FAQs for Postgraduate Taught Students

FAQs for Postgraduate Taught Students
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 outcome. Their publication ensures close alignment of course grades and the degree outcome awarded and enhances the transparency of information provided on the degree transcript

5. Why do I have rounded and unrounded alphanumeric course grades on my student record and/or student transcript?

Prior to academic year 2021/22, rounded alphanumeric course grades were released to students. However, the course grade point to 2 decimal places was used to calculate GPA. The publication of unrounded alphanumeric course grades ensures close alignment of course grades and the degree class awarded and enhances 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 Point







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

= 3.2 + 4 + 8.4

= 15.6

= Overall Course Grade of B3.









7. If I fail a subject, what happens?

n 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 (RP) are capped at D3.

If you failed a PGT 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 calculating your Degree Award.

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 may the University Senate extend the validity of a class certificate. Candidates holding a valid class certificate are permitted a total of two opportunities of assessment.

If you fail a resit you will not normally be permitted to progress into the next stage of the programme. You can however attend the next stage pending your resit outcome.

For PGT resits, a pass will receive a grade of RP (resit pass); a failed paper will receive a grade of RF (resit fail).

Resits will take place as soon as possible after the initial examination diet (which may be in the next examination diet) to enable students to receive their results early in the next stage of the programme. The timing of resit examinations is determined by individual Schools.

8. What happens if I submit an assignment late - can alpha-numeric grades be deducted from the CGS grade that I was awarded?

The standard penalty for unauthorised late submission is two CGS point deduction up to 24 hours late and one CGS point deduction for each subsequent day, or part of a day, up to a maximum of 7 days late, beyond which G3 is awarded. Weekends and holidays must also be included in the count of number of days late.

9. What will appear on my transcript?

Your transcript will reflect all the marks you have achieved while studying at the University of Aberdeen. For each of your courses, the unrounded alphanumeric CGS grade achieved will appear on your transcript.

For PGT students who started their PGT programme before September 2014, transcripts will include both CAS marks and CGS grades. An explanation of the reason for differing marks/grades will be provided.

A Grade Point Average (GPA) will not appear on transcripts.

10. How will my degree be classified?

Your degree classification is based on your performance across your PGT programme as a whole.

Students graduating in or after 2021/22 will have their degree classification calculated via the Grade Point Average system.

The PGT Award and Classification webpage provides further information and summary and full codes of practice

11. 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 PGT award 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.

Grade Point Average

Degree Classification


MSc with Distinction*

greater than 17.49, less than 18.0

MSc Commendation Borderline Distinction

15.0 – 17.0

MSc with Commendation#

greater than 14.49, less than 15.0

MSc Borderline Commendation

12.0 – 14.0


greater than 11.49, less than 12.0


9.0 – 11.0


greater than 8.49, less than 9.0

Borderline Fail/MSc

0 – 8.0


12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.

15. What implications are there for a student's GPA if s/he chooses to take extra credit courses at L 2, 3, 4 or 5 (including PGT)?

If a PGT student takes extra credit, e.g. 10 credits, the GPA calculation would be out of 190 credit points and not 180 credit points.

16. 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.