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Alternative provider student 2017/18 - Mode of study

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Alternative provider student 2017/18

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Mode of study

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valid entries
Short nameMODE

This field indicates the method by which a student is being taught their course.

Applicable toEngland Scotland

All instances.

Valid entries and labels
01Full-time according to funding council definitions
02Other full-time
23Sandwich (thick) according to funding council definitions
24Sandwich (thin) according to funding council definitions
25Other sandwich course/programme
43Writing-up - previously full-time
44Writing-up - previously part-time

For students on designated courses InstancePeriod.MODE should reflect the mode of study applicable to the full duration of the instance period. If the student changes mode a new instance period is required at the point the mode changes.

For example, in September a student commences the first year of a two year HND on a full-time mode of study. The academic year runs from September to June. In January they elect to study the remainder of the programme on a part-time basis. In this case two instance periods would be required; one covering the period September to January and the second the period from January – June. The MODE for the first instance period would be 01, and for the second instance period 31.

For non-designated courses where a student has changed their mode of study within the instance period, the record should show the current or latest position. A new instance period is not required to be created where the student is studying on a non-designated course.


Code 01 should be used when the student is on a course such that:

  1. during the instance year, the student is normally required to study for a minimum of 24 weeks and on average at least 21 study hours per week, and
  2. for designated courses, the course is designated as full-time.

HESA will apply the 24 week rule to its definition of full-time in publications i.e. full-time will be all those students coded 01 in this field, together with all those students coded 02 and whose expected length of study (fields Instance.SPLENGTH and Instance.UNITLGTH) is 24 weeks or more.

Code 02 'Other full-time' should be used where the student has studied at full-time intensity but does not meet the definition for code 01 for the year of instance.

For designated courses, code 31 should be used when and only when the course is designated as part-time.

Where multiple instance periods are returned within the reporting year it is possible that each instance period will be less than 24 weeks in duration once vacation time is excluded. In this case, the InstancePeriod.MODE returned in the first instance period should reflect the normal mode of study and any subsequent instance periods on the course during the instance year would reflect any changes.

Example 1: A student on a designated course changes from full-time to part-time study within the year:

In the first instance period the mode of study is returned as 01 because if the mode of study had not subsequently changed, the instance year would have met the definition of 01.

Example 2: A student studies full-time on a designated course throughout the year but has a break in study which means that there are not enough weeks of full-time study to meet the definition of 01:

In the first instance period the mode is recorded as 01 because, had the student not interrupted, the year of instance would have met the funding council definition of full-time. When the student returns in instance period two, the mode is reported as 02 'Other Full-time' as the overall duration of study within the year is less than 24 weeks.

Example 3: A student is studying full-time on an instance period that spans HESA reporting years:

In this case instance period 1 would be reported in two HESA reporting years. At the end of the first reporting year the instance period would be returned with MODE=01 and the same would be reported in the second reporting year unless overall for the instance period the activity does not meet the definition of 01.


With reference to codes 23 and 24, these programmes are covered by the definition of sandwich as set out by Office for Students. A sandwich course is one that consists of alternate periods of full-time study at the provider and periods of work experience, and, taking the course as a whole, the student attends of undertakes the periods of full-time study for an average of not less than 18 weeks each year. Years of instance must involve a minimum of 24 weeks study/placement. HESA's definition of sandwich students will be all those students coded 23 or 24 in this field, together with all those students coded 25 and whose expected length of study (fields Instance.SPLENGTH and Instance.UNITLGTH) is 24 weeks or more.

Code 23, Thick sandwich students are those for which an industrial (or other) placement causes a continuous absence from full-time study of at least one academic year. A record must be returned for every student enrolled on a sandwich course irrespective of whether they are in attendance at the provider or engaged in industrial (or other) training. Students should be coded as sandwich for every year of the course and not just those in which industrial (or other) experience takes place. The students who are actually out on placement can be identified via InstancePeriod.LOCSDY.

InstancePeriod.LOCSDY valid entries (students in UK):

  • D On industrial (or other) placement for the year as a whole
  • E On industrial (or other) placement for a proportion of the year

InstancePeriod.LOCSDY valid entries (students abroad):

  • T Abroad for the whole year
  • U Abroad for a proportion of the year

Code 24, A thin sandwich must involve the student in an average of more than 21 hours study a week for a minimum of 24 weeks study/placement.

Students who meet the definition of sandwich should be coded as either 23 or 24 irrespective of whether the year is spent abroad or whether it is optional/compulsory.


Students who are actively writing-up are not considered to be dormant by HESA. A record is required for such students, with this field coded as 43 or 44 'Writing-up'. 'Writing-up' is generally associated with research students. Students on taught masters courses should not typically have their mode of study changed to 'writing-up', at least within the registration period, for example students on a one year taught masters course should be shown as full-time mode for both the taught and the dissertation phases of the course. Any change to show mode as writing-up would be expected only after the completion of the 12 month registration period.

Interruptions in study

Where a student takes a break in study or is inactive but included in the record to satisfy the continuity requirements the mode of study should be returned as previously reported. For example, a student studying part-time who completes their studies in HESA year 1 but is allocated an award in HESA year 2 would be returned on a part-time mode of study in both years.

Where a student suspends studies the InstancePeriod.NOTACT field must be completed.

If a student has left within two weeks but had confirmed attendance with the SLC then the Mode should be recorded in accordance with what was planned. For example, if they were due to study full-time for the year, then they should have a Mode = 01.

Quality rules
Quality rules relating to this field are displayed here.
Part of
Field length2
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: MODE
Related fields

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