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Honours classification

The Honours Classification Algorithm uses as the primary determinant of degree classification the credit-weighted mean and median of all grades awarded in the Honours years.

There are no discretionary classification borderzones.

Only one decimal point is used in calculations of means and medians.

Means, medians and outcomes for Honours classification

MeanMedianClassification outcome
16.5 or more any value I
16.0-16.4 16.5 or more I
  16.4 or less II.1
13.5-15.9 any value II.1
13.0-13.4 13.5 or more II.1
  13.4 or less II.2
10.5-12.9 any value II.2
10.0-10.4 10.5 or more II.2
  10.4 or less III
7.5-9.9 any value III
7.0-7.4 7.5 or more III
  7.4 or less Not of Honours standard
6.9 or less any value Not of Honours standard

Calculation protocols

The Senate Regulations specify that “at least 240 credits should be gained during an approved two year Honours programme” etc. For students who have taken extra modules, the calculation of mean and median must include all modules (allowing for the exceptions noted below). Thus a student cannot take an extra module with a view to disposing of another with a poorer grade. Special provision may, however, be made for students who “step back” from an Integrated Masters degree to a BSc.

Only grades from 3000-level, 4000-level and (where applicable) 5000-level  modules are entered into the algorithm. In other words, grades achieved for “dip down” modules taken during the Honours programme do not enter the algorithmic calculation for the Honours degree classification.

If students are advised into 3000-level, 4000-level or (where applicable) 5000-level modules prior to the normal start of their Honours years, then these results should not count as part of the Honours classification calculation except where the relevant Dean has given his/her approval to the modules counting as part of a student’s approved Honours programme.

In the case of a 3000-level, 4000-level or 5000-level module failed with a grade of 3.9 or less, there is no right to reassessment and the original grade is reported and entered into the algorithmic calculation even though no credits are obtained for the module.

In the case of a 3000-level, 4000-level or 5000-level module failed with a grade of 4-6.9, there is a right to reassessment. If the reassessment is passed, the grade reported, recorded on the transcript and entered into the algorithmic calculation is a “capped” grade of “7.0”  (not the original failed grade). 

In the case of a failed 3000-level, 4000-level or 5000-level module for which no credit is subsequently obtained at reassessment, the original (failed) grade is entered into the algorithmic calculation even though no credits are obtained for the module.

If a 3000-level, 4000-level or 5000-level module (as part of an Honours programme) is failed both at the first sitting and at re-assessment (if permitted), but is subsequently re-taken and passed, then (i) the original failed grade should be entered in the algorithm for the session in which the module was first taken, and (ii) the grade earned for the later session in which the module was re-taken and passed should be reported and entered into the algorithm. This may occur when a specified Honours module has to be passed in order to fulfil the stipulations of an Honours programme. In such cases two grades are entered into the algorithm for this module even though actual credit is only achieved at the second taking.

In the case of receiving a 0X in a 3000-level, 4000-level or 5000-level module, a grade of “0” is entered into the algorithmic calculation (with the credit-weighting of the relevant module), even though no credits are obtained for the module with respect to meeting the requirements of the Honours degree programme. Any properly authorised withdrawal from a module, however, would be ignored by the algorithm.

Grades that are achieved (after suitable translation) from modules taken outwith St Andrews (usually abroad) as part of an Honours programme are entered into the algorithmic calculation. If ungraded credits are received from abroad (as in Integrated Year Abroad programmes) or graded credits that are not formally approved as part of an Honours programme, then these will not influence the algorithmic calculation, although such credits will normally appear on transcripts.

Consideration of special cases

Students who are S-coded do not need to be brought to the attention of the Dean, so long as the S-coding does not cover more than 25% of the total Honours credits for a degree programme.  Students with S-coded modules will have their results through the algorithm twice: once with the S-coded modules included; once without the S-coded modules included. Whichever result produces the higher classification of degree will automatically be awarded.  Further information on S coding is available in the Assessment Policies and Procedures (PDF, 566 KB)

Exceptional cases should be referred to the relevant Dean.  These exceptions include the following types of case:

  • Students who are marginally short of the required number of credits for a degree;
  • Students who have been S-coded for more than the maximum number of credits stated above;
  • Any other anomalies.

Where anomalies are referred to the Dean, the School must provide a minute of the discussion held at the School Examination Board, along with a recommendation from that Board.

Past algorithms

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