Swansea University

3. Classification of Honours Degrees

3.1 Introduction

All modules pursued at Level 5, 6 and 7 and taught at Swansea, or elsewhere in lieu of study in Swansea, shall contribute towards the final classification, i.e. 240 credit points for a three-year programme plus modules pursued at Level S, if relevant and 360 credit points for a four-year programme plus modules pursued at Level S, if relevant. The results of modules studied at Level T or Level E shall not normally contribute towards the classification of degrees. 

Students must have pursued 240 (or 360) credit points within the two (or three) years which contribute towards the classification of their degree.   Any modules pursued in addition to the 240 (360 credits) and Level S modules, if relevant, will not be considered for the purpose of classification.

3.1.1

Classification Bands

The candidate’s class of degree will normally be determined by the weighted average mark for all modules, including marks of the tolerated failures, contributing to the honours assessment using the following classification boundaries:

Class of Degree   Weighted Average
First Class Honours  70%+
Second Class Honours, Division I 60-69.99%   
Second Class Honours, Division II 50-59.99%
Third Class Honours    40-49.99%
Pass Degree  35-39.99%

3.2 Eligibility for the Consideration of an Award

When considering whether a student is eligible for the consideration of an award, the  University Progression and Awards Board shall consider the candidate's overall performance during the Levels of Study which contribute towards the award i.e. for an initial degree - typically Levels 5 and 6 and for an advanced initial degree – typically Levels 5, 6 and 7.  

Further details can be found in the Academic Guide, Regulations for Initial Degrees, Regulation 8.

3.3 Borderline Cases

The following Guiding Principles are designed to assist the University Progression and Award Board in the consideration of borderline cases in the classification of degrees. These Principles shall be used in conjunction with the revised Banding method of classification, and shall be considered in the cases of all students whose classification average falls within the 'window of opportunity' (i.e. within 2% of a classification boundary).  These principles apply for initial degree candidates and those pursuing advanced initial degrees.

The University Progression and Awards Board should raise a student’s classification if he/she falls within the ‘window of opportunity’ and satisfies the criteria of 3.3.2 (Preponderance Principle) and/or 3.3.3 (Exit Velocity Principle). 

These Principles also assume that the University Progression and Awards Board will not change marks that have been confirmed by College Examination Boards.

Viva voce examinations shall not be permitted for the purpose of determining degree classifications for candidates pursuing undergraduate degrees.

3.3.1

Preponderance Principle

Where a student's classification average falls within 2% of a classification boundary, the University Progression and Awards Board shall consider the proportion of marks obtained by the student in each classification band.   The University Progression and Awards Board shall consider only those marks which have been used to calculate classification (i.e. normally Levels 5 and 6).  Level S marks should not be used in the preponderance principle.

In order that the student be awarded the higher classification, a student must have achieved marks in the higher classification band in modules attracting a credit weighting equal to half or more of those contributing to the degree classification*.

 For students who have pursued 240 credits for an initial degree:

Borderline Requirement for Higher Classification
I – 2i    120+ credits at 70%+
2i - 2ii 120+ credits at 60%+
2ii - 3   120+ credits at 50%+
3 - Pass    120+ credits at 40%
 For students who have pursued 360 credits for an advanced initial degree:
Borderline Requirement for Higher Classification
1 - 2i 180+ credits at 70%+
2i - 2ii 180+ credits at 60%+
2ii - 3 180+ credits at 50%+
3 - Pass  180+ credits at 40%+

[Note: *The classification rules for students admitted directly to the final year of a degree are ‘based on the straight average of the modules pursued at Swansea in the final year’.]

3.3.2

Exit Velocity Principle

Where a student's classification average falls within 2% of a classification boundary, the University Progression and Awards Board shall consider the non-weighted average of the Final Year of Study.   (This average will have been calculated for the purposes of awarding final year credit.)

 Where the student's Final Year average is in the higher classification band, the University Progression and Awards Board shall normally award the higher class degree.  

3.4 Revised Banding System

(For all programmes except Professionally Accredited Engineering Programmes in the College of Engineering).

3.4.1

Determining the Average Mark

Candidates are to be classified according to their weighted average mark on all modules taken beyond Level 4, with the exception of the Transitional Year (Welsh). 

Thus in initial degree programmes the weighted average would be calculated using marks from modules attracting 240 credits which would have been pursued during Levels 5 and 6 (i.e. for full-time candidates normally Year 2 and the Final Year), and in advanced initial degrees the weighted average would be calculated using marks from modules attracting 360 credits which would have been pursued during Levels 5, 6 and 7 (i.e. for full-time candidates normally Years 2 and 3 and the Final year).  Details of the classification rules for programmes involving an additional year or semesters of study abroad/in industry are given below.

Students will be awarded a mark for each module based on their performance in the various assessment components.  Those marks will be assigned to one of 3/4 Bands, depending on the level of the module, the mark and the credit weighting of the module.  (i.e. marks for Level 6 modules will be placed in Band 3 or 2; marks for Level 5 modules will be placed in Band 2 or 1, depending on the performance).

For an initial degree, the marks in the best 80 credits of the final year will be placed in Band 3 and the marks for the remaining 40 credits in Band 2.  The marks in the best 40 credits at Level 5 will be placed in Band 2 and the remaining Level 5 marks in Band 1.  A slight adjustment of this principle will be applied for programmes involving an additional year or semesters studying abroad/in industry*.  See below.

 The weighted degree classification average mark shall therefore be arrived at using the following formula.  

  • Three Year Initial Degrees

Band 3: Best marks achieved in 80 credits pursued at Level 6, given a weighting of 3 

Band 2: Level 6 marks from the remaining 40 credits pursued and the best marks achieved in 40 credits pursued at Level 5, given a weighting of 2

Band 1: Marks achieved in remaining Level 5 credits pursued, with a weighting of 1 

A formula is then applied to calculate the degree classification average.

 

  • Four Year Initial Degrees which Include a Year or Semesters Abroad/in Industry*

Band 3: Best marks achieved in 80 credits pursued at Level 6, given a weighting of 3

Band 2: Level 6 marks from the remaining 40 credits pursued and the best marks achieved in 40 credits pursued at Level 5, given a weighting of 2 

Band 1: Marks achieved in remaining Level 5 credits pursued, with a weighting of 1 

Band S: Marks from the year or semesters studied abroad/in industry (if relevant), with a weighting of 1 

A formula is then applied to calculate the degree classification average.

[*Note: In the case of students who have pursued 4 year programmes including a year or semesters studied abroad/in industry, the above classification formula shall only be applied if it will operate to the candidate’s advantage. In those cases in which the incorporation of the Level S mark does not improve the overall weighted mark, the standard three-year classification formula shall apply.]

 

  • Four Year Advanced Initial Degrees

Band 4: Best marks in 90 Level 7 credits pursued, with a weighting of 4

Band 3: Remaining marks in 30 Level 7 credits and best marks in 60 credits pursued at Level 6, given a weighting of 3

Band 2: Remaining marks in 60 Level 6 credits pursued and best marks in 30 credits pursued at Level 5, given a weighting of 2

Band 1: Remaining marks in 90 Level 5 credits pursued, with a weighting of 1

A formula is then applied to calculate the degree classification average.

 

  • Five Year Initial Degrees Including a Year Abroad/in Industry

Band 4: Best marks in 90 Level 7 credits pursued, with a weighting of 4

Band 3: Remaining marks in 30 Level 7 credits and best marks in 60 credits pursued at Level 6, given weighting of 3

Band 2: Remaining marks in 60 Level 6 credits pursued and best marks in 30 credits pursued at Level 5, given a weighting of 2

Band 1: Remaining marks in 90 Level 5 credits pursued, with a weighting of 1

Band S: Mark from the year studied abroad or in industry (if relevant), with a weighting of 1

A formula is then applied to calculate the degree classification average. 

 

  • Direct Entry to the Final Year

Marks of modules pursued during either level 6 or level 7 and totalling 120 credits would be given a weight of 1 (i.e. weighted average of modules pursued).

 

  • Direct Entry to Level 6 of an Advanced Initial Degree

Marks from modules pursued during levels 6 and 7, totalling 240 credits, would be given equal weighting.

[Note: The classification regulations shall apply to all honours programmes unless professional body requirements dictate otherwise.  In such cases, variations may be introduced, if deemed necessary.]

3.5 Banding System for Professionally Accredited Engineering Undergraduate Degree Programmes

3.5.1

Determining the Average Mark

Candidates are to be classified according to their weighted average mark on all modules taken beyond Level 4. 

Thus in initial degree programmes the weighted average would be calculated using marks from modules attracting 240 credits which would have been pursued during Levels 5 and 6 (i.e. for full-time candidates normally Year 2 and the Final Year), and for advanced initial degree programmes the weighted average would be calculated using marks from modules attracting 360 credits which would have been pursued during Levels 5, 6 and 7 (i.e. for full-time candidates normally Years 2 and 3 and the Final year).  Details of the classification rules for programmes involving an additional year of study abroad/in industry are given below.

Students will be awarded a mark for each module based on their performance in the various assessment components.  Those marks will be assigned to one of 2/3 Bands, depending on the level of the module.

For a initial degree programmes, the marks for Level 6 will be placed in Band 2 and the marks for Level 5 in Band 1.  A slight adjustment of this principle will be applied for  programmes involving an additional year studying abroad/in industry.  See below.

The weighted degree classification average mark shall therefore be arrived at using the following formulae.  

  • Three Year Initial Degrees

Band 2: Level 6 marks given a weighting of 2

Band 1: Level 5 marks given a weighting of 1

The formula is then applied to calculate the degree classification average.

  • Four Year Initial Degrees which Include a Year Abroad/in Industry*

Band 2: Level 6 marks given a weighting of 2

Band 1: Level 5 marks given a weighting of 1

* For those students who study at a University abroad during the Intercalary Year (Level S), the marks awarded are also referred to during the classification process. If the mark for the study period abroad is better than the second year average, the marks attained while on the Intercalary Year will contribute to the final classification. (Total of Level 5 marks x 0·75 + intercalary marks x 0·25.)

The classification of students on programmes with a year in industry will be calculated using the method for three-year initial degrees.  The year away from Swansea is referred to as Level E or experience year and is normally assessed on a pass/fail basis. This result will not contribute towards the final degree classification.

The formula is then applied to calculate the degree classification average.

  • Four Year Advanced Initial Degrees

Band 3: Level 7 marks given a weighting of 2

Band 2: Level 6 marks given a weighting of 2

Band 1: Level 5 marks given a weighting of 1

The formula is then applied to calculate the degree classification average.

  • Five Year Advanced Initial Degrees Including a Year Abroad/in Industry*

Band 3: Level 7 marks given a weighting of 2

Band 2: Level 6 marks given a weighting of 2

Band 1: Level 5 marks given a weighting of 1

* For those students who study at a University abroad during the Intercalary Year (Level S), the marks awarded are also referred to during the classification process. If the mark for the study period abroad is better than the second year average, the marks attained while on the Intercalary Year will contribute to the final classification. (Total of Level 5 marks x 0·75 + intercalary marks x 0·25.)

The classification of students on programmes with a year in industry will be calculated using the method for three-year initial degrees.  The year away from Swansea is referred to as Level E or experience year and is normally assessed on a pass/fail basis. This result will not contribute towards the final degree classification.

The formula is then applied to calculate the degree classification average.

  • Direct Entry to the Final Year

Marks of modules pursued during either level 6 or level 7 and totalling 120 credits would be given a weight of 1 (i.e. weighted average of modules pursued).

  • Direct Entry to Level 6 of an Advanced Initial Degree

Marks from modules pursued during levels 6 and 7, totalling 240 credits, would be given equal weighting.

3.6 Aegrotat Awards

See Aegrotat Award Regulations in Assessment and Progress.

3.7 Posthumous Awards

See Posthumous Award Regulations in Assessment and Progress.