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Exams/Degree Classifications

University criteria for marking exam scripts

 Class  Criteria  Mark

 High I

 Definite I

 Low I

 Outstanding answer which shows considerable independence of thought and critical judgement. Shows an excellent grasp of all the issues involved, originality and evidence of wide reading and knowledge beyond course content.




 High Iii

 Definite Iii

 Low Iii

 Comprehensive awareness of the issues. Well argued answer with evidence of independent thought. A good understanding of course material and evidence of reading and knowledge beyond course content.




 High IIi

 Definite IIi

 Low IIi

 Answer reasonably argued, showing awareness of the main issues. A satisfactory understanding of course material but little reference to outside reading.




 High III

 Definite III

 Adequate answer with weak to fair understanding of course material. No outside material presented. Arguments not strong.



 Low III  Adequate answer but weak in material and understanding of course content. Omissions and inaccuracies.  42
 Marginal Fail  Recognises the aim of the question and has material to answer, but generally inaccurate and limited in understanding of the material.  35
 Weak Fail  Some recognition of the meaning of the question but little understanding. Knowledge vague, skimpy and inaccurate.  25
 Poor Fail  Few points relevant to the question; the bulk of the answer is either irrelevant or a misunderstanding of the material.  15
 Nothing of Merit  Minimal or no material of value to the question asked. No recognition of the question.  0

(Download these Conceptual Equivalent Descriptors here)

University Criteria for Classifying Degrees

Degree classifications are calculated by applying both the 'aggregate' and 'predominance' rules to the 12 module marks attained after first year. On the aggregate rule the average marks for the assessed modules fall within the following bands:

 First  70+
 2.1  60-69.9
 2.2  50-59.9
 3  40-49.9
 Fail  Below 40

Example: 90, 85, 75, 74, 68, 68, 66, 65, 64, 63, 62, 60 = 840 ÷ 12 = 70.0 = First

In line with University Study Regulations, students whose final mark for classification of degree falls within 3 points of a higher degree classification band (i.e., 37-39; 47-49; 57-59; 67-69) will automatically be considered for award of the higher degree classification by predominance.

The following formula for the predominance rule applies:

  • Let n1, n2, and n3 be the number of modules at Stages 1, 2, and 3 respectively in which the mark is above the relevant borderline.
  • Let p1, p2, and p3 be the percentage weights at Stages 1, 2, and 3 respectively (for example, if Stage 3 is weighted at 60%, then p3 = 60).            

The higher classification is awarded if:

  • n1 x p1 + n2 x p2 + n3 x p3 ≥ 300 (10/30/60 weighting of modules at Stages 1, 2, and 3)

This is the only instance where the higher degree classification can be awarded by predominance. All degree classifications are governed by the University Study Regulations which take precedence over information provided here.