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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:

  • Incorrect submission Penalty
  • Lateness Penalty
  • Word Count Penalty

Incorrect Submission Penalty

It is important that students read guidance carefully and in plenty of time before any submission deadlines. To ensure marking runs as smoothly as possible, students are provided with clear submission guidance that specifies important details of how we need you to submit your work in order for it to be marked.

When a piece of coursework is submitted that does not comply with our submission guidance (wrong format, incorrect document, no cover sheet etc.) a penalty of 5 marks will be applied to the work. This penalty is in line with Taught Assessment Regulation 28 and aims to help ensure more equitable treatment for students who submit their work on time and follow the guidance given.

Students who receive this penalty but feel that they have grounds to appeal can do so by completing an Incorrect Submission Penalty Waver form.

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

The penalty for excessive word length in coursework is one mark deducted for each additional 20 words over the limit. If the limit is 1500 words then anything between 1501 and 1520 words will lose one point, and so on. Word limits vary across subject areas and submissions, please check your course handbook for guidance. 

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