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Degree requirements filter

In the 2021 to 2022 cycle, providers often rejected candidates because their degree classification did not meet the minimum required for the course. For example, the candidates may have a 2:2 degree, but the course required a 2:1 or above.

Whilst this requirement was described on course pages as part of the entry requirements, candidates may have missed this.

Additionally, in research with candidates, we discovered that those with lower degree grades, such as 2:2 or a Third, sometimes have to spend a long time sifting through courses in order to find ones that will accept their degree grade.

To address this, for the 2022 to 2023 cycle, we’ve asked providers to tell us the minimum degree requirement for each course as a structured question.

This means that we are now able to let candidates filter courses according to the degree requirements, saving time. We hope this will mean less applications are unsuccessful due to not meeting the degree entry requirements.

First iteration

In the first iteration we added 4 checkboxes within a new ‘Degree required’ filter which corresponded to the 4 different options that providers could select for each course:

  • 2:1 degree or higher
  • 2:2 degree or higher
  • Third degree or higher
  • An undergraduate degree
Screenshot showing 4 checkboxes
First iteration of degree requirement filter

By default, all 4 checkboxes were checked.

We tested this design in user research, including with some international candidates with non-UK degrees.

We found that the filter had a lot of value, particularly for those with lower degree grades.

However, we found a few issues:

  • some candidates selected the degree they had, such as a 2:2, and unchecked the other boxes
  • some candidates with higher degrees selected just courses requiring higher degree grades as a proxy for finding ‘better’ courses (although this may not be the case)
  • the wording ‘any undergraduate degree’ led one candidate to assume that this meant there were no degree subject requirements

Second iteration

We considered directly asking candidates the level of their degree, as this would be a conceptually simpler question to answer. However, this might be jarring as the other filters are all about the course, rather than about the candidate. It would also mean either combining ‘2:1 or First’ or have two separate answers which led to the same results (as no courses require a First class degree).

Instead, we switched the filter to using radios, but worded the label in terms of which degree a course would accept.

A ‘Show all courses‘ option is selected by default.

Screenshot showing 4 radio options
Second iteration of degree requirement filter

Next steps

We plan to do some further user research to check that the second iteration addresses the issues, and does not introduce any new ones.