Distinction, Merit, Pass...


Hi guys,

I got a 1st in my undergrad degree and am now doing a Masters. If I get a Merit in my Masters, should this be viewed as a bit of a failure given that I got a 1st at undergrad?

(I was never a good student, but these days there are even more distractions in my life. I have done 33% of my Masters and have a 65% average. Even if I do motivate myself, to get 70% overall would be really really tough. And a Merit is definitely not guaranteed either, I would probably need a bit of luck even for that).

Thanks a lot,


Does anyone know what percentage of students typically get a Distinction or Merit??


Afraid I don't know but I do know many people who claim to have got a distinction !

I'm aiming for one myself but not sure how seriously grades at Master's level are taken when applying for scolarships etc.

Good luck what ever you decide.


Cheers for that.

(Actually I am not planning to do a phd. I have got a job lined up instead, conditional on me passing my Masters. But I always aim to do as well as I can in everything I do in life so I guess I should keep an open mind about a possible Distinction. I am just worried that I do work harder and then just get a 68% or something, but then again there is this quote ... "To be successful your desire for success must be greater than your fear of failure"... )

I take a guess and say roughly 10% of students manage a distinction?


I understand where you are coming from. I got a first in my undergraduate degree and am doing an Msc at the moment. There may be a feeling and unless you get a distiniction then you arnt as good as you thought you were but I wouldnt think like that. Grades only matter when applying for a PhD and to be honest 65% is a very solid pass. I'd be quite happy to take 65% for my pass mark if I was offered it know. One thing to remember is: you got a first and know one can take that away from you. regardless how good or bad this masters goes. But im sure youll do fine


Hi, different people have different opinions but if you got 1st in your undergrad and Merit in your Masters than it won't be looked on as a failure. You have to remember now that half of the universities in the UK doesn't give a Merit or a Distinction, they just give a pass. When you apply for jobs they will ask you whether you have a Masters or not, regardless of a Merit or a Distinction. It's different when you apply for a PhD especially if the competition is hard.

Masters is tougher than Undergrad and you need D- to pass your undergrad and a B to pass your Masters. If you apply for a PhD, what's really going to count is your Masters project. Hey, 65% is a good mark.