I finished my degree in 2005 and got first class honours. However, I went on to do a Masters degree two years later and received quite a bad mark - 57%. I've always been a good student, and was on track to get a 2.1 or a 1st until I submitted a thesis which received 45%. I can't really explain why, but it's a combination of disliking the city I lived in, being a little bit depressed and isolated, disliking my thesis supervisor, and choosing a topic which I belatedly realized bored me to death.

After spending a couple of years travelling, teaching English etc, I've finally decided I want to enter an area which generally requires a postgrad qualification. However, I'm concerned that the admissions board will see my bad mark and assume I'm not cut out for postgraduate study, which I firmly believe to be untrue. The course I want to do is quite competitive.

I have two questions:
1.Do you think that this bad Masters mark will doom my chances of getting into this course?
2.If I were to simply leave it off my application, would the university be able to find this out, considering that I did it at a different uni to my undergraduate degree and there's nothing else in my application to say I ever attended that university? Is there a general national database or whatever of students listing all courses done? I could simply say I was travelling for the year.

Thank you.


======= Date Modified 04 Jan 2009 09:35:53 =======
One concern that shot to my mind is that the forms ask you to list all graduate institutions you have attended and send in all transcripts from degree courses. That, plus the fact that you must guarantee with your signature that you have been honest with the form, later failing which your status in the univ as a regd student may be jeopardized. And i think it may be a bit too much of a risk to take.

Just my two pence.

On hindsight i see that you are applying for a masters, not a Phd. well then i dont know how important your masters grade would be in any case, for my second masters my grades hadnt even been declared for the second of the two years, and it was from a diff country, but i entered my second masters pretty ok.


I experienced not dissimilar circumstances to you.
I 'came clean' about the 1st Masters to the Institution I was applying for the second (although informally with the course coordinator rather than splurging it on the form). Promptly got an offer, did said MA (though had difficulties on the dissertation component as I've mentioned before) but had already got funding for a PhD and am now really enjoying doing a PhD at same Institute.
A story in why to be honest perhaps?


If you were applying for a PhD straight off maybe it would matter - but for a second masters I don't think there would be any problem at all.

I did one year of a PhD which I confess I did completely edit out of my CV. Some years later I did another masters and I'm now finishing a PhD. During my PhD I did confess my earlier experience but my supervisor was not interested and asked no questions about it (maybe he wasn't listening ;-) )


Hi I did two masters before my PhD, and I think keep it in and you can explain if necessary but generally as long as you have two goods referees for aplying you should be ok. Good luck x


I did an MA and an MBA before applying for a PhD. I applied to several universities and was accepted to all of them. I son't see why a second master will be a problem. At least for me it wasn't. They didn't even aske me why I did 2 masters!


57%? bad mark? a friend of mine is doing a PhD and got a pass in his masters (mark in the 50's range). he was very happy :-) when i took my daughter to a university open day, think it was stafford, i met 2 ladies who were doing demonstrations. both ladies were funded on PhD's in forensics. one had a bachelors distinction. the other had a masters with a pass classification in the 50's! 57% many would class as a good attainment (up)


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Removed - advertising.


Hi alanjones26,

Was just wondering if you had any news - did you go ahead with the 2nd Masters? If so, did you aproach the same referees as you did the first time around? That's the thing I'm most nervous about at the moment. I'm in exactly the same position as you were, right down to the marks, and would love to know how you got on.

Thank you, hope it's all going well.


What isntitution are you considering for your 2nd Masters? It might play a role...