Results: Guide to UNSW Grades

Guide to UNSW Grades | Compare UNSW grades with European & US | Grade ranking (gumleaf) | Determining PC grades | Grades from amalgamated institutions

Each course undertaken by a student at UNSW is assessed using a variety of methods, usually culminating in the award of a single final mark out of 100. Under normal circumstances, the mark determines the associated final grade. View the UNSW grade table below for a detailed explanation of these grades.








High Distinction

An outstanding performance; mark range 85 - 100. Indicates that the student has produced outstanding work, and has demonstrated a high level of understanding across the entire content of the course.




A superior performance; mark range 75 - 84. Indicates that the student has demonstrated superior ability to consider the course and its assessment requirements from a number of perspectives and to explore their interrelation.




A good performance; mark range 65 - 74.  Indicates that the student has demonstrated the ability to think analytically, and contextually about the course and its assessment requirements, and to understand/present alternative points of view/perspectives and supporting evidence. 




An acceptable level of performance; mark range 50 - 64. Indicates that the student has addressed the assessment requirements of the course and has demonstrated an acceptable understanding of the issues entailed.



Pass Conceded

A pass conceded indicates a performance below that normally required for a pass. May be granted provided that the overall performance is considered to warrant such a concession, and allows progression to another course for which the former course is a prerequisite.


Grade Pending

The mark falls in the range 46 to 49, and the final result, Pass Conceded or Fail, awaits the resolution of a withheld result in another course


Late Entry

Late entry.  A result has not been submitted by the Course Authority. 


Enrolment Continuing

The course is taken over more than one Teaching Period and the assessment will be finalised in a later Teaching Period.


Satisfactory or Pass*

Satisfactory completion of a course for which a graded pass is not awarded.  No mark is given.


Pass* was discontinued in the mid 1970s.


Professional Experience

Student undertaking a course designated as professional experience. Result pending.


Exchange Enrolment

Student undertaking an Exchange program. 




Not Assessed

Completion of a course which has no assessment requirements


Research Continuing

Research continuing.  No mark is given.


Research Satisfactory

Satisfactory completion of a research program



Result Deferred

Student is unable to complete a course in the current Teaching Period.  The student must re-enrol to obtain a result.



Absent Fail

Unsatisfactory performance; no assessment attempted.




Unsatisfactory performance, below the minimum expected level. This grade characterises work which shows a significant lack of understanding of the topic or its context, and is therefore unsatisfactory.



Unsatisfactory Fail

Unsatisfactory performance in an essential component of the course.



Audited Course

Assessment not attempted; course not counted towards award requirements


Not Completed

Course assessment requirements have not been completed in a timely manner.


Course discontinued without failure.  Enrolment in this course is not recorded on

myUNSW or an official academic transcript.



Result not finalised.  The student has submitted a request for Special Consideration, for which the outcome is pending. 



Result not finalised.  The student has not submitted or completed one or more components of the assessment requirement.


Result finalised but not released.  Awaiting the outcome of an unresolved matter.


Distribution of grades

The proportion of marks lying in each grading range is determined not by any formula or quota system, but by the way that students respond to assessment tasks and how well they meet the objectives of the course. Nevertheless, since higher grades imply performance that is well above average, the number of distinctions and high distinctions awarded in a typical course is relatively small. At the other extreme, on average 6.1% of students do not meet minimum standards, a little more (8.6%) in first year courses.

For UNSW Staff

Information for staff relating to grading categories and grading bases and their administrative applications can be found in the secure Confluence 'Student and Academic Services' web pages (ID & zPass login). At Student and Academic Services - Home click on the Assessment menu at the left of the page, then under the Resources heading click on the Grades Reference link.
You can also access Confluence via login to myUNSW in the Academic Admin tab. Under the Help for Interactive Services menu click on Student and Academic Services – Home link.


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