How does University Grading System Works?

The grading system of UK universities is different from the universities in other countries. When you are at university you may take different types of degrees like an undergraduate degree, master’s degree and doctorate or PhD degrees. Thus based on the degree you are taking, the university grading system will work differently in the UK. Here we will guide you about the grades you will be getting at the university.

Quick Takeaways

  • The grading system of the university is different from the GCSE and A-level and will depend upon the degree you are taking up.
  • If you are studying the undergraduate degree, the following table depicts the grading system for it-
Degree ClassificationPercentage Grade
First-Class Honour Degree70% and above
Second-Class Honour Degree
-Upper second-honour degree
-Lower second-honour degree

60-69%
50-59%
Third-Class Honour Degree40-49%
  • If you are studying the master’s degree, the following table depicts the grading system for it-
GRADEPERCENTAGE
Fail (F)Below 50%
Pass (P)50-59%
Merit (M)60-69%
Distinction (D)70% and above
  • If you are studying for a doctorate or PhD degree, you will get a simple pass and fail it. 

However, you must read till the end so that you do not miss any of the crucial information, on the grading system for the university. 

How does University Grading System Works?

How does the university grading system work?

The educational system in the UK is slightly different from the other countries. During your GCSEs and A-levels, you probably have seen grades between 0-9. On the other hand for vocational courses, you have received a pass, merit or distinction. The grading system in the universities is different from theirs. Every university has a different level of educational degrees like undergraduate, masters and PHD degrees. And thus depending on what are you studying in the university, the grading system will be different. Further, we have discussed the grading system for each of the degrees you will be doing at the university.

What is the grading system of a university if you are taking an undergraduate degree?

The undergraduate degrees are marked by a grading system in which you get four main classifications. These classifications are received by the percentage you have scored in the degree and are generally done based on weighted averages. Following are the different levels of degree classifications for undergraduate degrees-

1. First Class Honour Degree

The highest level you can receive after finishing your degree is a first-class honours degree (1st). You are given it if you earn at least 70% of the possible points in the degree you have studied. This level is awarded to students who performed well in their university courses and in their academic work.

2. Second-class degree 

How does University Grading System Works?

It further has two types of degrees-

Upper Second-honour degree

The second-highest degree you can earn while pursuing your degree at the university level is an upper second-honour degree (2:1). That is the one that you earn if your degree grade was between 60% and 70%.

Lower Second-honour degree

The lower Second-honour degree(2:2) is the one in which you get between 50%-60%.

Third-Class Honours Degree

Third-class hour degree is the lowest classification of honour degree level in which you receive scores between 40-49%. This degree generally does not attract employers.

Ordinary degree

This degree will be awarded to you if you are unable to pass a third-class honour degree with few marks. It is the lowest degree and is not very respected by employers. 

How does University Grading System Works?

Further, we have discussed a table that shows the classification for undergraduate degrees-

Degree ClassificationPercentage Grade
First-Class Honour Degree70% and above
Second-Class Honour Degree
– Upper second-honour degree
– Lower second-honour degree

60-69%
50-59%
Third-Class Honour Degree40-49%

What is the grading system for taking a Master’s degree?

Taking up a Master’s degree or an advanced degree means taking a level 4 qualification. Grading of a master’s degree is again based on the percentage that you have received in the degree, like grading undergraduate degrees. The only difference between both degrees is master’s degrees are based on pass, merit, and distinction positions which is similar to the vocational courses grading system. However, when you are talking about the master’s degree, there is no distinction* (D*) in it. If you have scored below 50%, you are considered to fail it. 

On the other hand, if you have received above 50% it is considered a pass. A simple pass means that you have received grades between 50-59%. Getting marks between 60-69% you have received merit and above 70 means that you have received a distinction. The further table depicts how the grading system is done for Master’s degrees-

How does University Grading System Works?
GRADEPERCENTAGE
Fail (F)Below 50%
Pass (P)50-59%
Merit (M)60-69%
Distinction (D)70% and above

What is the grading system for taking a PhD degree?

The PhD degree is one of the doctorate degree that you will be taking after completing your master’s degree. It is a level 8 qualification which is the most difficult degree to complete. After completing this degree you can become a lecturer in a university or a college. In this degree, you will have to work on a project which is known as a dissertation. You will need to research a topic of your interest and need to give a full project on the basis of your learning. 

Also, there are a lot of viva voce exams in this degree. This degree is graded on the basis of the simple pass and fail in the UK. However, this is not the same case for other countries. In the UK, the only requirement to get a PhD or any other doctorate degree is to pass it. 

Conclusion

The grading system at the universities is different from your traditional GCSEs and A-levels. In this type of grading system, you will be getting grades based on the degree you are doing. Suppose you are doing an undergraduate degree, you will be getting grades based on different degree classifications. These classifications are  – First Class Honour, Second class honour, third class honour, and ordinary class honour degree. On the other hand, if we talk about a master’s degree, you will be getting grades based on the pass, merit and distinction. Further, if we talk about doctorate degrees you will receive a simple pass and fail in the UK. 

What does 2.1 mean in university?

When you are doing an undergraduate degree, you will be getting the degree based on different classifications. When you score 60-70% in the degree, it is known as Upper second honour degree which is also known as 2.1 degrees. 

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