Modules and programmes explained

Every programme of study is made up of modules which can be either compulsory, optional or discovery modules. All modules have a credit value and you will need to complete sufficient credits to progress through your programme. 

What is a module?

The subject you have chosen to study will be made up of modules. Each module has its own learning outcomes, syllabus, assessment schedule and a unique code. The code is made up of a subject code (usually four letters) which shows you which school is offering the module and a module number (usually four digits). The first digit indicates the teaching level the module is taught at so HIST1050 is offered by the School of History and is a level 1 module.

Types of module

Most undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes of study are made up of three types of module:

Compulsory modules

To pass your qualification, there will be a series of core modules which you are required to study as part of the course. You will automatically be enrolled for these.

Optional modules

On most programmes, you will be given the chance to choose from a list of optional modules. Your school will give you more information about this or you can find out more in the undergraduate programme catalogue or taught postgraduate programme catalogue.

Discovery modules

Discovery modules give you the chance to study something different to your core subject. You could choose a skill like a language or another subject you are interested in. It’s an opportunity to:

  • learn more about something you’re interested in from studying at A Level or outside of formal education

  • learn more about challenges that confront the world today and the new insights generated by researchers at the University of Leeds

  • get an alternative perspective on some of the questions that you’ll be addressing in studying your main discipline(s)

  • gain skills and insights that might enhance your career prospects.

Credit values

To progress from one year to the next, you will need to pass around 120 credits if you're an undergraduate or 180 credits if you're a taught postgraduate. The teaching year is divided into two semesters and you'll usually start and finish a module in either or both semesters. Every module has a credit value which usually ranges from 10 to 60 credits. Although it’s recommended that you balance the number of credits over the two semesters, you can study a maximum of 75 credits per semester (leaving 45 credits for the other). 

If you are doing a Bachelors or Integrated Masters degree, the grade you achieve in a module will count towards passing programme year 1; and in programme years 2 and 3 (and 4, if applicable) the grade will count towards your degree classification. If you are doing a Foundation Degree or Diploma of Higher Education (two-year programmes) all modules taken over the course of your programme of study will normally count towards classification. It is not permitted under University regulations to enrol on any module that has been fully completed in a previous academic year.