The General Degree

A General Degree allows you to study a number of different subjects without having to specialise in any particular one. However, it does not provide the same depth or level of specialism as an Honours programme. For this reason, it is advised that most prospective students apply to a named Honours degree programme in preference to the General Degree.

An MA (Master of Arts) or BSc (Bachelor of Science) General Degree is typically awarded after three years of full-time study or six years of part-time study. A full-time student will take 120 credits in each year of study to gain 360 credits in total.

Some students who start with the intention of taking an Honours degree change track partway through the programme, and graduate instead with a General Degree. Likewise, if you apply for a General Degree and decide to continue on to an Honours degree, you may apply to an Honours programme at the end of your second year if you meet the requirements of the academic school(s) involved.

Students who are unsure of the subject that they wish to study at the University may find that it is useful to apply to the General Degree initially and make the final commitment to change to an Honours programme later in the course.

Degree structure

The first two years of the General Degree are very similar to those of an Honours programme. The choice of subjects that you will study in a General Degree must be agreed with your Adviser of Studies at the start of your study.

If there is a possibility that you will apply to a named Honours programme at the end of your second year, you should study subjects which might help you to meet the requirements for the schools and departments involved. If you wish to apply to an Honours programme, your Adviser of Studies will let you know what is available to you.

Unlike the Honours degree, the General Degree is not classified from First to Third class according to the academic performance of students. However, the General Degree may be awarded with Distinction to any student who meets the criteria outlined in the Undergraduate Senate Regulations

Part-time study

It is possible to study for a General Degree part-time during the day or as an evening degree. The programme may appeal in particular to students who live locally and fulfil the entrance requirements but whose circumstances prevent them from attending classes on a full-time basis. It is possible to transfer from part-time study to full-time study partway through the programme.

Part-time General Degree students must gain 360 credits, of which at least 80 must be in 2000-level modules and a further 60 in 3000-level modules. Part-time students will typically gain up to 80 credits in each academic year. The evening degree programme is available in both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science.

Entrance requirements

The entrance requirements to the General Degree are the same for part-time students as they are for full-time students. However, requirements to undergraduate degree programmes can sometimes be more flexible for mature students who are returning to education after a break of three or more years.

To gain admission to the General Degree, you must demonstrate that you are capable of succeeding in a demanding academic environment. You will be expected to have achieved passes at Standard Grade (grades 1, 2 and 3) or GCSE (grades A, B, and C) or equivalent in English and either Mathematics or Science.

Applications to the General Degree

The General Degree is not open to applications from school leavers and is for those prospective students coming through alternative routes, such as access courses or returning to study after a long period out of education.

The application process for the General Degree is through UCAS, and all suitable applicants will be invited to interview as part of the application process.