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Degree Algorithm Change Statement

UWS have listened to student voice and are bringing in degree algorithms early in order to benefit the class of 2021!

Student Campaign Win. Degree Algorithm Updated! UWS have listened to student voice and are bringing

TLDR: UWS have listened to student voice and are bringing in degree algorithms early in order to benefit the class of 2021!


As the Students’ Union we are always working to make sure that we represent students’ academic interests and concerns about the current degree algorithm have been raised by your student reps, from Course Reps to Sabbatical Officers throughout the year; at SSLGs (Staff-Student Liaison Groups), Divisional Boards, School Boards, Senior Management Question Time at Student Council, and other meetings with UWS staff.

We are delighted to say that students have been listened to, and the updated degree algorithm will now come into effect for this year’s students to make sure that as many students as possible benefit from this. In combination with the Academic Safety Net (No Detriment Policy) we believe this will make a real difference to students graduating this year.



What is changing?
The way in which a degree classification (1st, 2.1, 2.2 etc.) is calculated. This is the result of a review undertaken by UWS to answer two questions: firstly, whether changes were required due to new guidance from Universities UK; and secondly, why UWS has historically been one of the more difficult universities to get a first class degree from.

UWS calculated a students’ average grade from 4th year work, with a 3% leeway. Leeway means that if a student was within 3% of a higher classification, they would gain the higher classification.

Students’ degree classification will be calculated one of two ways, and students will automatically use the calculation which results in the higher degree classification.

A students’ average grade will be taken from all work undertaken in 3rd and 4th year, with 3rd year grades weighted at one third, and 4th year grades weighted at two thirds. This will have a 2% leeway.


A students’ average grade will be taken from all work undertaken in 4th year. This will have a 2% leeway, except for those students who are already studying in 3rd or 4th year, in which case the previous 3% boundary will be applied.



Why we support this change:

  • NO DISADVANTAGE: This change can only advantage students, as degree classifications will be awarded using the higher of the two classification options.


  • FLEXIBILITY FOR STUDENTS: The dual calculation system works for students with different journeys, both supporting students who gain confidence in their final year of study, as well as those who have worked more steadily across their final two years.


  • MENTAL HEALTH: The option of using a calculation of 3rd and 4th year grades will benefit students who find the final year high pressure environment stressful, and the option of calculation from 4th year grades only will continue to benefit those students who feel they thrive under pressure.


  • IT BENEFITS THE CLASS OF 2021: These changes are being made immediately, which benefits students who are graduating this year and means that students who have faced particular difficulties this year will be able to count last year’s work too.


  • FAIR AND EQUIVALENT: Across Scotland it is usual to take into account 3rd and 4th year grades when calculating a degree classification. Modelling shows that the new algorithm will result in grade profiles similar to other Scottish universities, increasing the likelihood of a UWS student achieving a first class degree.


  • SIMILAR TO PROPOSALS PUT FORWARD BY STUDENTS: Via a Student Council policy, students had also suggested that 3rd year credits should be allowed to be considered in when calculating a degree classification.


Note: This applies to the majority of undergraduate students at UWS. If you have queries about your specific circumstances, please contact your personal tutor. The University will publish further details, including a Q&A by the end of April.


Kind Regards,

Ismail Ali Nizami – President

On behalf of the Executive Team.