While it can be hard to define, sometimes it is important to understand how good your grade is. This is especially as it could lead to opportunities in the future or even limit them both in an academic sense and in a working sense. This is especially important for an undergraduate grade, such as 2.1, as it can be less clear what it actually means. This is especially as you are unlikely to be as familiar with these grades as they don’t exist in earlier levels of education.
In short, a 2.1 grade in an undergraduate degree is good. This is especially as a 2.1 is the second highest grade you can get and because of the opportunities getting this grade can give you. Getting a 2.1 can greatly improve your academic advancement if you want to continue your education further. As some postgraduate degrees, such as master’s degrees or PhDs, will require you to have a 2.1 grade, a 2.1 is a good grade to get to improve your options. It can also greatly improve your career prospects.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2.1 degree classification and why it is a great grade to get. Included in this article will be more on what a 2.1 degree actually means, what opportunities a 2.1 degree can open to you and how many students even get one.
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What is a 2.1 degree in the UK?
In the UK, undergraduate degrees are graded using the degree classification system. This means that the final grade a student will receive will be based of a percentage that is translated into a degree class. These classifications are a first-class honours degree (1st), an upper second-class honours degree (2.1), a lower second-class honours degree (2.2) or a third-class honours degree (3rd).
A 2.1 or an upper second-class honours degree is the second highest grade in the degree classification system. The term 2.1 can also be written as 2:1 but either variation is said as “two one”.
In order to gain a 2.1, you will have to get at least 60% as your final grade. This final grade is often calculated via a weighted grading system that will generally have your Year 1 and Year 2 grades at a much lower weighting than your final year grade when it is put together to calculate your final grade.
For a better visual on how undergraduate degree classifications work, please refer to the following table.
To learn more about all of this and what a 2.1 grade is, check out this Think Student article.
Is a 2.1 degree good?
At any stage of education, it can be hard to figure out which grades are considered “good”. This even applies to GCSE-level education and you can find out more about what good grades are at this level in this Think Student article.
Trying to decide which grades are “good”, is incredibly subjective and you are likely to come across people with opposing views on what this means. Personally, I feel that a good grade is whatever grade that you are happy with and whatever will help you in the future.
However, if we’re to decide if a 2.1 degree is a good grade, it can help to have a bit more of a general criteria. In this case, at undergraduate level, a good grade can be identified by giving you adequate job opportunities, adequate academic opportunities, such as postgraduate study after you finish your degree.
When considering these criteria, a 2.1 is most definitely a good grade. This is because as it is the second highest grade that you can achieve at undergraduate level, it can give your applications, whether academic or for jobs, a little bit of a boost.
Also, getting a 2.1 in your degree subject can demonstrate that you truly are knowledgeable in your subject. I feel that this can be especially good to show off to potential employers if the jobs you are applying for relate directly to your degree, as it can show that you are more ready for this job.
If you want to study further, gaining a 2.1 degree can also help you out massively. This is especially as this grade is often what universities are looking for in their potential students. For more on this, check out the ‘What class of degree do you need for a postgraduate degree?’ section below.
How many students get a 2.1 degree in the UK?
While it is once again subjective, another way to consider how good a grade is, can be to see how many people get it. This can especially apply to undergraduate study, even more so than earlier stages of education, as higher education is completely optional.
This means that the students are likely to be more engaged in their subjects and more motivated to get a better grade. For more information about higher education, check out this Think Student article.
In the 2018- 2019 academic year, 79% of undergraduate students in the UK achieved either a first-class honours degree or an upper second-class honours degree. As in the same academic year about 30% of students achieved a 1st, this means that around 49% of students in the 2018-19 academic year achieved a 2.1. For more information about these figures, check out this article by The Guardian.
What is a 2.2 degree?
In the UK, a second-class honours degree can either be upper or lower. As mentioned above, a 2.1 grade is the upper second-class honours degree and a 2.2 is a lower second-class honours degree, making it the third best grade you can get in an undergraduate degree in the UK.
The term 2.2 can also be written as 2:2 but either variation is said as “two two”. In order to gain a 2.2, you have to get at least 50% as your final grade. Once again, this final grade will often be calculated using a weighted grading system.
To get a better comparison of a 2.2 grade and the other undergraduate grades, check out the table above. To learn more about a lower second-class honours degree, check out this Think Student article.
Is a 2.2 degree good?
As mentioned earlier, deciding if a grade is “good” or not is highly subjective as everyone will have their own opinion of what they think a good grade is. However, it can also be necessary at times, especially when considering what you can do with your grade.
In this way, it could be argued either way as some may say that a 2.2 is a good grade and some may say that it’s not. Personally, I feel that it is a good grade as even completing your university degree is an amazing achievement.
However, depending on what you want to do in the future, you may find that having received a 2.2 may slightly limit you. This is because the entry requirements for many PhD programmes will require you to have a 2.1 grade or above.
Despite this, you will still be able to take a master’s degree at many universities, which depending on entry requirements and what grade you receive there could potentially allow you to take a PhD. For more on this, check out the ‘What grade do you need for a postgraduate degree?’ section below.
What class of degree do you need to get a job?
When looking for a graduate job in your field, you may find that employers will often be looking for graduates that have a 2.1 grade or higher. With a 2.2 grade, you should still be able to find a job as a 2.2 is often the minimum requirement for this type of job.
However, while getting a 2.2 or lower can make it harder to find a job and can give you less options, academics aren’t everything and if the rest of your application is good, finding a job should still be doable. For more information about this, check out this UCAS guide. Also, check out this article by Hot Courses Abroad.
Also, if you are struggling to find a job as a graduate, check out this Think Student article for some great tips.
Do employers care about what grade degree you get?
As mentioned in the last section, employers will often look for graduates with a 2.1 grade. However, many employers will want you to have more experience instead. Simply put, how much employers care about academics will depend on where you are applying to.
If you are applying to someone that has a greater emphasis on academics, then this is likely what you want to focus on in your application. For this, it is important that you properly write your degree and grade onto your certificate. To learn how to do this, check out this Think Student article.
If you are applying to somewhere that has a greater emphasis on other factors, such as experience, it is important that you get some alongside your studies. This may even include doing a work placement or an internship. If you want more information about work placements and internships, check out this Think Student article.
For more on whether employers care about grades, check out this article by Milkround.
What class of degree do you need for a postgraduate degree?
After you complete your undergraduate degree, there are several options that you can take. For example, you may choose to get a job, as mentioned above, or maybe even take a gap year, which you can find out more about in this Think Student article. Alternatively, you may wish to continue your studies to a higher level than your undergraduate degree.
At postgraduate degree level, there are two main options that you can take after your undergraduate degree. You can either study a master’s degree or you may even be able to study a doctorate degree, such as a PhD, straight away.
A master’s degree is a level 7 qualification, which is one step up from the level 6 of an undergraduate degree and will normally only last a year for full-time study. In order to study a master’s degree, universities will often require you to have either a 2.1 grade or a 2.2 grade. For more information about master’s degrees, check out this Think Student article.
If you go straight from an undergraduate degree to a doctorate, such as a PhD, without getting a master’s degree first, the entry requirements are slightly higher. If this is the case, you will normally need a 2.1, which you may also need alongside a master’s degree depending on the university. For more about PhDs, check out this Think Student article.