Talk:British degree abbreviations

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The University of Oxford used to award a Bachelor of Letters (BLitt) It is now a Master of Letters as it is a postgraduate degree. A relevant page can be found here

Also, have a look at the Doctorate entry. The DLitt is the Literarum Doctor or Doctor of Letters. Update: I should mention that the shortened version is based on the latin name while the full name is anglicised. Henry plantagenet 23:08, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I've noticed a rather strange theme running throughout the entire wiki regarding Scottish Universities and four year honours degrees. Almost every article refers to the "ancient" universities using this system - but EVERY Scottish university uses the fourth year honours system including Caledonian, Paisley and many others which are far from ancient! Am I missing something in the wording here? 20:02, 22 May 2006 (UTC) mtb

It's surely well-known that when comparing different countries primary/ secondary and tertiary education time allocations, Scottish education is a 7:5:4 system while England has a 6.7:3 system.Zagubov 00:38, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Diploma abbreviations[edit]

Are there any formal practives or even common conventions on diplomas? I've seen all manner of confusion on these. Timrollpickering 12:32, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Undergraduate master's x Postgraduate master's[edit]

My impression is that, with the multiplication of 4-year undergraduate courses leading to an MEng, MSci or equivalent degree, very few engineering and science students in the top universities now take one-year postgraduate taught master's courses (e.g. MSc). Instead, they tend to go straight from the MEng/MSci to a PhD, normally going through a one-year "probationer research student" (PRS) status and then getting the PhD degree in another two or, more often, three years (for total period of 7 or 8 years of study between A-levels and finishing the doctorate).

Although I'm not sure, I believe an MEng for example is not at a disadvantage for admission into a PhD programme compared to another person who has a 3-year BEng plus a one-year taught MSc with a small research component. In that sense, I'm not sure I agree with the statement in the article that a one-year taught postgraduate master's is considered a higher qualification than a 4-year undergraduate master's, at least not in engineering and natural sciences.

I suppose a research postgraduate master's degree is indeed considered a "higher qualification", but, again, not many people pursue research master's course by choice as a stand-alone degree, normally going for a PhD instead. I may be wrong, but I have the impression that research students in the UK who end up graduating with a master's instead of a PhD are mostly those who, in their first-year formal performance assessment, were not judged capable of completing a doctorate and were recommended to read for a master's degree instead. 17:24, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

MMath, MChem, MEng, MPhys, etc. are all undergraduate masters degrees and yet they are under the postgraduate heading. This is misleading. In particular, the text under "postgraduate degrees" mentions that postgraduate degrees are not honours degrees and although the "masters degrees" is not under the "postgraduate degrees" section that mentions this, it is still under the "Post Graduate" section which is confusing: it is perfectly possible to have MMath (Hons) and so on. I suggest separate sections for "undergraduate masters" and "postgraduate degrees".
Also in my experience the four-year undergraduate masters is if anything regarded more highly than a 3-year bachelors plus one year postgraduate study. I have removed the line you mentioned ("Postgraduate masters degrees are considered higher status than undergraduate masters") as there seems to be nothing to back this up. (talk) 23:57, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
To my mind, linking the organisation of this article to the UK Framework for Higher Education Qualifications would be sensible. This is the actual definition of the different levels of qualification (And, yes, undergraduate master's – except Scottish/Oxbridge MAs - are considered the same level as postgraduate master's.) Robminchin (talk) 04:56, 15 November 2015 (UTC)


The correct form for 4 or 5 year undergraduate masters programmes is "Master in", "Master of" is used for postgraduate courses only. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexdawson (talkcontribs) 13:54, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Master of Engineering is widely used, and is an undergraduate degree. As, of course, is Master of Arts in the ancient Scottish universities.Robminchin (talk) 04:58, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Junior\Higher Doctorate distinction[edit]

This article in general is somewhat Oxbridge-tinted. While I have no objections to this in principle, I wonder whether the section on the junior\higher doctoral distinction really is appropriate, for the distinction is, I believe (but I could be wrong), limited to Oxbridge. I cant imagine Imperial College or the LSE, for example, ranking a Doctorate in Divinity as trumping that of a PhD. Even within Oxbridge, the distinction is merely a historical relic (or so I understand - again correct me if I am wrong). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:56, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm not so sure. It is rare to grant higher doctorates these days (a lot of university degree committees groan at the thought of the amount of reading and assessment it takes) but the higher doctorates are often still specified (particularly in the relevant charters and ordinances) as being recognition of one's contribution to knowledge in the field over the length of a career. What confuses things is that very often one or more of the available higher doctorates is given as an "honorary degree" (and sometimes the others get called that since they reflect scholarship not specifically undertaken for them). But I think Imperial would certainly regard a Doctor of Science awarded for a career's work as superior to a PhD awarded for initial research at the outset of it.
What I do agree is probably outdated is the concept of a formal order of precedence. Most universities these days seem to regard degrees as qualifications, rather than the historic idea of them being "ranks" in faculties (not least because the degree names have become disconnected from university organisation), and many just don't bother to construct an official order for these things. But the term "higher doctorate" is generally still in use denoting a hierarchy. Timrollpickering (talk) 06:34, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe that Doctor of Science is awarded by any UK university, and certainly not by Imperial. As such it seems likely that IC would regard it the same way it would other foreign qualifications with no UK equivalent -- probably on a case-by-case basis. --Bazzalisk (talk) 16:52, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Imperial divides its doctorates into three levels: 'specialist', 'research' and 'higher'. Among the last of these is the DSc. See
The distinction between junior (or research) and higher doctorates is normally that junior doctorates have a defined course of study that a student can apply for, while a higher doctorate doesn't have any course of study (and is normally granted as an honorary distinction).
To come back to the specific point raised, Imperial certainly does grant the DSc, but there is no course and no student will ever study for this degree.Robminchin (talk) 04:44, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Degree Abbreviations Can some one please clarify the correct convention for using degree, masters and diploma abbreviations as letters designate? my employer has recently put together a brochure the abbreviations as general to the team ( in a strap line) and not specific to the staff who have them. I have always understood that these are only for use after the name of the person who has the qualificatione. e.g on business card / door/ CV etc.... [ Nola O'Donnell 19;15 , January 2009]

Apostrophe or not?[edit]

There is one subheading Master's level bachelors degrees, which illustrates the inconsistencies in this article (and I think in common usage) concerning the use of apostrophes. Are these degrees possessives? I have seen bachelor, bachelors, and bachelor's used to denote the degree. I have seen masters and master's, but never a master degree. I know the degrees themselves are "Bachelor of..." and "Master of...", and this is really a less formal, more general usage, but it seems to have been around long enough to have a standard attached to it. I have wondered for decades (seriously) if an apostrophe is properly used, or if it is proper not to use one. In either case, we should be consistent within the article. Dcs002 (talk) 01:58, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

The apostrophe seems to be generally preferred across Wikipedia for both bachelor's and master's degrees, and is used for both the article titles. It should probably be used here unless there is an overriding reason not to (I can't think of one). Robminchin (talk) 04:18, 22 February 2017 (UTC)