Birkbeck University of London Grading System

By | 18th April 2017

Birkbeck University of London Grading System

Marks and degree classification

Each piece of written work will be awarded a numerical mark (0 to 100 per cent) and a literal mark (A to F). You will also receive written comments in the margins of the essay and on a cover sheet, and markers will be very willing to discuss these with you.

Work that does not count for assessment, and work done for the three first year units, will normally be marked only by one person; this means that it can be marked and returned to you as quickly as possible.

How the final mark is awarded for a module is usually explained in the course unit description. For more information on how your work is assessed, take a look at your course handbook.

Scale of literal marks and their numerical equivalents

Literal MarkNumerical MarkDegree classification
AB69Upper Second
B59Lower Second
C++ 49Third
C+ 46-48
C 43-45
C- 40-42
F30-39Fail (compensated)


Marking your work

Your assessment will usually be marked by the academic(s) teaching your module and all assessments receive a percentage mark between 0 and 100. The College has a Marking and Moderation Policy that you can consult to see how we mark your work.

Some assessment is used to measure your progress within a module (formative assessment), but most assessment will contribute to your final mark for that module.

Pass rates

  • At undergraduate level, you need to achieve a mark of 40 or above to pass. This is called the ‘pass-mark’.
  • At postgraduate level, the pass-mark is 50.

If you do not reach the pass-mark at your first attempt, you are usually allowed two more attempts at the assessment at undergraduate level, and one more attempt at the assessment at postgraduate level. If you submit for reassessment and pass, your mark will be capped at the relevant pass mark.

Marking criteria

We mark your work according to marking criteria, which give guidance on the skills and knowledge you need to demonstrate in the assignment to get a particular grade.

Marking criteria differ between courses, subjects and topics. Please read your programme handbook to find the marking criteria that are used to assess your course.


In addition to a mark for your work, your marker(s) will also give you feedback to help you understand what is good about your work and how you can improve. This can come in a number of different forms: you may get written notes via Moodle or a hard copy of a completed feedback form, or your lecturer can give feedback in class or in a one-to-one appointment with you. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what is expected of markers that give feedback.