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Need clarifications on UK university system watch

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    Hello,
    I'm from Italy and from next September I should start a degree in London (at Westminster university) in International relations and Chinese (probably major in Int. relations and minor in Chinese).
    It lasts 4 years (there is one year abroad in China) and there is the possibility to do both a political internship in the second year and a year abroad in China (a full year of study or also 6 months of study at a chinese university and 6 of work in China). I know it's not really high in the league/ranking university table, but the course, subjects, a political/int. rel. internship, the year abroad in China and the location in Central London seemed good enough to choose that one.
    I'm a mature student (24), and I really would like some clarifications on the UK university system.


    1) I would like to know: is it common to find mature students (like 24-25) starting university in UK?

    2) How does the post-graduate work? Is it easy to get entry to a master's degree?

    In Italy (which has a totally different system) you have a laurea triennale which lasts 3 years (and it's your undergraduate). But in Italy many employers consider it worth next to nothing and if you want it to be worth something you have to continue with the LAUREA SPECIALISTICA, which lasts other 2 years. In italy the postgraduate (laurea specialistica) is considered the natural and expected continuation of your undergraduate degree. And it's not really hard to get into a specialistica (anyone with an undergraduate degree can enroll to a specialistica without any kind of selection for most of the subjects; they have free access).

    In italy a master is a totally different thing and usually lasts one year, but it's separate from the laurea specialistica (in fact in Italy you can get a 1° level master after your laurea triennale and a 2° level master after your laurea specialistica). Master in italy are considered as courses to specialize in a specific sector, while the laurea specialistica is the normal and expected continuation of the study in your first degree.

    How does postgraduate work in UK? I have seen some extremely interesting master. How hard is to get into one after you get an undergraduate degree? Is the undergraduate degree by itself well considered by employers? Especially if you get a degree in International relations and Chinese (so major/minor), will I be able to get entry to a master in International relations or security (maybe in a different university, qhich is also higher ranking)?

    3) Can someone explain the degree classification (Honours) in UK? Because in italy it's totally different: You just receive a score based on the average marks of the courses you have done during the degree and then receive some bonus points for your final thesis (the final score of your degree can be as high as 110).
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    (Original post by andrespi)
    1) I would like to know: is it common to find mature students (like 24-25) starting university in UK?
    There will be people of a wide variety of ages. Although the bulk of students starting university will be 17 - 19, you will find many your age. There will also be things like Mature Students socieites and social events for mature students.

    2) How does the post-graduate work? Is it easy to get entry to a master's degree?
    Most students leave university with just an undergraduate degree and then go into employment. Those who chose to specialise in an area, covert to a different degree/career, or would just like to continue studying for any other reason will do a postgraduate degree.

    Usually you will need a related degree. As far as politics masters go, providing you have a 2:1 or above, it is exceptionally difficult to get an offer. Funding is usually students' largest problem. Outside the sciences students often fund themselves, at least to some degree (and also in the sciences, it's just more common in the arts and social sciences to self-fund as funding is so competitive). If you get a first you will be in a stronger position to gain funding.

    As an increasing number of students have undergraduate degrees, people do take a masters in the hope that a higher qualification will give them an advantage.

    3) Can someone explain the degree classification (Honours) in UK? Because in italy it's totally different: You just receive a score based on the average marks of the courses you have done during the degree and then receive some bonus points for your final thesis (the final score of your degree can be as high as 110).
    It varies between universitiess and sometimes even departments within universities. In England, Scotland and Wales degrees are usually three years long (although they can be four years long if they include a work placement, internship, or masters year). Your degree classification is usually determined by your performance in the second and third year. The first year does not count towards your classification. But you still need to pass it.

    But it does vary.

    Scotland is different as degrees are usually four years long, not two years. It is in the final two years that you specialise in your subject.

    Degrees are classified accordingly from "top to bottom"

    First
    2:1
    2:2
    Third

    Then an ordinary degree without honours.

    Again, this varies by university and subject, medicine degrees don't take this format, for example.
 
 
 
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