Grading System for Postgraduate Degree

Grading system for postgraduate degree masters and phdMany 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.

Drop questions in the comment box

By Ayodele John

An education enthusiast, I bagged a M.Sc from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and looking forward.

135 replies on “Grading System for Postgraduate Degree”

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?

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

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

Hello, i am a little bit confuse here Mr Ayodele, base on your analysis for those eligible for PhD direct on 5.0 scale, that they must have scored 3.50 CGPA and above in their Master degrees.

University of Abuja uses percentage % in grading their PG students. I scored 57.3%, converting it into cgpa i got 3.52 on 5.0 scale. You said i will have to do a Mphil/PhD, except in low rated state universities they will accept me.
I need more clarification please.

Yes… Check if UniAbuja accepts less than 4/5.0 cgpa for PhD admission

Hello, 60% at Masters is less than 3.5/5. You would need a Mphil to proceed for PhD

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?

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.

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

Good morning, please can someone with score range of 40-49 have a masters certificate? I am currently doing Masters in Unilag but in difficult situation due to my poor preparation as a result of financial constraint.

Hello Michael, your score or grade doesn’t reflect on your Master degree certificate. I will advice you to complete the UNILAG program.

The poor result is revealed on your transcript

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?

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?

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

You have not answer my question sir, I meant what is the CGPA for MPhil/PhD in U I like?

Your question is not clear.

To do a Mphil/PhD your have less than 60% or 4points in masters

Hello Seyi, you need a pass grade at least. Pgd is graded
1. Distinction
2. Pass
3. Fail

Good evening, thanks for the good work. I finished my masters with a cgpa of 3.17 but the challenge is how do I change it to percentage? I would appreciate your response. Thank you Sir.

Sir is it possible for someone to be retained base on the fact that u have a very good masters grade like 70%? Even if the undergraduate is 2:2

Retained by which school?

Most University prefer their best undergraduate degree graduate but very few retain at Master if they’re lucky

Is a masters CGPA of 3.9 due for ph.D programme on a 5 point grading system. Also, is 3.9 equivalent to 70%?

Good day Mr. Ayodele, I had 3.4 in my masters degree from unilag, please what is the percentage of this and is it possible for me to go for my mphil?

I had 3.95 out of possible 5.0 CGPA. My university qualified me for MPhil/PhD. Can i transfer to another university for my PhD direct?
Thank you very much 🙏🏾

Can I use a distinction grade of PGDE for PhD without doing master’s

Mphil is about 2years plus 3 years Phd. But your Mphil can be converted to first year PhD

I am glad to hear that doing Mphil/PhD programs takes 5 years, your Mphil years can be converted into PhD first year course work and the rest you work on your Dersertation. I am better informed now.

Good evening,sir after my master’s degree program at UI I was told that I am eligible to proceed for MPhil/PhD
(1) what would have been my score for me to get that grade
(2) is this grade different from You are eligible to proceed to MPhil.
(3) If not explain the grade MPhil/PhD.

Samuel, I will suggest that you get your transcript to know your GPA or percentage.

What I know about U.I is that only your Masters grade is less than 80% you will be requested to register for a MPhil/PhD

Good evening Sir. Thanks for your public service. May God bless you richly.
I finished my MBA with a 3.83 CGPA. I will need you to help me convert this to a percentage. Can I use this to proceed with a PhD application?
Lastly, kindly help me with the University of Ibadan official pdf grading system for a first degree. I need to present it for an application because this was missing on my transcripts of record. I would appreciate your response. Thank you, Sir.

Sorry for the delay in answering.
Is your MBA CGPA over 5 or 7. Is it 3.83/5 or 3.83/7
For undergraduate program, University of Ibadan used to use the 7 points gp scale but a few years ago, reverted to the 5 points go scale. The year you graduated would determine which was used on your transcript

Thank you for your response. My MBA is 2015 from NOUN (I assume it is a 5 points CGPA)and my undergraduate degree was from TASUED in 2006 (then affliated to University of Ibadan).
Thank you for creating time out your tight schedule to help.

3.83/5 * 5 = 76.6%
I can say exactly on CGPA scale for affiliation program with U.I
I will try to find out.

Hello Ayodele John, thank you for all you do. I did a Postgraduate diploma in Social Work at UI and they have refused to show us our result. I needed it urgently for an application so the exam officer managed to check for me but didn’t tell me the grading scale. She said i have a CGPA of 4.9 . And that I should go to PG school to apply for student copy of transcript but I am currently far away from IB, no third party request is allowed. But, all I need is to know the scale being used. I finished January, 2021 but should have finished last year

Hello Ganiyat, by January 2021, UI has reverted to 5.0 scale GPA.

If you had a 4.9/5, that means you did excellently. Congratulations

I graduated from a Master’s program at UI with a CGPA of 6.0, on the 7.0 scale. What is my percentage and performance rating? Do I qualify for direct Ph.D? What is the current percentage for Ph.D admission in UI?

Hello Natasha, 6/7*100= 85%.

Admission into UI PhD is to have a grade of 80%.

Sorry for the late reply

Good evening. Ayodele John
You are doing a great job.
In my Msc coursework, I had a 3.20 GPA while in my thesis I got a B and the total course is 36 units including thesis. what is my total CGPA? I’m a bit confused. Did I qualify for a PhD program?

Anything you graduate with will be given to you.

No minimum grade, if you pass all courses and thesis

How do they calculate gpa and cgpa at MSC leave that make them to be arrived at %

Pls sir, can you tell me the grading formula? Like how do they calculate your scores to get the CGPA?

A friend has 5.2 master result that came out this year 2021.He wants to know if its for PhD grade straight.

Who people are getting the percentage calculation wrong, schools that use percentage find the average of all courses you offer in the programme, that means if you have 65 and 55 the average will be 60. In other words you can have less 60 percent with a CGPA of 3.5. I got 58.3 percent, but my CGPA is 3.53

Dear Ayodele,
My PGDM result at Ahmadu Bello University was released recently with an average score of 61. Please what could be my CGPA.

Kind regards.

It is difficult to covert average score to CGPA.
CGPA is calculated based on course load/units.

At postgraduate level, don’t be too bothered about GPA. Just print your transcript

Good day Ayodele John, It’s a great job you are doing here, well done sir!
Can you help with a breakdown of how master’s grade determine your chances of going for Mphil or Mphil/Phd? Moreso, what grade point disqualifes one from proceeding to the next degree?
THanks in advance.

In simple terms, any grade less than 70% or 3.5/5.0 will not be accepted for PhD admission.

Some universities like UI & UNN use 4.0/5.0 80%

Thank u Mr Ayodele. Pls how do one calculate a CGPA of 3.80. Is it quality for PhD program

I have masters degree with CGPA 3.59 and want to study abroad. Is it the 4 practised abroad or 5 point scale that’s applicable to my result?

Good day sir, I appreciate your response. Please I have 60.2% in my master. Pls how do I convert it to normal CGPA.

You can’t convert it directly to CGPA without knowing the weighted average (course unit) of each course

Good day, Mr. Ayodele. I did PGD in UI, they refuse to release the result, done with the course 2021 but I get to know my CGPA is 2.5 Can I still use it to process for a master’s? I don’t understand this CGPA

Hello Ayo,

This is tricky. Your CGPA is 2.5 out of what?

I know UI used to use 7 points GPA before. I will advice you to apply for your masters. You’re favoured

Good day, Mr. Ayodele. I did PGD in UI, they refuse to release the result, done with the course 2021 but I get to know my CGPA is 2.5 Can I still use it to process for a master’s? I don’t understand this CGPA.

Good day sir, thanks for all you do. Please how do UNN calculate their Masters GPA? Is it per semester? Again what grade qualifies you for PhD especially those in Education department.

When I was at UNN, the masters GPA is calculated for the whole program. But students can make a semester calculation to monitor

Good evening sir, kindly educate me on the question that whether mphil grade require writing of examination or just research work alone. Thanks

Hello Oseni,
This question is broad. I wish to update the post based on this.

To put it simply, there are terminal MPhil and non terminal MPhil.

The terminal MPhil students would write and examination and graduate with a MPhil certificate. The non terminal MPhil will cross directly to PhD once a minimum department requirements is met.


Mr Ayoade, I am deeply delighted and grateful for being prompt and responsive towards my question. The Lord Almighty will continue crowning your effort with resounding success. Thanks

Please I need help urgently I finished my Msc from university of Ibadan with a grade of 5.9/7.0. How do I convert it to a 5 point scale or a 4 point scale? Thank you

On a 5 point scale, it around 4-4.2.

The exact figure depends on your course weight or total course unit.

In percentage, it is 84.3%

Hello Ayodele,

You are really doing good work here. Thanks for that. I got 3.33 / 5. What percentage is that and can it make PHD?

Can you help me to calculate the percentage of 3.4 cgpa from unilag Masters degree. And can I go for my Mphil?

Hello Ayodele, You are really doing good work here. Thanks for that. I got 3.33 / 5. What percentage is that and can it make PHD?

Olu, thanks for the nice comment.

Your masters is 66.6%. Yes, this is good enough for direct PhD admission.

Some schools like UI, UNILAG & UNN request for 4/5 CGPA i.e 80%. They may not be strict about it in all departments

Good morning Mr. Ayo.
Please what’s the meaning of this? ‘A minimum of 3-points from a recognised institution at the PGD level’

What does the 3 points in pgd means?

Hello Mr. Ayodele,
I did my Master’s degree at the University of Lagos in Economics Education. I had 4.21 on a scale of 5.0. However, I noticed that Unilag rating scale defines pass from 2-4-4.45. I think it is appalling going by this class limit and class definition. What do you think?

Hello Mr. Taiwo,

Trying to digest this info. You mean UNILAG put Masters pass grade as 2.4-4.45?

Well, first of all, if you had 4.21, that meant you pass, so congratulations!

Secondly, the grade range is confusing. 2.4 is too low and what happens to those above 4.45?

hello admin, thanks for the work you do. I really appreciate. please I have a question, the Second Class, Upper Division, or 4 on a 5-point scale requirement for, especially for international prospective candidates.
please the 4 on a 5-point scale, does it include PGDE for those who had a third class at undergraduate level?

Good evening.. Ayodele John
You are doing a great job.
In my Msc coursework, I had a 3.20 GPA while in my thesis I got a B and the total course is 36 units including thesis. what is my total CGPA? I’m a bit confused. Did I qualify for a PhD program?

Hello Ifeanyi,

You need GPA of at least 3.5/5 for admission to good schools. Some department in few federal university will even request for 4.0

My advice is to apply for MPhil/PhD. See blog post on MPhil for details

I have a distinction (MSc.) from a UK university. Please what is the equivalent grade in Nigerian university that would qualify for a PhD program?
Thank you.

I scored C in my MSc but my GP is 4.1, can I be admitted into federal University for a PhD degree. Someone told me that you must have be in your thesis to proceed with PhD.

I have C in my MSc research project but my GP is 4.1, will I be able to get admission into Fed. Universities. My friend told me that some universities insist on B in MSc thesis.

Good morning sir, I was told to proceed for Mphill after my masters in UI what is my cgpa and can I use it to apply for a PhD in UK sir, please enlighten me.

It means you masters grade wasn’t enough for direct admission to PhD.

Yes, you can still apply for PhD elsewhere. Many schools will accept you for a direct PhD, other would ask you to fulfill some conditions before or after admission. That is if your masters GPA is low

Most Nigerian Universities state they accept from 3.5CGPA above for PHD but would eventually refuse to grant applicants the admission rather, they give them M.Phil just because they are from another school. why is this so?

Well… There are myriads of possible reasons.

Some down grade the masters degree from outside their university OR to see that the PhD candidate is good enough using MPhil as a test

Good morning Sir!

Please is my 4.1 on a scale of 5 in Masters a pass or a distinction?

Thank you for all you do!

Good morning Sir!

Please is my 4.1 on a scale of 5 in Masters a pass or a distinction?

Thank you for all you do!

Good morning Sir, I have an Upper Credit in my (PGDE) at UDU and 3.89 CGPA in M.ED in Educational Administration and Planning(NOUN),respectively. Am I qualified for Ph.D in the same field in any Nigerian University ?

Yes, you are qualified. But competitive federal universities may not give you admission

Good morning sir, I graduated with 4.75 CGPA/ 5point scale (MSc) What is my score on percentage rating and can I be admitted for Ph.d in UI? Thanks.

Yes, you are more than qualified for a PhD at UI.

But University of Ibadan would not give direct PhD admission to Masters degrees of other universities.

May I know my grade of 4.75 CGPA/ 5 point scale rating on percentage conversion? Thanks.

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