Oxford's oldest student newspaper

Independent since 1920

All delayed History & Politics students able to graduate after exam boards U-turn

In the latest development regarding the ongoing UCU marking boycott, the History & Politics (HisPol) Exam Board reconvened last week and U-turned on previous policy. All HisPol students whose marks have been delayed by the boycott will now be able to graduate, although many will do so as ‘Declared to Deserve Honours’ (DDH) and must still wait for their degree classifications.

The University has confirmed that out of the 58 students affected by the boycott (of a cohort of 59), 14 who were previously in ‘category 4’ and could not be classified at all because of missing marks have been moved into ‘category 3’ meaning they can be awarded a DDH. They join another 22 students also receiving ‘DDH’ awards which indicate that the candidate has passed the course but does not yet have enough marks to receive a degree classification. In total, 36 HisPol finalists (62%) will be graduating without classifications, whilst the other 22 (38%) will receive their degrees as normal.

Candidates with extensions or who have suspended still cannot graduate yet, but those who have been delayed by the boycott now can.

While the proportion of HisPol finalists graduating without fully classified degrees has not changed much, all candidates will now be able to graduate with some form of award this summer. This follows a U-turn by the HisPol Exam Board on their previous policy of preventing students missing just two papers out of seven from being awarded DDHs. This previous policy would have left a quarter of HisPol finalists unable to graduate, and was described by one HisPol finalist as “unjust and discriminatory” in comparison to the policies affecting straight History and PPE students – which in some cases allowed students missing half their papers to be awarded DDHs.

The HisPol Exam Board reconvened and the policy was changed on Wednesday 19th July, with students informed the same day.

Despite all HisPol students being able to graduate this summer, for 62% of them the lack of classification has caused worries concerning meeting employment and further educational requirements without classification.

One HisPol student told Cherwell: “Both faculties were very reluctant to acknowledge there was any problem here. We had to piece together all the evidence, so very much student detective work given the uni’s preference for things to remain very opaque.”

When reached for further comment, a University spokesperson again reiterated their general statement: “The overwhelming majority of examinations and assessments have taken place as planned. Students are being notified where there are any changes, and have taken all reasonable steps to ensure students are not disadvantaged by delays in the marking of examinations and assessments… 

“While most degree results are being released to students on schedule, if there are delays to results being released to specific courses, steps are being put in place to support students’ progression to further study or jobs.”

The University’s guidance for students regarding the UCU’s industrial action was last updated on 21 June 2023.

Check out our other content

Most Popular Articles