Grading System for Postgraduate Degree

postgraduate diploma
Many postgraduate students and even graduates have asked about the final grading system for postgraduate Degree. In the comment box, you may sometimes find questions like, ‘how does University of Ibadan grade their master degree?’ or ‘Is second class upper, a criteria for admission for PhD?.


It should be noted that postgraduate degrees are given a totally different grading system from the undergraduate degree. By grading, this is not about exam scores in courses, but the final certificate. The postgraduate examination scores grade still remains the same in virtually all Nigerian universities. A score greater the 70 is an ‘A’. 60-69 is ‘B’, 50-59 is ‘C’, 45-49 is ‘D’, 40-44 is ‘E’ and finally, any score below 40 is a ‘F’. These grades also carry points. These examination scores are used to calculate a cumulative grade point, using the weighted average of the course unit.

Undergraduate Grading system

From first year to final year of undergraduate study, the examination grades are used to calculate a cumulative grade point average (CGPA). The CGPA is calculated using the weighted unit of the courses and project done by the student. At the end, a student has a CGPA score. All universities adopts a 5 point CGPA.

A student, for example can graduate with a 3.5/5.0. The final grade shows a class of degree.
– First class degree (1.1) is 4.5-5.0, which is cumulative minimum of 90% in all examination grades.
– Second class upper (2.1) degree begins from 3.5-4.49/5.0. That means a student in this certificate grade has cumulative minimum of 70% in all examination grades.
– Second class lower (2.2) degree is between 2.5-3.49/50. At least, 50% of all cumulative scores
– Third class degree is between 1.5 and 2.49. The pass degree has been scraped. Take note of the difference between examination grade and certificate grade.

Grading for Postgraduate Degree

At postgraduate level, that is Postgraduate diploma, Masters, M.phil and PhD, there is no specific grading on the final certificate. Just like in the professional degrees, everyone who graduates is deemed to have passed. But a special class of exceptional postgraduate students are awarded with a distinction.

Typically, there is not first class, second class degree specification for postgraduate certificate. Although, the CGPA of postgraduate students are still calculated. In fact, some postgraduate students still call their result based on the undergraduate class, after calculation of CGPA. Such is not official or recognized.

Implication of Postgraduate Degree grading

The system of grading postgraduate degree (master, M.phil, PhD) does not in any way affect the pursuit of excellence. At postgraduate level, it is expected that the students are mature and know what they want out of school. The class or postgraduate grade is not written on the certificate, so the academic performance won’t really matter, when the certificate is presented.

To pursue further studies like PhD, Post doctoral and for opportunities like scholarships and grants, the postgraduate transcript is often requested. On the transcript, the true picture of academic performance is revealed.
In Nigerian universities, to be admitted for a PhD, a student must have a CGPA of 3.5 and above. In some competitive universities like University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria etc, a CGPA of 4.0 is the minimum for PhD admission.
So while the class of postgraduate degree is not given prominence, it is still important to graduate with a good grade to get the opportunities that abound.

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17 Replies to “Grading System for Postgraduate Degree”

  1. Thanks for this. Where I had my Master’s degree programme, there are grades LIKE PROCEED TO PHD, MPHIL-PHD etc. What does this second grade mean?

    1. Hello Sharon, where did you get your Masters?

      Mphil-phd grade means you would do a Mphil program before final acceptance to PhD, if you pass a grade at Mphil. Thanks

    2. how can someone who scored 57.5 and awarded MPhil/PhD from ui be graded? Can we call 3.5 or 3.7:or what? pls enlighten

  2. Can a professor include in my letter of recommendation that I had a distinction in my M.Sc having finished with a 6.1/7.0?

  3. Please, can I have UI’s Masters grading scale in PDF format. The unofficial transcript I obtained from my department does not have the grading scales written on it.
    Thanks

    1. Hello Tomisin, I wish I can provide you UI PG grading scale but not at this point. Remember UI awrads grade differently, used to be based on 7 points grade system

  4. Hello Sir. Please help me on this.

    My MSc CGPA is 3.7 (on a 5 point scale) and I intend to pursue a PhD in UI without passing through the MPhil route. What are my chances?

  5. I just rounded up my M.A. in English Literature, I scored 57. 2% on converting it to CGPA on 5 point scale i converted it i got 3.52 CGPA, did i qualify for PhD direct?

    1. Hello Zachiam, I’m sorry it doesn’t qualify. You would need to do a Mphil.

      Except in some poorly rated state Universities where they lower standard. God bless

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