The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading structure for undergraduate degrees or bachelor's degrees and integrated master's degrees in the United Kingdom. The system has been applied (sometimes with significant variations) in other countries and regions.
The classification system as currently used in the United Kingdom was developed in 1918.Honours were then a means to recognise individuals who demonstrated depth of knowledge or originality, as opposed to relative achievement in examination conditions.
Concern exists about possible grade inflation. It is claimed that academics are under increasing pressure from administrators to award students good marks and grades with little regard for those students' actual abilities, in order to maintain their league table rankings.The percentage of graduates who receive a First (First Class Honours) has grown from 7% in 1997 to 26% in 2017, with the rate of growth sharply accelerating toward the end of this period. A 2018 study by the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment concluded that improvements in faculty skill and student motivation are only two of many factors driving average grades upward, that grade inflation is real, that the British undergraduate degree classifications will become less useful to students and employers, and that inflation will undermine public confidence in the overall value of higher education. Students already believe that a First or upper Second, by itself, is no longer sufficient to secure a good job, and that they need to engage in extra-curricular activities to build their CV.
A bachelor's degree can be an honours degree (bachelor's with honours) or an ordinary degree (bachelor's without honours). Honours degrees are classified, usually based on a weighted average (with higher weight given to marks in the later years of the course, and often zero weight to those in the first year) of the marks gained in exams and other assessments. Grade boundaries can vary by institution, but typical values are given below.
Students who do not achieve honours may be awarded an ordinary degree, sometimes known as a 'pass'. Ordinary degrees, and other exit awards such as the Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE; for completing the first two years of a degree course) and Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE; for completing the first year of a degree course), may be unclassified (pass/fail) or, particularly in Scotland where the ordinary degree is offered as a qualification in its own right, classified into pass, merit and distinction.
Integrated master's degrees are usually classified with honours in the same way as a bachelor's honours degree, although some integrated master's degrees are classified like postgraduate taught master's degrees or foundation degrees into:
At most institutions, the system allows a small amount of discretion.A candidate may be elevated to the next degree class if his or her average marks are close to (or the median of their weighted marks achieves) the higher class, and if they have submitted several pieces of work worthy of the higher class. However, even students with a high average mark may be unable to take honours if they have failed part of the course and so have insufficient credits.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a bachelor's degree with honours normally takes three years of full-time study and usually requires 360 credits, of which at least 90 are at level 6 (final year of a bachelor's degree) level, while an ordinary bachelor's degree normally requires 300 credits, of which 60 are at level 6.In Scotland, the honours bachelor's degree takes four years and requires 480 credits with a minimum of 90 at level 10 of the Scottish framework (last year of the honours degree) and 90 at level 9 (penultimate year), while the ordinary degree takes three years and requires 360 credits with a minimum of 60 at level 9 (last year of the ordinary degree).
In Scotland, it is possible to start university a year younger than in the rest of the United Kingdom, as the Scottish Higher exams are often taken at age 16 or 17 (as opposed to 18), so Scottish students often end a four-year course at the same age as a student from elsewhere in the UK taking a three-year course, assuming no gap years or students skipping the first year (direct entry to 2nd year).
When a candidate is awarded a degree with honours, ’(Hons)’ may be suffixed to their designatory letters – for example, BA (Hons), BSc (Hons), BMus (Hons), MA (Hons).An MA (Hons) would generally indicate a degree award from certain Scottish universities (c.f. Scottish MA) and is at the same level as a bachelor's degree.
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has published the number of degrees awarded with different classifications since 1994–1995. The relative proportions of different classes have changed over this period, with increasing numbers of students being awarded higher honours. The table below shows the percentage of classified degrees (i.e., not including fails or unclassified degrees such as MBBS) in each class at five-year intervals; note that HESA stopped giving statistics separately for third class honours and pass degree after 2003 and that a small number of undivided second class honours degrees (shown under "other" along with "unknown", which makes up the bulk of this category) were awarded up to 1996.
First Class Honours, referred to as a 'first', is the highest honours classification and indicates high academic achievement. Historically, First Class Honours were uncommon, but as of 2019 are awarded to nearly thirty percent of graduates from British universities. [ additional citation(s) needed ]The increase is said by some commentators to be due to student-demanded grade inflation rather than the quality of students or improvements to their education.
In the early 1990s, First Class Honours went to about 7% of graduates, or about one student in 15.In 2010 and 2011, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reported that approximately 15% of all degree candidates graduated with First Class Honours, or about one student in seven. In 2019, First Class Honours were given to 29% of students, or three in ten students.
The percentages of graduates achieving a First vary greatly by university and course studied.Students of law are least likely to gain a first, while students of mathematical sciences are most likely to gain a first. In 2006–2007 and 2010–2011, 5.8% and 8.1% of law students gained a first, respectively. In those same years, 28.9% and 30.0% of mathematics students gained a First, respectively.
A first class honours degree is sometimes colloquially known (in rhyming slang) as a Geoff Hurst (First)after the English 1966 World Cup footballer.
The upper division is commonly abbreviated to '2:1" or 'II.i' (pronounced two-one). The 2:1 is a minimum requirement for entry to many postgraduate courses in the UK. It is also required for the award of a research council postgraduate studentship in the UK, although possession of a master's degree can render a candidate eligible for an award if their initial degree was below the 2:1 standard.
The percentage of candidates who achieve Upper Second Class Honours can vary widely by degree subject, as well as by university.
A 2:1 degree is sometimes nicknamed an Attila the Hun (two-one) [ citation needed ]in the UK. The term Bren gun is also sometimes used as rhyming slang.
This is the lower division of Second Class degrees and is abbreviated as '2:2' or 'II.ii' (pronounced two-two). It is also informally known as a 'Desmond', named after Desmond Tutu.
Third Class Honours, referred to as a "Third", is the lowest honours classification in most modern universities. Historically, the University of Oxford awarded Fourth Class Honours degrees and, until the late-1970s, did not distinguish between upper and lower Second Class Honours degrees.Securing a Fourth was considered something of an achievement, which might enhance rather than reduce career prospects.
Informally, the Third Class Honours degree is referred to as a "gentleman's degree" (cf. the "gentleman's C" in U.S. parlance) [ citation needed ]and in the UK as a Douglas Hurd (Third) after the 1980s Conservative politician of the same name, despite the fact he graduated with a First Class Honours degree in History in 1952.
Approximately 7.2% of students graduating in 2006 with an honours degree received a Third Class Honours degree.
While most university bachelor's degree courses lead to honours degrees, some universities offer courses leading to ordinary degrees.Some honours courses permit students who do not gain sufficient credits in a year by a small margin to transfer to a parallel ordinary degree course. Ordinary degrees may also sometimes be awarded to honours degree students who do not pass sufficient credits in their final year to gain an honours degree, but pass enough to earn an ordinary degree.
Some Scottish universities offer three-year ordinary degrees as a qualification in their own right, as well as an honours degree over four years. This is in contrast to English universities that have honours degrees with three years of study. An ordinary degree in Scotland is not a failed honours degree, as in certain English universities. Students can decide, usually at the end of their second or third year, whether or not they wish to complete a fourth honours year. Scottish universities may also award their ordinary degrees with distinction if a student achieves a particularly good grade average, usually 70% or above. A common example of a Scottish ordinary degree is the Bachelor of Laws course taken by graduates of other subjects, as this is sufficient (without honours) for entry into the legal profession.
An aegrotat ( // ; from Latin aegrotat 'he/she is ill') degree is an honours or ordinary degree without classification, awarded to a candidate who was unable to undertake their exams due to illness or even death, under the presumption that, had they completed those exams, they would have satisfied the standard required for that degree. Aegrotat degrees are often qualified with an appended ’(aegrotat)’.
Following the introduction of current regulations regarding mitigating circumstances, aegrotat degrees are less commonly awarded than they previously were.
At the University of Cambridge, undergraduate Tripos examinations are split into one or more Parts, which span either one or two years. Each student receives a formal classification for each Part (i.e. Class I, II.i, II.ii, or III).Until October 2020, officially a grade simply existed for every Part of the degree, not for the overall degree. For students beginning their course of study from October 2020, a final class is awarded across the course of study, according to an algorithm determined by the Tripos.
At the University of Oxford, a formal degree Class is given, and this is typically based on the final examinations. In Oxford, examinations for Prelims or Honour Moderations are also undertaken in first/second year, but these results do not typically affect the final degree classification. Until the 1970s, the four honours divisions in Oxford's moderations and final examinations were named first, second, third and fourth class, but eventually Oxford gave in and adopted the numbering used by other English universities.
At the University of Cambridge, Triposes (undergraduate degree examinations) are split into one or more Parts. Attaining First Class Honours in two different Parts culminates in graduating with a 'Double First'.It is possible in some Triposes to be awarded a 'Starred First', for examination scripts that "consistently exhibit the qualities of first class answers to an exceptional degree." Some Cambridge alumni who achieved Firsts in three Parts of the Tripos are described by their colleges and others as having achieved a 'Triple First'.
Oxford sometimes grants a congratulatory first, which The New York Times described as "a highly unusual honor in which the examining professors ask no questions about the candidate's written work but simply stand and applaud",and Martin Amis described as "the sort where you are called in for a viva and the examiners tell you how much they enjoyed reading your papers". A 'double first' at Oxford usually informally refers to First Class Honours in both components of an undergraduate degree, i.e., Moderations/Prelims and the Final Honours School, or in both the bachelor's and master's components of an integrated master's degree.
At University College London, candidates who perform well beyond the requirements of a standard First Class Honours may be nominated to the Dean's List. This is generated once per year and recognises outstanding academic achievement in final examinations. There are no set criteria for nomination to the list, but typically only a small number of students from each faculty are nominated per year.
Comparable recognition in other anglophone countries is the award of a University Medal.
The University of St Andrews gives equivalencies between French and British grades for its study-abroad programme.Equivalencies for the purposes of initial teacher training have also been derived by the UK NARIC for 1st, 2:1 and 2:2 degrees, which do not align with St Andrews' table.
|British class||French grade range|
|St Andrews||UK NARIC|
The South African Qualifications Authority(SAQA) compares international degrees with local degrees before any international student continues their studies in that country. While the British degree accreditation and classification system allows students to go straight from a three-year bachelor's degree onto a master's degree (normally requiring a 1st or a 2:1 – those with a 2:2 or a 3rd usually require appropriate professional experience), South Africa does not do so unless the student has proven research capabilities. South African Honours degrees prepare the students to undertake a research-specific degree (in terms of master's), by spending an in-depth year (up to five modules) creating research proposals and undertaking a research project of limited scope. This prepares students for the research degrees later in their academic career.
The UK NARIC has derived equivalencies for the grades of the Spanish grado and licenciatura degrees for purposes of initial teacher training bursaries.
|British class||Spanish equivalent|
|Lower Second||6 +|
The Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education (NUFFIC) has compared UK degree classification to Dutch degree grades.Dutch equivalencies have also been calculated by the UK NARIC.
|British class||Dutch equivalent|
|Upper Second||7 to 8||6.5+|
|Lower Second||6 to 7||6+|
|Third||5.5 to 6||–|
NUFFIC also noted that the grading culture is different in the Netherlands, so that it is very rare for even the best students in the Netherlands to be awarded a 9 or a 10, which represent near perfection and absolute perfection.
US comparison services treat English three-year bachelor's degrees and American four-year bachelor's degrees as equivalent.Some British sources, such as the Dearing Report, consider British honours degrees equivalent to a US master's degree and US bachelor's degrees as equivalent to British pass degrees in terms of the standard reached in the major subject, due to the higher degree of specialisation in the UK. However, British institutions generally accept US bachelor's degrees for admission to postgraduate study (see below).
In comparing US bachelor's degrees to British honours degrees, equivalencies can be expressed in terms of either US grade point averages (GPAs) or letter grades. British institutions normally state equivalence in terms of GPAs. Approximate mappings between British classifications and GPAs can be inferred from the graduate admissions criteria used by British universities, which often give international equivalents. For example, University College London (UCL) equates the minimum classification for entrance to GPAs using 2:1 = 3.3 and 2:2 = 3.0.Different universities convert grades differently: the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) considers a GPA of 3.5 or better as equivalent to gaining a 2:1, while the department of English Language and Literature at Oxford considers a GPA of "about 3.8" equivalent to a first class degree. Similarly, the UK NARIC gives equivalent GPAs for determining eligibility for teacher training bursaries. Durham University's North American Undergraduate Guide gives a conversion table as a guide to understanding British classifications (rather than for admission to postgraduate study) of 1st = 3.8–4.0, 2:1 = 3.3–3.7, 2:2 = 2.8–3.2 and 3rd = 2.3–2.7. The GPA conversions are summarised in the following table:
|US GPA Equivalent|
|Upper Second||3.3+||3.3–3.7||3.2+||3.5+ (LSE)|
Letter grade equivalents are more commonly used by American institutions. World Education Services (WES),a nonprofit organisation which provides qualification conversion services to many universities and employers, gives 1st = A, 2:1 = A−/B+, 2:2 = B, 3rd = B−, Pass = C. The Fulbright Commission has also created "an unofficial chart with approximate grade conversions between UK results and US GPA." The table below summarises these conversions, including GPA equivalents for the WES grades given using the letter grade to GPA conversion of Duke University.
|US equivalents (Fulbright)||US Grade|
|Equivalent GPA to WES|
Grades (using Duke conversion)
Canadian academic grades may be given as letters, percentages, 12-point GPAs or 4-point GPAs. The 4-point GPAs are sometimes seen to differ from the US but other sources treat them as equivalent. The Durham conversion specifies GPAs for the US and letter grades/percentages for Canadawhile the UK NARIC has separate GPA conversions for the four-year bachelor's honours, baccalauréat and professional bachelor's degrees (which differ from their US GPA equivalents by at most 0.1) and the three-year bachelor's degree (which is seen as a lower standard). The British Graduate Admissions Fact Sheet from McGill University uses the conversion 1st = 4.0; 2:1 = 3.0; 2:2 = 2.7; 3rd = 2.0; Pass = 1.0; Fail = 0.0.
|Canadian GPA equivalent (NARIC)||Canadian GPA|
|4-year (Bachelor Honours degree)||3-year (Bachelor's degree)|
|First||85%+||A to A+||3.7+||73%||A−||10||3.9+||90%||A||12||4.0|
|Upper Second||77% – 84%||B+ to A−||3.1+||73%||B||8||3.5+||80%||B+||10||3.0|
|Lower Second||67% – 76%||C+ to B−||2.5||62%||C+||6||3.1||73%||B||8||2.7|
|Third||60% - 66%||–||–||–||2.0|
Degrees in the UK are mapped to levels of the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (FHEQ), which includes the Framework for Qualifications of Higher Education Institutes in Scotland (FQHEIS), which has an alternative numbering of levels corresponding to those of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). Bachelor's degrees (including the Scottish MA, but not including medical degrees, dentistry degrees or degrees in veterinary science) attained in the UK are at FHEQ level 6/FQHEIS level 9 (ordinary) or 10 (honours); master's degrees (including integrated master's degrees and first degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science) are at FHEQ level 7/FQHEIS level 11, and doctoral degrees are at FHEQ level 8/FQHEIS level 12. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees map to first, second and third cycle qualifications in the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area.
Regulations governing the progression of undergraduate degree graduates to postgraduate programmes vary among universities, and are often flexible. A candidate for a postgraduate master's degree is usually required to have at least a 2:2 bachelor honours degree, although candidates with 2:1s are in a considerably stronger position to gain a place in a postgraduate course and to obtain funding, especially in medical and natural sciences. Some institutions specify a 2:1 minimum for certain types of master's program, such as for a Master of Research course.
Candidates with a Third or an 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 at bachelor's level.
Some universities, such as those in Australia, offer ordinary or pass degrees (for instance, as a three-year B.A. or a three-year BSc) by default. High-achieving students may be recognised with an honours classification without further coursework or research, as is often the case in engineering (which often contains a research and thesis component)or law. However, other courses (such as humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences) and other universities may recognise high-achieving students with an honours classification with further coursework or research, undertaken either concurrently with, and as part of or in addition to, a bachelor's course, or after completion of a bachelor's course requirements and attaining adequately competitive grades.
Some graduate degrees have been or are classified;however, under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), no graduate-level degrees (i.e., master's by coursework, master's by research, or higher research degrees) may be classified. To comply with this standard, some institutions have commenced, or will commence, offering high-achieving graduates with "distinction". Notably, this is consistent with British graduate degree classification.
In the United Kingdom, medicine is usually taught as an undergraduate course, with graduates being awarded a master's level qualification: normally the conjoined degrees of Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, BM BCh, MB ChB, etc.) although at Queen's University Belfast (and universities in Ireland) Bachelor in the Art of Obstetrics (BAO) is added, and at some universities only the Bachelor of Medicine is awarded – all of these have equal standing. Unlike most undergraduate degrees, the MBBS is not normally considered an honours degree, and thus is not classified into first class honours, etc. Students may be awarded "Merits" and "Distinctions" for parts of the course or the whole course (depending on the institution) and "Honours" may be awarded at some institutions for exceptional performance throughout the course (as a grade above Distinction).
Medical schools split their year groups into 10 deciles. These deciles are the major factor in the calculation of Educational Performance Measure (EPM) points used as part of medical students' Foundation Programme applications, with the top decile receiving 43 points, decreasing by a point for each decile (so the lowest gets 34 points); 7 points can be awarded for other educational achievements (other degrees and publications), and the EPM points are combined with up to 50 points from the Situational Judgement Test to give a total out of 100.
Following the recommendation of the Burgess report into the honours degree classification system in 2007, the Higher Education Academy ran a pilot in 2013–2014 in collaboration with 21 institutions delivering higher education (ranging from Russell Group universities to Further Education colleges) to investigate how a grade point average (GPA) system would work best in Britain. Two main weighting systems were tested: an American-style average of all marks, weighted only by credit value, and weighting by "exit velocity" in the manner of the honours classification, where modules in the first year are given a low or zero weight and modules in the final year have a higher weight (a third model was only rarely used). Over two-thirds of providers preferred exit-velocity weighting to the straight average.
A GPA scale, tied to percentage marks and letter grades, was recommended for use nationally following the study, to run in parallel with the honours degree classification system.
Based on colloquial rhyming slang, British undergraduate honours degree classifications have gained a number of more or less common nicknames, based on the names of various well-known current and historical figures. The following is a summary of these.
|Class||Nickname||Source of nickname|
|1st||Geoff, Patty or Damien||World Cup 1966 England footballer Geoff Hurst, heiress and kidnap victim Patty Hearst, or artist Damien Hirst|
|2:1||Attila, Don or Trevor||Attila the Hun, Don Juan or Trevor Nunn (after the famous theatre director)|
|2:2||Desmond||South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Also referred to as a drinker's or boozer's degree (origin unknown). Probably because the work required to get a first or a 2:1 does not allow for much time in the student bar[ citation needed ]|
|3rd||Douglas||After 1980s British Home Secretary Douglas Hurd|
|Thora||After actress Thora Hird|
|Richard||After King Richard III|
|Vorderman||Countdown television celebrity Carol Vorderman, who achieved third class grades in all her years at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge|
|Fail||Dan||After the 44th Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle.|
Postgraduate education involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees, academic or professional certificates, academic or professional diplomas, or other qualifications for which a first or bachelor's degree generally is required, and it is normally considered to be part of higher education. In North America, this level is typically referred to as graduate school.
Bachelor of Arts is the holder of a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate program in the arts. A Bachelor of Arts degree course is generally completed in three or four years, depending on the country and institution.
An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including bachelor's, master's and doctorates, often alongside other academic certificates and professional degrees. The most common undergraduate degree is the bachelor's degree, although in some countries there are lower level higher education qualifications that are also titled degrees and higher level.
A master's degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. A master's degree normally requires previous study at the bachelor's level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the area studied, master's graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.
A bachelor's degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to six years. The two most common bachelor's degrees are the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science. In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate educations after a first degree has been completed, although more commonly the successful completion of a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for further courses such as a master's or a doctorate.
Undergraduate education is education conducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically includes all postsecondary programs up to the level of a bachelor's degree. For example, in the United States, an entry-level university student is known as an undergraduate, while students of higher degrees are known as graduate students. In some other educational systems, undergraduate education is postsecondary education up to the level of a master's degree; this is the case for some science courses in Britain and some medicine courses in Europe.
Degree abbreviations are used as an alternative way to specify an academic degree instead of spelling out the title in full, such as in reference books such as Who's Who and on business cards. Many degree titles have more than one possible abbreviation, with the abbreviation used varying between different universities. In the UK it is normal not to punctuate abbreviations for degrees with full stops, although this is done at some universities.
Latin honors are Latin phrases used in some colleges and universities to indicate the level of distinction with which an academic degree has been earned. This system is primarily used in the United States. It is also used in some Southeastern Asian countries with European colonial history, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, although sometimes translations of these phrases are used instead of the Latin originals. The honors distinction should not be confused with the honors degrees offered in some countries, or with honorary degrees.
A graduate diploma is generally a qualification taken after completion of a first degree, although the level of study varies in different countries from being at the same level as the final year of a bachelor's degree to being at a level between a master's degree and a doctorate. In some countries the graduate diploma and postgraduate diploma are synonymous, while in others the postgraduate diploma is a higher qualification.
Honours degree has various meanings in the context of different degrees and education systems. Most commonly it refers to a variant of the undergraduate bachelor's degree containing a larger volume of material or a higher standard of study, or both, rather than an "ordinary", "general" or "pass" bachelor's degree. Honours degrees are sometimes indicated by "Hons" after the degree abbreviation, with various punctuation according to local custom, e.g. "BA (Hons)", "B.A., Hons", etc. In Canada, honours degrees may be indicated with an "H" preceding the degree abbreviation, e.g. "HBA" for Honours Bachelor of Arts or Honours Business Administration.
A Dean's List is an academic award, or distinction, used to recognize the level of highest scholarship demonstrated by students in a college or university. This system is most often used in North America, though institutions in Europe, Asia, and Australia may also employ similar measures. It is often synonymous with honor roll and honor list, but should not be confused with honours degrees.
A Diplom is an academic degree in the German-speaking countries Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and a similarly named degree in some other European countries including Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine and only for engineers in France, Greece, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Brazil.
A Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom. It is awarded after two years of full-time study at a university or other higher education institution. Rated as a Level 5 qualification on both the Regulated Qualifications Framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the European Qualifications Framework, the DipHE was once seen as the more academic equivalent of the Higher National Diploma, which was perceived as vocational. However, universities have since integrated both qualifications into the first and second years of an undergraduate honours degree, and they can now be considered equivalent.
Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) is used by many universities in the United Kingdom to monitor, record and reward passage through a modular degree course and to facilitate movement between courses and institutions. One UK credit is equivalent to the learning outcomes of 10 notional hours of study, thus a university course of 150 notional study hours is worth 15 credits, and a university course of 300 notional study hours is worth 30 credits. A full academic year is worth 120 credits and a full calendar year 180 credits. CATS schemes in use in Higher Education in the UK include CATS, SCOTCAT (Scotland), the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales credit framework (Wales), the Learning and Skills Development Agency credit framework and Open College Network credits.
The Bologna process for standardisation of European higher education specified an undergraduate degree of at least three years called the "licence" or bachelor's degree, followed by a two-year diploma called the master's degree, then a doctorate, meant to be obtained in at least three years. Because of these indicated schedules, the reform is sometimes (erroneously) referred to as "3-5-8". The system applies to the European Higher Education Area.
An academic certificate is a document that certifies that a person has received specific education or has passed a test or series of tests.
In the UK education sector, there are a wide range of qualification types offered by the United Kingdom awarding bodies. Qualifications range in size and type, can be academic, vocational or skills-related, and are grouped together into different levels of difficulty. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, qualifications are divided into Higher Education qualifications, which are on the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) and are awarded by bodies with degree awarding powers, and Regulated qualifications, which are on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and are accredited by Ofqual in England, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment in Northern Ireland and Qualifications Wales in Wales. In Scotland, qualifications are divided into Higher Education qualifications, Scottish Qualifications Authority qualifications and Scottish Vocational Qualifications/Modern Apprenticeships, which are on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). Scottish Higher Education Qualifications are on both the SCQF and the FHEQ.
A graduate certificate is an educational credential representing completion of specialized training at the college or university level. A graduate certificate can be awarded by universities upon completion of certain coursework indicating mastering of a specific subject area. Graduate certificates represent training at different levels in different countries and can be at bachelor's degree or master's degree level.
This is a list of grading systems used by countries of the world, primarily within the fields of secondary education and university education, organized by continent with links to specifics in numerous entries.
The national qualification frameworks in the United Kingdom are qualifications frameworks that define and link the levels and credit values of different qualifications.
The programs result in degrees such as the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Laws, and Bachelor of Education, all of which are equivalent to a bachelor's degree in the U.S. system.
7.21 The team gained the impression, based on an inspection of syllabuses and examination papers, that the American high school diploma compares in standard with GCSE and the associate degree with GCE A-level and Advanced GNVQ, the bachelor's degree with a UK pass degree or higher national diploma and the Master's degree with a bachelor's honours degree from a British university. Further evidence for this conclusion: Howard University in Washington, a university in which over 99 per cent of undergraduates are black, admits overseas applicants from the West Indies with five GCE O-level grades at A–C to the first year of their bachelor's degree programme; Johns Hopkins, one of the most prestigious of the private universities, states in its prospectus that advanced placement is available for students entering with either International Baccalauréat or GCE A-level. The rider must be added, however, that an American education is very much more general than a UK education right up to bachelor's level; it would hardly be reasonable, therefore, to expect the same standard to be reached in the major subject. It was also noted that, in the highest quality institutions, some individual modules taken by senior students compared well in level with UK final honours standard. A given student would take rather fewer of these more demanding modules than a UK student, however.
Master's degree - in terms of specialisation, the American Master's degree from prestigious colleges and universities is considered comparable to the British Bachelor (Honours) degree. Candidates who have followed academically rigorous programmes have reached a standard comparable to that of a British taught Master's degree.