5.  The Taught Component

All Mathematics PhD students are required to take, and pass, at least 100 hours of taught course units over the course of your first two years of study.  A minimum of 60 hours must be taken in your first year of study.  If you commence mid-year you may have to undertake this in your first full semester in order for permission to be granted for you to proceed to year 2.  The point of the taught component is to both give training in areas of mathematics relevant to your research but also to broaden your mathematical knowledge beyond the narrow focus of your PhD; therefore you should not necessarily take only courses directly relevant to your research area.  Results are confirmed by the Postgraduate Research Committee who meet each year in July and will make decisions about referrals and progression based on the taught component of your programme.


You can choose to study either MAGIC, APTS, MSc (Level 6) or post-graduate (Level 8) units or a combination thereof.   You should discuss with your supervisor or supervisory team in registration week exactly which courses you should take. 


MAGIC stands for `Mathematics Access Grid: Instruction and Collaboration'.  It is a network of mathematics departments across the UK.  MAGIC serves to share postgraduate level courses in all areas of mathematics and taught via access grid technology (you can think of this as an advanced form of video conferencing).  Each MAGIC course counts for either 10 hours or 20 hours of the taught component.  The website for MAGIC is http://maths-magic.ac.uk/index.php.  Further details about MAGIC are given in section 5.2.


APTS stands for `Academy for PhD Training in Statistics'.  APTS is collaboration between major UK statistics research groups and it organises residential courses for PhD students for PhD students in statistics and applied probability.  These take the form of four residential weeks and students study two intensive course modules per APTS week.  Each residential week counts as 33 hours for the taught component.  The website for APTS is http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statistics/apts.  Further details about APTS are given in section 5.3.


The School runs a number of MSc programmes.  The taught course units that comprise these MScs can be taken as part of the taught component.  Each 15-credit MSc course unit is worth 33.3 hours towards the taught component.  Further details of the course units offered are given here http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/information-for-current-students/course-units-offered/. See also section 5.3.


There may be other graduate-level courses running that are only offered to PhD students and academic staff.  These courses have course codes of the form MATH8xxxx.  These courses can also form part of the taught component and each one is worth 33.3 hours towards the taught component. 


Only courses that have been pre-approved by the School can form part of the taught component. 


Sensible rounding of hours applies, so that if you take and pass 96.6 hours of taught component material then this will be rounded to 100 hours.  To clarify you must take:

100 hours MAGIC/APTS, or

1x 15cr MSc course + 70 hours MAGIC or 1 x15cr MSc course + 66.6 hours APTS, or

2x 15cr MSc course + 30 hours MAGIC or 2x 15cr MSc course + 33.3 hours APTS, or

3x 15cr MSc course.


5.1 Registration for taught courses

You need to inform the School which taught courses you will be taking.  You can register for MAGIC course units by logging in to the MAGIC website (see section 5.2.1).  To register for MSc or graduate-level courses you should email Anna Bigland (mathematics@manchester.ac.uk) in the Teaching & Learning Office.  To register for APTS course units: you should first discuss this with your supervisor (see section 5.3) and then inform Anna Bigland.




Details of MAGIC can be found at http://maths-magic.ac.uk/index.php


The dates for the MAGIC semesters are:


First semester:  3 October 2016 - 9 December 2016: Examinations:9 January 2017 - 22 January 2017

Second semester:  23 January 2017 - 31 March 2017: Examinations:  24 April 2017  - 7 May 2017


(Note that these are not the same as the dates for Manchester's semesters.)


5.2.1 MAGIC courses and registration

Details of all MAGIC courses may be found at the MAGIC website  http://maths-magic.ac.uk/index.php.  The site contains details of the timetable for MAGIC courses. Courses will normally run for 10 weeks in each semester.


To register for a course click on the login item at the MAGIC website. Your login name will normally be set to your email address on the School computer system. At the first login enter the login name and click the password reminder. You will receive an email giving details of your password after which you can login. Once logged in you can register for a course by clicking on the 'Edit my course registration' item.   You must register for any courses you attend.


5.2.2 Assessment of MAGIC courses

Each MAGIC course will normally have a written examination that is set and marked by the lecturer.


This examination will normally take the form of an “open book take-home" written examination.  An examination for a 10 (resp. 20) hour course should normally be completed in two (resp. three) hours by a student who has diligently followed the course. 


The examination will be made available via the Assessment tab during the examination period.


The examination should be taken during a two-week examination period after the end of the MAGIC semester.  This period will not include major public holidays and will be publicised clearly on the Assessment tab for each course.  You will need to devise your own schedule for completing the examinations.


You submit work by uploading legible examination scripts to the course filespace. The filename of the submitted work should show clearly your name and the MAGIC course number. The system will record the date of upload and will allow you to remove or replace your own work until the deadline. No upload or replacement will be permitted after the deadline. In the event that access is unavailable on a deadline, you should submit a copy of your work to the School's Teaching & Learning Office until the access problems are resolved.


The course lecturer will mark the exam scripts and award a grade of either ‘pass' or ‘fail'.  This recommendation then goes to the School's PGR Examinations Board for ratification.  The course lecturer will upload copies of marked examination scripts to the course filespace before the marking deadline.

The assessment policy for MAGIC can be found here:  https://maths-magic.ac.uk/admin/documentation/MAGIC_assess.pdf.


5.3 APTS

Information on APTS, including details of course modules, is available at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statistics/apts/.


If you are interested in attending one or more APTS weeks then you should discuss this with your supervisor in the first instance.  Funding from the School is often available for students to help with the fees, subsistence and travel costs associated with attending an APTS week, but your supervisor will have to formally apply for this.  The School will register students to attend designated APTS weeks at the start of the academic year in September/October.


Each APTS week requires students to undertake some provided preparatory work; after attendance at an APTS week, students will be required by to complete and pass some assessment work.  This work is marked within the School and the pass mark is 50%.


Attending an APTS week and then successfully completing the assessed work will equate to 33.3 of the required 100 hours of taught course units for PhD students.


In the academic year 2016-17  the programme of APTS weeks is as follows: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statistics/apts/calendar-view/.


5.4 MSc and Graduate-level course units

The MSc (Level 6) and Graduate-level (Level 8) course units offered by the School can be taken as part of the taught component.  Each 15-credit MSc course unit counts as 33.3 hours of the taught component. 


The timetable for the MSc course units are here:  http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/information-for-current-students/timetables/.


The timetables for any graduate-level course units that are running will be announced via email at the start of the semester that they run in.


Information on course material is available on the School Website

http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/information-for-current-students/course-units-offered/course-units-by-level/?level=6 and via Blackboard https://app.manchester.ac.uk/Default.aspx.


5.4.1 MSc coursework submission and penalties for late submission

Many MSc course units have coursework associated with them.  Coursework that requires hard-copy submission must be submitted to the reception desk in the Alan Turing Building before the deadline.  Submission forms are available and you will be given a receipt by the receptionist.  There are penalties for late submission.  For full details of the penalties you should consult the MSc Handbook.


5.4.2 MSc examinations

First Semester course units are normally examined in January, and Second Semester course units and full-year course units are normally examined in May/June. Full information about the length of each examination paper, the number of questions on each paper and the number of questions you are expected to answer will be given to you by the lecturers in charge of the course units. They will also give you examples of typical examination questions. Examination papers from previous years are available via the School’s website:




If you answer more than the number of questions required in the rubric of an examination paper, it is advisable to cross out the questions that you do not want to be marked. Some examiners will mark all the questions you attempt and count the best ones. Others will only mark the number of questions required by the rubric and will ignore later attempts at other questions. The lecturers will tell you in advance which policy they will adopt.


The examination timetables are posted well in advance of the examination periods on the website:



You must check the examination timetable in good time. Each student is allocated an individual seat number for each examination and you are required to sit in the seat which has been assigned to you. You can obtain your own individual copy of the timetable from the Student Portal. You can log in to the Student Portal from the website: https://my.manchester.ac.uk.  Students who are enrolled onto examinations who are not registered in the same year (eg students who commence in January taking first semester examinations) will have to manually enrol onto examinations using the pocedures detailed on line http://www.exams.manchester.ac.uk/.  Students who register in January, April or July may find that they need to manually enrol onto examinations.  Full details on the procedure are available at http://www.exams.manchester.ac.uk/.


The University does not regard failure to read the timetable correctly as an acceptable reason for absence.


5.5 Mitigating circumstances

The Postgraduate Research Examination Board (see section 5.7) has the responsibility to implement the University's policies and regulations in a manner which is fair to students, taking into account all known circumstances.  Each student is responsible for informing the Examination Board of any facts that he/she wishes to be considered.  These facts may, for example, be concerned with personal difficulties or ill health (whenever possible obtain a medical certificate for ill health).  You should always inform your supervisor or Programme Director of any personal difficulties affecting you or your studies; you should also complete a School of Mathematics Mitigating Circumstances Form, available on-line http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/information-for-current-students/student-support/.


Remember that if you want the Examination Board to take medical or other Mitigating Circumstances into account, it is important that you provide independent documentary evidence (for example, a letter from your GP or hospital) to support your case, whenever possible.


The deadlines for submitting information about mitigating circumstances to the Examination Board are:  


First Semester Mitigating Circumstances Deadline:


13 January 2017, 4pm. 

Second Semester Mitigating Circumstances Deadline:

16 May 2017, 4pm.

Referred/Deferred Examination Mitigating Circumstances Deadline:

 4 September 2017, 4pm.



Only new information that has become available subsequent to the meeting of the Examination Board may be used in appeals, other than where exceptional circumstances gave the student good reason to withhold information.


5.6 Academic malpractice in the taught component

The taught component governed by the University's policy on academic malpractice.  http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/DocuInfo.aspx?DocID=2870


See also:



The School and the University take academic malpractice, such as plagiarism, collusion, falsification or fabrication of results, cheating in examinations, etc, very seriously and you must ensure that you understand what academic malpractice is and that you understand the penalties involved.  The School and University will take action in all cases where academic malpractice offences have been detected and ignorance of the regulations will not be taken as an acceptable defence. You should also note that you have a responsibility to ensure the originality of your own work (i.e. you should not give other students a chance to copy your work). Students whose work has been made available to be copied will normally be subject to the same penalties as those applied to students who copied.


Plagiarism is presenting the ideas, works or words of other people without proper, clear and unambiguous acknowledgement.  It also includes `self-plagiarism' (which occurs where, for example, you submit work that you have presented for assessment on a previous occasion), and the submission of material from `essay banks' (even if the authors of such material appear to be giving you permission to use it in this way). It is essential in any coursework relating to the taught component to make it clear which ideas and work you have personally contributed, and which ideas and work are those of other people (from, for example but not limited to, books, academic papers, internet resources) that you may have may have quite legitimately exploited and developed.  You can make this distinction clear by appropriately citing and referring to the works of others.  If you are in any doubt how to correctly cite the works of others then you should talk to your supervisor.


Collusion occurs when two or more students submit the substantially same piece of coursework in whole or part. This may be from the same electronic source (e.g. a word-processed document or a program listing) or when the same material is presented in a different way.


You should be aware that material that derives from the same source but which has been changed to make the submissions appear less similar will be considered to be a breach of regulations. This type of offence can occur when students have worked together as a group or where one student has copied from another. Irrespective of how the breach of regulations has occurred all of the students involved will be penalised in the same way. So, for example, if you have your work copied by another student, then you will be punished in the same way as the person who did the copying. This imposes significant responsibilities on students to ensure the integrity of their own coursework. You should ensure that:


You do not leave work on printers.

You do not give passwords to other students.

You do not allow other students to use your home computer without taking adequate precautions.

You do not show your coursework to other students.


There have been a number of cases in recent years where a student has lent his/her coursework to another student in order to help the other student understand the exercise. After submission the originator has found that the other student has copied his/her coursework. In other cases, students who have shared home computers have found that other students have submitted their coursework.


If you believe that another student has gained access to your coursework, you should inform your supervisor, your Programme Director or the Director of Postgraduate Studies as soon as possible.


5.7 PGR Examination Boards and progression through the taught component

There are normally three assessment periods in each year: January, May/June and August/September.  The PGR Examination Board meets annually to discuss and decide on progression of PGR students. 


If a student has either failed one or more course units of the taught component or if a sufficient number of hours have not been completed then the PGR Examination Board will normally require the student to resit some course units or to take an alternative course unit in the following year.  Note that students must pass 60 hours of the taught component in their first year and must pass 100 hours of the taught component by the end of their second year.


Resit exams will normally take place at the next opportunity to sit the examination.  Resit exams are held in Manchester.


You should also note that performance in the taught component is used to inform the end-of-year progression decisions.  If you perform poorly in the taught component, then your independent assessors and supervisory team may use this as evidence to not let you progress on your PhD programme.


You should also note that the taught component must be completed before the award of a PhD.

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