Explaining your qualifications

Answers to key questions about how to present your qualifications in applications.

When you’re applying for jobs employers will want to know about your academic qualifications.   

We’re often asked how best to present these in applications. We’ve answered the key questions here. Remember, though, that your qualifications, while important, are just one part of the package – employers will also be interested in your other achievements, experiences, skills and motivation!  

University qualifications  

What’s a GPA? 

A GPA (Grade Point Average) is a single cumulative number which represents all your marks. These are used in the USA and Canada, and employers there might ask for them in applications. The University doesn’t award GPAs - and there isn’t an accepted way to convert your marks here to a GPA. You can get an idea of whether your marks are in the required range by looking at the Fulbright Commission’s GPA guide, but you’re advised not to convert your marks to a GPA on an application form.  Provide your UK degree classification (or predicted grade) with an explanation; or contact the recruiter for advice.  

Fulbright Commission GPA guide   

Will an employer understand qualifications if they’re from a different country? 

Many large employers in the UK and elsewhere will be familiar with qualifications from different educational systems.  

Whether you’re using your UK qualifications to apply for work (or further study) elsewhere, or using your qualifications from a different educational system to apply for work here, it’s better not to attempt to translate your qualifications to those of the other country. You can’t do this accurately and it could look as though you were trying to mislead the employer.   

Stating your qualifications in their original form and providing some context around them is usually acceptable.  For example you can: 

  • List grades as a percentage 

  • If grades were marked on a scale, indicate which way the scale runs. For example, ‘achieved the highest grade of 1, on a scale of 1 - 5’ 

  • Mention any academic prizes and whether a ranking among other students was given; for instance, ‘within the top 5% of year group’ 

You can contact the recruiter’s HR department, or other named contact, if you’re still uncertain what to do.  

Some employers may request an official translation or written assessment of your international qualification. You can get this from UK ENIC, the designated agency for the comparison of international qualifications. 


Degree classification 

At this university an MA (Hons) - Master of Arts with Honours - is the conventional undergraduate degree, equivalent to a standard three-year BA (Hons) gained elsewhere. 

School-level qualifications  

I’m being asked for my UCAS Tariff points  

Some UK application forms ask for UCAS Tariff points. This is a number based on your UK school-leaving qualifications. If you went to school somewhere else and you are asked about UCAS Tariff points you should contact the employer and ask their advice. There is no official resource which calculates international qualifications into UCAS Tariff points.