FAQs for UG Students Graduating in 2020/21

 

1. How will my work be marked?

Your grades will be marked in accordance with the Common Grading Scale (CGS).

2. What is an alphanumeric course grade?

An alphanumeric course grade is the mark (e.g. A3, B1 etc) which you receive as your overall grade for a course.  It is determined from the associated numeric grade point which represents the combined marks for the individual elements of assessment. 

3. What is a numeric grade point?

The numeric grade point (e.g. 17.65) is the numeric grade associated with each alphanumeric course grade.  The grade points are used to determine the overall course grade from a number of components (e.g. end of course exam and essay mark).  They are also used to determine overall Grade Point Average (GPA). 

4. Why does the University not round my numeric grade point?

Unrounded numeric grade points are used to calculate degree class. Their publication ensures close alignment of course grades and the degree class awarded and enhances the transparency of information provided on the degree transcript.

5. Why do I have rounded and unrounded grade points on my student record and/or student transcript?

Prior to academic year 2020/21, rounded grade points were released to students. Unrounded grades were, however, used to calculate GPA. The publication of unrounded numeric grade points ensures close alignment of course grades and the degree class awarded and enhances the transparency of information provided on the degree transcript. 

6. How can I work out my overall grade for a course if there is more than 1 component of assessment

Overall course grades are calculated as a weighted average of component assessments. Each assessment is awarded a grade on the CGS. Each CGS grade is associated with a numerical Grade Point (0-22). These Grade Points are used for the purposes of aggregation. By aggregating the Grade Points the overall Grade for the course can be determined.  Note that the grade point is expressed to two decimal places.

For example, a course has two essays each weighted 20% and one exam weighted 60%, the Grades for which are B2, A3 and C1 respectively. The overall grade for the course would be determined as follows:

Grade

CGS

Grade Point

Weighting

Calculation

Essay

B2

16

20%

(20% x 16) + (20% x 20) + (60% x 14)

= 3.2 + 4 + 8.4

= 15.6

= Overall Course Grade of B3.

Presentation

A3

20

20%

Exam

C1

14

60%

7. If I fail a subject, what happens?

In the event that you fail or fail to complete a course and wish to be awarded credit for the course, you will be required to resit. Normally, for resit calculation purposes, resit pass grades are capped at D3.

If you failed an honours course (as a first attempt) during the period of Covid-19 (defined as 16 March 2020 to the end of the 2019/20 academic year) and were successful at a subsequent resit attempt, your passing resit grade was not capped. The grade achieved will be used for Degree Classification purposes.

In order to be eligible to take a resit, you must hold a valid class certificate. The validity of a class certificate is limited to the academic year in which it is awarded and to the academic year immediately following. Only in exceptional circumstances, in accordance with General Regulation 7 for first degrees, may the University Senate extend the validity of a class certificate.

 Undergraduate students (with the exception of those in level 4) normally have up to three attempts to pass a course. For candidates in the final year of an Honours programme, there are three categories of exception: 

  • If you achieve a Grade of E1, E2 or E3 in courses at level 4 or above taken as part of an Honours programme, you may be eligible for the award of compensatory Level 1 credit, up to a maximum of 30 credit points. Compensatory credit can only be awarded if you have already achieved 90 credit points at level 4, including passes in courses compulsory for your degree.
  • A pass at the first attempt in certain courses may be stipulated as a requirement for achieving the award in question. If you fail such a compulsory course, you will not be eligible to resit and you would not be eligible to receive the Honours degree concerned.
  • Where you have achieved a Grade of F1 or below in a course at level 4 or above, you may elect, subject to having achieved 90 credit points at Level 4 to take an alternative course or courses of the same credit value at a lower level to make up your credit shortfall rather than resitting the failed course.
8. What happens if I submit an assignment late - can alpha-numeric grades be deducted from the CGS grade that I was awarded?

Schools operate their own local policy in this regard. The course coordinators for your courses will be able to tell you the sanctions they will enforce if you submit an assignment late.

9. What will appear on my transcript?
  1. Your transcript will reflect all the marks you have achieved while studying at the University of Aberdeen. 
  2. For a very few students who began their degree prior to September 2014, transcripts will include both Common Assessment Scale (CAS) marks and Common Grading Scale (CGS) grades.
  3. For each of your courses, both the unrounded numeric grade and alphanumeric CGS grade achieved will appear on your transcript.
  4. A Grade Point Average (GPA) will not appear on transcripts. 
Transcripts for students requiring conversion of the University of Aberdeen marking scale for North America or the European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS) will continue to be provided, with appropriate mapping of the CGS Scale.
10. When am I deemed to have started on my Honours programme?

Students are normally told that they have progressed to the Honours stage of their degree programme at the end of Level 2 - i.e. students are deemed to have embarked on Honours when they enter Level 3 of their 4- or 5-year degree programme.

11. How will my degree be classified?

Your degree classification is based on performance across the Honours programme as a whole. Only courses taken at level 3 and above will count towards Honours classification.

Undergraduate students, who will graduate in 2020/21, will have been in an Honours year (i.e. level 3 or 4) during the impact of Covid-19 (the period defined by the University as 16 March 2020 to the end of the academic year). As such, ‘No Detriment’ procedures [enter link] apply to this cohort of students and directly impact upon how their degrees are calculated.

Students graduating in 2020/21 will have their degree classification calculated via both the Grade Point Average system and the Grade Spectrum, with students receiving the higher of the two classifications should differences occur.

The Undergraduate Degree Classification webpage provides further information and summary and full codes of practice.

12. What period do the no detriment procedures apply to?

The University ceased face to face teaching on 13 March 2020 and therefore No Detriment procedures apply to assessment undertaken during the period between 16 March 2020 and the end of the 2019/20 academic year, referred to as the context, period or impact of Covid-19..
13. I am graduating this year; will no detriment apply to me?

Yes. We have a range of different measures which will support different students in different circumstances in different ways. Assessment that you undertook during the impact of Covid-19 will not have a detrimental impact on your degree classification when you graduate.

14. I was in an Honours year during the impact of Covid-19 but am not due to graduate in 2020/21. Will no detriment apply to me?

Yes. If you were in an Honours year during the impact of Covid-19 but are not due to graduate in 2020/21 (e.g. you are undertaking a 5-year degree programme), the assessment that you undertook during the impact of Covid-19 will not have a detrimental impact on your degree classification when you graduate.

15.What is a borderline candidate?

Degree award is determined by the calculation of an aggregate Grade Point Average (GPA). Details of the GPA bands associated with each honours degree classification are provided below. If you are a borderline candidate, you will have achieved one particular classification, but your GPA is nearing the level required for a higher classification. As such, all borderline candidates will be considered in detail at the examiners meeting to see whether their overall performance suggests that a higher classification be awarded.

For students graduating in 2020/21, whose studies during 2019/20 were impacted by Covid-19, the No Detriment procedures widened the borderlines from 0.5 to 0.99 of a GPA point. As a direct consequence, more students will be considered as borderline at Examiners’ Meetings.

Grade Point Average

Degree Classification

18.0-22.0

First Class

greater than 17.0, less than 18.0

Borderline 2.1/1st

15.0 – 17.0

Upper Second Class

greater than 14.0, less than 15.0

Borderline 2.2/2.1

12.0 – 14.0

Lower Second Class

greater than 11.0, less than 12.0

Borderline 3rd/2.2

9.0 – 11.0

Third Class

greater than 8.0, less than 9.0

Borderline Fail/3rd

0 – 8.0

Fail

.

16. What happens if my performance during the impact of Covid-19 was adversely affected, but I am not classed as a borderline candidate? How does no detriment apply to me?
Exams officers for each School will look at the overall grade profile (i.e. look at all your course results together) of each final year undergraduate students before the examiners’ meeting. Any student whose grade profile indicates a negative impact of Covid-19 will be presented to the examiners meeting in addition to borderline candidates.
17. How will my degree be weighted?

Schools weight their degree programmes as follows:

School

Weighting of Level 3: Level 4

Weighting of Level 3: Level 4: Level 5

Biological Sciences

50: 50

n/a

Business

50: 50

n/a

Divinity, History and Philosophy

50: 50

n/a

Education

50: 50

n/a

Engineering

50: 50

33: 33: 34

Geosciences

50: 50 (Archaeology programmes)

30: 70 (Geography/Geology programmes)

25: 35: 40

Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture

50: 50

n/a

Law

All L4 courses used in classification, weighted according to their credit weighting

n/a

Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition

30: 70

(for intercalated degrees, Level 4 to be weighted at 100)

30: 70: 0

Natural and Computing Sciences

50:50 (Computing Science, Maths and Physics programmes)

30:70 (Chemistry programmes)

25:35:40 (Chemistry programmes)

33:33:34 (Computing Science programmes)

Psychology

50: 50

n/a

Social Science

50: 50

n/a

18. I have mitigating circumstances (e.g. illness, family problems), what do I do?

If illness or other personal circumstances have caused you to miss classes or may have affected your performance in all or part of an assessment, you must submit details to allow these circumstances to be taken into consideration.

Further information regarding reporting absence, including information on when you must submit supporting documentation, is available in the University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Absence.

Where illness or other good cause has impaired your performance on an in-course assessment or an examination, it is not possible for the Examiners to make a judgement about the extent of the impact and thereby to determine the compensation which should be applied to the obtained grade.  Rather, where the Examiners agree that illness or other good cause has impacted on performance, the following will be followed:

  • If the Examiners are confident that the assessments completed by a candidate provide evidence that they have met the learning outcomes of the course then, subject to at least 75% weighting of the assessments for the course having been completed, an overall grade for the course may be returned;
  • Where less than 75% weighting of the assessments for the course have been completed, the assessment will be set aside and the candidate will be given a further opportunity of assessment with this being considered to be their first attempt.

Where the Examiners do not consider the grounds presented to be sufficient good cause, the assessment will be treated in the same way as it would have been had no mitigating evidence been submitted.  No partial compensation for good cause can be given

19. What happens if I want to challenge a mark of my degree result?

Should you wish to challenge the mark you have been awarded, you should use the University’s Policy and Procedure on Academic Appeals.

Academic appeals will only be considered on grounds where:

  1. it is believed that the University’s procedures were not followed; or
  2. it is believed that the person/body making the decision did not have the authority to do so; or
  3. it is believed that the person or body making the decision did not act impartially; and
  4. a student considers that they have suffered, or could suffer, material disadvantage as a result.
20.One of my courses is a zero credit-rated course that I must take. How is this accounted for when my degree is classified via the Grade Point Average system?

In the case of zero credit-rated courses the relative weighting of these towards the determination of overall awards must be identified by the School and clearly stated to students. In cases where the course has been given a credit weighting for the degree classification, the GPA will be calculated from greater than 240 credit points.

21. I am a final year student - what happens if I fail one of my Level 4 courses?

If you have achieved a Grade of E1, E2 or E3 in courses at Level 4 or above taken as part of an Honours programme you may be eligible for the award of an equivalent amount of compensatory Level 1 credit to a maximum of 30 credit points. Such compensatory credit can only be awarded where you have already achieved 90 Credit points at Level 4. You may not receive compensatory credit for courses defined as compulsory for your degree programme.

A pass at the first attempt in certain courses may be stipulated as a requirement for achieving the award in question. The compensation outlined above will not apply to such compulsory courses. If you fail such a compulsory course you will not be eligible to resit the course and would not be eligible to receive the Honours degree concerned. You would be eligible to receive a lower award if otherwise qualified, or where appropriate, a non-accredited honours degree which does not require a pass in the compulsory course(s).


Where you have achieved a Grade of F1 or below in a course at level 4 or above, you may elect, subject to having achieved 90 credit points at Level 4, to take an alternative course or courses of the same credit value at a lower level to make up your credit shortfall rather than re-sitting the failed course(s).

If you opt to take an alternative course to make up your credit shortfall you will be classified on the basis of all the courses you have taken, i.e. including the original fail grade and the grade resulting from the additional course.
22. I studied part of my Honours programme at an overseas institution as part of a study abroad programme. How are the marks I achieved during my study overseas translated onto the CGS and used for classification and award?
Students who undertake to go abroad to study as part of Study Abroad or Erasmus programmes in their 3rd year will not have the marks they earn whilst abroad counted towards classification. As such, students who have studied abroad for the whole of their third year will have their degrees classification based on the 120 credits they undertake at Level 4 only.  Exceptions to this should apply where dictated by accrediting bodies. Students who study abroad for one half session of third year will have their degree classification based on the 180 credits they achieved from the University of Aberdeen.
23. What implications are there for a student's GPA if s/he chooses to take extra credit courses at L 3, 4 or 5?

From 2016-17, if additional credits are at Level 3 or above, Schools will (i) have approved the extra credits and (ii) will have asked students to identify which of the 120 credits they wish to be included in their GPA calculation at the point at which the extra credits were chosen. Students should be made aware of the implications of taking additional credit. 

24. If an extra course is being taken, is there a difference between an extra compulsory course and a non-compulsory course taken?
Yes. An average of all compulsory level 3 and 4 credits (for Honours) and level 5 credits (integrated Masters programmes) should be calculated in determining the GPA.
25. The degree programme I am studying only offers students the opportunity to achieve 180 credits at level 3 and 4; the remaining credits taken for SCQF purposes may be a combination of level 1,2,3 or 4 courses. Will my degree be classified?
Yes, unless the courses taken to make up the credits are at Level 3 or 4.  GPA classification is based on all courses taken at Level 3 and 4, provided a minimum of 180 credit points at Level 3 and 4 have been achieved.
26. What if I take a Level 3 course in Level 4 or vice versa?

If you started your Honours programme in academic year 2018-19, it will depend how a School weighted the courses at that time; some Schools ‘weight’ their degree classification on the basis of programme year, other Schools ‘weight’ degree classification on the basis of course level. Either was acceptable prior to academic year 2019-20, but Schools must have made it clear to you how your degree classification is determined in this regard.

For students entering into Honours in academic year 2019-20, weighting will be by the level of the course only, not by programme year.
27. How does degree classification work for Direct Entrants to programme year 3 and 4?

f a student has directly entered part way into programme year 3 (level 3) or directly into programme year 4 (level 4), their GPA and degree classification will be calculated on the basis of the credits that they have studied at the University of Aberdeen only.

The credits that have been recognised from elsewhere will thus be used for credit accumulation purposes only. 
28. Where can students see their GPA?
The GPA is only available to students following the decision of the final exam board and submission of the award result to Registry. Students can then find out their GPA from their student record cards, available to download from their Student Hub, or by requesting a copy from the Infohub.
29. How does degree classification work for Joint Degrees in different Schools?
In the case of Joint degrees, each School (or half of the degree) is responsible for 50% of the degree classification. As such, each School will calculate a GPA for its half of the award, and then the overall award is calculated on the basis of the sum of 50% of each GPA from both Schools. Each School will also look at the grade profile for its half of the degree. 
30. I am doing a professionally accredited degree, are the rules the same for me?

The rules for those doing a professionally accredited degree are the same as regards the Common Grading Scale and methods of classification.

 However, many professionally accredited degrees stipulate compulsory courses, i.e. courses that must be passed at the first attempt for the achievement of the degree. Your School should make such compulsory courses known to you at the start of your Honours programme.