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 for example 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 modules: 

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. 

Not all programmes offer the chance to study discovery modules, to find out if you have the option to choose discovery modules, visit the undergraduate programme catalogue or taught postgraduate programme catalogue


Credit values

Each module has a credit value which usually ranges from 10 to 60 credits. For Undergraduate programmes, you will normally study 120 credits each year, and for Taught Postgraduate programmes, you will normally study 180 credits during your programme. Your programme may have specific requirements as to which modules you must pass to be able to progress to the next year or complete your programme, you can check this on the undergraduate programme catalogue or taught postgraduate programme catalogue or contact your parent school

The teaching year is divided into two semesters, and modules will usually run either in one semester, or it may run across both semesters. It is recommended that you balance the number of credits over the two semesters, and you cannot normally take more than 70 credits in any semester. 

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.