Answers to undergraduate students' frequently asked questions.

1. How will my work be marked?

Your grades will be decided in accordance with the Common Grading Scale.

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

The 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%

 NB: It is the unrounded Grade Point (to 2 decimal places) that is used in Grade Point Average classification calculations.

3. If I fail a subject, what happens?

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

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 Senate extend the validity of a class certificate.

Undergraduate students (with the exception of 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 to a maximum of 30 credit points.  Such compensatory credit can only be awarded where the candidate has already achieved 90 Credit points at Level 4 including passes in compulsory courses.
  • 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 the course and 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 re-sitting the failed course(s).
4. I have mitigating circumstances (eg. 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 written details to the Head of the relevant School, to allow these circumstances to be taken into consideration.

Medical letters, certificates or other evidence of circumstances should be submitted via MyAberdeen.

These must be submitted no later than one week after you missed your class, or after the date on which you submitted or appeared for the assessment concerned.

Further information regarding policies and procedures for reporting absence are available.
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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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.

5. How will my degree be classified?

You 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.

  • UG students who entered their honours programme before academic year 2014-15 were classified using the Grade Spectrum approach.
  • UG students who entered their honours programme in academic year 2014-15 - 2017-18 will be classified using the Grade Point Average approach and the Grade Spectrum; students will receive the higher of the two classifications should a difference arise.
  • UG students who entered their honours programme in academic year 2018-19 or thereafter will be classified using the Grade Point Average approach.

Please refer to the relevant Student Summary Code of Practice on Assessment available here

6. 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, ie 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.

7. 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. CGS grades will reflect grades A-G only and not the more granular A1, A2, B1, B2 etc so that transcripts are more recognisable and easily understood by employers and other third parties. An explanation of the reason for differing marks/grades will be provided.
  4. A Grade Point Average (GPA) will not appear on transcripts.
  5. 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.
8. 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 Appeals Procedure.

Academic appeals will only be considered on grounds where:

i) it is believed that the University’s procedures were not followed; or

ii) it is believed that the person/body making the decision did not have the authority to do so; or

iii) it is believed that the person or body making the decision did not act impartially; and

iv) a student considers that they have suffered, or could suffer, material disadvantage  as a result.

Further details of the University’s Appeal Process are available.

9. 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.
10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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, for students in this category, their degrees will be classified on the basis of the 120 credits they undertake at Level 4 only.  Exceptions to this should apply where dictated by accrediting bodies.
13. 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.

14. 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. 

15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.

18. Assuming a course comprises an exam element and a practical/lab element, and both must be passed in order to pass the overall course grade, what grade should be awarded if a student has failed one of the elements?

A fail grade of E1/grade point 8 should be awarded.

19. How does degree classification work for Direct Entrants to programme year 3 and 4?

If 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. 

20. 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.

21. 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 (and median) for its half of the degree.