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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study


Coursework Penalties

There are three types of penalties that can be applied to your coursework:

  • Lateness Penalty
  • Word Count Penalty

Lateness Penalty

If you miss the submission deadline for any piece of assessed work 5% of the maximum obtainable mark per calendar day will be deducted for each calendar day that work is late, up to a maximum of seven calendar days (35% ).  Thereafter, a mark of zero will be recorded.

There is no grace period for lateness and penalties begin to apply immediately following the deadline.  For example, if the deadline is Tuesday at 12 noon, work submitted at any point after 12 noon will be marked as one day late, work submitted at any point after 12 noon on Wednesday will be marked as two days late, and so on.

Failure to submit an item of assessed work will result in a mark of zero. This can have very serious consequences for your progression into the next year of your degree, and in your honours years, can impact your overall degree classification or result in you receiving no degree at all.  It is therefore always in your interest to submit work, even if very late.

If you are being affected by circumstances beyond your control and this is impacting your ability to complete coursework, please let your Student Support Officer or Personal Tutor know. For students on a degree in SPS, you can find details of your student support officer here.

For information on how to apply for an extension please see our extensions page here.

Please be aware that all work submitted is returned to students with a provisional mark.  The mark you receive on ELMA is therefore subject to change following the consideration of the Board of Examiners.

Word Count Penalty

Your course handbook will specify the word length of your assessments. All coursework submitted by students must state the word count on the front page.  All courses in the School have a standard penalty for going over the word length; if you are taking courses from other Schools, check with them what their penalties are.

The penalty for excessive word length in coursework is a 5-mark penalty. These 5 marks will be deducted regardless of how many words over the limit the work is (whether it is by 1 word or by 500!).  In exceptional circumstances, a marker may also decide that any text beyond the word limit will be excluded from the assignment and it will be marked only on the text up to the word limit. In most cases, appendices and bibliography are not included in the word count whilst in-text references, tables, charts, graphs and footnotes are counted. 

Make sure you know what is and what is not included in the word count. Again, check the course handbook for this information and if you are unsure, contact the Course Organiser to check. 

You will not be penalised for submitting work below the word limit.  However, you should note that shorter essays are unlikely to achieve the required depth and that this will be reflected in your mark.

Edinburgh Students