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School of Oriental and African Studies

PG-MA Dissertation Failure and Repeating

Hi All,

I am reeling from the release of marks today, mainly the fact the I have graduated, and yet don't feel as if I have. What happened is I took a part-time MA in International Relations
had offers from KCL, City, LSE and Goldsmiths - fantastic opportunity

Everything started fine, and I was working whilst studying. 180cr/year
However, about 4 months into Year-1, my Father developed Cancer
My Marks started to slip, mostly from deadlines (lateness) so in their defence, they always granted me a fair deal and the marks were put back upon my original.

However this year, or from February 2023, my mental health took a nose dive.
I lost my job
Meetings with my father showed he was better, but he was/is getting older, and I've been helping him out, doing work for him, caring. It sort of over-stretched me, but I can't not help my Father, to whom I owe everything.

Anyway, deadlines are still fine, marks are as they always were - I was never a top grade guy, but I did generally score 65, 68 and 72 at SOAS.
Anyway I am not superficial in that sense; the marks don't mean much to ME as I prefer folks who can prove their knowledge, intelligence and whatnot.

Come May, I had 2 failed deadlines
and was granted a Reset, both of which I failed because I had a memory black out

[yeah, not good]
A GP certified I was suffering Trauma and other kinds of strange symptoms of a nervous breakdown
I was put on Fluoxetine (Prozac) and other strong medicines, for temporary purposes until the stress inducer was gone. GP is a very learned, well meaning person. She judged
Stress 1 = my father's conidtion
Stress 2 = my own anxiety, which compounds x 100 when deadlines come into play

Anyway, 2 down, 2 resits fauled... not good.
otherwise, it's still a Distinction for everything else, favourite being International Law

Now, I receive an e-mail on Graduation day stating I got a PGDIP or PGCERT
and that I cannot retake or have any more chances

I was working on my Thesis, I received a 74% grade for Stage-3, but I lost control and realised it would take 4 months to finish this, if done properly
to further make things worse
The Disablility and Wellfare dept made contact, and I was now declared disabled and given very good treatment. Firstly, it's wonderful SOAS have this mechanism.
But problems such as blackouts, server issues, lack of contact
mean I missed a lot of extra slots, and the ridiculous thing is, my work is of a high standard, if anything the learning curve is such that I learn automatically, and I feel studying anymroe is futile. I am ready. I actually would welcome the World of Work, but I did put money in; suspend my social life for 2 years, buy 500+ books.

So, I've studied the Handbook, and its clear this is an atomic bomb of a case
total screwup
And it just so happens, my GP issued a Note just 12 days ago (unrelated), stating I have severe mental exhaustion, and she told me once degree is complete, to take a 4 month haitus.

My Question(s)

1. Would resiting be possible in any case? for example transferring to anoher college, or paying upfront (money isn't a problem);
2. Would taking legal action be of help?
3. Should I accept the downgraded award, and ask for resits on 2 assignments that drag the mark a bit low...
4. Should I accept the PGDIP/CERT, and go into work?

5. Can you resit or retake a dissertation, just to make your PGDIP a Master's

I feel bad because the stress was for nothing other than a MA-PG value
I put myself through 2 years of low income, constant studying, for this
Quite a brutal outcome ; My family, if told, will probably start legal action
but I was treated fairly and would go on the record saying so

I can't say it was anyone's fault but mine.
But, It pains me to know that an employer may not take me for say, a consultancy position, because of the MA being a PG.
Of course, I would hope Employers would realise that a affiction like this created the wrong circumstances in which a degree could not be completed properl

(frankly, I should have dropped out, unfit for study)
but SOAS taught me a great deal, and Policy, Development studies and Legal studies has made me so much more than I was, and I am truly grateful to the wonderful staff; everyone; it is a Wonderful University/College to study at.
The students you study with are first-class, in that, they are the brightest from United States; India; Asia minor; and of course, GB.

Thanks and
Apologies for the double-post, i just had to try SOASIANS and non-SOAS circles

A good evening to you all...
Original post by Maish443
Hello. I can help you ace your assignments. Inbox me for a chat.

Offering reading and writing advice is only good if you can display these yourself, which based on you missing the heartfelt blurb above highlights you may need some help yourself.

School of Oriental and African Studies
Id say option 4. I might be wrong but i thought once you had be given an exit award you could not alter this.

Look the situation/your experience sounds awful and it is clear to me that you must be a very strong, caring and empathic person to get through this. Everyone, literally everyone has a breaking point and you found yours. I would really recommend taking time away from all this and drawing a line under this experience. It seems clear you have learnt alot through this, both in terms of academic and life skills. I cant see the benefit to you (both mentally and practically) of you trying and legal action or contesting things. It sound like you were quite well supported throughout, not perfect of course, but still given quite helpful adjustments.

Degrees are great but dont mean that much outside of some specific jobs. You havent failed or wasted life because you came out with a lower award. You could have course come out with a masters and a distinction but neglected yourself and your father. I think you made the right decisions, and your exit award is a testament to all you did right, not all you did wrong.

I think focusing on yourself, like your GP recommended, is key.

Take care,


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