Quality Manual

Degree classification before September 2015

This page contains the degree classifications for all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students who entered their Qualifying year or Part I before September 2015. Its content is only applicable to students who were admitted before that date but may also be of interest to staff across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

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Please be aware that during academic year 2019/20, the University introduced exceptional regulations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This page was previously affected by these arrangements and has been documented accordingly. 

Further details can be found in the "Exceptional regulations applied in response to Covid-19" section below.

Honours and Integrated Masters degrees

Includes: classifying undergraduate degrees; arithmetic mean model; responsibility of Schools offering Joint Honours courses

The three methods for classifying undergraduate degrees detailed below are approved for use in the University of Nottingham. 

One ( Model 1 “arithmetic mean”) satisfies the need of those Schools/ departments which have traditionally found no difficulty in using the entire 100 marks in the percentage scale. The other two ( Models 2 “ordinal scale” and 3 “thresholds”) have been developed in recognition of the problems of classifying degrees, particularly first class honours, where marking conventions effectively discount the use of marks at both ends of the percentile range. This means that very good and very poor performance may be under- and over-stated respectively, or marks at the outer ends of the student's run of marks, perhaps awarded by other Schools, may have a disproportionate arithmetic impact on the classification of subject performance. 

Schools offering Joint Honours courses should select a single model for classifying degrees. This requires a single programme specification for each Joint Honours course and necessitates a single weighting between Parts I, II and III. 


Model 1 ("arithmetic mean")

Includes: unit marks; module marks; weightings; weighted numerical average; borderline

1.   Unit marks (footnote 1 in the All awards section below) are numeric. 

2.   Module mark is calculated from unit marks and rounded to a numeric integer

3.   Module marks are weighted accordingly to the number of credits attached to the module - for example, a 20 credit module is weighted double compared to a 10 credit module.

4.   The relative weightings of Part I/II/III marks are given in programme specifications.

5.   A weighted numerical average is calculated using the weightings indicated in 3 and 4 above.

6.   The weighted numerical average is rounded. For more information, please consult the following:

Policy on marking and grading

7.   Weighted numerical average is translated into degree classification according to Table 1.

Table 1

I 70%+
II-1 = 60% - 69%
II-2 = 50% - 59%
III = 40% - 49%

Pass * that is, an unclassified degree and therefore awarded without honours.

= 40%+ (which can include reassessment marks from Parts I/II/III)


Only the following rounded marks will be regarded as “borderline”:

  • 68 or 69 Borderline I (individual Programme Specifications state whether the borderline is 68 or 69). 
  • 59 Borderline II-1
  • 49 Borderline II-2
  • 39 Borderline III

Model 2 ("ordinal scale")

Includes: unit marks; module grade; median mark

Please note, this model only applies to students who entered pre-September 2004.

  • Unit marks (footnote 1, under the All Awards section below) are literal (that is, A, B and others) and translate into numeric integer marks according to Table 2.
  • Module grade is calculated from median of literal grades.
  • Overall median mark calculated by assigning literal grade to each 10 credits. The total number of grades from which the final median is calculated depends on the weighting of Parts I/II set out in supplementary degree regulations. If there is a 50:50 split between Parts I and II then the calculation is a straightforward median of 24 grades. If Part II counts for twice as much as Part I the Year 3 grades are counted twice.
  • Median mark translated into degree classification according to Table 3.

Table 2

 A+  78
 A  75
 A-  72
 B+  68
 B  65
 B-  62
 C+  58
 C  55
 C-  52
 D+  48
 D  45
 D-  42
 F  38
 F-  32
 X  25
 X-  15
 Z  0


Table 3

Median Mark Degree Class 
A- and above I
B+/ A- Borderline I  
B+ to B-  II-1
C+/ B-  Borderline II-1 
C+ to C- II-2 
D+/ C-  Borderline II-2  
D+ to D- III
D-/ F   Borderline III 

When calculating the median of an even number of unit marks within a module Schools should assign the higher of the two marks that span the median - for example, the median of C, C+, B, B would be a B-.


Model 3 ("thresholds")

Includes: unit marks; module mark; module scores

For more information about this section, please consult footnote 2 of the All awards section below.

  • Unit marks (footnote 1, in the All Awards section at the bottom of this page) are numeric.
  • Module mark is calculated from unit marks and rounded to a numeric integer.
  • Module marks are translated to points scores according to Table 4.
  • Module scores are added together and translated into a degree classification according to Table 5 .

Table 4

 75%+ = 20
 70% - 74% = 18
 60% - 69% = 14
 50% - 59% = 10
 40% - 49% = 6
 40% on resit = 4
 30% - 39% 2
 0% - 29% = 0


Table 5

 I 376+ (eg a run of marks such as 12@ 18 + 10 @ 14 + 2 @ 10)
 II-1 288 - 375 (eg a run of marks such as 12 @ 14 + 12 @ 10)
 II-2 192-287 (e.g., a run of marks such as 12 @ 10 + 12 @ 6)
 III 128-191 (e.g., a run of marks such as 20 @ 6 + 4 @ 4) 

Scores within 12 points of a First, II-1, II-2 and III Class threshold are defined as borderline.


Other undergraduate awards

Includes: classifications; borderlines; calculating an overall average undergraduate diplomas

Ordinary Degrees and Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates and Diplomas are classified using a weighted numerical average as defined under Model 1 above. The classifications are: 

  • Distinction = 70%
  • Merit = 60% - 69%
  • Pass = 40% - 59%

Only the following rounded marks will be regarded as borderline:

  • 68 or 69 Borderline Distinction (individual Programme Specifications state whether the borderline is 68 or 69)
  • 59 Borderline Merit
  • 39 Borderline Pass

When calculating an overall average, in the case of Ordinary Degrees, classification is based on the best marks obtained from 100 credits at Part I where a student has taken more than 100 credits at Part I.

In the case of Undergraduate Diplomas the classification is based on the best marks obtained in 120 credits taken in stage 2 or 3 including at least 90 credits at level 2.


Taught Postgraduate awards (to apply to courses beginning in September 2006 and after)

Includes: borderlines

The classification rules for Taught Masters, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates (that is, the award of Merits and Distinctions) are contained in the University’s Taught Postgraduate Regulations. Borderlines for these qualifications are:

  • 68 or 69 Borderline Distinction (individual programme specifications state whether the borderline is 68 or 69)
  • 59 Borderline Merit
  • 49 Borderline Pass (Master, also PGDip and PGCert from 2012/13)
  • 39 Borderline Pass (PGDip and PGCert for students who registered for taught postgraduate degrees prior to the 2012/13 Session only)

All awards

Includes: use of borderlines; extenuating circumstances procedure; footnotes

Use of borderlines

Following moderation the agreed algorithm is used to determine the final composite mark. If this falls within a borderline as defined above, the weighted profiling system as stated in the programme specification will be applied to determine the final classification (footnote 3).

Extenuating circumstances

Students with acceptable extenuating circumstances should be considered in accordance with the Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedures. For more information, please consult the following:

Extenuating Circumstances Procedure


1.   “Unit mark” is the mark awarded for an individual piece of assessed work, which goes towards the computation of a module mark using a weighting formula. 

2.   This Model applies to courses with a 50:50 weighting between Parts I and II.

3.   For students registering on programmes from 2009/10 onwards, Schools should use only a weighted profiling system for determining the degree class of borderline students. The profiling system must be stated in the programme specification and made explicit and clear to students from the start of their studies through School Handbooks.

This does not preclude the consideration of Extenuating Circumstances of students, whether inside or outside the borderline.


Exceptional regulations applied in response to Covid-19   Flag of United Kingdom   Flag of China   Flag of Malaysia

Please be aware that the following Exceptional Regulations were developed and applied during academic year 2019/20 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These records are campus specific and should be read in conjunction with all other content on this page.

The active application of these arrangements then ceased at the beginning of academic year 2020/21. Any outcomes from their application during academic year 2019/20 will, however, continue to be honoured and used in all decisions regarding those affected. 

For more information about the Exceptional Regulations as a whole, please consult the following:

Exceptional Regulations: Covid-19 - 2019/20 - 2020/21

If you have any problems or queries relating to this page, please contact:

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This content was last modified on 08 April 2022

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