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Applying for masters with ordinary degree

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TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
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    During university I went through health problems that totally mucked up my degree. I was working towards a good honours degree but was unable to finish my dissertation, so graduated with an Ordinary. I have 2 questions. 1. Is it possible to top up an ordinary to an honours? 2. Do postgrad admissions take ill health/adversity during undergrad studies into consideration? I'm planning to work for a few years before thinking of a masters anyway but it worries me that my qualifications aren't good enough.

    Dont think thats possible

    Not sure about the first question. The only circumstance I know of where people have been able to do that is when they intentionally exited the OU with an Ordinary and subsequently topped it up.

    On your second question - If several years down the line, you have amassed considerable, relevant work experience, explain your undergraduate experience and can provide good strong references which also argue the case for you being able to study at postgraduate level, then you may have a good chance at most universities. Doing something at post-graduate certificate/diploma level whilst you're working may help your case (especially if you do well). Oxbridge is unlikely, until you have something like a strong Master's degree and great academic references under your belt (for a second Master's or a PhD).

    A big factor may also be your field of work and intended course of study.

    It's a bit difficult to prove mitigating circumstances in retrospect. If you'd gone through your uni's extenuating circumstances process at the time, you should have been able to get your degree marks adjusted - or more likely in your case, an extension or deferral for your dissertation submission. The fact that you didn't do that, might count against you.

    Having said that, if you can get an academic referee from your first uni to go through those mitigating circumstances in their reference, it might help your prospective uni be more confident in your academic potential. It would certainly be worthwhile firstly talking direct to a couple of potential academic referees at your old uni, to see if they would be willing to do that. If so, you could then contact some prospective unis and ask whether they would accept an application with your personal circumstances.

    Basically, you need to do some preparation and legwork in advance. If you just submit a Masters application cold with an Ordinary degree and no prior contact with your favoured uni(s), it is likely to be binned out of hand by the Admissions Office as soon as they get it. If you don't ask, you don't get.

    Realistically, its very unlikely that any conventional Uni would even consider you for postgrad. You simply do not have evidence of the appropriate academic ability. Any 'mitigating circumstances; would have been considered by your undergrad Uni, and without the dissertation component you have no research experience. Email some possible Unis and ask, but be prepared for No.

    However, its worth looking at the Open University. You may be able to use the your degree as 'credit' towards an OU degree (http://www.open.ac.uk/study/credit-transfer/) or you may be able to go straight onto an OU Masters degree, even with a undergrad Pass degree (http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/).

    What was your pass rate ? If you didn't have honours, but still had a high pass rate - you should be fine. It also depends on the university and the course !

    (Original post by However, its worth looking at the Open University. You may be able to use the your degree as 'credit' towards an OU degree ([url)
    http://www.open.ac.uk/study/credit-transfer/[/url]) or you may be able to go straight onto an OU Masters degree, even with a undergrad Pass degree (http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/).
    I second this, i am doing a degree with the OU and if their masters is like the undergrad, then it is quite good and I would recommend it. Vast experience may help in applying but the OU is a safer and more assured bet and their degrees are just as legitimate as brick unis..best of luck
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