Talk:British undergraduate degree classification

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why is the 2.2 getting cussed more than the third??[edit]

it is stated that a 2.2 is known as a drinkers degree(something ive never heard of.. we call it a desmond tutu). However it sais that a third is known as a gentlemans c. This makes it sound like a third is better than a 2.2 which is obviously nonsense.


I came to the page to learn what a "double first" is. This article is so disorganized and confusing that it would be better of it did not exist. Avocats (talk) 07:51, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Third Class Degrees[edit]

I think that the international comparison should be removed altogether. Particularly for the United States, which has so many colleges and universities, it is simply not possible to provide a universal conversion. Moreover, the link that much of this data is based on is only for one school... and their conversion places a third class degree as equivalent to a GPA which is not sufficient to graduate at any U.S. School. Is it truly such an odd system in commonwealth countries that 1st class graduates are all equivalent to the top 1% or so of U.S. university graduates while 3rd class graduate would not have graduated had they been in the United States? aigiqinf (talk) 06:19, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

International comparisons are largely nonsense. I am very familiar with several European countries' systems of grading etc and the WES results are just plain wrong. I am inclined to say that they just don't know what they're talking about.

The most important thing to remember about the UK (where I myself am from) is that they consistently overestimate themselves. The suggestion that all British "first" degrees are equivalent to the top 1% of US graduates is totally laughable. For goodness'sake, many American B.S. or B.A. degrees have requirements that would get one a masters in the UK so one isn't even comparing like with like. do know that there is no "UK" educational system? Scotland and England are slightly different, as are the structures of the degrees. (talk) 18:17, 3 May 2016 (UTC)Lance Tyrell

If there is a comparison it should take note of these facts. Your concerns are quite valid. Sadly, one need only pander to the criteria of league tables and the like to create evidence to support your cause in higher ed, similarly, constant special pleading ("oh but we're more intensive"--not true either) seems to be effective in getting UK grades and qualifications overvalued abroad. There is of course no conclusive proof, which is why they keep getting away with it.

You're also right to note that in many countries a third would be a fail. The "pecentage scores" aren't to be compared like-for-like, especially not against systems that grade on a curve, but a 3rd is still by all definitions "poor" no one is AIMING at a third the same way an American might AIM at a B+ or whatever. Princeofdelft (talk) 09:01, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

First Class Degrees[edit]

The section on First Class degrees currently goes on and on about the system in place at Cambridge. This is an article about what a first class degree means in general in the UK rather than what it means at one particular university. All talk of the tripos system should be left to a Cambridge-specific articles.--Zoso Jade (talk) 11:53, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Just thought I'd add so that hopefully someone sees this and fixes it, that when it says that very few get a first degree in physics or engineering, this is untrue. Go check for yourself! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:16, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Second class degrees[edit]

Thought I'd weigh in here. As far as socially and certainly within Professions in the City, the distinction between 2:1s and 2:2s is massive. I agree that this makes little sense considering the that both grade classifications are ridiculously wide (10%) and right next to each other, but that is the way people see things. A 2:1 is more likely to be thrown in with a first in conversation than with a 2:2. As such the article should seperate the two degree classifications. Whether this division is fair or not is irrelevant. Whether you wish to argue that people who get 2:2s are just as smart as those who get 2:1s is irrelevant. Social treatment of the two classifications is widely varied and this should be reflected within the article.--Zoso Jade (talk) 21:49, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

I'll weigh in too. Over the last few decades a great many of the candidates that would have had a 2:2 now get a 2:1. It has become the "real passing grade" just like how in A-Levels the first grade really worth having is probably a B now, because of grade-inflation. In your GCSEs you can "pass" with any mark but actually, below a C is worthless.

Similarly, under systems where it's not seen as necessary to call everything but the most appalling performance a "pass", anything below the 2:1 would fail. In reality 2:1 and 1st may just as well be called "pass" and "merit" because the one is the large body of students who did at least well enough to for example do the next degree up afterwards, and there are a great many of them, and the ones with 1st did "particularly well"... all the UK rhetoric using words like outstanding and all that is just political hype. It isn't THAT special, at least not in general. Princeofdelft (talk) 09:18, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Percentages of students recieving the degrees[edit]

It would make sense to report what percentages of students recieve the different grades. The article does state, that approximately 20% recieve a 3rd degree and 10% recieve a 1st degree, but what about a 2:1 and a 2:2. Are these two groups equally big, meaning that those who recieve a 2:1 is the best 45%? - Marc K 19:20, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Generally the proportions are roughly:

  • 1st - top 10%
  • 2:1 - next 50%
  • 2:2 - next 30%
  • 3rd - bottom 10%

But this varies from university to university. 16:11, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

I'll weigh in here: It varies all right, and the percentages have changed markedly over the last 40 years - I did a Physics degree at Dundee University in the early seventies and of an intake of 57 students, roughly half didn't get a degree at all, 15 got an Ordinary degree (a Scottish pass degree), while another 15 were invited (yes, you had to be invited, usually at the end of second year or early in third, you couldn't just apply) to do the honours course. Of those, one got a first, 2 a 2.1, and 3 or 4 a 2.2 (my memory fails me), the rest receiving a third class honours, which was quite distinct from an ordinary degree in scotland, since the scope and difficulty of the course material was entirely different. Then, to get a 2.2, you had to score an average exceeding 65, >75 for a 2.1 and >85 for a first. Scores were calculated over both course work (tutorials, labs) and exams, the course work contributing one-third. There has been enormous degree devaluation in British Universities over the last 30 years, with some 'Universities' awarding 1st class degrees to more than 20% of their intake. The whole system is so meaningless now and comparisons so useless that I really think we should chuck it and start again. My brother got a double first from St.Andrews university in the very early sixties. To do that, he had to score more than 90 average in each of 2 different disciplines over the last two years of his honours course! But I've worked in places where newly employed 1st class electrical/electronic engineering graduates were easily outstripped and shown up by our engineering apprentices, lads without a degree, working towards their professional qualifications. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:37, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

There are some stats by department from University of Manchester, -- (talk) 23:45, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry to be lazy, but I'm really busy. If anyone else has time, you can find precise and very clear (percentage) statistics for UK degree classifications awarded in spreadsheets openly available at the HESA website (this is the government body charged with officially recording HE stats, which all universities are obliged to provide them with). I've seen the data myself, but don't have time right now to find it again. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:41, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

I've done just that - created a graph from the HESA data 1995-2011 and put it in the relevant section over at the Grade inflation entry (seemed more relevant there), which I linked from here.IMGrant (talk) 11:57, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Conversion between GPA and honours classification[edit]

As an American student interested in pursuing a postgraduate degree in England, I am confused about the conversions of this system. Is there a cooresponding GPA (grade point average) and honours classification?

Check out [1] - FrancisTyers 30 June 2005 18:10 (UTC)
Roughly speaking I think generally a first is considered to a 3.7 or greater GPA, and a 2.1 is 3.3 or greater. BovineBeast 20:46, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
This is a difficult comparison, as a number of factors in Britain work to counteract the grade inflation prevalent in the US. In the UK, there are nationally approved, standard curricula, and students are not examined by their teachers, but by appointed examiners from both inside and outside the examining institution. Take Harvard as an example, where a majority of students receive a 3.75 GPA or above. These same students would almost certainly not all be eligible for an 'equivalent' first at Oxford or Cambridge. Addtionally, students in the UK spend 3-4 years focusing exclusively on their degree subjects, and the curricula are designed to give them a solid foundation in the core concepts and problems in their area of study; whereas in the US, there is often a balance of elective coursework, and students are given the opportunity to explore coursework outside their area of study. The end result would be that a UK student with a degree roughly equivalent to an American peer in terms of placement in the graduating class (e.g. a UK 2:1 and a US 3.5 GPA) is likely to have a very different command, in terms of quality and quantity, of the subject matter. 21:12, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
"A majority of students [at Harvard] have a GPA of 3.75 or above"?? No way in hell. Yes, there has been grade inflation at US universities, but not that much. I believe the average Harvard GPA (don't know if it's the mean or median) is around 3.4. But given lack of comparability of systems,I would think simplest thing is just to follow Marc K's suggestion and show percentiles. Then Americans can figure out equivalents for themselves. Something is needed, though, to give non-Brits some sense of what these words mean-- how impressed should we be if someone has a first? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pdronsard (talkcontribs) 20:56, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Oxford seems to think that 3.85 GPA is the lower level of a First. It's not stated explicitly, but it's clearly implied. See their guidelines for admission to the DPhil in MML (medieval and modern languages) for this year. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:12, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

If you an American seeking work in the UK, or have a UK degree and are seeking work in the USA, you must realise the degrees are DIFFERENT but not necessarily equal or unequal. A UK degree MIGHT result in more in depth subject knowledge in your degree subject; however, UK students do not (usually) take any class outside of their degree subject and are thus not necessarily as well-rounded students. For instance, my husband is finishing his PhD in physics. He is having a very difficult time writing because he hasn't taken a subject which requires essays since he was 16 (as he only took Physics, Maths, and Chemistry A-Levels from 16-18). Furthermore, I am an American who received a 1st class degree in history at Royal Holloway University of London. In my three years, I had 7, 6, and 4 hours of contact time respectively. In a US university, I would have had 20 to 25 hours of contact time a week, with 25% of that being history in the 1st two years and 75-100% of that being history int he final two years.

That's odd, I took A-level Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, then did Physics at university (25 hours of lectures/lab per week) - every single one of those courses required more than one written essay. I now work in a patent firm alongside people from many different companies including America, and cannot say that I see any great superiority in writing between my American colleagues and my British ones. Perhaps your husband is not quite so representative of the British science graduate as you seem to think? FOARP (talk) 02:55, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

My son is graduating (from a US university) in a few days. I was looking around to compare US degree qualifications to the UK and was very surprised to see that 2:1 was quoted as beginning at 60% and 45% achieving this level. When I got my degree, and later working (within an academic department) at a UK university, the scale was exactly the same as the Open University scale shown in this article, and a much smaller proportion of students achieved the classification. Not only my university used this scale, it was widely used by most universities. It appears that the 2:1 classification has been severely devalued over the past 40 years, and the comment about employers dropping a 2:1 requirement makes some sense, since it is no longer a useful distinction. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:33, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Second class degrees[edit]

Who are these employers that distinguish between 1st/2:1 and 2:2 and below? - FrancisTyers 8 July 2005 14:10 (UTC)

Just a general thing. A job ad might specify a 2:1 or above. That just happens to be where the line is commonly drawn. - 00:08, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
I've heard of employers specifying 2:1 but 2:2 would be fine with the appropriate skill set. I've never heard anyone refer to a 2:2 as a drinkers degree. I think this particular part is too cut and dry. The truth is less clear cut. (lol, cutting). - FrancisTyers 08:13, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
KPMG for one. I'm currently applying for graduate jobs and a lot of the dedicated Graduate Training Schemes require a 2:1. Whether they are in fact flexible if anyone without one tries I don't know. I think once people are on the career ladder experience counts a lot more for professional jobs than degree classification, but that 2:1/2:2 split does seem to exist. 19:54, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

The "Drinkers Degree" section is inaccurate and degrading. "Icairns" needs to do his homework before saying such a thing. People with 2:2s can succeed on POSTGRADUATE degree courses. There are schoolteachers with Third Class Degrees ..... only a fool would write these people off. One woman on my degree course got a Third Class Degree, and she wasn't stupid at all. You can't judge someone solely on their degree classification

I got a 2:2 and I'm on a Postgrad course. I knew people who were doing Postgrad study with a 3rd. It really depends on the number of enrolments and the quality of your dissertation I think. Particularly since its possible to tell where you screwed up in your academic transcript. - FrancisTyers 17:00, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
To me it appears that the term "drinker's degree" used in the Guardian link is referring to a 3rd class degree. Although it could be taken to refer to a 2:2 depending on how you choose to interpret it. I have heard it used to describe a 2:2 before. I scraped a 2:1 yesterday woohoo! Well it was Maths, fricking hard work I can tell you. 06:53, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

The term "drinkers degree" is in common use across the UK both in universities and the workplace, the fact some people don't like it is irrelevant. If wikipedia is to represent a full body of knowledge it should be included. (Boddah 12:10, 21 December 2005 (UTC))

I agree with Boddah - The term "drinker's degree" was common at the University of Sussex when I graduated in 2005. The 2:2 was also referred to as the "Sportsman's", as the Wednesday away games and partying of a Uni sports team-member tended to impact on study time. It was considered a forgone conclusion that the captain of any team was doomed to a 2:2, as they were expected at every social event, without fail.
Has anyone else heard of the 2:2 referred to as a "Sportsman's"? Unclejimbo83 09:09, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

"Who are these employers that distinguish between 1st/2:1 and 2:2 and below?" The legal profession definitely seems to distinguish. I went to a Law Society recruitment event in London recently and there were some very disappointed students.The speaking panel made up of City lawyers all agreed that if you wanted to work for a City legal firm you would need to meet a minimum standard of 2.1.

I havent heard anybody calling a 2:2 a drinker. Some people got a 2:1, others got a 2:2, thats it. Some people do well in the exams, others do well in their essays and dissertations, and some manage to keep a balance. Some people are hard working and still get a 2:2, thats what they got. I got a 2:2 and was accepted for a MSc by Research by a reputed UK university. So, I totally disagree that the term :Drinkers degree: is used "widely". If yu got a 2:2 perhaps you should check what went wrong, and learn from it, but only an idio woul;d equate automatically such a student to a drinker. If we were drinkers, we would be out of Uni long ago.

There seems to be a degree(!) of confusion here, mostly it seems in the minds of indignant holders of degrees less than 2:1. Please, you apparently rather humourless lot, understand the following: if you don't like that a 2:2 or a Third is referred to humourously and disparagingly... tough. That these terms exist, and are in common use, is a fact. Yes, blah blah, a 2:2 is good, blah blah, you can be a postgrad with a 2:2, blah blah some teachers have thirds. All irrelevant. Some people get better degrees than others, and the lower classes are given comedy nicknames to imply that holders were either too thick, too distracted by sports or too drunk to do better. All adults understand that these are jokes, not to be taken seriously. The fact is that if you got a 2:2, you didn't do as well as someone who got a 2:1. Get over it. You got an honours degree, move on.

Other observations: cannot speak for current practice, but as long ago as 1990 the major accountancy firms specified particular A-level grades AND 2:1 or above, and they were NOT flexible. "Sportsman's" in reference to 2:2 was common parlance in my UK peer group 20 years ago. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:28, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

I'd also like to object to this arbitrary distinction between drinkers and those who choose mainly to remain sober. I got a First, and also drank quite a lot; it's demeaning to me to take that away from me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:53, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:32, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

I too passed with First Class Honours despite drinking VERY heavily throughout all three years, and have never in my student or professional experience (in the HE sector) heard anyone refer to a Second Class Honours degree as a 'drinker's degree'. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:45, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Is there scope to make a list of successful people who obtained various level degrees to show that its not necessarily the end of the world if you don't get a first. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:05, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Countries using this system[edit]

The first paragraph ends with "It is similar to the Latin honors system used in North America" however this 'British' system is used in Canada and not the Latin honors used in the USA. I have no knowledge of how degrees in Mexico (the other country in North America) are classified.

I don't really know what is used in Canada. I've attended convocations at four different Canadian universities (including my own) and have seen nothing with the level of complexity of either the American or British system.
Typically a distinction is made between "honours" and "general" degree programs, where only the former is suitable as a prerequisite for graduate work. Often, graduates with averages above some threshold are also granted special recognition, e.g. "with distinction" or "dean's honours list". There are usually a couple medals or awards for really outstanding graduates.
I suppose this resembles the British system more than the American: however, I've never heard of the level of stratification seen in the British system. --Saforrest 17:42, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Rhyming slang[edit]

"An interesting form of rhyming slang has developed from degree classes, relying on the names of famous people that sound similar to the classes"

Perhaps I am just pig-ignorant, but are there any references for this? I've never heard of them, and "'2:1' sounds like 'Attila the Hun'" just sounds... bizarre.

--Telsa 16:13, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

I've never heard of "Attila the Hun", but I've heard of the others. Damien/Desmond/etc. - FrancisTyers 16:54, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
this guardian article references "Desmond" at least - FrancisTyers 16:57, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

"Mr Magoo"? This one doesn't even sound particularly like the thing it's meant to reference. Evidence of use? TSP 23:08, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

You're right, I've deleted it. For interested parties, try putting "got a desmond" into google. - FrancisTyers 23:45, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

I've never heard of an "Attila" - but I can confirm the others are all well-used. In my day a third was a Richard and a 2:1 was a Simon (le Bon).

yeah this whole section is dodgy. Desmond is pukka as far as I know. The sole source for the other rhyming slang is an ancient, unsources website. & I always thought a gentleman's was without honours - ie no effort put in whatsoever.

The Fred Durst reference must surely be at least chronologically wrong, as Limp Bizkit were barely heard of in the UK before the turn of the millennium. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:59, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Schott's Original Miscellany gives "Geoff/Damien Hirst" for 1st, "Attila the Hun" for 2.1, "Desmond TuTu" for 2.2 and "Douglas Hurd" for 3rd. Can't remember the page number from there though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:47, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

A friend of mine got a Gentleman in maths from Oxford in about 1970. "Gentleman" = Third Class honours; "Slog" = Second, and "Natural" = First. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:40, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Third Class Degrees[edit]

"Few third class degrees are in fact awarded [...] It is therefore rare for a graduating class to include more than a small handful of Thirds."

This seems like too broad a generalisation. Certainly in science subjects at my university (Durham) thirds were fairly common - probably (vying with firsts) the smallest classification, but certainly not rare enough to justify the above description. I understand that thirds (and firsts) are much rarer in arts and social sciences, however. Does anyone have aggregated statistics on the number of degrees of each class given each year? A brief bit of research suggests that the volume "Students in Higher Education Institutions", published each year by HESA, would have the information in; but I don't think it's online. TSP 22:14, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Did Douglas Hurd get a third? (talk) 08:37, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

The text indicates that Oxford abolished 4th class degrees at the same time as splitting second class degrees. This is not accurate, When I graduated in 1981 there were no 4th class degrees, but second class degrees had not yet been split into 2:1 and 2:2. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 19 September 2010 (UTC)


it states in the article "In Kenya, there are First Class Honours, Second Class Honours Upper Divisions and Lower Divisions and Pass instead of Third Class." Is this relevant considering its an article about the British Undergraduate degree classification?Alex 02:09, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

yes. they use the British system.


I am very doubtful about the latest addition about the diploma. Here no "consolation prize" is given if you fail the 3rd year. Someone from Britain may confirm? Maybe editors can cite their sources or give examples of universities who act this way? i.e. an undergraduate course supposedly leading to a degree giving out certificates and diplomas. VodkaJazz 19:48, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

It is not so much a consolation prize for someone who fails their exams, but is intended as an exit point for those who do not wish to progress further. Davidkinnen 21:20, 24 February 2006 (UTC)


Two different forms of notation are used in this article for second class honours. The first is used almost throughout - the 2:2 and 2:1 notation, the other is used in the non-bulleted portion of the "Undergraduate degree honours slang" section - 2:i and 2:ii. Elsewhere, I have seen 2:2 written as II.2. Why are there different forms of notation? Do different universities use different notation? If not, what is the "correct" notation? 13:26, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

I think probably they're all acceptable. My university uses IIA and IIB in its exam results, which is completely different. But everyone still calls it a 2.1 and a 2.2. BovineBeast 09:22, 30 January 2007 (UTC)


Never heard of an Attilla the Hun – has someone just made this up?!

I thought that a 2:1 was the only one without a rhyming slang alternative. 13:25, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

A 2:1 was always a Harry after Harry S Truman. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Derekjc (talkcontribs) 21:19, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Attilla - Source[edit]

Here goes a source for the Attilla and other degree classification nicknames. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mackem Beefy (talkcontribs) 06:37, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

Rachel Orr?[edit]

Who is Rachel Orr and there is any objective evidence (i.e. from the Cambridge University Reporter) that she got a triple starred first? I'd also like more substantive evidence of Maurice Zinkin's triple starred first than a Telegraph obituary. Pmcray

I'm with you on the Rachel Orr point; IMHO we should just delete that point as non-notable and lacking sources unless someone comes up with something soon. OTOH, I think the Telegraph should sufficiently research its sources to meet WP:V --Harris 12:16, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

How is it possible to obtain a triple starred first? Surely degrees like history do not have a part III?

At Cambridge, all subjects except history and english have examinations at the end of every year. There is typically Part IA in first year, Part IB in second year and Part II in third year. For some subjects this is Part I, Part IIA and Part IIB. Some subjects such as physics are a four year course, so I suppose it's possible for someone to actually get a quadruple starred first.

Degree classification boundries[edit]

Is it not common for degree classifications to be calculated as:

  • >=70% - 1st
  • 60-69% - 2:1
  • 50-59% - 2:2
  • 45-49% - 3rd
  • 40-44% - Pass
  • <40% - Fail

I'm sure there are Universities that do not use this system and there are some that base you overall mark more on your work over the course of the degree than the exams but is this not the system used in the majority of universities in the UK? Shouldn't this be mentioned in the article? --AlexSpurling 11:55, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I think that's fairly normal. Plus at Oxbridge ~25% get a first, so it can't be entirely based on percentile. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by BovineBeast (talkcontribs) 12:01, 30 January 2007 (UTC).
I think he is talking about "marks", not percentile. Which University fails 40%?
These marks are standard at Bristol and everywhere else (Birmingham, Cambridge, Sheffield, Nottingham and Loughborough) that I know, including the 40% pass mark. (talk) 20:15, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
University of Manchester (at least the physics dept) has: first class honours = 70-100%, upper second class honours =60-69.9%, lower second class honours = 50-59.9%, third class honours =40-49.9%. Undergraduate Student Handbook. People on the boundaries can get vivas, and may be moved up. -- (talk) 23:40, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
At Oxford the boundaries were slightly different. To get a first, 2.1, 2.2, third, one had to get, for my School at least, an average of 68.5, 58.5, 48.5, and 38.5, I think (though the lower boundaries may have been higher than this my 0.5 to 1.5 marks), but in addition a certain number of papers had to be at certain marks, so one couldn't get a first with an average of 68.5 or above unless something like three papers were at 70 or above and no papers were below 50 - something like that. So there somebody could get a 2.1 with a higher average mark than somebody with a first depending on what marks were obtained in particular papers. Thus at Oxford, at least, classification is based on more factors than average mark. However, 70, 60, 50, 40, were seen to be equivalent to 1, 2.1, 2.2, 3.
The Pass School was rather different. It wasn't awarded to somebody who got very low average marks in the Honour School but somebody who took a considerably reduced number of papers. So whereas one would take maybe seven or eight papers for an Honour School one took four or five, perhaps, for a Pass School. I think the idea was that one decided before taking the exams that one was going for either the Honour School or the Pass School, but I suppose the examiners might exceptionally award a Pass degree to somebody who took the Honour School but failed several papers.--Oxonian2006 (talk) 14:34, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

At former polytechnics (that is, at 'post-1992' institutions), the honours grading system laid-out above is not only 'common' but, as far as I am aware, universal. Given that these constitute the majority of HE institutions in the UK, it is fair to say that this is the 'normal' way of determining honours. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:54, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Suffixing 'Hons'[edit]

When a candidate is awarded a degree with honours, adding '(Hons)' is an unofficial practice and not part of the official degree designation. As a compromise I have left out the reference to it being an affection which I agree is POV. BlueValour 17:14, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

But surely it's no more 'unofficial' than abbreviating the degree to BA in the first place since there aren't any 'official' abbreviations. My uni certainly used the (Hons) suffix in the titles of their courses, though of course my degree certificate has the full 'Bachelor of Arts with Honours'. My postgrad uni did the same. - Green Tentacle 22:54, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I have completed a BA(Hons). Some years later, I completed an MA by thesis alone. I notice that classmates who combined their Honours-level papers with their thesis (and not graduating BA Hons) use the abbreviation MA(Hons).

Now, I completed an MA by thesis alone so naturally cannot do that. Those that passed their thesis with the award of Distinction I have observed using the following: MA(Dist). However, I was awarded the next level down, Merit. How should this be abbreviated? MA(Merit)? No-one seems able to tell me. I ask for use in professional correspondence and documentation. (talk) 20:26, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

That's an utterly unofficial means - I've never seen anyone put the mark in their postnominals (and it gets very confusing as different universities use different outcomes, especially when it comes to "Merit" for Masters).
As for "combining" postnominals this is an area that generates a lot of confusion. In other fields, such as the Order of the British Empire, the various honours and awards are very clearly regarded as ranks, so anyone who is a Member (MBE) and is made a Commander (CBE) is now not a "Member" anymore and only lists "CBE" after their name and not "MBE" as well.
Traditionally universities regarded degrees conferred as ranks - so strictly speaking "Bachelor of Arts" mean "someone who has been admitted to the Faculty of Arts at the level of Bachelor" and someone who then got an MA was "raised" and not a BA as well. ("Faculty" in this context doesn't strictly mean "combination of university departments" as very often the "Faculty" named in the degree is not the same name as used for the ever changing internal university structure. I for example graduated with a BA and later an MA from a university that has never had anything called the "Faculty of Arts".) Oxford and Cambridge still follow this system, but as virtually all of their undergraduate degrees are in a different "faculty" from their higher degrees, it's generally only the no work MA that this applies to. (This system can get incredibly complicated if someone has degrees from different institutions...)
However most universities tend to regard degrees as qualifications in and of their own right, so will list the degrees separately (the Oxbridge MA is the main exception but given the lack of study an understandable one). A combinational postnominal would be out of the question.
When it comes to the undergraduate programmes that end in a Master's degree, this is primarily just the Bachelor's and Master's courses combined and tailored. The graduates only have Master's degrees. Your correct postnominals are "BA (Hons), MA". Timrollpickering (talk) 20:51, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm, I'm still not sure. I imagined that my completion of the MA superceded the BA(Hons). Those in the class that did their thesis immediately following their four honours-level papers had their degree judged on a combination of their honours paper grades and the thesis grade to determine which level of honours they would use. These people use the post-nominal MA(Hons).

Those of us that had completed a BA(Hons) and then some years later went back to write a thesis are marked solely on the thesis itself. Depending on your mark your thesis is then given an honours-type award. Thus it's not a grade as such. 'Distinction' equals First Class and 'Merit" which I got equals a 2:1. Hence I have noticed people using MA(Hons) and MA(Dist). However, MA's awarded with Merit seem to be reasonably rare from my university (I was the only one at my graduation!) as most people either pass without further recognition, MA, do the MA(Hons) deal or pass with Distinction, MA(Dist).

Thus, is MA(Merit) the proper postnominal form? (talk) 19:28, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

You could put MA (Merit) but it would look a bit silly. Maybe if you were advertising your academic services, e.g. as a private tutor, it would be a good idea. But in any setting that isn't self-advertising I don't see why you would. Indeed, I don't see why you would be putting the letters after your name unless you're advertising yourself somehow. In a social or even professional setting it looks a bit daft. When I had a proper job all my colleagues had lots of qualifications but only listed relevant ones, e.g. MIPPM for a payroll mananger who also had the letters BA, BD, AKC, FRSA to use if he wanted to. It's more classy to be understated!
If you have a BA (Hons) and MA from the same university just say MA, if from different universities put BA Name of University, MA Name of University.
I'm against (Hons). For one thing virtually everybody who has a degree has an honours degree, at least in England. A Pass School is very rare indeed (that is the Oxford terminology - I don't know about elsewhere; I know UCL has non-honours degrees that are awarded very rarely indeed). Whenever I see (Hons), which is thankfully rarely, I regard it with a degree of distaste. I have never put BA (Hons) after my name. Indeed, I have only put BA or MA after my name when writing to The Times on academic matters where it indicates membership of the university and explains my particular interest in the topic. There was a spate of letters in The Times a few years ago which had people signing letters John Smith MA (1st-class hons) (Edinburgh) etc. It was a series of letters about degree classification or something. My advice is just say MA. It's enough.--Oxonian2006 (talk) 16:30, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Just "MA" for a BA and MA from the same institution is confusing (other than Oxbridlin), especially as whether or not one gets a ..A or ..Sc can be pot luck in this day and age. Most universities regard degrees as qualifications in their own right and have never had the old "ranks in a faculty" set-up. The main use of letters is to indicate the qualifications one has achieved, so arbitarly limiting some and not others would be confusing. Timrollpickering (talk) 17:53, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't disagree, but it's a matter of context. If you're a schoolteacher or academic then by all means in the staff list you would perhaps want to appear as John Smith, BA, MA, PGCE, or Professor John Smith, BSc MSc (London), PhD ScD (Manchester), FRS, to show the full range of your qualifications. That said, at my school the Head Master and the head of English, to name but two, were both BA and MA of the University of Wales and just appeared as MA. The Head Master on his writing paper uses just the letters MA, although he does of course have a BA. Presumably he assumes that anyone will know that he also has a BA - indeed a BA (Hons). And also, having reached the dizzying hights of a headmastership, he probably doesn't need to advertise his credentials.
There is also a question about when it is appropriate to use initials for degrees anyway. As I said, I use mine only when writing about an academic concern. If you are writing to the local council about bin collection you do not need to advertise that you have a degree. If you are writing to The Times about the Higgs boson you may find your letter is more likely to be published if your writing paper advertises you as John Smith, ScD (Cantab). I have long puzzled over the reviser of my Cassell's German dictionary, Harold T. Betteridge, M.A. (Birm.), Ph.D. (Lond.) My guess is that he is a BA and MA of the University of Birmingham; but what does it profit him to tell us so? The style guides tell us that socially only DD is used. For other doctors just put Dr John Smith.--Oxonian2006 (talk) 12:09, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Not only it is appropriate to put abbreviations after your name, not only you are entitled to do it, but it is actually expected of you to do it. Your university should have issued you with a policy paper where it is explained to you the exact abbreviation you are entitled (and expected) to use, together with the official university abbreviation. All qualifications usually have abbreviations: for example Open University entitles its Certificate (60 CATS) holders to put Cert after their name, with further abbreviations denoting field of expertise and university, eg the Certificate in Health Science is Cert Health Sci (Open), and Diploma (120 CATS) is Dip, while Certificate of Higher Education (120 CATS) is CertHE, Diploma of Higher Education is DipHE, ordinary Bachelor's is BA (or BSc, BEng, etc), Honours degree is BA(Hons) (Hon if writing in US English), Postgraduate Certificate (60 CATS) is PgCert, Postgraduate Diploma is PgDip, Master's degree is MA (or MSc, MSc(Eng), MEng, etc), Master of Research is MRes, Master of Philosophy is MPhil, Doctor of Philosophy is PhD, Doctor of Science is ScD or DSc, Doctor of Letters is DLitt, etc, and for all of these one should perfectly add the Latin abbreviation of the university (but some universities have English abbreviations) like BSc (Open) or BA(Hons) (Oxon) or BA (Cantab). Adding the honours class and year of graduation is possible, too: BA(Hons I) (Oxon 06). Academic degrees abbreviations always must be befoe abbreviations conferred by professional or royal societies (eg BA (Open), FBCS) but always after abbreviations offered by orders (eg MBE, BA (Cantab), MIET) with no commas between abbreviations of the same type but with commas between abbreviations of different types, eg: OBE OC OBC, BA(Hons III) Phil (Cantab 95) BEng(Hons I) Aero (Open 98) MSc(Eng) Civ (Exon 03) PhD (Oxon 07) DSc (Open 08), FIET FBCS CPhys IEng CSci. Note that some abbreviations are not postnominals but rather conferred to be used before the name, eg Eur Ing. As I said, people are expected to use them, they are not given to individuals for advertising purposes but as a means to give one's dues to the societies and universities that gave one their postnominal letters. So when a gentleperson puts abbreviations after their name they do not do so to advertise themselves but rather to pay their dues to their alma mater. It is only non-gentlepersons that do not understand this and use postnominals in a vulgar way to advertise themselves. With this in mind, one would expect that not using postnominals would be a minor form of hubris (not paying due respect to their alma matter), but in practice it is often difficult to list all abbreviations. In the past I was using all my postnominals after my name and as a result whereever I was writing my name it became two lines long, and furthermore people started assuming that I was advertising myself while what I was doing what simply paying respect to my university and professional societies, so when I became bored of writing two lines of text just to put my name and got misunderstood by various people who are not aware of this kind of culture (having been raised in a degenerated egotistical society with no sense of respect to one's family, country, army, university, institutions, etc) I was faced with the dillema of either choosing which abbreviations were the most important to list or not listing any at all, and not wanting to make a judgement on the importance of different organisations and still running the risk of people from different backgrounds passing assumptions on me, I decided not to list anything at all. After all the people who recognise abbreviations are so few in our days that this kind of culture can, perhaps, be considered a thing of the past. NerdyNSK (talk) 21:03, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Good reference source for article[edit] Bwithh 02:01, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Neil Ascherson's triple first[edit]

Neil Ascherson only did History, which means it would have only been possible to get a double first. Is there any evidence he got a triple first? A UK Student forum member apparently emailed Kings and they said he only got a double first: Unadopted 16:49, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Drinker's degree[edit]

A minor point, but the article refers to a Third as being called a Drinker's Degree, and provides an appropriate reference. However, in this case the reference is wrong. A quick google search suggests that a 2:2 is commonly referred to as a Drinker's Degree. The author of the Guardian article got it wrong.--Victim Of Fate 13:01, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Difference between "with honours" and without[edit]

I'm not sure this is a clear cut matter. In Scotland the non honours degree takes three years, the honours degree four, whilst Open University has an "ordinary degree" that requires 300 CATS points and an honours degree requiring 360; but otherwise in my experience of England & Wales a Bachelors degree without honours is one that has been specifically denied honours for whatever reason - failing a year and having to retake is one but I'm not sure this is a universal application - rather than a distinctive different set of study.

Consequently I don't know if it's always the case that "first", "second" and "third" only apply to Honours degrees - I suspect some universities may apply them to all Bachelors degrees. Does anyone know of any clear sources on this? Timrollpickering 10:15, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

A Bachelor's degree can be issued with honours, if the student completes 360 CATS with adequate marks, or as an ordinary degree, if the student completes 300 CATS with adequate marks or 360 CATS with inadequate marks, but the exact details differ from university to university. Honours degrees are classified (first, 2:1, 2:2, third, and sometimes auregat). I have never heard of ordinary degrees with classification. It is not necessary that a student is denied honours to get an ordinary degree: a student may not wish to receive an honours at all. For example, 300 CATS can be completed faster than 360 CATS, so some students could prefer an ordinary degree to an honours one if they cannot wait to complete the 60 remaining credits (and half of these credits usually come from a short thesis), and even students who completed 360 credits may have preferred to not spend much effort at their studies and graduate with an ordinary degree instead if they believe that's enough for their purposes. An ordinary degree is not less a degree compared to an honours degree, they are both Bachelor's degrees, but the honours usually includes a thesis, so it denotes a higher mental achievement. Ordinary degree holders are entitled and expected to put BA (or BSc, BEng etc) after their name, while Honours graduates are entitled and expected to put BA(Hons), preferably including the classification as well, so a third-class is BA(Hons III), and as with all degrees the Latin name of the university and year of graduation can be put afterwards eg BA(Hons III) (Cantab 07). Students who complete 360 credits but fail to receive the necessary marks get an ordinary degree. NerdyNSK (talk) 20:18, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

As I recall it you needed 360 units, 180 of which must be at the "higher level", and must include a "substantial piece self-motivated study" ... or some such goobledygook (meaning a dissertation) for an honours degree. falling short of the 360, or not managing to finish the dissertation (or equivalent) would mean you could only matriculate without honours. As I understood it, classifications were available to anyone leaving with ordinary degree, DipHE, or whatever, but that might depend on the institution. And whether anyone takes any notice is another matter.

Possible confusion in this article, I believe these definitions have evolved over time, and what is written is the latest system being applied in all or some British institutions. I'm really not sure it is universally true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Not all ordinary degrees are a result of a "failed honours degree" in England, either. With the Open University you can accept an ordinary degree and then do another course to gain full honours. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:33, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Special degree[edit]

The article should say something about a 'special', occasionally awarded at Cambridge (and maybe e.g. Oxford), which I suspect is the same as or similar to a pass degree. (talk) 20:14, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

I have never heard of the special degree being award at Oxford. However, I do know somebody whose brother was given one at Cambridge. The Pass degree at Oxford is awarded to those who satisfy the examiners in a Pass School. I don't know how the special is awarded at Cambridge. There is a mention on this website of somebody obtaining a special degree from the University of London, but I think it must mean something different as the person has obviously had a distinguished academic career. Indeed it appears that in India 'Special' means something good, so he may be transferring the Indian terminology. Academic_degree#Scotland gives a Scottish meaning. It seems also to be a term meaning the same as a War Degree.--Oxonian2006 (talk) 01:03, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree something should be said about this. AFAIK a Special at Cambridge is like a pass degree, i.e. the lowest level of degree, and is rarely awarded. I'm not sure whether it's possible to fail a Cambridge degree, as it was traditionally the case (and may still be) that if you are in Cambridge for nine terms you qualify for a degree, so I think a Special may be really a fail masquerading as a minimal pass. (talk) 20:57, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

What an uninformative us the crap about cockney slang...[edit]

Where are the equivalencies of the various degrees, first, second etc. with the % of the grades, isn't that the single most important thing to write here.... Who gives a damn if 11% of the students graduate with a first if you give no indication of what %100 of the total grade is a first anyway...

I added it myself based on a query here in discussions by another user. (talk) 23:34, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I second the motion to remove this paragraph; it is irrelevant to those outside of the regions in the south of England.--Vindicta (talk) 23:04, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Where on earth did that slang come from? I am from the south of england and attended a London university and have never heard any of those. I don't really think it adds anything to the article. Philman132 (talk) 13:04, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree with Vindicta and Philman: remove the section on slang. I haven't heard any of these in the UK (where I graduated in the 1960s and the 1980s) or in Australia (where I now teach undergraduates), and the allusions to media celebrities would have to be both local and ephemeral. Nor have I heard any Australian equivalents. For those who remember it - one might just as well include a "Porterhouse Blue". --Wikiain (talk) 23:36, 3 December 2010 (UTC)


I would love to see, the list of abbreviations concerning the above-mentioned degrees. Right now the article is incomplete. For instance, I know that second class is abbreviated to 2:1, but how about firs, we write like (Hons I), (Hons) I, that kind of stuff is quite handy for prospect applicants for postgrad --huski (talk) 12:40, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Applicants for postgraduate places and grants will state their qualifications fully, with emphasis on an honours class, in their application. They will probably also supply academic references, which would discuss their honours class and sometimes where they came within that class (e.g. high, medium and low "first"). Abbreviations will be irrelevant. --Wikiain (talk) 23:44, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

BA vs BSc[edit]

Removed from article: "However, this includes BSc degrees. As assessment for arts degrees (B.a) is more normative and less mathematical, therefore, it can be said that much fewer than 11% of candidates graduate with a First-class honours in the UK. " by

Presumably "much fewer than 11%" is meant to refer to either BA or BSc students specifically, since 11% overall (for that year at least) is assured by the reference. Either way it needs a source, and doesn't change the fact stated in the previous sentence. Plus I don't believe the variation is even greater than BA vs BSc: I think within these degree types, or even within individual subjects, different institutions do things differently. Finally, saying that 11% of candidates got a first in a particular year is different from saying that universities always give the top 11% of candidates a first (that's not even suggested in the article). Quietbritishjim (talk) 08:49, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Since the removed text appeared to think that BA and BSc degrees necessaroly cover less and more mathematical subjects respectively, which is of course incorrect, it's a good job it was removed. BAs in Physics, Computing, Chemistry, Geology, Biochemistry, Mathematics and so on are awarded by some British universities. For example at Oxford, every first degree course leading to a bachelors degree leads to either a BA or a BFA, not to a BSc. Michealt (talk) 15:34, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

International Comparison

This section is clearly biased toward UK degrees. Statistics have been selected that inaccurately reflect the standing of a UK degree. For instance, the UCL entry criteria do not represent commonly recognised equivalence rates between the two systems; but are useful for the authors attempt to bolster the reputation of UK degrees against their US counterparts. Traditionally, conversion points for the two systems have been 1st = 3.5 and above, 2:1 = 3.0 and above, 2:2 = 2.0 and above, 3rd = 1.00 and above. Both systems have experienced inflation over recent years. However, statistics show that these grades are still comparable when considering the percentage of students who achieve each grade level. The median grade for US GPAs has crept up to around 3.1 (; while close to 60% of UK students receive a 2:1 degree. This indicates that 3.0 is still a good estimation of a 2:1.

Exeter University’s conversion system seems to be more realistic. As already stated, UCL's system uses a slightly unusual scale. It is a misleading scale to use in this instance.

Finally, I am a UK citizen with degrees from the UK and Canada. The comment above, that a narrowly focused UK three year degree is more valuable than a US 4 year degree, is a peculiar concept. Global university rankings certainly do not support this view.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Aimacdon (talkcontribs) 20:23, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

My experience (extensive) of the rest of Europe, and my knowledge of Canadian and Australian (and some US) graduates supports your point of view. It is in any case effortlessly demonstrated that the UK is expert in overstating the standing of its education system, but also (very importantly) playing the "game" in order to score higher rankings than are representative. It is for example easily demonstrable that universities in The Netherlands place much more serious demands on students (on balance) but select, teach, spend, and grade in ways that simply less easily score "points" on the extremely US-centric league-tables that exist. They also do not play the "higher ed rat-race" by for example, publishing 100 papers, instead of a single book. It is also common practice to compare unlike with unlike, by trying to put Cambridge and Oxford up against the lower quality end of the American system (which if anything seems to have an even wider "range" from "serious" to "trivial" institutions, if you follow my meaning). UK are imbued with a culture of talking oneself up, because Britain has made so much money out of talk. Constantly bragging about having a lot of foreign students for example, without stopping to think that perhaps English as the most widely spoken second language, attracts people to a country where they can already understand what is being said. The constant offensive and unsupportable-in-fact attempts to suggest that they can do in 4 years (including one pointlessly easy one) what others take 5 6 sometimes 7 years to achieve, are most remarkable in how long they have been (at least somewhat) accepted overseas.
For the record, the US is also extremely guilty of the same "bolstering" with graduates from the Technisch Universiteit Delft (where I studied) being refused for having "low grades" while in fact they were looked upon as academic giants, whose academic results were considered to truly beggar belief. The US, when dealing with mainland European degrees applies a sort of handicap that essentially makes our "A-" look like an American C+. This produces a very great deal of resentment and irritation, needless to say. (talk) 00:37, 4 December 2010 (UTC) Princeofdelft (talk) 00:39, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Copyright problem?[edit]

Could some other editors please compare this article with what I have found here:[[2]]. Is there some kind of a copyright violation? For example:

Wikipedia - Regulations governing the progression of undergraduate degree graduates to postgraduate programmes vary between universities, and are often flexible. A candidate for a postgraduate master's degree is usually required to have at least a 2:2 degree, although candidates with 2:1s are in a considerably stronger position to gain a place on a postgraduate course and to obtain funding.
International Staff - Regulations governing the progression of undergraduate degree graduates to postgraduate programmes do vary between universities, and are often flexible. A candidate for a postgraduate master's degree is usually required to have at least a 2:2 degree, although candidates with 2:1s are in a considerably stronger position to gain a place on a postgraduate course and to gain funding.

There are several other examples to be found. International Staff claims copyright at the bottom of the page. What does everyone think? Rtdixon86 (talk) 23:39, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

International Comparison[edit]

The 'NQF' section at the end of international comparisons is poorly worded and is irrelevant to this article on degree classifcation rather than a misplaced discussion on the merits of degree types and levels. Talk of 'NQFs' should be confined to their respective place, i.e. degree levels and types. (Henry C) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:58, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

GPA equivalence table confusedness[edit]

I suppose it's a problem in the source, but the GPA equivalence chart says a First is like a 4.0 and a 2:1 is like no more than a 3.67 GPA. Either nobody in the UK is equivalent to an American getting 3.67-4 (an amusing thought), or the chart should have that range covered by either the First Class or 2:1 ranges. Since 11% of British undergrads get them, it sounds like it could plausibly correspond to 3.67-4 (or maybe the cutoff's a bit higher, in which case the upper end of the 2:1 range is past 3.67). End idle observation. (talk) 02:20, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

History section?[edit]

This article shoud have history section. It would drastically improve the quality of the article. Mootros (talk) 08:47, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I think this is great suggestion. I also believe that, but for the difficulty in finding information, regardless of the quality of the source, this would have been added. Google Scholar, like the rest of the Web, has plenty on bachelor's degrees and honours degrees; but, as far as I can see, there is nothing on the origins or history of them. --Qwerty Binary (talk) 15:00, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

' ... a minor form of hubris'?[edit]

Surely, the use or omission of postnominals depends on context. On a professional letterhead it is appropriate, but in personal correspondence many people consider it pretentious. Moreover, the standard of many English bachelor's degrees is so low that it is faintly laughable to use postnominals unless they are actually required for professional purposes. It has nothing to do with being or not being a 'gentleperson' or with showing respect for one's alma mater. After all, there was a time when the title page of school text-books included things like Sometime Exhibitioner of New College, Oxford under the author's name. That has gone out of fashion. Usage changes.

Oh, and by the way, is one really expected to show respect for one's alma mater even if one learned very little there and if the course was poor? Norvo (talk) 02:38, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

"Standard of many English bachelors degree is so low..." English degrees are rated the highest around the world and are some of the most challenging. The use of post nominals does depend on context but any English degree is impressive enough to add greater weight to any formal letter or official correspondence.

When did Oxford split the Second Class into 2:1 and 2:2?[edit]

The article states that Oxford did not divide the Second Class degree into upper and lower seconds until the late 1970's. Is this correct? The citation provided states "the 1970's" without specifying early, middle or late. I suspect that, perhaps, an informal division may have applied before an official division. I know that two of my closest friends who graduated in 1971 were informed that they had obtained upper seconds, but in at least one of these cases the information came in the form of a letter from his tutor. When he decided to do a second degree many years later after retiring, and was told he would need to show that he had at least a 2:1, he found that the University records did not make the distinction and he had quite a job to provide some form of written evidence. Nandt1 (talk) 12:26, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Oxford didn't split the second class into two parts, it renamed its second class 2:1, its third class 2:2, and its fourth class 3. It always seems to me a great pity that the rational numbering 1,2,3,4 was overcome by the irrational 1,2:1,2:2,3; it would have made more sense if everyone had gone over to 1,2,3,4. I know the renumbering was pretty recent, but not exactly when it happened - certainly after 1971. However, before the renumbering it was common for tutors to have to point out that Class II was what the funding body wanted when it said a 2:1 was required to gain a research grant, so what was in a letter from a tutor or what it was interpreted as is not necessarily the same as what was shown in the posted class lists. Michealt (talk) 14:55, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Moderations and Prelims[edit]

The statement in the article that "At Oxford, where examinations are split between Prelims for the first part and Honour Moderations for the second part, the results of the Final Honour School are generally applied to the overall degree" doesn't correspond with my experience. Of course things may have changed, but at least until recently the first exam was either Prelims or Mods, depending on subject, so Mods wasn't the second part and no-one took both Prelims and Mods unless they changed subject from one that had prelims to one that had Mods. The second part was always Finals. Michealt (talk) 15:03, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree and that can also be found at [1]. I decided to update the article to reflect this fact. Catrincm (talk) 14:10, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Other British Undergraduate degrees[edit]

Many British Universities (eg Oxford, Warwick, and many more in all England, Scotland, and Wales) award undegraduate master's degrees such as for example M.Eng, MMaths, M.PhysPhil, MChem, MBiochem, MPhys; if the article is to live up to its title the classification of these degrees should be covered as well as undergraduate bachelors degrees, but currently it isn't covered at all. Michealt (talk) 15:37, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:British undergraduate degree classification/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

It is incorrect to state that South Africa does not follow the Latin honours system - we do. We do not speak of first class, second class, etc. degrees as in the UK. The South African system works on an aggregate mark represented as percentage (obviously out of 100). Should this aggregate exceed 75% the degree is conferred "with distinction" or "cum laude" depending on the institution.

== General degree ==

Why is there no reference to the General degree, which is awarded by Scottish universities? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:02, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Last edited at 11:03, 1 September 2012 (UTC). Substituted at 10:20, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

I looked up this article after finding Michael Gove had been awarded what was described as a 2.1 degree from Oxford. If this is correct, when did Oxford begin to split its Second Class Honours degree awards? The article doesn't say. My own Second was just that - undivided. i missed the glory of a Fourth. No option of a 2.1 was then available. Enlightenment, please86.138.156.52 (talk) 14:59, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

Comparison with United States[edit]

Grade equivalencies given by Durham University and by the UK NARIC were removed from the summary table by Hyungjoo98 with the explanation that "the source is not a formal one". Grades left in the table were supplied by University College London, London School of Economics and the University of Oxford (the latter two both only for one level). Some of the Durham grades were, confusingly, left in the table but no longer associated with a citation giving their source.

The NARIC grades are used extensively throughout the comparison section of this article, and the Durham grades are also used in the Canadian equivalencies table; both are also mentioned in the text with reference to the US. None of this content was removed. The Durham source is particularly useful here as it is the only UK source to be based on equivalent educational attainment rather than on preparation for advanced studies in a particular field, where the lower degree of concentration in the US (the major typically making up ~50% or less of the course compared to close to 100% in the UK) might also be factored in.

I have restored the table to its previous state as the sources removed were as reliable as other sources that were left in and the edit was inconsistent with the rest of the article. If there is a good reason for the removal of these sources, I invite Hyungjoo98 to discuss it here. Robminchin (talk) 02:30, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ [3]