Now compared to your fiendishly complicated system in the USA (that’s how it seems to an outsider anyway!), the UK system is relatively straight forward for British students. In the UK, most students buy an (expensive!) ticket for the subject (or combined subjects) of their choice, get on and travel straight to their destination/graduation over three years of full-time study. For the most part, students study on single-honours programmes (that is, they major in one subject from the very start of their course, like Mathematics or English), or joint-honours, which combine the study of two subjects (Criminology and Psychology, for example).
LJMU students take six modules per year, three in each semester (and our semesters run from September-December, and January-April), for 20 credits per module. On some programmes, all modules will be core (that is, obligatory), but on most students take a combination of core and optional modules. (In my second year of study on single-honours English, I chose the ‘Working the USA’ module, hence why I’m talking to you!). Your choice of option modules is dictated by how you would like to approach your degree, your interests, and what you envisage as your future career. Though LJMU gives students many options in their studies, the British system is not comparable to the wider ranger of choices, course and subjects American students are offered or required to take in their first two years of study.
Though LJMU students are of course required to pass all modules on their first year of study (we call it Level 4), your marks at this level don’t count towards your final degree mark. At Level 5 (second year), your module marks combine to make up 25% of your final degree – at Level 6, 75%. Most LJMU students will complete a research project or dissertation as one of their modules at Level 6. British degree awards are ranked according the following classifications:
- First-Class Honours (First or 1st) (70% and above)
- Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1 – ‘Two-one’) (60-70%)
- Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2 – ‘Two-two’) (50-60%)
- Third-Class Honours (Third or 3rd) (40-50%)
- Ordinary degree (pass)
- Fail (no degree is awarded)
LJMU’s Graduation Ceremonies are held in the amazing Liverpool Cathedral.
NB: If you’re arriving at LJMU from Southern this year (2016/17), then your pattern of study will be slightly different from the description above. Ask your tutors or the International Office if you have any questions!