University of London Grades

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by KevinKovach, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. KevinKovach

    KevinKovach New Member

    I will be finishing my MSc in epidemiology from the University of London External Programme this year. I expect to graduate with about a B GPA. I want to apply to a mid-level DrPH program from an associated school of public health (not Harvard, UNC, Emory or Michigan). Schools that are of interest to me are the University of Buffalo and East Tennessee State University among others. Does anyone know how a B from this program is perceived? I've also been trying to figure out how U of L's grading compares to the average American grading system. It seems to differ from both the UK system and US system? Has anyone had their U of L transcripts transferred/converted to the US? How did they change? Was it worth it?

    Thanks for everyone's help.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2008
  2. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    I don't have an answer to your question but do have a request.

    Please post a detailed thread about you UoL experience. The information might be useful to others.
  3. KevinKovach

    KevinKovach New Member

    This is my fifth and final year of the program. I went about as slow as you can through it. I started immediatly after graduating from Central Michigan University. I started working full time then as well.

    The positives of the program are:

    • the computer aided learning material is pretty good
      You get a good amount of text books
      The course work is challenging and you definetly learn the topic
      The web board can be a good place for discussing topics
      The program is flexible for working adults

    The negatives are:

    • The administration of the program is kind of bad
      your final grade in each course is based on very little course work
      the grading scale seems harder than the US
      In some courses the study materials don't seem to match up with assignments

    all in all, I liked the program. I think most of my problems were based on the difference between US and UK educational system. I still don't know how my grades stack up against my US counterparts. I would recommend it to people who need a very flexible school schedule and are very self directed. If you need any level of hand holding this is not the program for you though. I am also glad that the testing was hard, it seems to give it more credibility.
  4. novemberdude

    novemberdude New Member

    I spent a year studing the distance learning LLB with University of London. The grading is very different from that in North America.

    As a starting point you can look at these grade conversion scales:

    I can't remember precisely which subheader you have to look under, but if you read the titles it becomes fairly obvious.

    I have two English degrees and the marking system there didn't cause an issue when applying to a Canadian university, however the university I applied to was very familiar with English educated applicants and that might vary by school.
  5. smartasia2

    smartasia2 Guest

    I hope these links will help you figure out US vs. UK grades. If you look at the King's College, University of London link, I think your B is like a US B+. If you are using the percentage system, in general a grade of 60% and up in the US system is above a B.
  6. KevinKovach

    KevinKovach New Member


    that was very helpful. I've searched around the internet for awhile and haven't been able to find as useful information.
  7. vadro

    vadro New Member


    I graduated with a MSc degree from the Middlesex University in London with Merit.

    The Middlesex grade the PG as follows:

    Grades: 1-3 (UK "A") Distinction

    Grades: 5-7 (UK "B") Merit

    Grades: 9-16 (UK "C","D","E") Pass

    Between the different grades there are border lines grades (i.e. 4, 8) which have special rules.

    So in short, I believe that your B GPA should be equivalent at a Merit.

    Out of interest, here below the different Europeans grades.
  8. tcmak

    tcmak New Member

    From my experience...... if you get an average of 70 from all your subjects, you can probably get a distinction!

  9. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    I don't have a direct answer to your question but I do live only an hour's drive away from East Tennessee State University. Since their pharmacy program is brand new I would imagine that a master's degree in epidemiology would be perceived very favorably.
  10. kozen

    kozen Member

    Just need some help from here. So if i graduated with an overall of 3.22 GPA. what does it equivalent to UK grading system???

  11. vadro

    vadro New Member

    I am not quite sure, if 3.22 is equivalent at an "A" then it is a a Distinction for a PG degree.
  12. andypicken2

    andypicken2 New Member

    no offence intended here guys..

    but the US education system is pretty light compared to other countries.
    Coming from the UK and having lived in places like Korea, I would say the UK is basic also - but nothing compared to the US.

    To put this in perspective i went to univ in england for a BA in marketing. Many of my classmates went to univ in the states for a year in 2nd year (name witheld, but reasonable in rankings) , and they said it was the easiest thing they have ever done, like being in highschool junior.

    Some average ability korean students I knew from highschool went over to the US and in Math class they had to be moved into 3 or 4 years higher than their age group, because the level in the US was too low for them. It was like a 13 year old learning with 16 year olds

    Someone I know personally was at leeds university doing average (c grades), and transfered to one of the main california universities. He came back with top marks. (and said he did no work) !!

    Yes the education system is different in UK. It is harder !!
  13. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    Not exactly earth shattering news. However, the U.S. still manages to attract the some of the top student scholars in the world (despite our supposedly crappy educational system).
  14. KevinKovach

    KevinKovach New Member

    Do employers and US Universities know that US grades come easier than UK grades? I feel like I'm going to be at a disadvantage with my B grades compared to someone with higher grades from a US University. Especially since a B is the minimum for grad work at many US Universities but a C is the minimum (at least at U of L). I do have work experience so that helps out a bit.
  15. smartasia2

    smartasia2 Guest

    For a doctoral program (in general), the emphasis would be on your research skills rather than grades. So if you can prove that you are an outstanding researcher, than whatever your grades, you stand a chance. It helps that you have recommenders who are known in the field you are entering. Maybe you were able to do some research work for your masters that you can emphasize on your application essays.

    Also, from having worked with admissions people at my university, I noticed that there is a greater emphasis on your scores (GRE/GMAT) for those who graduated from non-US institutions. Unlike the UK, the US institutions put particularly large emphasis on test scores. This actually works to the benefit of international students, since their grades are more often than not lower than those of US graduates.

    So to answer your question: your grades are much less important than your ability to do research and your test scores. Of course, I am generalizing and am not 100% sure this applies to Doctor of Public Health programs.

    If you want absolute assurance whether your grades are enough, then there is no way anyone can answer that without you formally applying. You can get a 4.0 GPA and still get rejected to the top programs. In my university's programs, the PhD acceptance rate is around 5%, and almost all applicants have perfect GPAs.
  16. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck


    I can appreciate your question and your concern. Unless you do a school to school comparison you cannot generalize. Keep in mind that the US is 5 times larger than the UK and yet has the same literacy rate, despite having a huge variance in both content and quality across the nation. No country is even close in the ranks of the Nobel Prizes despite our faults.

    As for an anecdotal response a friend of mine has a bachelors and masters from Oxford, he also has a masters and a PhD from Johns Hopkins. In my discussions with him he stated there just isn't a generalization that will work. He offered the use of standardized tests scores, recommendations from known scholars, and personal interviews. Everyone, employers and academics, understand that country and field differences exist in higher education.

    I would probably ask the admissions office if they had any historical data regarding acceptance, GPA, policies, etc... that could help you make an informed decision. You could just apply and if you get rejected, ascertain the reason. If grades are the reason provide some citations or scholarly works that support your contentions and appeal.

    You might want to have a credential evaluation service evaluate your transcripts and provide a report that addresses your questions.

    Lastly, Smartasia2 has provided an excellent response.
  17. novemberdude

    novemberdude New Member

    What I did in one application was get a letter from the English university explaining the grading scheme (eg this quality of work is required to receive this grade) and how the marks approximately placed in terms of class rank (eg: this grade would usually be in the top x% of the class). This helped the university to which I was applying view the grades in context.
  18. warguns

    warguns Member

    I earned an LLM with Merit from London. Over SIX HUNDRED internal and external students took the exams (the degree is based solely upon exit exams).

    There was ONE "distinguished" (the highest standard) and only EIGHT "merits".

    Pretty high standards.
  19. smartasia2

    smartasia2 Guest

    I know how high the University of London's standards are. My ex-boss is a graduate of LSE and she used to tell me how she barely passed her MSc in Economics (i.e. she did not get a merit or distinction). And I know how strong she is in terms of academics.

    The sad part is that most US universities consider a Merit grade (that's a 60-70% right) equivalent to a US B or B+ average (see my earlier posts with the links). So in terms of grades, London students are at a disadvantage compared to students from US schools (where average graduate grades typically hover around 3.5-4.0 or in the A or A- range). But as I mentioned earlier, grades are just one component in the PhD application process. Moreover, corporate employers don't really care what grades you have in your masters degree (as long as you passed).
  20. warguns

    warguns Member

    London grades

    Honestly, I don't know if Merit equals 60-70%. It's hard for me to believe I only earned 70%.

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