Module teaching simultaneously offers orientation, immersion in a given field and space for the development of core soft and hard skills in English. In the current academic year, 130 different modules are being taught across the four years of the Milestone academic programme, allowing students to experiment and gain direct experience of what it is like to study a particular discipline. Through the process, they also encounter a broad range of topics, methodologies, theories and ideas that help them become well-rounded, critical thinkers who can break down disciplinary boundaries and tackle contemporary problems.
The teaching philosophy at the Institute is reflected in the structure of modules that stress independent learning (4 hours of preparation per 1 hour of tuition) and participation (students are expected to contribute their opinions, debate and/or think as a group when collectively solving or addressing problems).
Module system and credits
- Module length: 8 weeks or 4 weeks
- Module seminars: 50-minute sessions/4 hours preparation for each session.
- Group size: a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 12 students per group
Credits and Extra Credit
Each student has to complete a minimum of 32 credits’ worth of academic modules during each Academic Year. Passing a module – handing in all the coursework stipulated in the syllabus and/or meeting the minimum attendance requirement – constitutes completion.
Students have the option of completing a maximum of 40 credits worth of modules (excluding extra credit points – see below)
Sophomore, Junior and Senior students also have extra credit options: they can join classes with free spaces without using up their available credit count. However, such modules have to be completed the same way as for-credit modules (failure will result in the same disciplinary action as with a for-credit module).
Module and credit categories: 8-credit (Full Module) and 4-credit (Half Module)
Failing a module due to absence or non-submission of coursework will lead to disciplinary action. Modules cannot be retaken in order to make up for lost credits. Student who fail modules are on probation, and their performance in subsequent modules will determine if they are allowed to continue the programme. Continued poor performance will lead to exclusion from the programme.
Individual Pathway of Study
While students should generally progress through the module system as prescribed in each year group’s description, it is possible to create individual pathways of study. This may be necessary when the student cannot attend modules due to health reasons or due to physical distance from the Institute. In such cases, students can request to pursue work with their mentor that is commensurate with the credits they would have secured through module work. Individual pathways of study can be requested from the programme director who will judge the merits of each case.
Modules designated as ‘compulsory’ are obligatory for students to take upon their entry to the programme. Students can freely choose modules designated as ‘optional’, so long as they meet the eligibility criteria and pre-requisites outlined by the module leader.
Academic Writing and Test Preparation modules are classified as Non-Academic Modules. Test Preparation modules allow students to practice admission tests necessary for specific courses and universities (the SAT in the US and the obligatory entrance tests to many Oxford and Cambridge courses, as well as the BMAT, and UKCAT for UK medical schools, and the LNAT for some law programmes in the UK) while getting feedback on how to develop their test-taking skills.
Academic Modules are divided into four different paths: Numerical Sciences, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities and Arts. Students can freely choose modules from the different paths while keeping to eligibility and pre-requisites criteria. However, when making module choices they should keep in mind that staying within the same or similar paths allows them to accumulate in-depth knowledge of particular fields (Natural Sciences-Numerical Sciences, Social Sciences-Humanities and Arts).
Standard and Advanced Modules
Modules are designated as Standard and Advanced Modules. While Standard Modules are available to all students as long as they meet the eligibility and subject pre-requirements, Advanced Modules are designed to challenge exceptional students and help them explore the most difficult material offered by the programme. Entry to Advanced Modules is a privilege with final decisions made by the programme director based on prior module performance and mentor recommendation.
Eligibility, Module Pre-Requirements and Promotion
Eligibility: students can choose modules offered in their own year group or in the year groups below them.
Exceptions: mentors can advocate that a student take a module offered in a higher year group if they judge the student to be a particularly strong candidate in the given subject.
Pre-requisites: each module description (and syllabus) contains information on the prior knowledge required for taking the module. Module leaders may test this knowledge before allowing a student to take up the module.
Requesting modules: it is possible for students to request modules that they would like to see as part of the curriculum. Such requests should be made to the Senior Director of Academic Programmes, George Greskovits (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Module teaching generally takes place on-site at the headquarters of the Institute, while exceptions are possible for valid reasons (such as the need for specialised equipment) via a special request to the programme director.
Module Changes Mid-Term
While students may drop modules with permission of the programme director, switching to other modules in the middle of term is not permitted. When students drop a module they forfeit the credits they would have spent taking it. Students are responsible for their module choices and should take advantage of all available information (through their mentor, the module leader, shopping lectures, the programme director and the module booklet) to make choices they can commit to.
Module Assessment and Grading
Each module is assessed. Module leaders may choose from a variety of ways to evaluate students, from research essays to presentations, group work, research design, problem sheets, in-class participation, debating, etc. Where multiple types of assessment are used, students will be informed about the weighting (how much each piece of coursework is worth), the deadlines as well as what constitutes good performance for each piece of coursework.
Grading is awarded on a scale of 1-10.
1,2 and 3: awarded if a combination of problems – low attendance, lack of completed coursework, low quality coursework, and plagiarism – occurs. These grades constitute a failed module (the ultimate consequence of failed modules is removal from the programme).
4: constitutes a pass, and is awarded where some of the above-mentioned factors are present, but a substantive effort has been made on the part of the student to complete the module nonetheless.
5: awarded to students who have completed all the requirements.
6: awarded to students who have made efforts beyond the standard requirements of the curriculum, and have shown promise (or demonstrated great progress in relation to their ability) throughout the module.
7: awarded to students who have performed outstandingly during the module, made additional effort with tasks, sought opportunities to develop beyond the requirements and demonstrated real talent for the subject.
8: awarded to students who are amongst the best in their peer group internationally in the particular discipline, both for their effort and talent – whose grasp and work far surpass their age group.
9: awarded to students who have surpassed their peer group internationally.
10: awarded for work publishable in an academic journal (or equivalent).
Module leaders send grades and feedback to students individually. Students can request personal feedback if they would like to gain further information about their work.
If students do not agree with a grade and the feedback they received they can appeal it. The appeals process begins by notifying the programme director and the module leader, as well as the mentor, and by putting forward a substantive argument as to why the grading was unfair. In turn, the programme director decides on a case-by-case basis if the coursework should be re-graded.
Students should be aware of the deadlines for their modules, which are set out in the syllabus. Should any confusion arise as to when coursework is due, students must consult the module leader for clarification.
Correspondence: Lateness, Absences and Extensions
All matters such as lateness, absence and deadline extensions should be addressed directly to the module leader (contact details can be found in the respective syllabus, as well as in the module booklet for the term). It is at the module leader’s discretion whether to consider an absence valid or to grant extensions to deadlines. Students should notify the module leader at least two days before a seminar and a week before a coursework deadline. If this is not possible, they should turn to their mentor for help and assistance. Changes to the schedule have to be communicated to the students by the module leader in due time.
At the end of each module students will be asked to fill out a student satisfaction survey. In each case, students are asked to submit their opinion about the quality of the module and provide constructive input on how it could be improved. These surveys form an essential part of the further development of our programme.
The Moodle intranet system is the primary learning tool used by module leaders. Students are given a Moodle ID during the second week of the Summer Term, with which they can log in to the system. Students are enrolled to their chosen modules by the fourth week of each term, allowing them access to the module syllabi and the readings and tasks they are expected to do.