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Faculty of Science: Assessment Criteria for PGT

Marking Scheme for Taught Postgraduate Programmes in the Faculty of Science proposal

Mark Range

Level Descriptors

80% and over

(High Distinction) Work which, over and above possessing the qualities of the 70-79% descriptor, demonstrates excellence – the nature of which will vary according to the assignment but may include: comprehensive answers, complete and correct proofs or calculations, project work that extends the original brief, deep and critical analysis, originality, and advance in scholarship, a highly professional approach.


(Distinction) The work demonstrates mastery of the subject matter, methodologies, and, where appropriate, laboratory techniques. It also provides evidence of near complete conceptual understanding, high level technical competence, and depth of analysis or mathematical understanding. Where applicable, the statement and proof of theorems is handled with confidence, and their application to unseen material is sound. Accuracy and precision will be strong throughout and, if applicable, presentation will be excellent. Minor mistakes may nevertheless appear occasionally. Where appropriate, the work shows evidence of originality.


(MSc Pass) The work demonstrates a sound and thorough grasp of subject matter and methodologies. Conceptual or mathematical understanding and technical competence are solid, but applications, arguments, or data analysis may contain minor flaws. Examined work will be well organised and structured, while good presentation and a logical approach to the material will be evident in projects or dissertations. Overall, the work reveals a high level of effort and commitment, but lacks breadth, depth, and fluency in parts.


(MSc Pass) The work reveals an underlying grasp of the subject matter, but with areas of confusion or some gaps in conceptual/mathematical understanding or methodology. Answers are fairly well structured but may tend towards the factual or derivative. In project or dissertation work, general conclusions or outcomes are reasonable, but there is room for substantial improvement in the individual’s ability to apply theorems, analyse problems or execute technical skills.


(Fail) Though it reveals some familiarity with the subject matter, and a basic grasp of factual and conceptual material, there are frequent and important gaps and/or misconceptions. Some effort has been made to reflect on and analyse questions or problems, or to apply theorems, but with little evidence of organisation or insight. Technical competence is poorly developed and general conclusions are unreliable or unsubstantiated.


(Fail) The work is insufficient to demonstrate a basic grasp either of factual or conceptual subject matter. Technical competence is at a very low level and, if appropriate, laboratory work has required constant supervision. Data used in project work may be both inaccurate and irrelevant. Overall, answers and arguments reveal little effort towards analysis or conceptualisation. Important issues may have been ignored or seriously misconstrued. There is little evidence of an individual contribution to the material.

Less than 20%

(Fail) Inadequate work: poorly argued, written and presented; conceptual confusion throughout; demonstrates little or no knowledge of the field. Failure to address the issues raised by the question. Project work contains little or no data. Sparse or no evidence for technical competence or individual contributions.