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University Grading System in Nigeria: A Comprehensive Guide

Everything You Need to Know About the Grading System in Nigeria as Approved by the NUC

Nigerian universities rank the students’ overall performance in bachelor’s degree programmes using a degree classification system.

This degree classification determines the overall performance of students throughout their duration of the study. It is also relevant for employment and admission prospects.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) approved a new grading system for universities. Rather than the five-point Grading Scale for Classification of Degrees, NUC directed all universities in 2017 to adopt the four-point scale.

This increases the GPA requirements for graduation, thereby eliminating the ‘PASS’ class of degrees.

Under the four-point system, scores are graded using the letter grades:

A: (70 and above)- 4

B: (60- 69%)- 3

C: (50- 59%)- 2

D: (45-49%)- 1

E: (40-44%)- 0

grading system in nigerian universities

The four-point grading scale for degrees’ classification is as follows:

First Class Honours: 3.5 – 4.00

Second Class Honours (Upper Division): 3.0 – 3.49

Second Class Honours (Lower Division): 2.0 – 2.99

Third Class Honours: 1.0 – 1.99

Students with less than 1.0 CGPA will not be awarded a degree.

grading system in nigerian universities

The National Universities Commission (NUC) directed universities to implement the five-point grading system against four-point.

The five-point grading scale for degrees’ classification is as follows:

First Class: 4.50 – 5.00

Second Class Honours (Upper Division): 3.5 – 4.49

Second Class Honours (Lower Division): 2.40 – 3.49

Third Class Honours: 1.50 – 2.39

Pass degree: 1.00 – 1.49

In 2017, the Directors of Academic Planning reached a decision that universities should adopt the 4-point grading system.

Vice Chancellors were, however, instructed to revert to the five-point scale from the 2018/2019 academic session.

The grading systems implemented across universities in the country have not been uniformed.

NUC explained that the grading system was changed to five-point because the four-point made it easier for students to graduate with First Class and several universities found it challenging to ensure that students acquire the average class of degree.

5-Point Grading System in Nigerian Universities

The 5-point grading system is the most commonly used grading system by Nigerian universities.

Percentage Letter GPA
70-100 A 5
60-69 B 4
50-59 C 3
45-49 D 2
40-44 E 1
0-39 F 0

Here are the ranges of CGPA for the five-point scale:

First Class: 4.50 – 5.00

Second Class Honours (Upper Division): 3.5 – 4.49

Second Class Honours (Lower Division): 2.40 – 3.49

Third Class Honours: 1.50 – 2.39

Pass degree: 1.00 – 1.49

Differences between the Old and New Grading System in Nigerian Universities

The difference between the old and new grading systems in Nigerian universities is in the classification of degrees.

While the four-point scale starts with 4 and doesn’t award a degree to CGPA less than 1.0, the five-point scale treats the ‘A’ grade as 5.

The CGPA Grading System in Nigerian Universities: How is it Done?

The CGPA scale in universities calculates a student’s performance in assessments and semester examinations for every course enrolled in.

A student’s overall performance in courses is classified into letter grades (A, B, C, D, E, and F).

These letter grades represent the range of scores. Each letter grade has a grade point.

The table below explains the grade point:

Score Letter Grade Grade Point (GP)
70% and above A 5
60-69 B 4
50-59 C 3
45-49 D 2
40-44 E 1
0-39 F 0

Here’s how to calculate the Grade Point Average (GPA)

Every subject has a number of Credit Units (CU). To obtain the Quality Points (QP), the Credit Units (CU) will be multiplied by the Grade Point (GP) for a particular course.

For instance, if a student scores 75% in a 3 Credit Unit course, the Quality Points for the student will be derived by multiplying the Grade Point (B= 4) by the number of Credit Unit, i.e., 3 x 4 = 12.

The Grade Point Average (GPA) is derived through the following way: Divide the Total Quality Point (TQP) by the Total Credit Unit (TCU) for the semester.

For example, if a student earns 54 Quality Points, in a semester, for 18 Credit Units, the Grade Point Average (GPA) will be 54/18 = 3.0.

The Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) can be derived by adding the Total Quality Points (TQP) for all semesters and dividing it by the Total Credit Units (TCU) for all semesters.

For example, the CGPA of a student, who earned a Quality Point of 54, in a semester, for 18 Credit Units and earned a Quality Point of 62, in the second semester, for 20 Credit Units, will be calculated as thus:

CGPA= (54 + 62) / (18 + 20) = 116/38 = 3.05

grading system in nigerian universities

Differences between CGPA and GPA Grading System

Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the total number of Grade Points by the number of Course Units in a semester.

GPA and CGPA both refer to a student’s average grades. However, GPA is for shorter periods, such as the average for a semester.

The cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is a measure of a student’s overall academic performance.

This means that all grades from all semesters are included. Your Class of Honor is determined by your CGPA– for example, First Class, Second Class Upper, and so on.

How Many Years does University Education Lasts?

University education is usually run for 4-5 years. The duration of the programme depends on the course. However, courses such as Medicine and Law are studied for more than five years.

          5 Year Courses

Here are some of the courses that are run for five years in the university:

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Food Science and Technology
  • Estate Management
  • Pharmacy
  • Soil Science
  • Crop Science

          4 Years Course

Here are some of the courses that are run for four years in the university:

  • Fine and Applied Arts
  • Mass Communication
  • Archeology
  • Banking and Finance
  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Accountancy
  • Statistics
  • Political Science

          Direct Entry Students

Direct Entry (DE) students usually study four year degree programmes for three years and five year degree programmes for four years. This is because they joined regular students in their 200 level.

Classes of Degree in Nigeria and their Respective CGPAs

First Class: 4.50 – 5.00

Second Class Honours (Upper Division): 3.5 – 4.49

Second Class Honours (Lower Division): 2.40 – 3.49

Third Class Honours: 1.50 – 2.39

Pass degree: 1.00 – 1.49

Maryam A

Maryam AbdulWahab is a creative writer and lifestyle blogger. She is also a graduate of Economics from Al-Hikmah University. She lives and breathes literature. When she isn’t writing prose or blog posts, she is reading a fiction work or studying events around her. She writes from Lagos, Nigeria. You can find more of her works on her handles.

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