Credit for non-SUPA courses

Students may complete their course requirements through courses offered outside SUPA. This applies to both Specialist and Professional Development courses. Examples of appropriate Advanced Specialist courses include Master’s (MSci/MPhys/MSc) and 4th year Bachelor’s courses. Attendance at National and International Summer Schools designed for research students (e.g. those organised by doctoral training centres or SUSSP) is also encouraged. 

Professional Development courses may be provided by a University, Research Council, Vitae or other organisations. Students are encouraged to take these opportunities with their supervisor’s agreement.

Credit should be requested as per the procedures below. The Non-SUPA course credit flow chart (PDF) is a good first step when considering a non-SUPA course for credit. All non-SUPA courses and marks will be reviewed by the GSC.

Professional Development courses

The student’s full name, the course name, date of completion, course description, course provider and number of credits should be emailed to If someone other than the student’s supervisor submits this information, the supervisor must be copied in. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the information submitted is correct. 

Advanced Specialist courses 

Students must submit all the information requested for Professional Development courses and additional information. The additional information required depends on whether the course was marked or unmarked.

Marked courses

These include Master’s and Bachelor’s level modules. The ideal arrangement is that the course coordinator arranges an assessment for the student. Even if postgraduate students are not typically assessed, the course coordinator may have a method for assessing them and students should consult the course coordinator about this. Students are not expected to register on the course through the host university. Instead, the course coordinator should email the student’s marks to The pass mark is 50%. The GSC cannot organise assessment for non-SUPA courses. 

Unmarked courses

Students are only given credit for Advanced Specialist courses if they are assessed. However, SUPA recognises that National and International Summer schools are valuable learning experiences even though they typically do not include an assessment. In these cases, and in any non-SUPA Advanced Specialist course that cannot arrange an assessment, students must write a summary of the course. The summary may be up to 4,000 words and should be submitted to their GSC member. The GSC member, or someone they appoint to review the summary, should then email confirming that the written summary has been completed to an acceptable level. This written summary became a requirement in September 2020. Courses taken before September 2020 do not require a written summary. In all cases, for a single non-SUPA Specialist course, students can earn at most 20 hours of credit. 

Please note: that this limit of 20 hours was put in place for students beginning in 2020/21. In previous years, the credit limit for a single nonSUPA course was 30 hours. Students who began their studies prior to 2020/21 will be allowed to claim up to 30 hours of credit for a single non-SUPA course. 

The GSC reviews the applications they receive twice a year. Please consider these dates when you submit your application. In the 2021/22 academic year, applications will be reviewed on October 25th and April 25th.

Last modified: Wednesday, 23 March 2022, 4:42 PM