Academic regulations on university master's degree courses
Since then, UPF has acquired a wealth of experience as a result of teaching and managing university master's degree programmes, as well as through constant work with the external bodies that help the University to monitor the quality of such programmes, chiefly the Spanish National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA) and the Quality Assurance Agency of the University System in Catalonia (AQU Catalunya). The regulations set out herein are intended to reflect that experience, and to clarify and simplify certain aspects of the procedures involved.
Additionally, the content of these regulations attributes particular importance to the documents that are part of the curriculums verified and accredited by the Universities Council on the basis of the analyses performed by the quality agencies. In accordance with the provisions of the general regulations, the documents in question must explicitly and transparently establish all specific aspects related to the corresponding university master's degree programme. Consequently, here is where it is necessary to thoroughly and precisely define a range of aspects that would otherwise have to feature in general regulations, as has often been the case until now.
Lastly, these regulations include the adaptations required to ensure compliance with changes in the general regulations on course structure (Royal Decree 861/2010 of 2 July, which amends Royal Decree 1393/2007 of 29 October, whereby the structure of official university courses is established) and with the University Student Statute, approved by Royal Decree 1791/2010 of 30 December.
Article 1. Object
The object of these regulations consists of governing second-cycle university courses leading to the award of a university master's degree at UPF, in accordance with the provisions of current regulations on the structure of official university courses.
Article 2. Admission
Courses leading to the award of a university master's degree are open to students who fulfil the general admission requisites established in current regulations and, if applicable, the specific admission requisites stipulated in the verification report approved for each university master's degree programme.
Students with a non-EHEA degree that has not been officially recognized are eligible for admission to a university master's degree programme, subject to UPF confirming that their qualification accredits a level of training equivalent to a Spanish official university degree and enables its holder to take part in postgraduate education in its country of issue. Admission under such circumstances shall not, in any case, entail official recognition of the applicant's previous qualification, nor recognition thereof for any purpose other than taking the corresponding master's degree course.
2.2. Submission of applications
UPF runs an annual application process for its different university master's degree programmes. Candidates who meet the admission requisites referred to in section 2.1. may participate in the process, as may those who do not meet the said requirements when applying but expect to do so at the start of the academic year.
In the case of the Catalan government having established a public price for participation in the admission process, payment thereof shall be indispensable for such participation.
2.3.1. Documentation for applications for admission
When submitting applications for participation in university master's degree programmes, candidates must include documentation that proves that they meet the admission requisites and attests to any aspects that may have to be assessed.
Final admission is subject to candidates proving that they meet the admission requisites on the first day of the academic year by presenting the original documentation they are asked to provide.
The said documentation absolutely must include certification of the university qualification that makes them eligible for admission to the master's degree programme; an academic certificate showing the academic years they spent studying for their bachelor's degree, the subjects they studied, and the credits and grades they obtained; and their national identity document or another document attesting to their identity.
In the case of university systems that do not issue degree certificates or diplomas, students must provide a certificate stating that they have completed the relevant programme of study and/or a full, official academic certificate.
2.3.2. Documentation for enrolment
When enrolling, students must submit the original versions of the documents they presented when making their applications. In the case of bachelor's degrees from outside the European Union, the degree and academic certificates to be provided must be duly authenticated by means of the Hague Convention Apostille or diplomatic legalization, as applicable.
Documents written in languages other than Catalan, Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese or French must be submitted along with a Spanish or Catalan translation thereof carried out by an official authorized translator, any Spanish diplomatic or consular mission in other countries, or the diplomatic or consular mission in Spain of the country of which the applicant is a national.
In the event of there being any doubt as to the authenticity and validity of documents during application or enrolment, UPF may take appropriate steps to verify their content.
2.4. Assessment of applications for admission
When demand for places on a university master's degree programme exceeds availability, applications shall be prioritized on the basis of the assessment criteria established in the programme's verification report. The said criteria shall always respect the principles of transparency, equality, merit and ability.
In the event of the assessment procedure involving the performance of a test, candidates must pay the corresponding fee to participate therein. Proof of payment of the sum in question shall be indispensable for such participation.
In the case of students with specific educational needs stemming from a disability, such procedures must include appropriate support and advisory services.
2.5. Selection procedure
The selection procedure shall be carried out by a selection committee appointed by the appropriate committee from the department that teaches the corresponding master's degree programme. The selection committee shall comprise at least three lecturers from the programme's scientific field, one of whom shall be appointed its chair and another its secretary.
The said committee shall be responsible for selecting candidates, as well as for resolving any issues arising from the selection procedure which are not the responsibility of another body.
Selection procedure results shall be published on UPF's institutional website.
Article 3. Readmission
Students deemed to have dropped out of their studies at UPF due to having failed to complete the enrolment procedure in two consecutive academic years must apply for readmission if they wish to take up their studies again.
Applications for readmission must be accompanied by documentation accrediting the grounds on which it is being sought. Only students who have not exhausted all their options for meeting UPF's continuance standards shall be eligible for readmission.
Decisions on applications for readmission shall made by the director of the department responsible for the relevant university master's degree programme. To that end, they shall evaluate the applicant's academic transcript for the UPF studies they dropped out of and the grounds set out in their application, taking into account demand for and the availability of places on the programme in question.
Students may not be readmitted to study curriculums that have been phased out.
Article 4. Full-time / part-time study
University master's degree programmes may be studied on a full-time or a part-time basis, in accordance with each curriculum's verification report. In the event of a student opting to study for a master's degree on a part-time basis, they must request permission to do so from the committee responsible for the programme, in the manner and within the deadlines established thereby.
Article 5. Enrolment
5.1. Enrolment procedure
Students must complete their applications for enrolment on a university master's degree programme within the periods established by UPF.
UPF's acceptance of applications for enrolment shall be subject to the information contained therein being accurate, the applicant meeting the university master's degree programme admission requisites established by current regulations, and payment of the enrolment fee being made in full, in the manner and within the periods specified.
5.2. Obligations in relation to enrolment for credits
The verification report for each university master's degree programme stipulates the number of credits for which students must enrol each academic year.
5.2.1. Full-time students:
a. University master's degree programme with a duration of one academic year (60 ECTS credits): students are required to enrol for all the credits necessary to obtain the qualification. If a student fails to earn all the credits in question, they must enrol for the outstanding credits in the following academic year, provided that they have not exhausted all their options for meeting the established continuance standards.
b. University master's degree programme with a duration of more than one academic year (90 or 120 ECTS credits): in their first academic year, students must enrol for the number of credits specified in the first-year curriculum's verification report. In subsequent academic years, they must also enrol for the total number of credits stipulated in the verification report, plus any credits they failed to earn the previous year, provided that they have not exhausted all their options for meeting the established continuance standards.
5.2.2. Part-time students:
a. In their first academic year, students must enrol for the number of credits specified for part-time study in the verification report.
b. In subsequent academic years, students must enrol for the total number of credits specified for part-time study in the verification report, plus any credits they failed to earn the previous year and require in order to obtain the qualification.
5.3. Changes to enrolment details
Before each academic year begins, UPF establishes the periods in which changes may be made to enrolment details. Applications submitted outside the specified periods shall not be accepted.
5.4. Enrolment withdrawal by students
Students may withdraw their enrolment up to two months after enrolling, to which end they must submit an application at the Student Information Desk.
For a student's application for withdrawal to be accepted, submission thereof within the established period and payment in full of the enrolment fee are indispensable. An accepted withdrawal shall be deemed to have taken effect on the date on which the student submitted their application.
Academically speaking, the effects of acceptance of a student's enrolment withdrawal shall be the same as if the student had never enrolled. Under no circumstances shall enrolment withdrawal by students entail a refund of enrolment fees.
5.5. Services and fees
The enrolment fee payable by students is determined by applying the public prices approved by the Catalan government.
UPF may establish other fees for services, with the approval of its Board of Trustees, in accordance with current regulations.
Students covered by student insurance, in accordance with current regulations, must pay the amount corresponding thereto.
Students seeking admission to university master's degree studies on the basis of a foreign, non-EHEA qualification for which they have not obtained official recognition must pay the corresponding public price to cover verification of equivalence, in accordance with current regulations.
5.6. Grants and exemptions
Students who benefit from an enrolment fee exemption or grant envisaged in current regulations must prove that to be the case when enrolling.
Students must fulfil the conditions that entitle them to total or partial exemption from the payment of enrolment fees on the first day of the academic year.
5.7. Economic regulations applicable to enrolment
Where enrolment is concerned, fees, payments, payment methods, refunds, changes to details and withdrawals shall be governed by UPF's regulations on economic aspects of enrolment for official courses.
5.8. Minimum number of students enrolling for a subject
The number o students per subject cannot be less than 10, generally speaking. However, subjects may continue to be taught with a lower number of students in the corresponding academic year in accordance with the criteria to be established by the vice-rector responsible for academic planning, in which the specific conditions to be able to continue offering the subjects in subsequent academic years must be provided for.
Article 6. Credit recognition
Credit recognition means UPF's acceptance of credits earned through an official master's degree course, at UPF itself or a different university, which count towards the award of a university master's degree corresponding to another course.
6.2. Recognition of professional or work experience and unofficial courses
Accredited professional or work experience may be recognized in the form of credits that count towards the award of a university master's degree, provided that such experience is related to the competences inherent to the qualification in question.
Credits corresponding to master's degree final projects shall not be eligible for recognition. The overall number of credits recognized on the basis of professional or work experience and unofficial university courses must not exceed 15% of the relevant curriculum's total number of credits. Recognition of such credits does not include their grades, and they shall therefore not be taken into account when calculating a transcript's average grade.
The above notwithstanding, and as an exception, the percentage indicated in the previous paragraph may be exceeded or full recognition permitted in the case of credits corresponding to a university-endorsed qualification, provided that it has been phased out and replaced by an official qualification. To that end, the verification report for the new curriculum proposed and submitted to be verified must state that the above is the case, and must be accompanied by the information and documentation specified by current regulations on credit recognition.
6.3. Credit recognition criteria
The criteria applicable to credit recognition shall be as set out and justified in a curriculum's verification report.
6.4. Bodies authorized to recognize credits
The director of the department responsible for the relevant university master's degree programme shall decide whether or not to approve applications for recognition, at the proposal of the lecturer responsible for recognition for the programme in question (and possibly other such programmes).
The said lecturer, who must be a PhD holder, is to be appointed in advance by the director of the department responsible for the master's degree programme.
6.5. Submission of applications for credit recognition
Applications for credit recognition must be addressed to the director of the relevant department and submitted at the Student Information Desk between 1 July and 30 November.
6.6. Documentation for applications for credit recognition
Applications for credit recognition must include details of the subjects for which recognition is being sought, indicating the subjects to which they correspond, and must be accompanied by the following documentation:
- An academic certificate showing the subjects studied, the corresponding number of credits and the grades obtained.
- A photocopy of the curriculum studied, duly stamped by the relevant centre.
- A photocopy of the programmes or course plans of the subjects studied, duly stamped by the relevant centre.
- Proof of payment of the fee for processing applications for recognition, as established in current regulations.
Each recognized subject shall be shown as such on a student's academic transcript, once they have enrolled for it.
Recognized credits shall be recorded on a student's transcript in accordance with the provisions of the regulations on grading in force when such recognition is approved.
6.8. Fee for applications for recognition and fee for recognized credits
The fee for applications for credit recognition shall be as established in the regulations on public prices approved by the Catalan government.
The fee for recognized credits shall be as established in UPF's regulations on economic aspects of enrolment for official courses.
Article 7. Credit transfer
Credit transfer consists of the inclusion on a student's academic transcript of credits obtained through official university master's degree studies (or their equivalent) taken previously, at UPF or a different university, which have not led to the award of an official qualification.
Article 8. Subject course plans
A subject course plan is an instrument in which the approach taken to organizing the teaching involved in a subject is defined. Such course plans are public and may be viewed via the means of dissemination of academic information specified by UPF. Subject course plans' content, deadlines and other aspects are governed by the specific regulations currently in force.
Article 9. Continuance
The continuance standards applicable to university master's degree studies shall be as approved by the Board of Trustees, at the proposal of the Board of Governors.
Article 10. Assessment of knowledge
Students' knowledge may be evaluated through a final exam or a continuous assessment process.
At the beginning of every period of teaching, the lecturers responsible for each subject must announce the assessment methods and criteria they will be applying.
10.1. Final exams
Once teaching has been completed, oral and written exams alike must take place within the period specified for that purpose on the academic calendar.
10.1.2. Exam sittings
There shall be a single exam sitting per subject, per academic year.
10.1.3. Oral exams
Oral exams shall be organized and assessed by a board comprising three lecturers appointed to that end by the appropriate committee from the department that teaches the corresponding master's degree programme. With a view to documenting exam content and ensuring its preservation, oral exams shall be recorded in a format that allows for their storage and reproduction. (See Resolution dated 11 March 2011, which modifies the University Archives Order 01/2004 by which the procedure of exams and marks documents destruction is regulated)
10.2. Continuous assessment
Continuous assessment means all the processes, instruments and teaching strategies defined in a subject course plan and applied progressively during the subject's teaching and learning process, as an integral part thereof. The material generated through such assessment should provide students and lecturers with meaningful, periodic indicators of how the former are developing and progressing in terms of acquiring competences identified as the subject's learning objectives.
Continuous assessment shall be applicable to subjects whose course plans state that to be the case.
At least three assessment activities must be specified for subjects that include continuous assessment systems, along with the corresponding assessment mechanisms, the indicators to be used where progress and knowledge assimilation are concerned, the envisaged schedule, the assessment criteria applicable to each activity and its weighting within the subject's overall grade.
The continuous assessment carried out in term time may represent between 50 and 100% of a subject's final grade.
Students shall periodically be informed of the results they have obtained in continuous assessment activities. Such information shall be issued in the ways specified in each subject course plan.
Subjects that involve continuous assessment shall adhere to the general grading system established by UPF.
10.3. Assessment of master's degree final projects
University master's degree programmes shall conclude with the production and public defence of a master's degree final project.
Such projects shall be assessed by a board appointed by the appropriate committee from the department that teaches the corresponding master's degree programme. The said board must comprise at least three members of teaching and research staff (a chair, a secretary and one other).
10.4. Conservation of assessment tests
To ensure that it is possible to review grades, lecturers must keep exams or the documents on which grades are based (including recordings) for the time stipulated by UPF's general secretary, as the governing body authorized to establish the conditions and calendar applicable to the conservation of assessment tests.
Article 11. Grades
11.1. Grading system
Students must be assessed and graded in accordance with the specifications of each subject's course plan and with current regulations.
The results that students obtain are to be expressed in the form of numerical grades corresponding to the scale stipulated by Royal Decree 1125/2003 of 5 September, which establishes the European credit system and the grading system to be used in official university education, and their validity throughout Spain.
11.2. Grade reviews
11.2.1. Students are entitled to have the teaching staff responsible for a subject review their grade while they themselves are present.
11.2.2. Such reviews shall be carried out on the date and at the time indicated by the lecturer responsible for the subject when issuing provisional grades. Students shall be notified of the result through its inclusion on their transcript once the subject's official record has been finalized.
11.2.3. Regardless of whether or not they have exercised the right to which the preceding sections refer, students may appeal against their final grade. Such appeals must be addressed to the director of the department responsible for the corresponding university master's degree programme and submitted within five calendar days of the relevant subject's finalized official record being published.
Within five calendar days of the end of the period in which appeals may be submitted, a decision shall be made thereon by a committee appointed beforehand by the director of the department responsible for the corresponding university master's degree programme.
Prior to issuing its decision, the committee must listen to the views of the lecturer responsible for the subject.
The committee's decision regarding such an appeal shall exhaust administrative review procedures.
Article 12. Inclusion of credits on academic transcripts
All the credits for which a student enrols shall be included on their academic transcript.
Once a student has met the minimum requisites for the award of a university master's degree, any optional subjects they may have failed shall not be included on their transcript.
Article 13. External internships
Any external internships that university master's degree students undertake as part of their academic training shall be governed by current regulations on university students' external academic internships. (See regulations governing agreements for formation internships in accordance with UPF courses syllabuses [Management Committee Agreement dated 26 May 1993])
Article 14. Phasing out of curriculums
The conditions applicable to the phasing out of university master's degree curriculums and UPF's guarantee to teach the corresponding courses shall be as established in the verification report for each university master's degree programme.
Article 15. Issue of official master's degree certificates and European Diploma Supplements
Once a student has met the necessary requisites, they may request to be issued with their university master's degree certificate and the accompanying European Diploma Supplement.
Firs additional provision
In the case of interuniversity master’s degrees, the applicable academic regulations will be established in the corresponding agreement.
Second additional provision
In exceptional, duly justified situations, directors will be authorized with respect to the teaching carried out at their department, to modify the system to assess and evaluate subject teaching plans and make all curricular adaptations required, if applicable.
The previous regulations shall continue to apply to students who began university master's degree courses thereunder.
These regulations revoke the academic regulations on official master's degrees approved in the resolution of the Board of Governors of 10 May 2006.
Final provision one
The general regulations that govern official university master's degree courses shall apply to all matters not envisaged herein.
Final provision two
It shall be the responsibility of the rector, or a vice-rector delegated thereby, to issue any instructions necessary for the purposes of interpreting, applying and developing these regulations.