Undergraduate degree results

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 337,705 people graduated from an undergraduate degree course in the 2019 to 2020 academic year – this only includes students who were UK residents before their degree and whose ethnicity was known

  • 38.2% of White graduates got a first class degree, compared with 19.1% of Black graduates – the highest and lowest percentages out of all ethnic groups

  • graduates from the Mixed (49.0%) and White (47.6%) ethnic groups were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to get an upper second class (2:1) degree

  • the percentage gap between White and Black graduates getting a first class or 2:1 degree went down from 26.3% to 20.0% in the 6 years covered by this data

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the results of 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 rounded to 1 decimal place, and have been calculated using unrounded student numbers.

Not included in the data

The percentages do not include students 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 provider. The percentages are based only on students whose ethnicity was known. See the data for students whose ethnicity was not known.

Methodology

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

The 2019 to 2020 academic year was affected by COVID-19. Because of this, many higher education providers said their students would not be given a degree result that was worse than the last time they were assessed before the pandemic. This may partly account for the higher percentage of first class degrees in the 2019 to 2020 academic year.

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 30.3 11,515 47.2 17,925 22.4 8,520 N/A* 2,710
Black 19.1 4,340 46.7 10,640 34.2 7,795 N/A* 750
Mixed 33.2 4,575 49.0 6,740 17.8 2,450 N/A* 565
White 38.2 92,260 47.6 114,885 14.1 34,100 N/A* 12,585
Other 27.9 1,415 47.2 2,385 24.9 1,260 N/A* 290

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:

  • 38.2% of White graduates got a first class degree – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups, followed by graduates with Mixed ethnic backgrounds (33.2%)

  • Black graduates were the least likely out of all ethnic groups to get a first class degree (19.1%)

  • 47.6% of White graduates and 46.7% of Black graduates got an upper second class degree (2:1)

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
Academic year Asian 1st class honours Asian Upper 2nd class honours Asian Lower 2nd, 3rd or pass Black 1st class honours Black Upper 2nd class honours Black Lower 2nd, 3rd or pass Mixed 1st class honours Mixed Upper 2nd class honours Mixed Lower 2nd, 3rd or pass White 1st class honours White Upper 2nd class honours White Lower 2nd, 3rd or pass Other 1st class honours Other Upper 2nd class honours Other Lower 2nd, 3rd or pass
2014/15 17.7 47.5 34.9 9.7 41.1 49.2 19.6 52.4 28.0 24.7 52.4 23.0 16.9 45.5 37.6
2015/16 18.3 47.9 33.8 10.6 41.9 47.5 20.8 51.5 27.7 26.3 52.0 21.8 17.4 47.0 35.6
2016/17 20.6 48.2 31.1 11.9 42.6 45.5 24.1 50.2 25.7 28.5 50.9 20.6 20.2 46.7 33.1
2017/18 22.5 47.7 29.8 13.5 42.5 44.0 26.2 50.6 23.2 30.7 50.0 19.3 21.4 45.6 33.0
2018/19 22.8 47.3 29.9 14.0 43.7 42.3 26.1 50.3 23.6 31.4 49.8 18.8 22.2 44.4 33.4
2019/20 30.3 47.2 22.4 19.1 46.7 34.2 33.2 49.0 17.8 38.2 47.6 14.1 27.9 47.2 24.9

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 6 years to July 2020, the percentage of graduates who got a first class or 2:1 degree went up in every ethnic group

  • the biggest increases were in the Black ethnic group (from 50.8% to 65.8%) and Other ethnic group (from 62.4% to 75.1%)

  • the smallest increase was in the White ethnic group (from 77.1% to 85.9%)

  • the percentage gap between White and Black graduates getting a first class or 2:1 degree went down from 26.3% to 20.0% in the 6 years covered by this data

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 2019/2020 - Spreadsheet (csv) 11 KB

This file contains the following: Measure, Ethnic Group, Academic Year Classification of first degree, Count, Value.