I have completed my undergraduate degree in Computer Science with a grade of 2.2 (Lower second class) and a MSc in Robotics with a distinction (1st class). I have published a paper in an international journal during my bachelors. I am planning on pursuing a PhD in the UK. However most of the universities as for minimum 2.1 grade. Does my MSc score supersede my bachelor's grades? How can I get past the initial screening process where applications are weeded out if they don't meet the minimum eligibility criteria?

PS: I am an international student so funding is more competitive.

  • I was an EU student at the time, pre-Brexit so slightly different, but I got accepted into a PhD and shortlisted for a few other offers with a Master in AI with distinction and no paper at all. My undergrad was in CS but not relevant at all for academia, just goo to say I know how to code. I believe you have a good profile. But as semmyk-research said, depends on the school and university. I agree with contacting supervisor directly. If they are interested, they would probably use your grades just to check you are qualified
    – JackRed
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 10:24

2 Answers 2


Bachelor 2nd class upper.
Masters 1st class
x1 journal publication (rating unknown)
Field: computer science

In the ordinary sense, your profile should be 'good to go' in getting interest from potential PhD supervisors in the UK. However, each department or school or university have their own dynamics and level of competitiveness.

If you're going for PhD within the Centers for Doctoral Training (CDT/DTPs), you'll be competing in a pool.
If you're interested in funded PhD projects, you'll still be competing but your research interest, your background, your personality and profile will become attractive attributes to potential supervisors as you'll need to reach out to them beforehand.
For self-funded PhD, your research interests and capabilities (#profile) might interest potential supervisors.

Take time to read more on CDT/DTP and its funding model.

PS: I graduated with a 2nd class lower (Engr'g) and an MSc (CS) equivalent to 2nd class upper and do not have issue attracting interest in PhD (CS, IS, Eng). Although I have publications and research projects under my belt alongside industry experience.
Even at that, I recalled that I had three PhD potential supervisors from the UK before getting my MSc result. I must admit, I had initiated and met with them while I was on a tour in the UK post one of my conferences. However, this was about two decades ago.

  • Thank you for your answer. I actually have a 2nd class lower and I'm an international student.
    – icemaqe99
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 0:56
  • 1
    Your correction is noted. #curious ... is your MSc in the UK or your home country? Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 8:26
  • Yes, it is a UK MSc.
    – icemaqe99
    Commented Sep 16, 2023 at 11:23

Technically your first class MSc will overwrite your BSc; formal requirements are normally good enough results in MSc or BSc, but not both (some may look at the later one of these so with a good BSc and bad MSc you'd be in a worse situation). Whether you win a place against competition is of course another matter.

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