Revamped degree classification system aligns with US universities
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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is committed to nurturing high-quality graduates to meet society’s needs.
CityU faculty members have increasingly expressed concern about the global phenomenon of ‘grade inflation’ and have regularly asked that the minimum graduation CGPA (cumulative grade point average) and the award classification of Honours for undergraduate degrees be reconsidered.
In fact, since adopting the 4-year degree programme in 2012, CityU has regularly reviewed all practices for academic programmes and has moved increasingly toward the US education system.
CityU’s new minimum graduation CGPA and the awards for undergraduate degrees, which the Senate's 118 voting members thoroughly discussed and approved on 2 June 2020, will further enhance the reference value of our award classification system, ensuring we recognise truly outstanding graduates.
The new arrangements approved by the Senate below will be applied to all students admitted from 2020/21 onward:
- Under the approved system, the minimum graduation CGPA for a degree will be set at 2.0. Students who fail to attain a minimum semester GPA (grade point average) of 1.7 on three occasions will face the prospect of losing their place on the degree programme.
- To better reflect the capability of outstanding students, the Senate considers it essential to review the existing classifications and abolish degrees awarded as First-, Second- and Third-class Honours. Consequently, the top 15% of departmental/school graduates (based on CGPA ranking) will be recognised under the following arrangement:
New Classification of Awards
summa cum laude (Highest Distinction) the top 2% magna cum laude (High Distinction) the next 5% cum laude (Distinction) the next 8%
This new CityU award classification system is similar to schemes implemented in many top US universities. Removing the First-, Second-, and Third-class classifications also eliminates any long-lasting connotation of bias or discrimination presented in the past. CityU considers this newly approved system to be a step forward for higher education in Hong Kong.
“This approved award classification system represents our determination to reward excellent student performance, and uphold academic standards and quality,” said President Way Kuo.