Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered below, please email hear@sheffield.ac.uk or

General questions

What does 'HEAR' stand for?
What does a HEAR look like?
How do I access my HEAR?
Do I need to sign up for the HEAR?
Do I need to pay a fee to receive a HEAR?
What is 'Section 6.1'?
Will the HEAR replace the degree certificate?
Are other universities giving HEARs to their students?
What's the difference between a HEAR and a CV?
Can students who started at Sheffield before September 2012 get a HEAR?
Will postgraduate students who start in September 2012 be able to get a HEAR?
Will HEARs be issued for integrated Masters programmes?
I arrived to study Medicine at Sheffield before September 2012, but am doing a BMedSci degree, so am starting the first year of an undergraduate qualification after September 2012. Will I get a HEAR for my BMedSci?

Academic content

I have changed my course, but my HEAR still shows modules from my old course. Can these be removed?

Extra-curricular recognition

How does the University decide what extra-curricular activities and awards can be included?
What extra-curricular activities will be verified at Sheffield?
How do I get an extra-curricular activity in my HEAR?
Why isn't my activity displaying in my HEAR?
How do I remove an extra-curricular activity from my HEAR?
I'm working/have done an internship I organised myself alongside my degree. Can I get recognition for this?
Is there a deadline for applying for HEAR recognition?
What happens if I don't have any extra-curricular activities to include in Section 6.1?

What happens if I take Leave of Absence but continue to engage with a verifiable activity - will this activity be included in my HEAR when I complete it?

General questions

What does 'HEAR' stand for?

'Higher Education Achievement Report'.

What does a HEAR look like?

Go to the What a HEAR Looks Like page to view some exemplars.

How do I access my HEAR?

See the How can I access it? page for more information.

Do I need to sign up for the HEAR?

No. HEARs will be issued to all undergraduate students as a matter of course, starting with the cohort of students who arrive to commence undergraduate-level study at Sheffield in September 2012 (and everyone after this date).

However, you are encouraged to consider how you can make the most of your HEAR, e.g. by doing extra-curricular activities that the University or its Students' Union can verify, to help you demonstrate wider experience and skills that may be useful/relevant to the sorts of activities you are interested in doing after university.

Do I need to pay a fee to receive a HEAR?

No.

What is 'Section 6.1'?

'Section 6.1' is the section in the HEAR that contains information about extra-curricular student achievements. The University of Sheffield is committed to verifying a wide range of extra-curricular activities, to allow as many students as possible to showcase and evidence the breadth of their skills, experience and knowledge.

Will the HEAR replace the degree certificate?

No, it will accompany it.

Are other universities giving HEARs to their students?

Yes, over half the higher education sector is now involved in HEAR development work. For more information visit the National HEAR Project page on our staff HEAR website, and the National HEAR Website.

What's the difference between a HEAR and a CV?

The HEAR is not a replacement for a CV or job application statement; these are still the most important documents as far as employers are concerned. Instead it will sit alongside these as a complementary document, providing official evidence of the range of knowledge, skills and experience you have developed at university.

Can students who started at Sheffield before September 2012 get a HEAR?

No, unfortunately not. This is because the HEAR requires us to collect additional student information that was not recorded prior to September 2012. We will be in a position to start collecting a more comprehensive set of student information in 2012-13. If we were to try and produce the HEAR for students who are already here, there would be blanks in the document that we would be unable to fill - especially regarding extra-curricular activities.

Will postgraduate students who start in September 2012 be able to get a HEAR?

No, the HEAR is currently only available for undergraduate students.

Will HEARs be issued for integrated Masters programmes?

Yes.

I arrived to study Medicine at Sheffield before September 2012, but am doing a BMedSci degree, so am starting the first year of an undergraduate qualification after September 2012. Will I get a HEAR for my BMedSci?

Unfortunately, BMedScis that are 'intercalated' with Medical degrees are currently recorded against the same set of registrations as Medical degrees. This means that we cannot separate out the BMedSci from the Medical degree (e.g. for transcript purposes); and if you arrived at Sheffield before September 2012, it means that the programming that determines which students can receive a HEAR will not identify you as a HEAR-eligible student. We would ideally like to be able to give students who intercalate a HEAR for their BMedSci, and are having discussions about how we can achieve this. However, it is not yet possible to confirm the date by which this issue will be resolved.

Academic content

I have changed my course, but my HEAR still shows modules from my old course. Can these be removed?

No. The University's ruling is that transcripts should record all results of all periods of time at the University, so that they accurately reflect the student record. It is therefore not possible to remove any of the modules from your previous course - but don't worry about this. It is not uncommon for students to change course, and you will have had good reasons for wanting to change, which you can explain to anyone who asks. It may also be an advantage to be able to demonstrate that you have some knowledge/experience of areas relevant to these previous modules.

Extra-curricular recognition

How does the University decide what extra-curricular activities and awards can be included?

In order to be included, an activity must meet a number of general criteria (defined in the Institutional Protocol for Section 6.1) and be approved by the HEAR Advisory Board. One of these criteria requires an activity to be verifiable. Not every activity can be verified, but where it is feasible to do so, the University is committed to giving you the opportunity to gain recognition for your wider learning and achievements.

The University cannot generally verify activities that take place outside the University, e.g. part-time work.

What extra-curricular activities will be verified at Sheffield?

A searchable database of all the activities that can be verified is available here.

How do I get an extra-curricular activity in my HEAR?

  1. Do the activity!
  2. Make sure you complete all the requirements for obtaining recognition. Your activity manager will confirm these with you, including any deadlines for completing required tasks. You can also look up the criteria for each activity using the online database of verifiable activities.

Once HEAR criteria have been met, activity managers will confirm to the University which students have fulfilled the requirements, and a statement about your activity will be added to your HEAR. These statements are standardised statements written by the University, to ensure that the recognition given to students is consistent and fair. They are based on HEAR criteria but also include general information about the activity and, where possible, an indication of the skills and experience you will have developed.

Why isn't my activity displaying in my HEAR?

Extra-curricular activities and awards are only added to the HEAR once they have been completed, i.e. once all the criteria for gaining HEAR recognition have been met. There may also be a slight delay between completion of criteria and HEAR updates, because of the administration required to verify who has earned HEAR recognition and update student records. For example, society committee roles will have been completed by May, but may not be added to students' HEAR until June.

If you are unsure when to expect your activity to be added to your HEAR, please speak to your activity organiser, as this is the person who will update your record once you have completed the activity.

If you are unsure what the criteria are for gaining HEAR recognition for an activity, please look up your activity in our online database of verifiable activities.

How do I remove an extra-curricular activity from my HEAR?

Certain extra-curricular activities and achievements can be verified directly by University or Union staff, and do not require students to apply for HEAR recognition.

If an activity has been added to your HEAR and you do not wish this to be publicly visible to others you can either:

  1. Tick the checkbox next to the activity in your Internal HEAR to make it private.
    This will prevent University staff from seeing it, and will also prevent it from being published in official versions of the HEAR. However, the activity will stay on your record, so you have the option to change your mind.
    OR
  2. Email hear@sheffield.ac.uk to have the activity removed from your student record completely.

I'm working/have done an internship I organised myself alongside my degree. Can I get recognition for this?

No, not directly. There are a number of ways you can obtain work experience within the University, which can be included in the HEAR. For full details, go to the online database of verifiable activities and select 'Work Experience' as the Activity Theme.

Is there a deadline for applying for HEAR recognition?

It depends. There is a separate process for each activity that can be included in the HEAR. To gain recognition for some activities you may be asked to complete certain tasks/submit an application by a particular deadline; but for other activities this is not required. You can look up the criteria you have to meet for each activity by going to the online database of verifiable activities. If you are unsure about any HEAR deadlines relating to any of these activities you should contact the activity organiser.

What happens if I don't have any extra-curricular activities to include Section 6.1?

A standard text will be included at the top of Section 6.1, to explain that the list of activities and awards included in this section is not exhaustive, and that students may very well have other achievements that the University has not been in a position to verify. Students will be encouraged to include details of such additional achievements in other documentation such as their CV, Sheffield Graduate Development Programme portfolio, or job application statements.

What happens if I take Leave of Absence but continue to engage with a verifiable activity - will this activity be included in my HEAR when I complete it?

Yes, extra-curricular activities and achievements undertaken during Leave Of Absence will not be excluded from the HEAR, because students on Leave of Absence still retain full membership of the Students' Union, including full access to its facilities and services and full voting rights.