Can a 2:2 lead to a master’s?

In the final year of her history degree, Roisin Miller was offered places on two MA courses, both conditional on her being awarded a 2:1.

But her performance in her final exams was affected by mental health problems and Miller missed a 2:1 by 0.3%.

Fortunately, a letter from her personal tutor resulted in an offer of a place on a master’s course at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she’d taken her BA. She passed with a high merit.

If your master’s place is conditional on having a 2:1, how likely is it that you will still be able to study for one if you get a 2:2 – and is it a good idea?

Catherine Fletcher, director of the MA progammes in history at Sheffield University, says that her department is unlikely to accept lower than a 2:1. “We don’t want to admit people who we think are going to struggle, because it’s not good for them and it’s not good for us.”

She suggests, however, that if a student is committed to history and is willing to gain some years of professional experience, they might be looked on more sympathetically.

The good news is that, although many courses stipulate a 2:1, there are some that will accept students with less.

Oliver Smith, a programme leader of the MSc in criminology at Plymouth University, says that he doesn’t only look at degree class: “We want to know that potential candidates are keen to gain something from completing the course, and that they are motivated to stick at it.”

He advises students to make sure that in their application they identify strengths in particular modules: “Show yourself to be a motivated learner, and illustrate how the master’s fits into your long-term goals.”

Like Fletcher, he believes that those who have spent time in a relevant job have much to offer – his course includes some serving police officers with no previous experience of higher education.

But Fletcher warns against assuming that a master’s degree will wipe out the impression given by a 2:2 when it comes to finding a job.

Miller, now an account manager in PR, agrees: she found her 2:2 meant employers looked less favourably on her initially. She doesn’t, however, regret doing her master’s.

Not only did she enjoy it, but it helped her bounce back: “I’ve worked for a government minister, so I’ve done some phenomenal things as a result of regaining that confidence.

“Getting a 2:2 definitely doesn’t mean it’s the end, but you’ve got to be more determined.”

(Source: TheGuardian)


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