You have graduated in another country and looking at postgraduate study in the UK but wondering how the postgraduate UK grading scheme works. Firstly however, well done on graduating. If you are deciding to pursue postgraduate study in the UK there are plenty of options out there for you.

Before we start, they’re 3 types of Masters degree. The integrated Masters degree classification follows directly on from undergraduate, which you can find here. The research Masters degree, typically goes on a pass or fail basis. Finally, the taught Masters degree uses a degree classification similar to undergraduate with honours but different. If you’d like to know more, then read on:

Taught Masters UK Grading Scheme

Taught Master’s degrees usually last a whole year and make up to 180 credits. These can be quite intensive courses, so knowing what grade you think is achievable for you will provide you a better sense on how manage your time.

Another thing to consider with the postgraduate UK grading scheme is your dissertation has a greater impact to your grade compared to undergraduate. You are required a minimum grade in your dissertation to score a certain classification.


A Distinction is the highest possible grade you can achieve in a taught Masters course. This means you have an overall make of at least 70% and a minimum of 70% in your dissertation. You have demonstrated a clear understanding of your course and relevant literature. A huge well done if you manage this, we can’t imagine how many hours you must have spent in the library.


A Merit is accomplished with an overall mark between 60% – 69% and a minimum of 60% in your dissertation. Whilst not as good as Distinction, you have clearly shown a significant amount understanding of your course.


A Pass in awarded with an overall mark between 50% – 59%. There isn’t a minimum with your dissertation in order to achieve a Pass. Although a Pass may not be the grade you originally want, there is no shame at all. Being awarded a Pass still proves a solid comprehension of your course and it’s the relevant literature, theory and methodology. Employers will still be impressed just passing a taught Masters course.


A fail is given if you score an overall mark of under 50%. You are on the boundary of a passing grade you can ask to review some of your assignments on whether there is room mark your grade up.

The Postgraduate UK Grading Scheme Summed Up

I hope this article clears the Postgraduate UK grading scheme for you, particularly the taught Masters degree classification. If you’re on the fence on deciding whether to choose the UK for University, then do check out our blog post on being an international student in the UK.

This is the UK Postgraduate Grading System


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