School of Social and Political Science



The marking process

We take considerable care to ensure that our marking is fair and consistent to all students.

Once all coursework submitted for assessment has been marked, all the marks for the whole assignment are moderated by a second member of staff, and a sample is second marked to ensure consistency.

Quality  and standards: internal examiner involvement

Samples from every course are also sent to an External Examiner, who is an experienced member of staff at another University.

This is to further ensure that our marking is fair, consistent, and equivalent to other UK institutions. The External Examiner also comments on the design and content of the course.

University Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme

The University has common marking schemes which apply to all programmes at the University: 

Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme

Detailed School Marking Scheme

Within the School of Social and Political Science, while applying the University-wide Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme, we have developed this into more detailed descriptors of the marks/grades, as below:

Mark Description
Fulfils all criteria for A2. In addition is a work of exceptional insight and independent thought, deemed to be of publishable quality, producing an analysis of such originality as potentially to change conventional understanding of the subject.
Outstanding work providing insight and depth of analysis beyond the usual parameters of the topic. The work is illuminating and challenging for the markers. Comprises a sustained, fluent, authoritative argument, which demonstrates comprehensive knowledge, and convincing command, of the topic. Accurate and concise use of sources informs the work, but does not dominate it.
A sharply-focused, consistently clear, well-structured paper, demonstrating a high degree of insight. Effectively and convincingly argued, and showing a critical understanding of conflicting theories and evidence. Excellent scholarly standard in use of sources, and in presentation and referencing.
Good to very good work, displaying substantial knowledge and understanding of concepts, theories and evidence relating to the topic. Answers the question fully, drawing effectively on a wide range of relevant sources. No significant errors of fact or interpretation. Writing, referencing and presentation of a high standard.
Work which is satisfactory for the MSc degree, showing some accurate knowledge of topic, and understanding, interpretation and use of sources and evidence. There may be gaps in knowledge, or limited use of evidence, or over-reliance on a restricted range of sources. Content may be mainly descriptive. The argument may be confused or unclear in parts, possibly with a few factual errors or misunderstandings of concepts. Writing, referencing and presentation satisfactory.
Work which is satisfactory for Diploma. Shows some knowledge of the topic, is intelligible, and refers to relevant sources, but likely to have significant deficiencies in argument, evidence or use of literature. May contain factual mistakes and inaccuracies. Not adequate to the topic, perhaps very short, or weak in conception or execution, or fails to answer the question. Writing, referencing and presentation may be weak.
Flawed understanding of topic, showing poor awareness of theory. Unconvincing in its approach and grasp of the issues. Perhaps too short to give an adequate answer to the question. Writing, referencing and presentation likely to be very weak. A mark of 38/39 may indicate that the work could have achieved a pass if a more substantial answer had been produced.
An answer showing seriously inadequate knowledge of the subject, with little awareness of the relevant issues or theory, major omissions or inaccuracies, and pedestrian use of inadequate sources.
An answer that falls far short of a passable level by some combination of short length, irrelevance, lack of intelligibility, factual inaccuracy and lack of acquaintance with reading or academic concepts.
An answer without academic merit; conveys little sense that the course has been followed; lacks basic skills of presentation and writing.
Student category
Taught MSc