in Legal Profession, Relocation

How to Convert Australian degrees into UK degrees and vice versa

Converting Australian degree grades into UK degree grades and vice versa.

Converting UK degree classifications into Australian degrees and vice versa is not straightforward.

Firstly Australian degrees are not split into 2.1 or upper second class degrees and 2.2 or lower second class degree levels. Australian students and graduates tend to be quite surprised when advised that the difference in job prospects between the two is huge!

The most common grading scale is as follows:

Grade           Scale                  Description                  UK Grade
HD  7              83 – 100             High Distinction (A+)  First Class
D     6 -6.99  73 – 82.99          Distinction (A)               Second Class, Upper Division
C     5 – 5.99  63 – 72.99         Credit (B)                          Second Class, Lower Division
P    4 – 4.99   50 – 62.99         Pass  (C)                             Third Class
N    0 – 3.99  0 – 49.99            Fail

This is a rough and ready guide, but the key difference to consider is the Second Class Upper Division and the Second Class Lower Division. It appears that the Distinction in the Australian system is only equivalent to a 2.1 in the UK system. This may seem strange, but we suspect that not many Australian graduates get High Distinctions and the same applies to UK graduates getting First class degrees (although there are some universities who seem to hand them out like bags of sweets these days!).

2.1 and 2.2 degrees make up the overwhelming proportion of degrees in the UK. 2.1 degrees are essential for law graduates and certain other professions. Without one you can really struggle to find work. Employers still look at your undergraduate degree classification for the remainder of your career and you cannot hide it, neither can you replace it with anything better – it is always the first degree that counts. Remember this when you are sat in the bar thinking about doing a bit of extra work but not quite managing it….

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and author of lots of interesting books and articles on the legal profession (as well as  a novel!). Google Ten-Percent Legal Careers Shop for details of technical e-books and Amazon search for fictional work.

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at