Degree Classification

This page should be read in conjuntion with the page on 'Progression and completing your degree'

Your degree classification will be awarded anonymously to avoid any possible bias. It is important therefore that if you have any special circumstances such as serious illness which has affected your performance you report these to your department in good time so that they can be considered before the final anonymous degree classification board meeting. The extenuating circumstances form can be found at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/forms/circs.

Your degree class will be determined by the outcome of two calculations:

  1. your weighted average grade and
  2. the distribution of your weighted grades,

in both cases based on the grades you obtained in the modules contributing to your degree programme. You should note that:

  • your degree classification is based on modules taken at Levels 2 and 3 (and Level 4 if you are on a four year programme); modules taken at Level 1 of your programme of study are not used for classification purposes and are, therefore, excluded from this process;
  • the grade obtained in individual modules is weighted according to both the credit value of each module and the Level in which the module was studied.

For further details including an animated tutorial of a worked example of how a degree class is calculated, see: www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/exams/classification.

Degree categories

At the end of your studies (Level 3 for BA Urban Studies and BA Geography and Planning, and Level 4 for MPlan or BA Urban Studies and Planning if you do not wish to stay onto Level 4), the degree you are awarded will fall into one of the following five categories.

First Class
Upper Second Class (2:1)
Lower Second Class (2:2)
Third Class
Pass Degree

Your degree class will be decided in the light of your performance at Level 2 and Level 3 of your course – and Level 4 in the case of MPlan students. Degree classes are dependent on the scores gained for individual course units. In determining the degree class the scores are weighted both by the number of credits associated with the module, and by reference to the year of study. For BA Urban Studies, BA Urban Studies and Planning and BA Geography and Planning students, the weighting of your results from Level 2 and from Level 3, will be in the ratio 1:2. In other words, your results from Level 3 will be given twice the weight of your Level 2 results. For MPlan Students, the ratio is 1:2:2 – i.e. Levels 3 and 4 are each given twice the weight of Level 2 in the final calculation.

Your marks from Level 1 do not count towards your degree classification but MPlan/BA Urban Studies and Planning students seeking RTPI accreditation should be aware that they must pass all modules taken to be eligible for accreditation.

If you are in any doubt about the degree classification method for your degree – and the implications of any individual module marks – please speak to your year tutor about it.

Honours degree or pass degree

Those students completing their studies at the end of their 3rd Year (all students on the BA Urban Studies and BA Geography and Planning programmes, and those on the MPlan(ug) Urban Studies and Planning programme not proceeding to Level 4) will normally be expected to have passed all 120 credits from Level 3 before graduating with an honours (classified) degree. However, the Examiners may recommend the award of a final University degree with Honours to a student who has passed at least 200 credits at Levels 2 and 3, provided the overall weighted mean grade is not less than 39.5.

Likewise, students completing the MPLan will normally be expected to have passed all 120 credits from Level 4 before graduating with an honours (classified) degree. However, the Examiners may recommend the award of a final University degree with Honours to a student who has passed at least 320 credits at Levels 2, 3 and 4 provided the overall weighted mean grade is not less than 49.5.

A candidate who fails to satisfy the Examiners in this respect of the above requirements may be recommended for the award of a Pass Degree. A student who has not satisfied the Examiners in respect of any unit(s) in their final year and who has not been recommended for the award of a Degree may (subject to the General Regulations as to Progress of Students) enter for a subsequent examination in respect of the same unit(s) on one occasion. A candidate satisfying the Examiners in a subsequent examination will be awarded a bare pass grade in respect of that unit and shall not be recommended for the award of Honours.

The impact is that whereas it is possible to re-sit modules in your 1st and 2nd year without unduly influencing your final degree, any resits in your final year automatically mean that you are awarded a pass degree.

Method of classification

This method applies to all students entering an undergraduate programme from 2010 onwards. This includes Integrated Masters programmes such as the MPlan Urban Studies and Planning programme.

At the end of your programme of study, your degree classification will be made by combining two calculations, both of which are based on your weighted scores for modules at Level 2 and above. The first calculation is simply the weighted average of these grades. The second depends upon their distribution. In the calculation, grades are weighted both according to the credit value of each module (e.g. grades for 20 credit modules are worth twice as much as 10 credit modules in the calculation) and according to the Level at which the module was studied (ie. your Level 3 grades are counted twice relative to those obtained at Level 2): calendar.dept.sheffield.ac.uk/calendar/06d_gen_regs_for_first_degrees.pdf.

First the weighted average grade is calculated and converted to a preliminary degree classification according to the following scheme:

Calculation 1

Weighted average grade Preliminary Degree class 1
≥ 69.5 First
≥ 68.0 and < 69.5 First/2.1 borderline range
≥ 59.5 and < 68.0 2.1
≥ 58.0 and < 59.5 2.1/2.2 borderline range
≥ 49.5 and < 58.0 2.2
≥ 48.0 and < 49.5 2.2/Third borderline range
≥ 44.5 and < 48.0 Third
≥ 43.5 and < 44.5 Third/Pass borderline range
≥ 39.5 and < 43.5 Pass
≥ 38.0 and < 39.5 Pass/Fail borderline range
< 38.0 Fail

Calculation 2

Classification threshold exceeded by best 50% of weighted module grades Preliminary Degree classification 2a
≥ 69.5 First
≥ 59.5 and <69.5 2.1
≥ 49.5 and <59.5 2.2
≥ 44.5 and <49.5 Third
≥ 39.5 and <44.5 Pass
< 39.5 Fail

The second calculation assesses the distribution of scores in two steps. Firstly, the class within which the best 50% of your weighted module grades fall is calculated and converted to a second preliminary degree classification according to the following scheme:

For a BA degree, this is equivalent to sorting your weighted scores in descending order, finding the score in the eighteenth position and identifying the associated degree class in the table. For the MPlan, it is equivalent to using the 30th ranked grade. This yields a preliminary degree classification based on the distribution of scores.

The next step is to determine the range within which the top I5/12 of your weighted scores fall. For a BA degree, this is equivalent to sorting your weighted scores in descending order and finding the score in the fifteenth position, and again identifying the associated degree class in the table. For the MPlan, it is equivalent to using the 25th ranked grade. This yields an alternate preliminary degree classification based on the distribution of scores. If these two different assessments of distribution point to different degree classes you will be a borderline candidate for the higher of the two classes on the basis of Calculation 2.

Calculation 1 and Calculation 2 thus provide two preliminary classification which are then combined in accordance with the scheme in the table on page 60. Where the final classification is in the borderline category, your classification will be decided by the Examination Board with reference to the average weighted grade of the modules you studied during your final Level.  If you have highlighted how extenuating circumstances have affected your studies these may form a further consideration for cases that are borderline on both calculations.

Preliminary classification based on
Calculation 1
Preliminary classification based on Calculation 2 Final classification
First First First
First Borderline first First
First 2i Borderline first
Borderline First First First
Borderline First Borderline First Borderline First
Borderline First 2i 2i
2i First Borderline First
2i Borderline First 2i
2i 2i 2i
2i Borderline 2i 2i
2i 2ii Borderline 2i
Borderline 2i 2i 2i
Borderline 2i Borderline 2i Borderline 2i
Borderline 2i 2ii 2ii
2ii 2i Borderline 2i
2ii Borderline 2i 2ii
2ii 2ii 2ii
2ii Borderline 2ii 2ii
2ii 3rd Borderline 2ii
Borderline 2ii 2ii 2ii
Borderline 2ii Borderline 2ii Borderline 2ii
Borderline 2ii 3rd 3rd
3rd 2ii Borderline 2ii
3rd Borderline 2ii 3rd
3rd 3rd 3rd
3rd Borderline 3rd 3rd
3rd Pass Borderline 3rd
Borderline 3rd 3rd 3rd
Borderline 3rd Borderline 3rd Borderline 3rd
Borderline 3rd Pass Pass
Pass 3rd Borderline 3rd
Pass Borderline 3rd Pass
Pass Pass Pass
Pass Borderline Pass Pass
Pass Fail Borderline Pass
Borderline Pass Pass Pass
Borderline Pass Borderline Pass Borderline Pass
Borderline Pass Fail Fail
Fail Pass Borderline Pass
Fail Borderline Pass Fail
Fail Fail Fail