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Encyclopedia > British degree classification

The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading scheme for undergraduate degrees (bachelor's degrees and some master's degrees) in the United Kingdom. The system has been applied (often with minor variations) in other countries, such as India, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, Malta and Canada. The Latin honors system used in the United States is similar to it. “GPA” redirects here. ... An undergraduate degree (sometimes called a first degree or simply a degree) is the most common and primary academic degree available and is normally studied at a higher education institution, such as a university. ... A bachelors degree (Artium Baccalaureus, A.B. or B.A.) is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts for three, four, or in some cases and countries, five or six years. ... “M.S.” redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Contents

Degree classification

A degree may be awarded with or without honours, with the class of an honours degree based on the average mark of the assessed work a candidate has completed. Below is a list of the possible classifications with common abbreviations. Honours degrees are in bold:

  • First-Class Honours (First or 1st)
  • Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1)
  • Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2)
  • Third-Class Honours (Third or 3rd)
  • Ordinary degree (Pass)
  • Fail (no degree is awarded)

The system does allow for a small amount of discretion and candidates may be elevated up to the next degree class if their average mark is close or the median of their weighted marks achieves the higher class, and they have submitted many pieces of work worthy of the higher class. However, they may be demoted a class if they fail to pass all parts of the course even if they have a high average. In probability theory and statistics, a median is a number dividing the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution from the lower half. ...


There are also variations between universities (especially in Scotland, where honours are usually reserved only for courses lasting four years or more) and requirements other than the correct average are often needed to be awarded honours. (In Scotland it is possible to start University a year younger than is normal in the rest of the United Kingdom as the Scottish Highers exams are taken at age seventeen, not eighteeen, thus four year courses end at the same chronological age as a rest of UK three year course, assuming no 'gap years'.) Motto (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity Cha togar mfhearg gun dioladh (Scottish Gaelic)1 Wha daur meddle wi me?(Scots)1 Anthem (Multiple unofficial anthems) Scotlands location in Europe Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic, Scots Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Queen Queen Elizabeth II...


When a candidate is awarded a degree with honours, '(Hons)' is sometimes suffixed to their type of degree, such as BA(Hons) or BSc(Hons) but this is an unofficial practice.


At Oxford and Cambridge, honours classes apply to examinations, not to degrees. Thus, in Cambridge, where undergraduates are examined at the end of each Part of the Tripos, a student may receive different classifications for different Parts. The degree itself does not formally have a class. Most Cambridge graduates use the class of the final Part as the class of the degree, but this is an informal usage. At Oxford, the Final Honour School results are generally applied to the degree. The University of Oxford (usually abbreviated as Oxon. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... The University of Cambridge, England, divides the different kinds of honours bachelors degree by Tripos, a word which has an obscure etymology, but which may be traced to the three-legged stool candidates once used to sit on when taking oral examinations. ...


In some universities, candidates who successfully complete one or more years of degree-level study, but choose not to or fail to complete a full degree, may be awarded a lower qualification — a Certificate of Higher Education or Higher National Certificate for one year, or a Diploma of Higher Education or Higher National Diploma for two years. A Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom. ... A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom, and is a BTEC qualification awarded by Edexcel, in England. ... A Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom. ... A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom. ...


First-Class Honours

In most universities, First-Class Honours is the highest honours which can be achieved, with about 10% of candidates achieving a First nationally.


A minority of universities award First-Class Honours with Distinction, informally known as a "Starred First" (Cambridge) or a "Congratulatory First" (Oxford). In Oxford the Congratulatory First involves a ceremony where examiners give a standing ovation. These are seldom awarded. For Pierre Bourdieus book Distinction see La distinction. ...


A "Double First" can refer to First-Class Honours in two separate subjects, e.g., Classics and Mathematics, or alternatively to First-Class Honours in the same subject in subsequent examinations, such as subsequent Parts of the Tripos at the University of Cambridge. Classics, particularly within the Western University tradition, when used as a singular noun, means the study of the language, literature, history, art, and other aspects of Greek and Roman culture during the time frame known as classical antiquity. ... Euclid, Greek mathematician, 3rd century BC, as imagined by by Raphael in this detail from The School of Athens. ... The University of Cambridge, England, divides the different kinds of honours bachelors degree by Tripos, a word which has an obscure etymology, but which may be traced to the three-legged stool candidates once used to sit on when taking oral examinations. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ...


A Cambridge "Double First" originally referred to a first in two different Triposes. The phrase "Double First" originally referred to people who got firsts in both the classical and mathematical Triposes ("double men"). The two-Tripos criterion for a "double first", even in vaguely related subjects as English and History, constitutes a far higher hurdle than simply repeating the same performance in competition with the same students in a Part II of the same Tripos; it is harder because the subject matter is different, and the candidate has to reach a mark of excellence in competition with people who would have been studying the subject for longer at university level.


At Cambridge it is possible to obtain a Double Starred First (noted recipients being Quentin Skinner, Alain de Botton, Lee Kuan Yew and Orlando Figes), or, in extremely rare cases such as Maurice Zinkin[1], Neal Ascherson and Abba Eban, a Triple-Starred First. // Quentin Robert Duthie Skinner (born 26 November 1940) is Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. ... Alain de Botton, (born 20 December 1969 in Zurich, Switzerland) is a writer. ... This is a Chinese name; the family name is 李 (Li). ... Orlando Figes, born 1957 in London, son of the Feminist writer Eva Figes. ... Charles Neal Ascherson, commonly known as Neal Ascherson (born October 5, 1931), is a Scottish journalist. ... Abba Eban (אבא אבן) (February 2, 1915 – November 17, 2002) was an Israeli diplomat and politician. ...


The Graduateship (post-nominal GCGI) awarded by the City & Guilds of London Institute is mapped to a British Honours degree.[2]


The Associateship (post-nominal ACGI) is conferred by the Council of the City & Guilds of London Institute on the recommendation of the Dean of the City and Guilds College in recognition of the ability to demonstrate, to the level equivalent to that of a degree of Bachelor of Science (Engineering), or Bachelor of Engineering, or Master of Engineering, the understanding and application of the principles of a branch of Engineering or of Computing Science approved by the Institute.[3]


Second-Class Honours

The bulk of university graduates fall into Second-Class Honours, which is sometimes divided into Upper Second-Class Honours and Lower Second-Class Honours. These divisions are commonly abbreviated to 2:1 (pronounced two-one) and 2:2 (pronounced two-two) respectively.


Third-Class Honours

Third-Class Honours is the lowest honours classification in most modern universities. (Until the 1970s, Oxford used to award Fourth-class Honours degrees, although they did not divide Second-Class Honours and so still had four classes like everyone else.) Roughly 20% of students achieving an honours degree receive a Third.[citation needed] The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979. ...


Third Class degree graduates can have very successful careers. Carol Vorderman, who received a Third Class degree, is well known for her skill at mental arithmetic and now co-hosts Countdown[4] with Des O'Connor. Hugh Laurie also achieved a Third Class degree, and has become a very famous actor[5]. Christopher Hitchens and David Dimbleby received Third Class degrees in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Carol Jean Vorderman MBE (Born in Prestatyn, North Wales is a Welsh television personality best known for being a long-standing co-presenter of Channel 4 game show Countdown. ... Desmond Bernard OConnor is a British entertainer, born January 12th, 1932 in Stepney, London. ... James Hugh Calum Laurie OBE (born June 11, 1959) is a Golden Globe-winning British actor, comedian and writer. ... Christopher Eric Hitchens (born April 13, 1949, in Portsmouth, England) is a British-born American author, journalist and literary critic. ... David Dimbleby (born October 28, 1938) is a BBC TV commentator and presenter of current affairs and political programmes. ...


Ordinary Degree

An Ordinary degree is a pass degree without honours. A number of universities offer Ordinary degree courses to students, but most students enrol in Honours degree courses. Ordinary degrees are sometimes awarded to students who do not complete an Honours degree course.


Aegrotat degrees

A candidate who is unable to take his or her exams because of illness can sometimes be awarded an aegrotat degree; this is an honours degree without classification, awarded on the understanding that had the candidate not been unwell, he or she would have passed. Aegrotat is a medical certificate of illness excusing students sickness. ...


Progression to postgraduate study

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 gain funding. Some institutions specify a 2:1. Candidates with a Third or ordinary degree are sometimes accepted, provided they have acquired satisfactory professional experience subsequent to graduation. A candidate for a doctoral programme who does not hold a master's degree is nearly always required to have a First or 2:1. For highly desirable programmes a First is usually required. “M.S.” redirects here. ... “M.S.” redirects here. ...


Undergraduate degree honours slang

An interesting form of rhyming slang has developed from degree classes, usually using names of famous people. Due to the conventions of rhyming slang, only the person's first name is used. Cockney rhyming slang is a form of English slang which originated in the East End of London. ...

  • A First is known as a Geoff or a Damien after Geoff Hurst[6] and Damien Hirst respectively ('First' rhymes with 'Hurst' and 'Hirst').
  • A 2:1 is known as an Attila or a Don after Attila the Hun and Don Juan ('2:1' para-rhymes with 'the Hun' and 'Juan').
  • A 2:2 is known as a Desmond after Desmond Tutu ('2:2' sounds like 'Tutu')[7][8].
  • A Third is known as a Douglas or a Thora after Douglas Hurd[9] and Thora Hird respectively. (as 'Third' rhymes with 'Hurd' or 'Hird').

Thirds are often lightheartedly referred to as 'drinkers' degrees'[10], with the implication that the graduate spent more time in the union bar than studying. An alternative designation, now archaic and usually facetious, is a 'Gentleman's Third', or, before the class was abolished, a 'Gentleman's Fourth'. A Third is also known as a 'Richard' after the monarch Richard III; a 'Vorderman' after the British television celebrity Carol Vorderman who received a Third at Cambridge[11]; or indeed a 'turd'. Finally, a Pass degree is sometimes known as a 'Khyber' (after the Cockney rhyming slang phrase 'Khyber Pass'). A fail is sometimes known as a Michael Palin (as 'failing' para-rhymes with 'Palin'). Sir Geoffrey Charles Hurst, MBE (born December 8, 1941 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire) is a footballer enshrined in the games history as the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final. ... The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living by Damien Hirst (1991) Damien Hirst (born June 7, 1965) is an English artist and the leading artist of the group that has been dubbed Young British Artists (or YBAs). ... Attila (AD 406 - 453), also known as Attila the Hun was Khan of the Hun people from 434 until his death and leader of the Hunnic Empire. ... Don Juan with his sword in Don Giovanni, by Chopin Don Juan is a legendary fictional libertine, whose story has been told many times by different authors. ... Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born 7 October 1931) is a South African cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. ... Douglas Richard Hurd, Baron Hurd of Westwell, CH, CBE, PC (born 8 March 1930), is a senior British Conservative politician and novelist, who served in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major between 1979 and his retirement in 1995. ... Dame Thora Hird (May 28, 1911 - March 15, 2003) was a veteran British actress born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. ... A students union, student government, student leadership,or student council is a student organization present in many elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities. ... Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England from 1483 until his death. ... Carol Jean Vorderman MBE (Born in Prestatyn, North Wales is a Welsh television personality best known for being a long-standing co-presenter of Channel 4 game show Countdown. ... Full name The College of the Lady Frances Sidney Sussex Motto Dieu me garde de calomnie God preserve me from calumny Named after Lady Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex Previous names - Established 1596 Sister College(s) St Johns College Master Prof. ... Cockney rhyming slang (sometimes intitialized as CRS) is a form of English slang which originated in the East End of London. ... Mountain passes of Afghanistan The Khyber Pass (also called the Khaiber Pass or Khaybar Pass) (Urdu: درہ خیبر) (el. ... Michael Edward Palin, CBE (born May 5, 1943) is an English comedian, actor and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries. ...


See also

A bachelors degree (Artium Baccalaureus, A.B. or B.A.) is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts for three, four, or in some cases and countries, five or six years. ... “M.S.” redirects here. ... A Master of Arts in Scotland is an undergraduate academic degree in humanities and social sciences awarded by the five ancient universities. ... Abbreviations are normally used to specify a degree, rather than spelling out the name in full, such as in reference books like Whos Who or on business cards. ... Most United Kingdom universities can be classified into 5 main categories, Ancient universities - universities founded before the 19th century Red Brick universities - universities founded in the 19th and early 20th centuries. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Joint Honours is a specific type of degree offered generally on Bachelor levels in the UK. Some students want to specialise in one subject and choose to study a single honours degree. ...

External links

  • British Council UK/US Grade Comparison

 
 

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