Degree classifications

Find out how degree classifications and differential levels of award are calculated.

Examination boards

At certain points in the year, assessment marks are checked and confirmed by the Examination Board process outlined below.

Field Board

The Field Board meets to ensure that module assessments have been properly conducted, marked and scrutinised. They will also consider the impact of any adverse circumstances affecting a group or sub-group of students on a module. The Field Board approves unconfirmed marks for all modules and awards credit where modules have been passed.

Award Board

Once marks have been confirmed, an Award Board meets to determine whether all registered students are eligible or not yet eligible for an award. They also confirm the final classifications or differential levels of award.

Both types of board are normally comprised of a Chair, academic staff from the faculty, one or more external examiners from professional bodies and/or other higher education institutions and academic staff from partner institutions where appropriate.

All discussions at an Examination Board are confidential to its members and to members of an appeals panel, if one is required.

Academic survival guide

For more information on passing modules, achieving credit and condoned credit, please see the Academic Survival Guide.

Confirmation of award

You will receive official confirmation of your final award after the Examination Boards have had the opportunity to review your complete profile.

View the Examination Board and results publication dates for 2020/21.

Variances to the method of calculation

Some professional bodies require a variance to the method of calculation for an honours degree classification or differential level of award. For example, an alternative method is used to calculate the outcomes for the BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering and BEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering awards.

It is important that you are aware whether your award falls under variant regulations. Please check your programme specification for further information.

Calculating your pre-pandemic weighted average

If you are a student whose modules were impacted by the move to online teaching and assessment in 2019/20, the UWE Bristol degree calculator can be used to calculate the pre-pandemic weighted average for your assessments which had deadlines prior to 18 March 2020.

This weighted average will be compared with your mark for the level which will be calculated based upon your final module marks when your student profile is considered by the 2020/2021 exam boards. The no detriment approach will mean that your mark for the level cannot go down from the pre-pandemic outcome, but it can go up. Whichever of the two marks is highest, will then be used in the calculation of your final outcome as per regulations N1, N2 and N3.

Using the calculator

Please read the guidance page on the first tab of the calculator.

You will need to include component weightings and in some cases assessment weightings too depending on how your modules are structured. You will find the weightings in your module handbook or module specification. If you are not sure of where to find them please ask your Module Leader.

If you are still waiting for marks which were for assessments with a deadline prior to the 18th March you should add those in when you receive them.

Any outcome that you calculate is based solely on your selection of marks, and the University will not be bound by any calculation that you create.

Criteria for raising the classification / differential level of an award

The Award Board will automatically award you a higher level of award than the one predicted by your final overall mark if:

  • your final overall mark is less than or equal to 0.5% below the higher classification (for example, a final overall mark between 69.5% – 69.9% would become a First)
  • your final overall mark is greater than 0.5% and less than or equal to 1% below the higher classification (for example 59% - 59.4%), but only if 50% or more of the credits at the highest level required by the programme have marks in the higher banding (see below):
  • if you have 90 Level 3 credits which have Upper Second marks and 30 Level 3 credits which have Lower Second marks, you would receive an Upper Second. All credits must count towards the award.
  • if you have 90 Level 3 credits which have Lower Second marks and 30 Level 3 credits which have Upper Second marks, you would receive a Lower Second. All credits must count towards the award.

If you have any newly accepted or historic personal circumstances for modules you have passed, the Board is also able to review your profile to consider whether an uplift would be appropriate, but unlike the criteria above this is not automatic.

These criteria also apply to students where the award outcome is Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Undergraduate degree classifications

Honours degrees (all years of study completed at UWE Bristol)

A single university-wide formula, which uses the same number of credits for all students, is used to calculate honours degree classifications.

The key features of the formula are:

  • only the marks for 100 credits at level 3 and 100 credits at level 2 (or other level 3 credits) are included
  • marks for the 100 level 3 credits are weighted three times those at level 2 (or other level 3 credits)
  • marks used are the best overall module marks you have achieved at each level.

For the vast majority of students, the total credit requirement for a degree with honours is 360. Some programmes are exceptions to this, usually because a professional or statutory body has different or additional requirements to enable it to accredit the award. A Student Support Adviser will be able to explain any differences if they apply to you.

Honours degrees (entry with a foundation degree)

Your foundation degree contributes 240 credits towards the total of 360, and you take the remaining 120 credits in year 3.

The classification for students who progress from a foundation degree to the final year of an honours degree will be calculated based only on the marks achieved in that final year.

In the calculation, the best overall module marks for 100 credits achieved at level 3 are weighted three times those of the remaining 20 credits.

Honours degrees (direct entrants – without a foundation degree)

Direct entrants to programmes should note that the marks or grades awarded by another institution do not contribute towards a classification for honours, or to the granting of an award with merit or distinction. For the majority of direct entrant students, the following will apply:

  • Direct entrants to Level 2 will have their honours degree classification calculated as per the single University-wide formula.
  • Direct entrants to Level 3 will have their honours degree classification based upon 120 credits, the best module marks for 100 credits at level 3 being weighted at three times the value of the module marks for the remaining 20 credits.

Honours degrees: How to estimate your classification

If you are waiting for your results and wish to calculate an estimate outcome based on the marks that you have received, you can use our Degree Classification Calculator as a rough guide. Instructions are on the first page of the document. Instructions are on the first page of the document.

Important notes regarding the calculator

Please note that the calculator may only be used for the calculation of 360 credit BA (Hons), BEng (Hons), LLB (Hons), or BSc (Hons) degrees.

Any outcome that you calculate is based solely on your selection of marks, and the University will not be bound by any calculation that you create.

The academic record system calculates your final classification using unrounded marks. However, the marks you see on myUWE are rounded up or down to the nearest whole number. This means there is normally a difference between your estimate and your actual final outcome. In some cases this can be the difference between two classifications.

If you have any problems using this resource, please contact a Student Support Adviser in the first instance.

Postgraduate degree differential levels of award

Integrated bachelor/master's degree

Merit

A merit will be awarded when an overall average of at least 60% has been achieved across 210 credits at level 3 or above (FHEQ level 6). This average will be calculated based upon the marks for all of the level M modules (FHEQ level 7) and the marks for the best level 3 modules (FHEQ level 6), which are required to make up the credit total.

Distinction

A distinction will be awarded when an overall average of at least 70% has been achieved across 210 credits at level 3 or above (FHEQ level 6). This average will be calculated based upon the marks for all of the level M modules (FHEQ level 7) and the marks for the best level 3 modules (FHEQ level 6) which are required to make up the credit total.

Master's degrees (eg MA/MSc)

In order to be eligible for a master's degree, you are required to pass 180 credits. Once you have achieved 180 credits the differential outcome for the award is then calculated using your best marks for 120 credits.

Merit

A merit will be awarded where a weighted average of at least 60% has been achieved across any combination of modules at level M totalling 120 credits.

Distinction

A distinction will be awarded where a weighted average of at least 70% has been achieved across any combination of modules at level M totalling 120 credits.

The calculation will use the weighted average of your best 120 credits at level M to determine your final outcome. If you wish to estimate this yourself, you can multiply the mark for each of your ‘best’ modules by its credit value (eg 15, 30, 45) and divide the overall total by 120.

Any outcome that you calculate is based solely on your selection of marks, and the University will not be bound by any calculation that you create.

The academic record system works with unrounded marks, but the marks you see on myUWE are rounded to the nearest whole number, so there may be a small difference between your estimate and that of the academic record system.