Importance of getting a first in an undergraduate degree


Hey, don't stress too much- there are two ESRC funded students on the same team as me in our department who got 2.1s, and there are probably others within the department too! If you can get a first, great, if you just miss it, I really wouldn't worry about it too much. As far as I can tell there are more funded PhD students out there with 2.1s (and yes, even 2.2s!) than firsts anyway. Just get a good masters in the subject you want to do your PhD in, and make some decent contacts with researchers whilst you're doing it. Most people I know managed to get their funding at the same department they did their masters through making a good impression and making contacts. You'll be fine! KB


As long as you get the requirements for funding (usually a 2.1) you should be fine. I finished my first degree (BSc) with a 2.1 and could have applied for a PhD straight away and have been accepted (I know a number of people who were). I decided I wasn't sure if I wanted to do a PhD so I did a research based masters in which I came close to a distinction but ultimately didn't get. I applied for a number of PhDs and was invited for interviews at all of them. So I don't think the degree classification comes into it. I think academic appreciate that there is a different aptitude required for a PhD than a first degree or masters.

If I were to give advice about applying for PhDs it would be to discuss things with the academics in your department even before any applications, let them know you are interested in doing a PhD and what area of your subject you want to do it in. If you already know speak to people about getting your masters dissertation topic in this field hopefully with someone that may have PhD places available. I know alot of people that have got onto PhDs from doing masters projects with their supervisor, but if that fails letting other academics know you are looking doesn't hurt