Undergraduate degree results

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 342,215 people graduated from an undergraduate degree course in the 2018 to 2019 academic year (only counting those who were UK residents before their degree and whose ethnicity was known)
  • 31.5% of White graduates got a first class degree, compared with 14.5% of Black graduates – the highest and lowest percentages out of all ethnic groups
  • graduates from a Mixed ethnic background (50.4%) or White ethnic background (49.9%) were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to get an upper second class (2:1) degree
  • the difference between the percentage of White and Black graduates getting a first class or 2:1 degree went down by nearly 4 percentage points (from 26.4% to 22.6%) during the period covered by this data

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures the degree results of full-time and part-time students on undergraduate degrees in the UK, by ethnicity. Undergraduate degrees are usually bachelor's degrees, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc).

The data only includes students whose normal residence before starting their degree was in the UK, Guernsey and Jersey (including their smaller islands) and the Isle of Man.

Student numbers are rounded to the nearest 5. Percentages are calculated using unrounded numbers, and are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Not included in the data

The percentages do not include people whose degree was ‘unclassified’. This includes some degrees (such as medical degrees) that can be awarded without a classification. The number of students with unclassified degrees is shown in the table in the analysis by ethnicity.

Students from outside the UK are not asked to report their ethnicity and are not included.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for 5 aggregated ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

This means figures are shown for these groups as a whole.

Students record their own ethnicity, either when they apply for a degree course or when they register with a higher education institution. The percentages are based only on students whose ethnicity was known. You can see data for students whose ethnicity was not known in the tables.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for the data on this page.

3. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of graduates within each ethnic group achieving the different degree classifications
1st class honours Upper 2nd class honours Lower 2nd, 3rd or pass Unclassified
Ethnicity 1st class honours % of each ethnicity 1st class honours Number of students Upper 2nd class honours % of each ethnicity Upper 2nd class honours Number of students Lower 2nd, 3rd or pass % of each ethnicity Lower 2nd, 3rd or pass Number of students Unclassified % of each ethnicity Unclassified Number of students
Asian 23.0 8,420 47.5 17,380 29.5 10,780 N/A* 2,585
Black 14.5 3,195 44.3 9,760 41.2 9,070 N/A* 710
Mixed 26.2 3,500 50.4 6,725 23.4 3,120 N/A* 570
White 31.5 77,675 49.9 123,130 18.6 45,980 N/A* 14,670
Other 22.7 1,060 44.6 2,080 32.5 1,515 N/A* 280
Unknown 18.6 1,075 36.1 2,090 45.4 2,630 N/A* 600

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Undergraduate degree results By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • 31.5% of White graduates got a first class degree – this was the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups, followed by graduates with Mixed ethnic backgrounds (26.2%)
  • White graduates were over twice as likely as Black graduates to get a first class degree
  • Black graduates were the least likely out of all ethnic groups to get a first class degree (14.5%)
  • 49.9% of White graduates got an upper second class degree (2:1), compared with 44.3% of Black graduates

4. By ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of graduates within each ethnic group who got the different degree classifications, over time
Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
Academic year Asian 1st class Asian Upper 2nd class Asian Lower 2nd, 3rd class or pass Black 1st class Black Upper 2nd class Black Lower 2nd, 3rd class or pass Mixed 1st class Mixed Upper 2nd class Mixed Lower 2nd, 3rd class or pass White 1st class White Upper 2nd class White Lower 2nd, 3rd class or pass Other 1st class Other Upper 2nd class Other Lower 2nd, 3rd class or pass Unknown 1st class Unknown Upper 2nd class Unknown Lower 2nd, 3rd class or pass
2012/13 13.5 46.3 40.2 7.5 39.3 53.2 16.4 50.7 32.9 20.4 52.8 26.8 13.3 46.2 40.5 14.4 37.5 48.0
2013/14 15.0 48.1 36.9 8.8 40.8 50.5 18.1 52.7 29.3 22.4 53.3 24.4 15.0 47.5 37.5 14.8 37.7 47.5
2014/15 17.7 47.5 34.8 9.8 41.0 49.2 19.6 52.5 27.9 24.7 52.4 22.9 17.1 45.5 37.4 15.3 36.4 48.4
2015/16 18.4 48.0 33.5 10.9 42.2 46.9 20.9 51.6 27.5 26.4 52.0 21.7 17.7 47.1 35.3 15.1 36.2 48.7
2016/17 20.8 48.4 30.8 12.3 43.3 44.5 24.2 50.3 25.5 28.6 50.9 20.5 20.5 46.8 32.8 16.9 37.1 46.0
2017/18 22.7 47.9 29.5 14.0 43.5 42.5 26.3 50.9 22.8 30.9 50.0 19.1 21.8 46.1 32.2 18.4 35.3 46.3
2018/19 23.0 47.5 29.5 14.5 44.3 41.2 26.2 50.4 23.4 31.5 49.9 18.6 22.7 44.6 32.5 18.6 36.1 45.4

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Undergraduate degree results By ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that:

  • in the 7 years to July 2019, the percentage of graduates achieving a first class or 2:1 degree went up in every ethnic group
  • the biggest increases were seen in the Black ethnic group (from 46.8% to 58.8%) and Asian ethnic group (from 59.8% to 70.5%)
  • of those whose ethnicity was known, the smallest increase was in the Other ethnic group (from 59.5% to 67.3%)
  • the difference between the percentages of White and Black graduates achieving a first class or 2:1 degree went down by 3.8 percentage points (from 26.4% to 22.6%)

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Higher Education Statistics Agency

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Student information collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. It is used by various stakeholders for:

  • funding
  • performance indicators
  • publications (including UNISTATS)
  • league tables

The student record collects individual data, including:

  • the student’s entry profile and personal characteristics
  • module and course-level data
  • funding information
  • qualifications awarded

6. Download the data

Undergraduate degree results - Spreadsheet (csv) 19 KB

Measure, Ethnic Group, Academic Year, Classification of first degree, Count, Value