Masters' degree classification?

15-Jul-10, 15:36
Avatar for itsmardan
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 15 38 2010 15:38:37 =======
I am not sure but just want to know, how UK degrees are differently classified?
for example, an undergraduate degree

First Class Honours (First or 1st or 1:1 or 1) (70%+)
Second Class Honours, Upper Division (2:1 or 2.i) (60%+)
Second Class Honours, Lower Division (2:2 or 2.ii) (50%+)
Third Class Honours (Third or 3rd) (40%+)
Ordinary degree (Pass)

While Masters
pass - MA, MSc, MBA, LLM
merit - MA (Merit), MSc (Merit), MBA (Merit), LLM (Merit)
distinction - MA (Distinction), MSc (Distinction), MBA(Distinction), LLM (Distinction)

Distinction is clear to me but what is Pass and Merit? how much percentage goes to each?
15-Jul-10, 15:42
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 8 years ago
Hey there! As far as I know, the masters is:

40%-59% Pass
60%-69% Merit
70% + Distinction

At least, that's what it is at my uni, I think it's the same acrosds the board though!
Best, KB
15-Jul-10, 15:56
Avatar for jepsonclough
posted about 8 years ago
My understanding (based on two different UK universities for Masters) is same as KB's
15-Jul-10, 16:37
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for Youngsta
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 15 Jul 2010 16:45:38 =======
======= Date Modified 15 Jul 2010 16:38:25 =======
Bit of a sore topic for me:
The threshold for an MA Distinction at Uni was 80%, rather than the customary 70%.
Yours truly wound up with an overall of 79.08%, ie. less than half of 1% away from an overall Distinction.

15-Jul-10, 16:44
by sneaks 5 star member
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 8 years ago
My uni operates the same - 40-59% etc.

BUT my course operates

50-59% pass
60-69% merit
70+ distinction,

so thats a bit scary when you come in from a 40% pass mark and you then have to work 10% better, just to pass!
17-Jul-10, 21:12
Avatar for killahtron
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 17 Jul 2010 23:33:36 =======
======= Date Modified 17 Jul 2010 23:23:02 =======
I have an average of 73% on my MSc so far, yet I have been told that I need a 75% on my dissertation alone to get a distinction. I think each university operates differently, and unfortunately in my case they have decided to make it even tougher.
13-Feb-11, 18:25
edited about 12 seconds later
by Cinthia
Avatar for Cinthia
posted about 7 years ago
1- Sorry for the basic question, but when you say 70%, you mean that your grades are above 70% or that you are on the top 70% of your class?

2- And as for the Masters, what is the difference between merit and distinction?

Thanks for any guidance,

13-Feb-11, 18:32
edited about 8 seconds later
by DanB 4 star member
Avatar for DanB
posted about 7 years ago
Just to point out as well some masters degrees don't offer merit, only distinction and pass. Some I have heard don't even offer a distinction. It's very institution dependent.
13-Feb-11, 19:11
by PierreR
Avatar for PierreR
posted about 7 years ago
You may find also that the University requires an average of 70% for taught course units (usually amounting to 90 points), and also an average of 70% for your project (lit review and dissertation, also 90 points). So 80% in course units and 65% in dissertation would just be awarded a merit, even though the overall average is over 70%. Check your Uni and School's PGT guidelines.
13-Feb-11, 19:11
by PierreR
Avatar for PierreR
posted about 7 years ago
======= Date Modified 13 Feb 2011 19:12:12 =======
double post, sorry, think my mouse is crocked.
11-Dec-13, 12:09
by kama77
Avatar for kama77
posted about 5 years ago
Some UK universities even have a grade A or B or C or D for the modules and dissertation. You wonder how they arrive at Pass, Merit or Distinction. For example, a student got A's in 3 modules, a B for the 4th module and a B for dissertation, yet the final result a PASS. Not knowing the %ges I would expect that this student gets at least a MERIT. It is all just confusing and it depends with the university you are in
11-Dec-13, 14:54
edited about 1 hour later
Avatar for MeaninginLife
posted about 5 years ago
Some students got first class honours because they chose some modules strategically.
Their PhD theses can be quite disappointing...

Similarly, some students got distinctions for Master because their supervisors were more helpful or lenient.
It could be more reliable to judge the originality of the students' papers published.

However, even the papers published could be improved significantly with the help of the reviewers.
So, we should not simply judge a person based on all these classifications.
11-Dec-13, 22:21
edited about 26 seconds later
by JanineG 2 star member
Avatar for JanineG
posted about 5 years ago
I got 69% in my exam, for one of my modules and that for my OU course was 1% off getting a Merit. BUT it is a pass at the OU, in other others it would be a merit grade. I got 54 or 55% in coursework in the same module as I had a 20% mark drop for an assignment as I was getting good grades.

Pity, I could have hauled the mark up from a pass to at least a merit, which is more important for getting on a PhD.
12-Dec-13, 16:36
edited about 28 seconds later
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 5 years ago
Lots of masters only do PASS or PASS with distinction. The OU being one fo them. Problem with the OU is the high grades needed for merits and distinctions anyway. 80% average in coursework and above 80% in exam/end of course assessment. To keep that up across all the modules is so difficult. OU will say their tutors are used to the marking scheme and mark accordingly. In real life I doubt this as they also usually work at brick unis and I suspect they mark them just the same meaning it actually is harder to get good grades at OU than anynother uni. I think this is why when you apply for PhD lots of unis will ask for your transcripts to see what percentages you actually got and a reference from the course that tells them what range you were int eh class overall e.g. were you in the top 10% of students.
03-Feb-14, 19:53
by shiny1
Avatar for shiny1
posted about 4 years ago
Hi, Can you help to work out how these marks convert to percentages?
I got 4 B's ( Pass) and 1 C ( Pass) for my modules and got Pass for my final grade.
Would another B give instead of C 'result' in a masters with a merit ?


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