IgA nephropathy is the most common glomerular disease worldwide, yet there is no international consensus for its pathological or clinical classification. Here a new classification for IgA nephropathy is presented by an international consensus working group. The goal of this new system was to identify specific pathological features that more accurately predict risk of progression of renal disease in IgA nephropathy, thus enabling both clinicians and pathologists to improve individual patient prognostication. In a retrospective analysis, sequential clinical data were obtained on 265 adults and children with IgA nephropathy who were followed for a median of 5 years. Renal biopsies from all patients were scored by pathologists blinded to the clinical data for pathological variables identified as reproducible by an iterative process. Four of these variables: (1) the mesangial hypercellularity score, (2) segmental glomerulosclerosis, (3) endocapillary hypercellularity, and (4) tubular atrophy/interstitial fibrosis were subsequently shown to have independent value in predicting renal outcome. These specific pathological features withstood rigorous statistical analysis even after taking into account all clinical indicators available at the time of biopsy as well as during follow-up. The features have prognostic significance and we recommended they be taken into account for predicting outcome independent of the clinical features both at the time of presentation and during follow-up. The value of crescents was not addressed due to their low prevalence in the enrolled cohort.