Staff Development Briefing Note

Staff Development Briefing Note



  1. Background

Research has shown that a significant number of students wish to study named combined degree programmes and the numbers of students on such programmes is increasing. Most universities offer students the opportunity to study two subjects in combination.

The Portsmouth CHDP framework was introduced in 2001 to enable all such combined degree courses to conform to a consistent structure. This then enables “half” awards to be developed which can then be combined with a range of other halves (note the term half is used to describe the units comprising each subject area, although in reality the contribution may range from one third to two thirds the total credits). There have been several changes to the programme in 2006, which took effect in 2007/2008.

  1. Key Points

Structure - The structure consists of core and optional units and follows the general pattern given below (note there may be some minor deviations from this - especially with professionally accredited courses):

Semester 1 / Semester 2
L1 / Subject A / Subject B / A or B / Study Skills / Subject A / Subject B / A or B / A or B or Elective
L2 / Subject A / Subject B / A or B / A or B or Elective / Subject A / Subject B / A or B / A or B or Elective
L3 / Subject A / Subject B / Dissertation/Project A or B / Subject A / Subject B / Dissertation/Project A or B

Within the 20 core credits per subject per semester a limited range of options (termed subject core options) may be offered.

Major, Minor, Joint awards – The changes agreed at Academic Council in June 2006 mean that students will have the option to choose between a dissertation/project in either Subject A or Subject B. The exit award will be the original title of the course on which the student registered, with the transcript recording the major subject based on the dissertation/project. In the case of designated Major/Minors, the dissertation/project will always be in the major subject.
  1. What does this imply for administrative staff?

Students on the CHDP can sometimes be at risk of being overlooked. This is especially the case when the numbers following a combined honours degree are small compared to those on the single honours version. However, with the expansion of Combined Honours degree programmes across the University, more and more departments are involved and issues of communication and liaison between administrative staff in different departments are becoming more important. The following issues are likely to be of importance to administrative staff:

  • Admissions, marketing and recruitment (co-ordinated by the home department/faculty but often necessitating the involvement of other departments/faculties)
  • Induction and enrolment (provided by the home department)
  • Communication of dates and locations for submission of coursework
  • Communication of transfers/withdrawals of students to departments for purposes of maintaining accurate unit lists
  • Communication between departmental Unit Assessment Boards regarding student results
  • Examination timetabling (increased communication between School Managers/Examination Officers)
  • Unit timetabling (increased communication and co-operation between Faculty timetablers)
  • Communication between academic staff and administrative staff (provision of accurate degree structures to administrative staff, especially timetablers)
  1. Further information

For a longer version of a briefing note circulated to academic staff giving a more detailed explanation of the Combined Honours Degree Programme (CHDP), and for more information generally, please visit the Combined Honours website:

or contact Dr Elaine Asser, Administrative Officer, Academic Development, Department for Curriculum & Quality Enhancement ().