What does a 2:1 degree mean in the job requirement?

What does a 2:1 degree mean

When you were searching for jobs, you might have noticed that some companies require applicants to have achieved 2:1 or 2:2 in their degree to be eligible to apply. If you did not do your undergraduate or master’s degree in the UK, you may not even know what they mean.

First, let me explain what it is. The UK has different grading and degree system, and it is different to GPA or percentile, which is widely used internationally. When you graduate in the UK, based on your academic performance, your final degrees are classified as follows:

Highest to Lowest degree classification (marks out of 100):

  • 1st / Class I – 70 or above
  • 2:1 / Class II Division I – 60 to 69
  • 2:2 / Class II Division II – 50 to 59
  • 3rd / Class III – 40 to 49
  • Fail

However, if you did not obtain your degree from the UK, it is also fine. You can work out which category it may fall into based on the grades or degree results you achieved in your home country and continue applying for jobs in the UK. If your university in your home country issues your final results in the format of GPA or percentage, your results can be roughly compared to the UK degree system like the below:

British Degree ClassificationGPA (4 points) Equivalent*Percentage Equivalent*
1st~3.7 or above85%/90%** or above
2:1~3.2 – 3.7~80% – 85% or 90%
2:2~ 2.7 or 2.8** – 3.2~70% – 80%
3rd~2.3 or 2.4** – 2.7 or 2.8~60% – 70%

*This is a general estimation. You can check out UK ENIC for a more accurate comparison of your degree results to the UK equivalent.
** GPA or % requirement can differ depending on the country and education/grading system used.

Many employers in the UK require applicants to have 2:1 or equivalent to meet the eligibility criteria of their internships or graduate programmes. They put such requirements in place to reduce the number of applicants. In some cases, employers believe that grades reflect applicants’ learning ability and determine how quickly they can learn on their job. A specific degree result is often not required for experienced hire jobs.

Understanding your degree results helps you identify jobs that you can apply for more accurately and effectively. For example, if you had achieved a GPA of 3.8 (out of 4) when you graduated from a college or university in your home country, you can apply for jobs that require 2:1 in the UK. If you have a GPA of 3 (out of 4), you may consider jobs that only require 2:2 or do not require any specific degree classification unless you have exceptional circumstances. You can then filter the jobs based on the degree requirements on UK Visa Jobs and apply for them easily.

Not having a 2:1 degree does not prevent you from applying for jobs in the UK, and you may still be able to land your dream job with a 2:2 or even 3rd degree (or equivalent). You also should not automatically rule yourself out from applying for roles that require 2:1 based on the table provided above. Each company may follow a slightly different grade conversion system. You should always confirm with the employer before applying if you are unsure. If you are certain that your degree does not meet 2:1, please read our guidance on how to get a job with a 2:2 or below degree as an international student.