Are Merit Masters degrees respectable? Watch

T4toni
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Is a Merit at masters level respectable or is it seen the same way as a 2:2 at undergrad? Does anyone know the percentage of students that get a distinction?
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evantej
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(Original post by T4toni)
Is a Merit at masters level respectable or is it seen the same way as a 2:2 at undergrad? Does anyone know the percentage of students that get a distinction?
Why would a merit be equivalent to a 2.2? If anything it would be equivalent to a 2.1. I imagine the percentage of people getting distinctions is marginally smaller than those who received firsts at undergraduate level because they are harder to get (you often have to get distinction in everything; it is not based on average marks), but the quality of postgraduate students is relatively higher.

Of course there is no proof of any of this. There are no percentages as postgraduate study is not government funding and universities are not required to provide any relevant statistics to the likes of HESA. You could ask individual departments but I doubt even they would know without having to do some research first.
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T4toni
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Thanks!
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Klix88
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One of my colleagues has a Merit and is still considered to have realistic prospects for a funded PhD at Oxford. Mind you, she was only 0.1% off a Distinction so it could be that the transcript will come into play more at this level. She also has the active backing of a respected Professor at our Masters uni and a resulting top-end reference, which helps.

I think things get a little more subtle post-Masters, than just the basic grade.
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*Elizabeth*
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Obtained both Merits in my MScs > won a competitive PhD scholarship > obtained a researcher job at UCL > won a place on a professional doctorate in psychology.

Very few people in my MSc group obtained Distinctions. Only one student within my MSc cohort at UCL obtained a Distinction and that was very rare according to the course director. Also, I think some universities differ on awarding distinctions. Some require an overall 70% average and at least a 70% average in a dissertation. Others award distinctions if students obtain at least 70% in four modules and at least a 70% in a research dissertation.

Also, with some careers (ie health psychology) applicants need at least a Merit in an MSc in Health Psychology to progress onto stage 2 professional doctorate in health psychology.

With applicants with 2.2 undergrad degrees, for admissions onto the clinical psychology doctorate, for some universities, some applicants require at least a Merit with a 65% average to meet the eligibility criteria.

All in all, I think a Merit at MSc level is beneficial for career progression, especially within psychology careers.
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beryolga
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Hi
I have A diploma in sports Massage with merit
My results were 87% and 88%.
So I guess you need to get 90% to get distinction
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Klix88
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(Original post by beryolga)
Hi
I have A diploma in sports Massage with merit
My results were 87% and 88%.
So I guess you need to get 90% to get distinction
Grade thresholds differ between types of qualification, courses and universities. Looks like it was 90% for your qualification at your organisation, but that doesn't mean it will be the same elsewhere. The Distinction threshold for my Masters was 70%.
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Baron of Sealand
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There's no comparison. Only universities care if you apply to a doctoral programme, but even in that case it's just one of the many factors for them.
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Yojojo786
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An undergraduate degree is to a Master's degree as GCSEs are to A levels (i.e. general to specialist). Master's degrees are on a higher level with no easy, direct comparison.

However, if you must compare, consider this:

Master's pass = 2.1
Master's with Merit: First
Master's with Distinction: Displays scholarly level capability (just as, I would argue, a First at undergraduate shows an understanding of a subject that borders Master's capability.
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Gangway
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Back at the IOE they didn't even "offer" merits, just pass or distinction.
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flywithemma
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(Original post by Gangway)
Back at the IOE they didn't even "offer" merits, just pass or distinction.
My masters (archaeology at Oxford) also doesn't offer a merit - it's either a fail, a pass or a distinction. It's a bit annoying that what is called a merit elsewhere is simply classed as a 'pass' here, but I guess you can stipulate the actual result breakdown in situations where it matters.
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JamesManc
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Lol, I'm aiming for a double merit, I'd love a distinction but I don't work hard I admit, but academia is pointless generally so don't worry.
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hellodave5
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Masters tends to be optional in the UK. At that level after the undergrad, related experience is probably more important, I would have thought.
Completing an intense course in itself is fairly challenging. Pass and merit are quite common at masters level.
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JamesManc
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(Original post by flywithemma)
My masters (archaeology at Oxford) also doesn't offer a merit - it's either a fail, a pass or a distinction. It's a bit annoying that what is called a merit elsewhere is simply classed as a 'pass' here, but I guess you can stipulate the actual result breakdown in situations where it matters.
Yes, but oxford have that unfair thing were a bsc is converted to an mst or whatever after five years of incalcation.
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flywithemma
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(Original post by JamesManc)
Yes, but oxford have that unfair thing were a bsc is converted to an mst or whatever after five years of incalcation.
Oxford doesn't have a BSc degree...it's also a bit different because their BA three year degrees can be converted to MAs after seven years or something, but the university doesn't offer an MA any other way - all their masters courses are MPhil/MSt/BPhil/MMath etc.

There's also the issue that for about 95% of Oxford masters students that's totally irrelevant as it's only applicable to people who do their undergraduate degrees at Oxford, AFAIK.
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JamesManc
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I care not less if Oxford doesn't have a BSc degree
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NLPFun
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To add my bit to this conversation I have just received an average of 75% in my masters at Cambridge for the essays and 73% for the thesis. Under our marking system you need 75% for a distinction. My average mark is 75% (just) but due to falling short of a distinction for thesis I am capped at a pass. I have a first class degree from a good redbrick and I've been told I stand reasonable chance of PhD funding with a good proposal. Masters are graded differently - a few years ago I did a masters at Oxford with AHRC funding and suffered from serious mental health problems. I am OK now. I messed up this course although they granted it on a medical certificate. For this course I would have need two grades at 70% for a distinction and the other two at 65% and above. Luckily Cambridge has let me resign this course to history given my health and let me start over. Still it was awful getting a 75% average on my second masters (that seemed like a first masters to be honest) and not gaining a distinction.
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NLPFun
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(Original post by JamesManc)
Yes, but oxford have that unfair thing were a bsc is converted to an mst or whatever after five years of incalcation.
I didn't do my undergrad at Oxford (rather postgrad) but I am sure that I read in the handbook that a criminal conviction in the intervening period prohibits one from receiving the MA
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Camilli
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Cambridge has shifted their criteria around a bit. When I was doing my master's degree, though, the program had already printed up their manual about 15 minutes before the changes came through the departmental committee. So I lived by:

Distinction 75%
High Pass 70-74%
‘Leave to continue’ 67%
Pass 60%
Borderline Fail 59%
Absolute Fail 58%

After this, they started spreading out the upper range of that scale-- I don't know if that actually represents a different number for the same quality of work, or just encouragement not to squeeze everyone into the same two or three scores. The new scale is:



75 +: Marks of 75 and above indicate work of Distinction level
70-74: Marks of 70 to 74 are awarded for work of high quality, which nevertheless falls below the level required for a Distinction. These marks clearly support leave to continue to the PhD.
67-69: Marks of 67 to 69 are strong marks which will help the candidate securely to pass the course but will normally exclude leave to continue to the PhD. [BIG difference from my year. I don't know if an old 67 paper would get a 70 now, or if they're just lifting the entrance ladder just a bit higher.]
63-66: Marks of 63 to 66 are solid but medium-range marks.
60-62: Marks of 60 to 62 are weak pass marks.

And then the marginal and outright fails as above.


Oxford's internet-based application asks whether I got a P, M, or D-- and strictly speaking, I got none of those. If I were to translate Cantab-speak to Oxonian, however, I might be able to say "D", since the Oxford scheme in a similar degree is meritless:

70-100 Distinction
60-69 Pass
0-59 Fail

But that would only cause problems, so I'm going with "other" and the actual numerical marks.
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