MSc Governance

The MSc Governance at Lincoln is designed in conjunction with the syllabi of the ICSA, the Governance Institute, and in support of the Institute of Business Ethics (London), to meet professional and employers’ needs, and to reflect on the challenging, complex natures of the modern business environment.

The Course

As corporate governance is now an integral part of everyday business life, the MSc Governance programme is designed to be relevant and attractive to a wide variety of candidates and job roles across different sectors.

The global financial crisis, corporate scandals and collapses, and public concern over the apparent lack of effective boards have all contributed to an explosion of interest in good governance practices. The programme is structured with a focus on practical application in the business environment and aims to provide students with a strong subject knowledge and the latest thinking in the world of Governance, Sustainability Reporting, Business Ethics, Organisational and Board Effectiveness, Finance, Law, and Strategic Thinking.

With corporations facing more risks and greater potential impacts of their activities on society, the issues of sustainability are more critical than ever. Sustainability is no longer about risk and compliance, but also about innovation, opportunity, and how to achieve excellence in both sustainability and financial performance. The programme aims to develop a sound understanding of the processes and the oversight which drives the highest standards of leadership, accountability, sustainability reporting and ethical behaviour in business.

The Business Ethics practical application element on the programme is designed with support of the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) and aims to develop students as future business leaders, managers, senior finance officers, accountants, solicitors or governance professionals who understand and appreciate the importance of going beyond numbers and supporting good ethical business practices to help companies to sustain long-term success.

This programme is fully accredited by ICSA: The Governance Institute. Students successfully completing this Master’s programme can be jointly awarded Graduate ICSA status.

Graduates must demonstrate three years of relevant professional experience to qualify as a Chartered Secretary. ICSA is also introducing the alternative designation, Chartered Governance Professional. Further details can be found here:

Chartered status is the gold standard governance designation, recognised and valued by employers. Qualifying as a Chartered Governance Professional or Chartered Secretary demonstrates that you have developed the knowledge, skills, and experience to take on a job with significant and wide-ranging responsibilities.

ICSA: The Governance Institute is a chartered membership, professional body, and world-leading authority on governance, risk, and compliance. ICSA supports its members in organisations of all sizes across all sectors of the economy, including large corporates, SMEs, the public sector, and charities.

The taught element of the programme consists of six compulsory modules and the selection of one optional module to satisfy specific interests. The modules studied are as follows:

Term 1:

  • Governance
  • Organisational and Board Effectiveness
  • Corporate and Business Law
  • Financial Analysis, Appraisal and Decision-Making

Term 2:

  • Governance
  • Sustainability Reporting and Business Ethics
  • Strategic Thinking

Optional modules:

  • Cyber Security in Society
  • Teams and Leadership
  • Comparative Human Resource Management
  • Investment Banking
  • International Entrepreneurship
  • Global Supply Strategies

Optional modules will run as far as at least 10 students select them. Timetabling arrangements may limit the availability of modules to some students. As the options reflect staff research interests, they may alter over time due to staff availability.

In addition, students are expected to undertake the following compulsory elements:

  • Research Methods and Design
  • Final Project (Dissertation or Client based project*

*Students on the MSc Governance programme will have the opportunity to put their skills into practice by taking on a client-based project as an alternative to the traditional dissertation (subject to discussion with the programme leader). This option may be available to employed students who have access to an organisation to apply their academic knowledge and industry experience to a ‘real life’ business organisation covering any governance-related aspects. Students may be asked to provide proof from their organisation confirming its support for undertaking a project based on the organisation’s data.

Contact Hours and Independent Study

Weekly contact hours on this programme may vary depending on the individual module options chosen and the stage of study. Please note irrespective of whether you are a full-time or part-time student your hours of study may vary from term to term and can be spread throughout the week.

Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour in class students are expected to spend at least three - four hours in independent study.

Although a proportion of the contact time will be spent in teaching, emphasis will also be placed upon the use of the student group as a resource for learning. The style of teaching will vary to reflect individual module objectives. The modules utilise methods of teaching and learning which are appropriate to Master's level study and effective collaborative learning such as debates, presentations, and report writing. There will also be group discussions of practical situations and problems, making an extensive use of real world case studies in national and international contexts, simulation materials and where relevant, the participants' own experiences.

For more detailed information please contact the programme leader.

Comparative Human Resource Management (Option)
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Comparative Human Resource Management (Option)

This module is designed to introduce students to the principal issues underlying international and comparative human resource management (IHRM) in a global context. Such issues have risen in prominence due to increasing trade liberalisation, ‘globalisation’, spread of multinational corporations (MNCs), outsourcing to Asia, developmental focus on Africa and economic integration within the European Union.

As firms increasingly internationalise, suitable strategies for managing human resources have become critical to competition between the MNCs. Students can develop an insight into managing human resources in different national contexts and examine those global and national factors that impact approaches taken to international human resource management. More specifically, the module aims to discuss and analyse those factors which result in variations in HRM practices and policies across national business systems.

Corporate and Business Law (Core)
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Corporate and Business Law (Core)

The module examines the structure of the law governing business organisations and corporations with an emphasis on the public and private registered company. Matters considered will include the examination of national legislation such as The Companies Act 2006 and the effect of international law, treaties and regulation on the governance of the company. Over the course of the module we will be looking at the application of national and international law and the role of the regulatory agencies in providing a practical framework in which corporate governance can be effective. Other relevant areas of commercial and corporate law such as information technology, security and privacy of information, copyright and intellectual property and governance in the digital economy will be studied.

The module will equip the student with a thorough overview of how corporate law assists in providing a functional framework to facilitate trade in the domestic and international markets.

Final Project (Core)
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Final Project (Core)

The final project provides an opportunity for students with a range of experiences and interests to apply and develop their existing skills and knowledge to an independent study project, which affords an opportunity for both the expression of original thought and creativity; together with the application of analytical skills and critical reasoning. Our approach to research projects is to facilitate innovative approaches and diverse pathways to the final assessed piece of work.

Financial Analysis, Appraisal and Decision Making (Core)
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Financial Analysis, Appraisal and Decision Making (Core)

The module aims to develop the student's ability to critically analyse the -financial statements for single and group companies; understanding how the financial statements are prepared, considering compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and the relevant International Accounting Standards. Students taking the module will examine both financial and non-financial matters that affect a business on a day to day basis and develop proactive ideas to solve these issues . The module will equip the students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand corporate financial performance and the relevance of accounting information, including the implications for the organisation, stakeholders and for effective corporate governance.
The module recognises the different types of decisions that managers are required to make, and considers how financial and management accounting information can be used in support of these decisions. The module aims to develop the skills needed to understand, apply and critically appraise the various tools and techniques that may be used to support managers in decision-making in order to determine their relevance in different organisational contexts. The module also evaluates the impact of financial and management decisions on different stakeholders and ensures that decisions are properly made and implemented to maximise value for key stakeholders of the organisation.
The practical side of the module extends to the role of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in decision-making and explores the impact of cyber security on a company's financial performance and financial reporting.

Global Supply Strategies (Option)
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Global Supply Strategies (Option)

This module will examine global supply chain strategies in detail by looking at both those strategies that have been successful as well as those that have been less successful. Students can examine contemporary phenomena such as offshoring, supply chain disruptions, innovation and sustainability using a variety of theoretical frameworks. Students can develop not only a better understanding of the challenges of managing global supply chains but also of some of the tools needed to implement effective and responsible global supply chain strategies. Given the strategic importance of global supply chains, an understanding of how to manage them strategically may be invaluable for students entering the job market.

Governance (Core)
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Governance (Core)

The module examines corporate governance concepts and principles in both national and international contexts, develops key skills necessary to support the development of good governance, risk management, control, internal audit, and stakeholder dialogue throughout the organisation. The module provides an overview of the role of boards and directors in corporate governance and also develops an understanding of an essential role that corporate social responsibility (CSR) plays in corporate governance worldwide.

The module evaluates governance challenges across the corporate, not-for-profit and public sectors, and aims to equip students with the skills to provide professional opinion on matters of corporate governance.

The oversight of information technology (IT) is essential to good corporate governance. The module explores governance of information and good IT governance, including opportunities and potential risks.

International Entrepreneurship (Option)
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International Entrepreneurship (Option)

Entrepreneurship is an essential skillset in the development at global level of new and existing businesses, social enterprises, and more broadly societies and their economies. Enterprise is defined as the application of creative ideas and innovations to practical situations, combining creativity, ideas development, and problem-solving with expression, communication, and practical action. Entrepreneurship is the application of enterprise skills to creating and growing organisations in an international context in order to identify and build on opportunities.

This module draws on the latest UK QAA Guidance on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education and aims to develop, at an international level, enterprise awareness, an entrepreneurial mindset, and entrepreneurial capability, which can lead to entrepreneurial effectiveness which can be applied in a range of contexts.

Investment Banking (Option)
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Investment Banking (Option)

The module focuses on the role of investment bankers who have to deal with typical transactions in the capital markets from debt and equity capital market products to mergers and acquisitions and more structured products such as leverage buyouts.

The module also analyses typical products, the process of investment banking and how typical investment banking transactions are implemented.

Organisational and Board Effectiveness (Core)
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Organisational and Board Effectiveness (Core)

This module examines the promotion and reinforcement of good corporate governance across an organisation irrespective of sector by ensuring organisational effectiveness and compliance with statutory obligations and good practice. The module considers how an organisation can measure its efficiency and effectiveness both internally and externally through its strategy, decision-making structure, people, work processes and systems and its culture. The module also focuses on the effectiveness of the Board of Directors including appointment, induction as well as performance evaluation.

The module aims to specify and assess the essential knowledge and skills involved in taking overall responsibility for the corporate governance function. The practical side of the module extends to both the strategic and functional contexts in advising the board, in leading teams in best practice, in ensuring compliance with law and regulation, and in establishing and maintaining appropriate processes in respect of the company’s shareholders.

The module also explores the role of Information Technology (IT) in enhancing communication between the Board, directors, shareholders and stakeholders.

Research Methods and Design (Core)
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Research Methods and Design (Core)

This module aims to prepare students for undertaking the research for their Masters dissertation or project, and other assignments. It is designed to introduce students to the core principles of research design, the research methods they are likely to encounter in their research, the basics of research design and the organisation of independent study.

Strategic Thinking (Core)
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Strategic Thinking (Core)

The module examines the elements, processes and approaches involved in the formulation and implementation of organisation’s core strategies. The lack of strategic thinking has been repeatedly identified as a major weakness in organisations, where business leaders often rely on past experience and best practice, ignoring creativity and imagination as well as the wealth of structured analytical methods. The syllabus aims to evaluate and combine the use of traditional prescriptive strategic planning tools as a critical value-adding element with a hypothesis-driven, strategic thinking paradigm. The module explores how individuals and organisations anticipate and shape the future to create a competitive advantage and how to fundamentally design future-oriented and “future-proof”, resilient organisations.

The module is designed to apply strategic thinking to governance, sustainability, finance, law and other areas. It aims to equip the student with the creative, critical and systems thinking skills needed for a governance professional to think and act strategically, to formulate an integrated perspective, and to ensure that strategy fits organisational purpose, is acceptable in terms of risk and consistent with good governance as well as with stakeholder requirements.

Sustainability Reporting and Business Ethics (Core)
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Sustainability Reporting and Business Ethics (Core)

Sustainability practices are wide ranging and include various managerial decisions, monitoring environmental damage, and external financial reporting. In light of climate change and recent environmental disasters, sustainability practices are a growing concern to investors, creditors and regulators, all of whom demand greater transparency and accountability. The first part of the module provides an in-depth overview of current issues and best practices in sustainability and integrated reporting from both managerial and financial perspectives and develops an understanding of an essential role that sustainability practices and transparency play in corporate governance worldwide.

The second part of the module, which is designed with support of the Institute of Business Ethics, focuses on business ethical issues and ethical decision-making. The module aims to develop students, as future business leaders, managers or governance professionals, who understand and appreciate the importance of going beyond numbers and supporting good ethical business practices to help companies to sustain long-term success. The module examines the responsibilities of organisations to different stakeholder groups and develops an understanding of fundamental ethical principles and ethical dilemmas in organisations across different job roles.

The module also aims to explore the role of information technology (IT) in sustainability governance, a range of ethical questions that arise from the use of IT in business, and how IT can support organisations’ sustainability strategies.

Teams and Leadership (Option)
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Teams and Leadership (Option)

This module provides students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of how to create highly performing teams. Through a review of theories of leadership, team formation, motivation and identity, students have the chance to gain a theoretically sound understanding of team behaviour and effectiveness. Practical class exercises will aim to enable students to develop their skills as team leaders and members.

Cyber Security in Society (M) (Option)
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Cyber Security in Society (M) (Option)

This module provides an understanding of the challenges in cyber security faced by society and industry. This includes an examination of the impact of threats and develops an understanding of mechanisms to reduce the risk of attack. The module examines a range of cyber threats and attack types and introduces strategies to mitigate these. It also prompts students to consider the legal, social and ethical implications of cyber security. As a Masters level module students are also encouraged to consider current research in the field of cyber security.

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

The way students will be assessed on this course will vary for each module. Formative assessments will be conducted whenever possible, aiming to prepare students for the assessment process and to provide developmental feedback to support their learning.

Formative assessments will not contribute towards students' grade, but give students a chance to receive feedback on a continuous basis. Formative assessments may include in-class exercises, peer feedback, mock examinations, presentations, debates.
Summative assessments may include assignments, case-study reports, examinations, presentations, and reflections.

As a Master's student, you will be expected to actively synthesise information from appropriate theory and personal reflection. The assessments are designed to help equip students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to meet the demands of working in contemporary organisations.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to students promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Staff teaching on the programme are normally either professionally qualified accountants, lawyers and governance practitioners with relevant industrial experience, or research specialists with wide research interests, who aim to encourage students to develop a strong business acumen, critical thinking, management, and transferable skills, by exploring concepts and theories in the context of practical real life examples and leading-edge academic research. In addition, students can benefit from external visiting speakers, experts in their areas, from the financial and business world who will be invited whenever possible to share their experiences with students and to address different topics on some modules as part of the programme’s teaching activities.

The Lincoln International Business School hosts a series of visiting speakers each year. As part of the School, students will also have the opportunity to learn from industry experts. Previous speakers have included representatives from organisations such as Deloitte, Santander, HSBC, Next Plc, Street Chartered Accountants, The Institute of Internal Auditors and Sir David Tweedie (ex-Chairman of the IASB).

The programme provides students with the opportunity to increases their awareness of governance of information, information technology (IT) and the impact of cyber security, themes which are increasingly important in the business world. This includes topics such as data security, intellectual property rights, copyright, privacy of information, risk management, and the role of IT in executing strategy and in enhancing communication between the board, directors and different stakeholders. Moreover, it extends to cyber security in finance and the role of accounting software and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in cyber security and decision-making. The programme also aims to consider the role of IT in sustainability governance, a range of ethical questions that arise from the use of information technology in business, and how IT can support organisations’ sustainability strategies and efforts.

Lincoln International Business School is a signatory of the Principles in Responsible Management Education (PRME Initiative), which establishes a set of principles to guide our educational endeavour to address global challenges and create a better future for society. The MSc Governance programme is underpinned by the Principles for Responsible Management Education and aims to equip students with understanding of their responsibilities as global citizens, as entrepreneurs, as managers of people, money and resources, as stewards of the economy and the environment, and as self-reflective business leaders and professionals who create wealth sustainably and responsibly with regard to the consequences of their actions on society.

The programme aims to equip students with the creative, critical and systems thinking skills needed to think and act strategically, to formulate an integrated perspective, and to ensure that strategy fits organisational purpose, is acceptable in terms of risk and consistent with good governance as well as with stakeholder requirements. The programme explores how individuals and organisations anticipate and shape the future to create a competitive advantage. Some appropriate examples of the state-of-the-art practical applications of strategic thinking will be provided by visiting speakers. A lack of strategic thinking has been repeatedly identified as a major weakness in organisations, where business leaders often rely on past experience and best practice, ignoring creativity and imagination as well as the wealth of structured analytical methods.

 2019/20 Entry*
Home/EU £8,600
(including Alumni Scholarship** reduction)
International £15,600
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship** £2,000 reduction)
Part-time Home/EU £48 per credit point
Part-time International £87 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


Postgraduate Master's Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study. Individuals** will be able to borrow up to £10,906 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate Master's qualification. The amount available will depend on the start date of your course.

- £10,906, if your course starts on or after 1 August 2019
- £10,609, if your course starts between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

Exceptionally tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

Other Costs

Please note that students will be responsible for paying any professional membership or other administrative fees, if they choose to register with a professional body.

With regard to the partnership between the University of Lincoln and the ICSA, the Governance Institute, students will have the opportunity to register early with the ICSA as a student member, whilst studying for their degree, and they will be responsible for the registration cost. Further details about the scheme, special agreement between the University of Lincoln and the ICSA, will be provided during the induction week and students will need to let the programme leader know if they wish to sign up for this opportunity.

The University provides students who enrol with a reading list for each module and you will find that our extensive library holds some of the suggested books or electronic versions of the core text books that you are required to read. However, not enough copies are available to all students and you may prefer to purchase your own books and you will be responsible for this cost. Printing may also be required.

Applicants from all backgrounds are welcome to apply to be considered for the programme on an individual basis (subject to approval by the programme leader, if necessary followed by an interview).

The programme accommodates students with both relevant and non-relevant undergraduate degrees. Previous work experience is not required for the Standard route, but students are required to have a minimum 2:2 honours degree or equivalent, and at least grade C in GCSE Mathematics, or its equivalent.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. . These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

The MSc Governance is designed to appeal to a variety of applicants, including qualified professionals who might be interested in entry through Accelerated or Membership routes and in possible module exemptions based on relevant professional experience or qualifications. Applicants may be considered for partial credit on this degree in accordance with standard procedures of Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). The entitlement to exemptions will be assessed on an individual basis. Applicants should make it clear in the application if they wish to apply for module exemptions, supporting their application with evidence. Please note that no exemptions can be granted once a student is enrolled to the programme.

Some indicative details are as follows (assessed on an individual basis):

  • Standard route requires completion of all modules and does not require previous work experience or relevant degree.
  • Accelerated route allows qualified accountants, auditors, lawyers, solicitors to apply for possible exemptions. Applicants should demonstrate a relevant qualification, significant work experience, and evidence of CPD activities.
  • Accelerated route allows other applicants such as directors, governance professionals, secretaries with a relevant qualification or with more than five years’ relevant experience (i.e. boardroom, governance, secretarial) to apply for possible exemptions.
  • Membership route allows Associates and Fellows of ICSA to enter the programme to obtain the MSc Governance degree with only taking two or three modules.
Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may also be supported in their learning by other students.

Nadia Gulko Image

Nadia Gulko

Programme Leader

Nadia's main research interests lie in the areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate governance, business ethics, socially responsible investments, and non-financial reporting. Nadia is a Fellow of the HEA, a member of BAFA, a member of CSR Forum at the City of Lincoln Council, and is qualified with CIMA. Before starting her academic career, Nadia worked in leadership positions in accountancy and management within national and multinational companies for over 10 years.


Your Future Career

Career and Personal Development

The MSc Governance programme is designed to help students develop a set of skills and subject knowledge to compete effectively in the domestic and international labour markets and to support best governance practices within organisations.

The programme aims to develop the knowledge, professional, management and transferable skills that give the opportunity to enter employment in a wide variety of job roles in governance, leadership, management, finance, accountancy, strategy, law, secretariat or administration across different sectors including the corporate, not-for-profit and public sectors. The programme may also give the opportunity to set up your own business or to work in practice.

International students will be given the opportunity to develop their study skills via additional learning support workshop programme at Lincoln International Business School.

At Lincoln International Business School students will have access to careers information, workshops and guidance through our Careers and Employability Team who organise a series of career events to inspire and support students in securing a job and thinking about their career development in the longer term. These events provide examples of career roles and journeys and create opportunities to network with employers. More information about the University’s career services can be found at:

ICSA Image

This programme is fully accredited by ICSA: The Governance Institute. ISCA is a chartered membership, professional body, and world-leading authority on governance, risk and compliance.


At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our students. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure you have access to the specialist equipment and resources you need to develop the skills you may need in their future career

Students can study and research in the University's Great Central Warehouse Library, which provides more than 250,000 printed books and approximately 400,000 electronic books and journals, as well as databases and specialist collections. The Library has a range of different spaces for shared and individual learning.

This course is taught in the award-winning David Chiddick Building, which is situated in the centre of the city of Lincoln on the Brayford campus. It provides dedicated teaching and learning spaces and comprises lecture theatres, workshop rooms, IT laboratories and a café. Software including SAGE is available for you to use, as well as SPSS, Datastream (the source of financial and economic data), and

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.