Getting on a masters without the required grades

So i’ve fucked up. found a really amazing and practical masters course on government with a placement, looked so good. Then I re-read it- turns out i’d need a 65 in my degree to get on. To get a 65 i’d have to average out at a first this year, which I don’t really think is possible, seeing as I find it very incredibly challenging.

Could I get on if i’m just below the mark? Or should I just look elsewhere?

(thinly veiled middle class problems thread)

Friend of mine got a 59, and her masters still let her on even though they asked for a 2.1, so you might be fine. agree with DD though, check around for support. Also back yourself, you can get a 1st! Probs should get off DiS though, not the most productive of places

In general I seem to recall a big thing with Physics PhDs 20 years back was a requirement that you had a II.2. This wasn’t the unis thinking you weren’t good enough otherwise, it was the grant funding threshold.

However UCL were able to get around this for those they were impressed with so I guess all things are possible right? Good luck!

my friend got on a masters that needed a 2.1 without even having a degree, I think a lot of the time they are just guidelines on who they think should apply rather than a strict requirement, obviously depends on the course and how competitive it is

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With a masters they usually take into account more than just academic grades so you may still have a decent chance.

It is usually worthwhile emailing the academic running the program to ask for more info. When I did my masters, several people had contacted the course convenor before applying and because they had shown enthusiasm and interest early on were offered full scholarships.

Is this course at the university where you are currently studying? If so, already being a student there will also make them more likely to consider you further as you are a known entity.


They might be dangling a carrot to make sure you don’t sit back in your last year. They’ll want your cash and unless it’s really oversubscribed I’d imagine you’d be fine. The (awful) drop in overseas students will probably work in your favour as well.

For my MSc they wanted a first but I got a 2.1 but it was fine.

There’s no harm in speaking to the MSC course director and checking. Are you on for a 2.1?

Also just re-read this. Their requirements are just a guideline and so once your application is processed they’ll either give you a full offer (e.g you’ve got your degree and it meets the requirements), or a conditional offer. Even if you don’t meet the conditional offer (grades short of a target) you could still be fine.

As others have mentioned it also depends on other factors, like your personal statement, the relevance of your undergraduate, and evidence of starting a career in that field - so try to boost those things as well.

Issue is I think the course has 8 places available, so likelihood of getting on without the grades is so low. It also potentially has a scholarship for all these people. Really would love to do it

Be nice to them. Contact them early asking what sort of prep work would they want thier candidates to do. You can really be too eager here. Make them know you are interested in taking the course and following it through early on. Honestly most people who apply to these things apply in a sort of post uni depression phase. Seeming active, eager, and knowledgeable about the subject could really impress them. It might not but it was what I was advised to do by my dad (an academic) to get on a course I eventually decided I didn’t want to do.

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It is hard to comment without knowing the place, but 8 isn’t particularly low for a masters course, a lot of places that will reflect the actual demand and really they take anyone who seems capable and can pay the fees, but if it is a prestigious uni then it would be different

It’s Queens in Belfast, the main thing about it is how great the placement part is- working in the NI assembly. Would be very cool and helpful

As someone who works in an admissions department - they will, as long as there aren’t 8 more people who meet the requirements.

Also, think of the application as a whole - what have you got that makes up for missing an element of the stated requirements?

I always tell them that they definitely won’t get a place if they don’t apply, and there’ll be a formal assessment made if they do, so there’ll be a chance, however slim.

Probably hedge your bets and just vote for Corbyn mate

I think it’s terrible they ask for the specific degree mark. I thought the classification alone was supposed to be everything.

Why bother awarding one then? Why bother with university at all if you think the classification system is pointless?

Yeah. Doing a relevant internship or voluntary work could well help boost your application for a master’s degree. So it’s not just “this is what I’ve done in school so far” and shows some dedication to the field. I’d like to think if they had an applicant with 64% and some experience, they’d pick them over someone with 66% and without.

Depends on the reason for the threshold. If it’s related to funding or scholarship, then harder to get around, especially if there are other candidates meeting the criteria. Definitely worth talking to the course leader though, and if you’re keen that can only go in your favour. However, if you’re in the final year of your UG degree they’re likely to advise you work hard to get a first. You’ve got the chance to do it, so I’d focus on that.

that’s a proper subject though (MASSIVE SAFETY WINK)

This sounds class and you actually want to do it which is one of the most important things I think when applying for a course. You can explain why you’ve got results that your not happy with so far and why that would be unlikely to happen on this masters.

Hi there, I work in University admissions.

Your best bet is to discuss this with either the academic staff who’ll do the teaching, or the admin staff (like me) who’ll do the processing of the application. Both sets will be honest with you, and if it’s a definite no they’ll tell you about it.

However if you just email them and say you don’t make the grades it won’t give them a lot to go on, to make a case for you.

I recommend you write some (brief) paragraphs about why you want to study on the course, what skills/experience you have that means you’ll be an asset to their cohort, and show that you’ve read up about the course content! So many people want to study just based on the course title but don’t look into the specific module information! So yeah, doesn’t need to be a long essay, like half a page of A4 or less maybe? Going to a postgrad open day could also help.

Some universities are stricter than others when it comes to their advertised entrance requirements. But the vast majority are willing to go lower. Do you think it’s possible you can get 60% overall? That still puts you in a positive position. If not, it’s still worth trying. Even if there’s only 8 places, it could be that the other people applying are in similar situations to you.

Good luck!

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