How your award is calculated

All awards at Bucks are conferred on the basis of the achievement of the required number of credits for that award through completion of individual credit-rated modules.

In addition to providing credit, the marks from some modules are also used to calculate your ‘overall weighted average’ which determines the classification (or class of award) that you will receive.

The precise number and level of modules that contribute to the overall weighted average vary between the type of award and, in some instances, your discipline area. Please check your Programme Handbook for specific details about how your award is calculated.

As a general rule:

  • Master’s degrees of 180 Credits, Postgraduate Diplomas of 120 credits and Postgraduate Certificates of 60 Credits at Level 7 have the overall weighted average calculated from Level 7 modules only
  • Honours degrees – comprising 120 Credits at each of Levels 4, 5 and 6 – have the overall weighted average calculated from the Level 5 weighted average and double-weighted Level 6 weighted average (i.e. Level 5 – 33% / Level 6 – 67%)
  • Honours degree ‘top-ups’ – comprising 120 Credits at Level 6 only – have the overall weighted average calculated from Level 6 modules only
  • Foundation degrees and other Level 5 awards have the overall weighted average calculated from Level 5 modules only

Students within 2% of the breakpoint indicated will be considered as ‘borderline’ and the Board of Examiners will make a decision based on the balance of credits falling into the higher classification.

The overall weighted average is based on individual module marks calculated to two decimal places. When you receive your transcript your overall mark will be displayed to the nearest percentage.

Master’s degrees (MA, MSc etc.) are classified as follows:

  • Distinction – Overall weighted average of 70% and above
  • Merit – Overall weighted average of 60-69%
  • Pass – Overall weighted average of 40-59%

Overall weighted averages below 40% will result in an overall fail for the course or another, lower award being offered instead.

Undergraduate ‘Honours degrees’ (i.e. BA (Hons), BSc (Hons) etc.) are classified as follows:

First Class Honours

First-class honours, referred to as a ‘First’, is the highest honours classification and is awarded to students with an overall weighted average of 70% or higher.

To achieve a First your work will show:

  • A thorough engagement with the wider practice of your discipline beyond the University
  • A sophisticated understanding of your discipline area
  • Consistently excellent intellectual or creative abilities, or both
  • An extensive capacity for sustained, critical, independent thought
  • A sophisticated grasp of technical, research, analytical and other transferable skills
  • The set learning outcomes have been achieved to a very high standard.
Second Class Honours (Upper Division)

This is the first, or higher division of second-class degrees, which is commonly abbreviated to 2:1, and is awarded to students with an overall weighted average of 60-69%.

To achieve a 2:1 your work will show:

  • A significant engagement with the wider practice of your discipline beyond the University
  • A very good understanding of your discipline
  • Excellent intellectual or creative abilities, or both
  • A very good capacity for sustained, critical, independent thought
  • A very good grasp of technical, research, analytical and other transferable skills
  • The set learning outcomes have been achieved to a high standard.
Second Class Honours (Lower Division)

This is the second, or lower division of second-class degrees, which is commonly abbreviated to 2:2, and is awarded to students with an overall weighted average of 50-59%.

To achieve a 2:2 your work will show:

  • A satisfactory engagement with the wider practice of your discipline beyond the University
  • A good understanding of your discipline
  • Significant intellectual or creative abilities, or both
  • A good capacity for sustained, critical, independent thought
  • A sound grasp of technical, research, analytical and other transferable skills
  • The set learning outcomes have been competently achieved.
Third Class Honours

Third-class honours, often referred to as a ‘Third’, is the lowest honours classification and is awarded to students with an overall weighted average of 40-49%.

To achieve a Third your work will show:

  • A basic understanding of your discipline
  • A basic level of intellectual or creative abilities, or both
  • An good capacity for sustained, critical, independent thought
  • A basic grasp of technical, research, analytical and other transferable skills
  • The set learning outcomes have been achieved.

Overall weighted averages below 40% will result in an overall fail for the course or another, lower award being offered instead.

An Ordinary Degree, or Pass Degree, is a degree conferred without honours and is not otherwise classified.

An 'ordinary degree' normally consists of 300 credits, rather than the 360 required for an honours degree. You would be able to use the letters BA or BSc after your name, but not BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) which are restricted to honours degrees.

Classifications for Foundation Degrees and Diplomas of Higher Education (DHEs) are as follows:

  • Distinction – Overall weighted average of 70% and above
  • Merit – Overall weighted average of 60-69%
  • Pass – Overall weighted average of 40-59%

Note that where a DHE is made as an exit award it will be classified as a Pass only.

Classifications for Higher National Certificates (HNCs) are as follows:

  • Distinction – Overall weighted average of 65% and above
  • Merit – Overall weighted average of 55-64%
  • Pass – Overall weighted average of 40-54%

All other qualifications are awarded on a Pass / Fail basis only.