Converting British grades to GPA?


Hi guys, I'm an American who's looking to returning to work in the States after graduating from the LSE.

So far I have a 2:1 average score, and I was just wondering if I should put that on my resume, post my individual grades, (I did better than a 2:1 in econometrics but worse in micro) or convert my 2:1 to a GPA. Thing is, I looked all over the LSE website and couldn't find a definite equal GPA.

Thanks for any help!

UK Grades to GPA

British Class American GPA Secured Marks Level(%)
First Tier 4.00 70+
Upper Second Tier 3.7 65-69
Upper Second Tier 3.3 60-64
Lower Second Tier 3.0 55-59
Lower Second Tier 2.7 50-54
Third Tier 2.3 45-49
Third Tier 2.00 40-44

This table is the standard for The Fulbright Commission. However, that does not mean that this table should be used for reporting on applications or CV's.

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Comments (22)

Aug 20, 2008 - 12:01am

I had the same problem and I just wrote my UK degree classification but really unless the person reviewing the resume is familiar with the different grading system I don't think there is any way to accurately convert it. In the UK, 2.1 or above just acts as a threshold thats usually good enough for all but the most competitive places but really it covers a huge spectrum of students so a conversion to GPA would be misleading. Having said that, I think the link below gives a reasonable idea what the range should be like and a good 2.1 should be more or less an A- in the US.

Aug 20, 2008 - 10:58pm

2.1 could be anything from 3.0 to 3.7, since basically anyone in roughly the top half of the class gets a 2.1. For graduate programs the requirement for UK students is a 2.1, while the requirement for US students is 3.5. So perhaps that's a reasonable rough equivalency.

Sep 23, 2010 - 11:11am

GPA to UK Degree (Originally Posted: 04/07/2007)

Anyone know how a UK degree equates to a GPA. As everyone is saying a 3,6 ect is what banks want in the US. In he UK they look for a 2.1 dgree. So is a 2,1 equivelent to a GPA of 3.6. Is there anyway to make this conversion.

Sep 23, 2010 - 11:12am

I read awhile back after scouring the net (as I am in the same position, studying in UK), that roughly speaking a low 2.1 (60-64) is considered to be equivalent to 3.4/3.5 and that between 65 and 69 takes you up from 3.6-3.9....70+ is a 4.0. Now to me this all seems a bit quacky, but to guide you this is what it seems to be. You're original estimates weren't too far off, just when aiming for that 2.1 try to top 65.

Of course, you have to account for difficulties of school and courses taken, which is a calculation beyond the abilities of most i-banking shit flingers. Hope this helps

Sep 23, 2010 - 11:18am

Yes, 65 means an average of 65%. However, (with the exception of sciences and maths) essays and exams are discursive rather than YES/NO questions so 65% means producing a good essay rather than getting two-thirds of the questions right.

In the UK you are awarded degree classes (all degrees are honours) rather than a percentage. The rule of thumb is:

less than 40 = Fail
40-49 = Third Class
50-59 = Lower Second (2.2)
60-69 = Upper Second (2.1)
70+ = First

However, the method for calculating degree class varies from university to university. Some take the top 5 (out of 12 modules) from your final two years. Some take a simple average from the last two and others take an average from all your three years. Also, if you get 68+ the department can push you up a class at their discretion (they look at your overall marks and your tutor's assement of you).

Although a 2.1 is equivalent to a 3.6 and 1st to a 4.0 in terms of its position on the distribution (i.e roughly as many students get 2.1s in the UK as they do 3.6 in the US) I'd just put your degree class (2.2/2.1/1) without trying to convert it since the quality of British degrees are MUCH higher than their equivalents across the Atlantic. Some US universities consider the last year of secondary school to be roughly equivalent to the first year of American university - and most UK universities make transfers from the US repeat the first year. The main difference is that British degrees are incredibly focused, based almost totally around end of year exams and give little or no credit to gimmes like multiple choice tests, class discussion etc (or what we Brits would refer to derisively as 'continuous assesment').

I'd even go so far as to claim that you could reasonably get away with 2.2=3.6 conversion in absolute terms(though a 2.1 is considered the minimum for UK BB's). Having done postgrad work with graduates from top liberal arts colleges and the Ivy League I found that they were usually 6 moths behind their British colleagues when they started the course.

Sep 23, 2010 - 11:19am

Getting a 1st class degree in the UK (70+ average over 2 or 3 years) is about the same difficulty as getting a 4.60-4.80 GPA (out of 4.00) at a US High School. If you're doing all AP classes and getting straight A's in HS, you will average above 70 in the UK (above 80 in a Science or Engineering degree).

And yes, you can average 60% on all your exams and coursework for 2 years and get a great job at a BB. It may be difficult to comprehend, but that is how huge the cultural difference is in the education system. It is a deep-rooted difference that makes neither system better nor worse.

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