Quality Manual

Postgraduate taught degree classification from September 2021

This page contains the degree classifications for all postgraduate taught students who began their awards from September 2021. Its content is relevant to staff and students across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

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Includes: commencement dates; former regulations

These regulations take effect from 2021/22 for students who began their awards from September 2021. Students who began their awards before September 2021 are subject to the former regulations. For more information about the former regulations, please consult the following:

Degree classification


Taught Postgraduate Awards

Includes: classification; postgraduate diplomas and certificates; 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. The classifications are:

  • Distinction = 70% and above
  • Merit = 60% - 69%
  • Pass = 50% - 59%

Borderlines for these qualifications are:

  • 69 Borderline Distinction
  • 59 Borderline Merit
  • 50 Pass (there is no borderline at Pass/Fail)


Includes: use of borderlines; extenuating circumstances; footnotes

Use of borderlines

Following moderation an 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 2).

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:

Policy on circumstances affecting students' ability to study and complete assessments


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.   For students entering Taught Postgraduate programmes from 2021/22 onwards, Schools should use only the standardised weighted profiling system for determining the degree class of borderline students. 

A student should be given the higher classification if the following criterion is met: 

  • Two thirds or more of the final credits are in the higher class.

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

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

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This content was last modified on 30 October 2023

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