Degree Classification

Future Project - Preparing you to study in the UK.

The classification system is the method of grading used to differentiate between the various degrees awarded. Degree classification is important as it is widely accepted by both employers and graduates as a measure of academic achievement.

It is common for many international corporations, blue chip companies and employers to only offer interviews to graduates who have attained a first or a 2:1 grade.

No matter what degree classification a graduate achieves, it is important to remember that they should always walk away from a course with a thorough understanding of the subjects they have studied.

  • First-Class Honours (70% and above)

In a majority of universities this is the highest honours that can be attained with roughly 5-10% of students reaching this level, depending on the subject.

  • Upper Second-Class Honours (60% – 69%)

The majority of employers looking to recruit graduates will be looking for candidates to have this level of degree classification.

  • Lower Second-Class Honours (50% to 59%)

Although not as good or valued as a 2:1 it is still acceptable to some employers.

  • Third-Class Honours (40% to 49%)

In most modern universities this is the lowest classification. Nationally only about 20% of students achieve this. Below this is generally a fail.

UK Grade Conversions – Canada & USA


General notes on UK degree classifications

  • British university degrees can be awarded with or without ‘honours‘.
  • The degree classification although strict is not rigidly fixed and does allow for a small amount of flexibility. This means that if their average mark is near to the assessment requirements then the university officials can use their discretion and elevate a candidate into a higher class.
  • In Scotland the honours are usually only awarded for degree courses lasting four years or longer.