From me to the department (last night):
I've now received my provisional results for the MSc project, and I've failed it. I realise that you can't discuss the details of this result, but could you clarify the process for what happens next?
As I understand it, the results are now being sent to the school board for approval, and that's basically going to be a rubber-stamp; have any results been changed at this stage of the process during the last few years?
According to the handbook, there are two possible ways to recover from a bad mark - either get an extension to make some adjustments, or retake the project in the following academic year. I see that these options are at the Examiners' discretion, so presumably they will get in touch with eligible students about that. Or should students apply for these options themselves? Also, when would that decision be made - has it already happened, or would that occur after the results have been ratified? And would the decision take account of my previous academic record (e.g. exam results), or would it be solely based on the project itself?
Thanks for your time,
From the department to me (today):
Hi, John. The option to make some adjustments to this project has not been granted in this case. You automatically are given the right to resit the project next year, and that is what I advise you to do. You will need to come to the department and fill out a form to register for the resit. Then you will pick a new project in January, and the procedure for doing the project will be the same as it was last year. You will not be able to redo the same project that you did last year. The deadline for resit registration is today, but since you didn't find out about the results until very recently, we can give you a few more days to get the form and turn it in -- but please try to get it to us by next Wednesday. Please let me know if you have any questions about this.
So, that means that (aside from registering) there's nothing for me to do on the project front until January. By then I'll need to decide what to do work wise, since I'd like to work on the project full-time, rather than just evenings and weekends. Maybe switch to a more brain-dead job for the duration (e.g. stacking shelves at the supermarket)... Anyway, no hurry on that one.
In a way, this could turn out to be a better option than scraping a pass. The best case scenario is now that I will pass the MSc next year; I can't get a distinction anymore, even if I get 100% on the project. On the other hand, passing beats failing, and if I do well at the project then I'll hopefully get a good reference from my supervisor. Learning from experience, I'll try to do a project that's more closely linked to my course/work experience this time around (I can submit choices, but I can't guarantee what I'll get).