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Low GPA? You can still apply for your master’s at UK universities

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UK universities are among the best in the world, but there is still hope to pursue your master's even if you didn't have the best GPA for your bachelor's degree. Source: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

UK universities are among the best in the world, so is it possible to get into a master’s programme with a low GPA? There is nothing more frustrating than having a rocky academic start, only to realise later that you’re still keen to further your studies. 

Many promising scholars worldwide travel to the UK for their degrees or to contribute to academic research. This is because the UK’s academic reputation is world-renowned. Some of the world’s top institutions are based there, such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.

Prestigious UK universities are highly selective in the admissions process, so is there hope of gaining entry into a master’s course if you did not graduate with a first-class honours degree?

Some UK universities will overlook a lower GPA when deciding whether to admit students for a master’s programme if the applicant can demonstrate that they have the relevant industry experience, have excellent references and performed well during the interview process (if any), among other factors.

Below are eight UK universities that admit students who did not graduate with first-class honours, but still deliver a top-notch education:

low gpa

The UK has long since been a popular study destination for students worldwide, but those with a low GPA might worry about applying for postgraduate studies. Source: Paul Ellis/AFP

Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin University is a public university in East Anglia that requires applicants for a postgraduate taught course to have a UK honours degree with lower second-class honours (2:2). Some courses may have extra requirements such as portfolios (for art and design programmes).

Bedfordshire University

The University of Bedfordshire requires only a “good honours degree” or equivalent qualification in an appropriate subject from a recognised university or higher educational institution for applicants to apply for postgraduate degrees.

Here’s a fun fact: Bedfordshire also considers candidates with other relevant qualifications and those with appropriate work experience.

Birkbeck, University of London

The minimum entry requirement for Birkbeck, University of London for postgraduate study is a second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification. If the main subject of your degree is not directly relevant to your proposed postgraduate programme, you may be asked to complete a qualifying programme of study.

Having a low GPA isn’t necessarily a deterrent in your pursuit of obtaining a master’s from the university. 

Birkbeck, University of London may consider applicants who graduated with a lower GPA than second-class honours at their discretion. To qualify, applicants will need to include a summary of their relevant post-qualification experience on their application forms and name a referee who can support their claims.

low gpa

De Montfort University joins the ranks of quality UK universities that accept applicants with a low GPA. Source: Odd Andersen/AFP

Bishop Grosseteste University

Bishop Grosseteste University, on the other hand, requires applicants to complete their bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA score of at least 2.6, or a First Professional Degree from an accredited institution with a GPA score of at least 2.5.

Canterbury Christ Church University

At Canterbury Christ Church University, some postgraduate taught courses require applicants to be interviewed before being accepted into the programme. Generally, the university admits students with “a good undergraduate degree” (2:2 or above).

Their website notes that those who do not meet these entry requirements can still secure a place for their postgraduate taught programmes if they make up for their grades with the appropriate skills and knowledge.

In this case, Canterbury Christ Church University may offer these special case applicants the opportunity to complete an orientation module or a portfolio to demonstrate their ability. These applicants may also be asked to attend an interview.

uk universities

Having a low GPA isn’t always a disadvantage for admission to UK universities if you can demonstrate that you have what it takes to succeed. Source: Justin Tallis/AFP

De Montfort University 

In Leicester, De Montfort University admits those with a 2.8 GPA bachelor’s degree. However, certain courses require a GPA of 3.2, so do check on the course that you are keen on applying for.

East London University

Located in the London Borough of Newham, East London University is another institution worth considering as applicants need only a minimum of a lower second-class classification (2:2) from an undergraduate degree to apply for most of its postgraduate taught courses.

Leeds Beckett University

The entry requirements vary from course to course, but the minimum entry requirement for their master’s courses is a second-class honours degree. For example, those interested in the MA Education programme can apply if they have a professional or vocational qualification in Education equivalent to level 6 study, or have equivalent experience or training