.

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Current Students Information

Registry For registry enquiries. 0131 474 0000
Academic Administration For academic administration enquiries. 0131 474 0000