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Service issues - CS052203

A student completed a degree in Psychology with Criminology. When the student booked their graduation tickets, they realised for the first time that the degree was a BA. They expected to graduate with a BSc. The student complained to the provider.

The provider explained that its Psychology degrees could be BSc or BA, depending on the second subject a student studied. As the student’s second subject, Criminology, was an arts-based subject, their degree was BA. This was correctly explained on the UCAS website and in the course handbook, which was available to all students online, but the student said they had not accessed the handbook. The provider accepted that its pre-admission information, which described the course as BSc/BA, could have been clearer and did not fully explain how the degree would be conferred, and that the student had been given incorrect information through its webchat. It explained that it could not award the student a BSc because of the content of the curriculum they had studied, but that the BSc and BA degrees were of equal value and both were accredited by the British Psychological Society. The provider offered the student compensation of £1,000 for the distress caused.

The student rejected the provider’s offer and complained to us. The student said they would not have joined the course had they known it led to a BA rather than a BSc and that they had to undertake work experience before undertaking postgraduate study to make up for the fact it was not a BSc.

We concluded that the student’s complaint to the provider was valid because of the confusing information, but that the provider had made a reasonable offer to compensate them for that. We concluded that it was reasonable to expect students to familiarise themselves with their course handbook and, if this student had done that at the beginning of the course, it might have been possible to put in place a practical remedy for them by adjusting their programme. The BA and BSc were both accredited programmes and the student had not provided any evidence to support their argument that their prospects for postgraduate study had been affected. In the circumstances, we thought the provider’s offer of compensation was a reasonable one. The provider’s offer was still open to the student, so we decided that the complaint to us was Not Justified.