Student course session mode(SCSMODE)

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Student course session mode
Short Name
Parent Entity
Applicable To
England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All StudentCourseSessions

This field records the mode of study of the student during the StudentCourseSession.

01 Full-time

With reference to code 01, the funding councils have agreed that a common definition of full-time is that course years must involve a minimum of 24 weeks study and have an average of 21 hours a week study, tuition or work experience (note that this definition does not apply to full-time final year students in providers in Wales or Scotland). Each funding council may also have further additional conditions. 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 is 24 weeks or more.

For providers in England, a StudentCourseSession should be counted as full-time if it meets all of the following criteria:

  1. The student is normally required to attend the provider, or elsewhere, for periods amounting to at least 24 weeks within the student course session, and during that time they are expected to undertake periods of study, tuition, learning in the workplace, or sandwich work placement that does not meet the criteria to be a sandwich year out, which amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week.
  2. Full-time fees are chargeable for the course for the student course session.

i)  There may be scenarios where the student’s regulated fee entitlement is assessed on a different basis to the student course session. For instance, a student might begin on a course with a September start and then transfer to another course with a January start. In such a case the Students Loans Company may continue to assess the student’s fee entitlement by academic year. Providers should make their best estimate on whether a full-time fee applies to the student course session in question. This should be made on the intention for the student course session as a whole, when the student began studying.

ii)  Exceptionally, all or part of the fee may be waived for individual students based on their particular personal, rather than course-related, circumstances. This does not include cases where fees are reduced because students are studying less intensively than is normally expected for a full-time student. Fees should not be waived for all students on a course, and the criteria that determine whether they may be waived should not be tantamount to waiving them for all students.

If a student leaves early, their mode should be recorded in accordance with planned fees and attendance. So, if the student intended to complete 24 weeks or more full-time study and would, if they completed, have been charged a full-time fee, they should be recorded with a mode of ‘01 Full time', even if they leave before they have completed 24 weeks.

02 Other full time

Students who study at a full-time intensity but either their StudentCourseSession involves less than 24 weeks attendance or for any other reason they do not meet the definition of full-time of the relevant funding body or regulator, should be recorded as 02 Other full time. 

If a student leaves early, mode should be recorded in accordance with what was planned. So, if the student intended to complete 24 weeks or more full-time study, they should be recorded with a mode of 01 Full time even if they leave before they have completed 24 weeks.

For providers in Scotland and Wales, students defined as full-time with a final year lasting less than 24 weeks should be returned as 01 Full time in their final year. 

03 Accelerated full time

Code 03 'Accelerated full time' is only valid for providers in England.

As defined in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (Schedule 2, para 4(2)), an accelerated course means a higher education course where the number of academic years applicable to the course is at least one fewer than would normally be the case for that course, or a course of equivalent content leading to the grant of the same or an equivalent academic award.

An example would be a first degree completed in two years instead of the usual three, or an HND completed in 12 months instead of the usual two years (where the shorter completion time is for reasons other than topping up from a lower-level qualification such as an HNC).

A variety of terms are in use for accelerated qualifications including ‘fast-track’, ‘two-year’, ‘compressed’, ‘time-compressed’, ‘condensed’ and ‘intensive’.

Accelerated provision should be reflected in a higher ReferencePeriodStudentLoad rather than additional StudentCourseSessions. For example, a course which is delivered over two years instead of the usual three years would be captured in two StudentCourseSessions, each with a higher RPSTULOAD to reflect the greater intensity of the provision, rather than three StudentCourseSessions condensed into two academic years, each with a regular RPSTULOAD.


Code 31 Part-time, can only be used by providers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A StudentCourseSession is counted as part-time if it does not meet the requirements to be full-time.

 Codes 38 and 39 can only be used by providers in Scotland.


Postgraduate students who move to writing-up status should retain their previous SCSMODE.

Students who are actively writing-up are not considered to be dormant by HESA. A StudentCourseSession is required for these students with the SessionStatus indicating a status of writing-up. The status must be recorded as writing-up in each StudentCourseSession in which this applies, even if the move to writing-up occurred in a previous StudentCourseSession.

Writing-up is generally associated with research students. Students on taught masters courses should not typically be moved to a writing-up status within their standard registration period. For example, students on a one-year taught masters course would not be expected to have a Session Status indicating that they are writing up until after completion of the 12-month registration period.

Students who withdraw early

If a student withdraws early, StudentCourseSession.SCSMODE 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 StudentCourseSession.SCSMODE = 01. This includes students who have left within two weeks but had confirmed attendance with the SLC.

Reason Required
To allow derivation of standard population and financial calculations to be made.
Field Length
Quality RulesQuality Rules to follow
Minimum Occurrence
Maximum Occurrence
Primary Key?
Valid Values
CodeCoding Frame Label
01Full time
02Other full time
03Accelerated full time
31Part time
38Structured part time (providers in Scotland)
39Other part time (providers in Scotland)
Revision History