US GPA Vs British honor classificaiton

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by rgoodman, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. rgoodman

    rgoodman New Member

    Does anyone know how to compare the US GPA to the British honor classificaiton?

    [email protected] New Member

    "First Class Honours (1st): Summa Cum Laude (GPA = 3.7 - 4.0)
    Upper Second Class Honours (2i): Magna Cum Laude (GPA = 3.3 - 3.69)
    Lower Second Class Honours (2ii): Magna Cum Laude (GPA = 3.0 - 3.29)
    Third Class Honours (3rd): Cum Laude (GPA = 2.7 - 2.99)
    Pass Honours (4th): Cum Laude(GPA = 2.3 - 2.69)
    The unclassified BSc degree will be awarded if the GPA achieved lies in the range 2.0 - 2.29."

    [email protected] New Member

    Hmm, they must be looking at US universities that are quite generous with Latin honors. Compare Excelsior's:

    "Cum Laude: GPA of 3.5 to 3.74
    Magna Cum Laude: GPA of 3.75 to 3.89
    Summa Cum Laude: GPA of 3.9 or above"
    --, p. 59
  4. agilham

    agilham New Member

    Yes. Very, very carefully ;-)

    Generally speaking, however, anything over a 3.0 GPA is seen as a second class degree or better. If you want to get into a graduate programme over here, and need an upper second (or equivalent), the boundary is somewhere between 3.3 and 3.5 depending on the university.

  5. jon porter

    jon porter New Member

    To do graduate work in the UK, they generally expect a good upper second, which they equate, rightly or wrongly, to a 3.0 GPA

    When I left Nottingham in '97, there were only a handful of IIii's in my department, even fewer thirds, and maybe one pass (or was it an ordinary? I forget). Six or seven firsts, if I remember correctly. When I left St Andrews in '91, the average was roughly on the line between a IIi and a IIii; firsts were very rare (Mediaeval History had only one, as, I think, did Modern) and there were rather a lot of ordinaries in a similarly sized department.

    Equating British degree classes with GPAs is a subjective and (in my opinion) an ultimately pointless exercise.
  6. jcryan

    jcryan New Member

    On a related note, does anyone know how to convert the British graduate grading system to the American GPA format? At Lancaster, one's work is rated from 0-100: 50 is passing, 70 is passing with distinction, 80 is high distinction, 90 is publishable, 100 is presumably a work by Kant or Socrates. One receives an overall mark for the program (course) of 50, 60, 70 etc., but it seems that calling a 70 an 'A' fails to take into account the potential, though unrealistic, to achieve an 80, 90, or 100. -John
  7. jon porter

    jon porter New Member

    When I taught at Nottingham, I gave maybe two or three marks above 70% -- in five years. I had to fight tooth and nail to give a 72 to a student who ended up getting the most brilliant first of her year (I also gave two students, now both with PhDs, their lowest marks in their university careers. Oh well.) There is no comparison between the two systems: don't try to make one.
  8. mgspillane

    mgspillane New Member

    When I went to Warwick, I don't think my GPA was ever revealed (just as well as most of my work had been transcripted on a pass-fail basis). A letter went from Regents College-USNY to Warwick to say that I had just graduated from USNY and this letter presumably enabled someone to tick a box on a form.

    (It would be interesting to know if the reaction would have been the same had the letter said "Excelsior.")

    One toffee-nosed academic told me that "American degrees are little better than 'A' levels," so when I put in a paper for my MA which she found impressive, I took great delight in telling her that it was based on one I had done for my American "A" levels.

    No doubt there are formulae for converting GPA to UK honours, but as standards vary between institutions in both countries, I doubt their validity. I suspect that, in admissions for higher degrees, it will largely come back to the case presented by the candidate and the reputation of the place where they graduated
  9. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, equating the British "Honours" system with the American G.P.A. and Latin honors is NOT a pointless exercise. When I applied to the U. of London LL.M. program, they were quite interested in my J.D. G.P.A. and my B.A. magna cum laude. They demanded transcripts of both degrees. U. of L. describes its entrance requirements in terms of theBritish system.
  10. clarky

    clarky New Member

  11. mgspillane

    mgspillane New Member

    The London LLM may be a special case - for a start, it will be based on the English system of Law, whereas the JD would be based on American law or even State Law. Was it the Law faculty or the U of L admissions office that scrutinised the transcripts?

    A British or English applicant with American degrees might be treated differently to an American with American degrees, who will have no UK cultural background.

    Also, the source of the degrees might be relevant: an applicant with Magna cum Laude from Neverheardof College might undergo even greater scrutiny than did nosborne48 - hence my point about Excelsior as opposed to USNY.

    It is not unexpected that the entry requirements were given in English terms. However, I expect that at the end of the small print there would be a get-out clause, enabling them to quietly admit an otherwise strong applicant whose qualifications did not exactly fit the criteria. (Lawyers are good at that!)
  12. jcryan

    jcryan New Member

    OK. According to the WES site:

    Scale 1 U.S. Grade Equivalents
    70-100 A

    65-69 A-

    60-64 B+

    50-59 B

    45-49 C+

    40-44 C

    0-39 F

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