Taught Postgraduate Awards

Senate Regulation 6: Regulations governing Taught Postgraduate Programmes of Study defines the rules about progression and the classification of awards.


The current version of Senate Regulation 6 applies to taught postgraduate students whose year of entry is 2015-16 or later. Students who commenced their studies between September 2012 and July 2015 are assessed and awarded under according to a previous scheme.

Students who commenced their studies before September 2012 are assessed and awarded according to the criteria of Scheme A, Scheme B or MRes Scheme, as applicable.
Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Assessment Conventions, Schemes of Assessment and Degree Classifications for pre-2012/13 PGT students (PDF).

Progression and reassessment

Full details of the University's regulations about progression and reassessment can be found in Senate Regulation 6: Regulations governing taught postgraduate programmes (these apply for 2015/16 entry students and beyond)

A progression point defines the number of modules and level of attainment which you must achieve in a specified period to progress to the next stage of your studies, e.g. from the taught modules to your dissertation.

View the programme specification for information about formal progression points and reassessment opportunties that apply specifically to your course and/or refer to your course handbook.

Criteria for awards

Extract from Regulations

The requirements for the award of a Postgraduate Certificate and a Postgraduate Diploma, either as an intended award or as an intermediate award, are as follows:

Taught modules Dissertation/research project Failed credit
Postgraduate Certificate A credit-weighted average  mark of at least 50%, or at least 45 credits at 50%, grade ‘C’, or above N/A No more than 15 credits with a mark of less than 50%, grade ‘D’ , and no module mark < 40%, grade ‘F’
Postgraduate Certificate with Merit A credit-weighted average  mark of at least 60%, or at least 45 credits at 60% or more, grade‘B’ N/A No credits with a mark of less than 50%, grade ‘D’
Postgraduate Certificate with Distinction A credit-weighted average  mark of at least 70%, or at least 45 credits at 70% or more, grade ‘A’ N/A No credits with a mark of less than 50%, grade ‘D’
Postgraduate Diploma A credit-weighted average  mark of at least 50%, or at least 90 credits at 50%, grade ‘C’, or above N/A No more than 30 credits with a mark of less than 50%, grade ‘D’, and no module mark < 40%, grade ‘F’
Postgraduate Diploma with Merit A credit-weighted average  mark of at least 60%, or at least 90 credits at 60% or more, grade ‘B’ N/A No more than 15 credits with a mark of less than 50%, grade ‘D’ and no mark < 40%, grade ‘F’
Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction A credit-weighted average  mark of at least 70%, or at least 90 credits at 70% or more, grade ‘A’ N/A No credits with a mark of less than 50%, grades ‘D’ or ‘F’

Classification of awards

Extract from Regulations

A Masters degree may be awarded with pass, merit, or distinction, using the following descriptors:

Pass To be awarded a pass a student will have demonstrated achievement of the specified learning outcomes of the programme to a satisfactory standard, demonstrating a critical and substantial understanding of the topic. They will have demonstrated the ability to develop an independent, systematic and logical or insightful argument or evaluation. They will also have demonstrated a significant degree of competence in the appropriate use of the relevant literature, theory, methodologies, practices, and tools and shown evidence of clarity, focus and cogency in communication.
Merit To be awarded a merit a student will have demonstrated achievement of the specified learning outcomes of the programme to a very good standard, demonstrating a well-developed, critical and comprehensive understanding of the topic. They will have demonstrated the ability to develop an independent, systematic and logical or insightful argument or evaluation. They will also have demonstrated a high degree of competence in the appropriate use of the relevant literature, theory, methodologies, practices, and tools, and shown a high level of clarity, focus and cogency in communication.
Distinction To be awarded a distinction a student will have demonstrated achievement of the specified learning outcomes of the programme to an excellent standard, demonstrating a sophisticated, critical and thorough understanding of the topic. They will have demonstrated evidence of originality of thought and the ability to develop an independent, highly systematic and logical or insightful argument or evaluation. They will also have demonstrated excellence in the appropriate use of the relevant literature, theory, methodologies, practices, and tools, and shown excellent clarity, focus and cogency in communication.

Classification of Masters degrees with a structure of...

Classification of...

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