Degree classifications

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

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.

This calculation cannot be done until all marks are confirmed by the end of year examining boards.

For the vast majority of students, the total credit requirement for a degree with honours is 360 and their programmes follow the standard formula. However 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. Always consult your programme specification to determine if any variant academic regulations apply to your programme and what impact these may have on your classification calculation. If you require support, 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 estimated outcome based on the marks that you have received, you can either use our Honours Degree Calculator (XLS) - if you completed all of your studies at UWE Bristol, or the Direct Entrant Honours Degree Calculator (XLS) - if you only studied 120 final year credits at UWE Bristol. Instructions for use are on the first page of each document. 

Important notes regarding the calculator

Please note that these calculators may only be used for the calculation of 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.

Sampling of work by external examiners takes place as part of the University’s Assessment Cycle. Sampling is carried out to make sure marking is at the appropriate level and in some cases can result in the marks for the whole cohort being adjusted.

Some programmes have variant academic regulations and may have alternative classification methods. Always consult your programme specification to confirm if the standard university regulations apply or if your degree will be calculated differently.

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

Award eligibility

Normally, when sufficient credit in the required modules is achieved, students become eligible for an award. Sometimes ‘module credits’ are described as being like a currency which can be accumulated and is then ‘cashed in’ or exchanged when a student accepts an award (eg. an honours or a Masters degree).

Eg Andrew is registered on the BSc(Hons) Psychology. In one year he studies modules worth 120 credits. In order to be eligible for the degree, he needs to have passed 360 credits. So in three years, after taking 120 credits a year, he has enough credit to be eligible for the degree.

  • Year one: Eligible for Year 1 120 credits Certificate in Higher Education
  • Year two: Eligible for 240 credits Diploma in Higher Education
  • Year three: Eligibility for 360 credits Honours degree

So, the number of credits you pass at specific levels determines which award you are eligible for, but the level of your achievement (i.e. your classification) is determined by the marks you achieve.

Postgraduate degree differential levels of award

Integrated bachelor/master's degree

In order to be eligible for an integrated bachelor/master's degree, you are required to pass 480 credits (unless a different credit total is required by a professional regulatory or statutory body). Once you have achieved 480 credits the differential outcome for the award is then calculated using your best marks for 210 credits at level three or above.

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 (for example 15, 30, 45) and divide the overall total by 120.

Masters degrees and integrated bachelor/master degrees: how to estimate your classification

If you are waiting for your results and wish to calculate an estimated outcome based on the marks that you have received, you can use either our Masters Degree Calculator (XLS) or the Integrated Bachelor/Masters Degree Calculator (XLS) - for integrated awards. 

Important notes regarding the calculator

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.

Some programmes have variant academic regulations and may have alternative classification methods. Always consult your programme specification to confirm if the standard university regulations apply or if your degree will be calculated differently.

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

Additional information

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.

It is not until the University’s exam boards meet to sign off the marks and award credit to students that the marks are finally confirmed.

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.

Criteria for raising the classification/differential level of an award

The Award Board has the right to award one class higher than that which is calculated by the student record system when considering individual student results.

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 personal circumstances accepted 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.

Current Progress Calculator

The Current Progress Calculator (XLS) is available to help you understand how you are getting on during the academic year/level of study. You can use this calculator to enter your overall module marks, or marks from individual assessments, to understand your average mark across the year. 

Using the calculator

Please read the guidance included within the calculator.

If you do not have your overall module marks, 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.

The academic record system uses 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

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.

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

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 Pre-Pandemic Average Calculator (XLS) 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. 

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.