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‘Translating’ Qualifications | The Careers Service ‘Translating’ Qualifications – Oxford University Careers Service
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Converting grades to UK qualifications

If you come to Oxford with qualifications other than the standard UK qualifications (GCSEs, A-levels, or a 1st, 2nd or 3rd class degree), then to help a potential British employer, you should try to contextualise your academic results so that they can understand your achievements.


You have two options when it comes to describing international academic grades:

Explain and provide context

List your international qualifications, providing an explanation and/or include the maximum achievable grade. This is the preferable option as many firms are familiar with international applicants and this avoids any mistakes (inflation or deflation) in “converted grades”.

See examples below:

A-Level Equivalent

  • Lycee La Citadelle, Limoges, France. International Baccalaureate 40/45 

Degree Equivalent

  • Michigan State University, USA. BA in Politics and Economics
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) 3.78 (max. 4.00)
  • 730 GMAT (top 1%)

Providing this additional information will help the employer to better understand how you have performed.

With regards to professional qualifications (eg: law, medicine) we would recommend that you check with the relevant UK professional body whether they are valid in the UK.


You can also “convert” your international grades into UK grades. The NARIC website (which is the official and government supported, national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills) can provide this service, however, there is a charge involved.

N.B. There are many websites which claim to offer “grade conversion”. However, we recommend that you use these carefully, as there is often no way of verifying that their conversions are correct and reflect those that employers will accept.

If you are still unsure about what to do, contact the employer/organisation to explain the situation and ask them for advice on how best to present your qualifications.

Converting grades to US qualifications

If you have a UK undergraduate degree and you are applying for jobs in North America, be aware that US degrees don’t use our classification system. Stating that you are ‘predicted a “2.1” will not necessarily be understood by a US employer unless they tend to recruit heavily from the UK. Providing information on your first/second year exam results (if they are requested) in a percentage format (eg: 68%) can also be helpful in conveying your academic ability.

You might not need to include any degree classification, but if it forms part of their requirements, you should. If you cannot find further information on how to do this on the organisation’s website, we would recommend contacting the employer’s HR or recruitment team for assistance.

If it’s only an approximation that you need, you might find the following websites helpful:

This information was last updated on 22 November 2017.
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Posted on behalf of Society of Young Publishers (SYP). Blogged by Julia Hilton on March 19, 2018.

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Free for SYP members; £2 for non-members

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Grace Ranola, Associate Publisher of Law, Humanities, and Social Sciences journals at Oxford University Press

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We hope to see you there!

If you have any access-related queries or issues, please do contact us on Twitter (@SYP_Oxford) or email at


Easter Closure and Careers Advice during the vacation

Blogged by Karan Karasinska on March 15, 2018.

The Careers Service will be closed for Easter from Thursday 29 March until Monday 2 April, reopening on Tuesday 3 April. Apart from these days, you can come in to have a 1:1 discussion with a Careers Adviser as normal; our advice appointments are available to book on CareerConnect. However, if you are not in Oxford during the vacation, you can still get careers advice!

  • If you would like to have a discussion by telephone or Skype while you are out of Oxford, you can book a Short Discussion appointment and email us to say you would like the appointment to be over the telephone, or via Skype.
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If you require any further clarification of our services, or have a specific enquiry, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us: or telephone 01865 274646.

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Your career is not predestined by your degree choice

Posted on behalf of Lazard. Blogged by Julia Hilton on March 14, 2018.

History of Art Oxford graduate Jimena Nowack is currently working as an Analyst (Retail, Consumer & Leisure) at Lazard. Lazard is a leading financial advisory and asset management firm. Jimena told us more about her transition from the Arts to working in finance. It’s a more common route for Arts and Humanities graduates than you might think!

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Jimena Nowack, BA History of Art, Christ Church College 2016

A little about me…

I was born in Spain, and I have lived in Buenos Aires, Madrid and the US. Lazard has been my first full-time job and I couldn’t recommend it more: both for Humanities and Sciences students. My background in the Arts is certainly not the most conventional route to a career in investment banking, however, I have never felt any impediment during the selection process, in my day-to-day job or with my future career progression.

Why did you choose this industry?

During my second year at University, I started to consider what I wanted to pursue after university and potential jobs and careers. In my mind, I was destined for a career in the art world, because it made the most sense with my choice of degree. I applied for a summer internship at an auction house and although it was a valuable experience, I realised I wanted a far more challenging day-to-day role with a steeper learning curve and one that was in steady pace with what was happening around the world. During my final year of university, I applied to investment banking graduate roles. I decided not to apply to bulge-bracket firms as I realised from my experience at university that I preferred a smaller, more collegiate environment. One where I could exercise a bit more creativity and is more personalised where everyone is known by their name and their ideas.

What has surprised you most about working at Lazard?

What has surprised me is how close-knit the teams are; how much brainstorming and idea-generation go into the job; and the variety of work and the variety of skills you develop as an analyst. The huge advantage to working in small teams is that you are in direct contact with MDs and Directors – and this is something that definitely does not happen at other/bulge bracket banks. Undoubtedly, there is a financial element to the role (the so-called “number crunching”) but there is also so much more than this. As a Humanities student, I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of creative thinking required – in finding a creative and compelling, often unexpected, solution to a problem, or coming up with an original idea. On the whole, I have quickly realised that Investment Banking is a lot more about people, personality and ideas – more than what it is usually given credit for.

What advice would you give to students considering a career in Financial Advisory?

I always advise students to try and get a holistic insight into the industry and the company before making any decisions. Anyone who likes being challenged and working hard may be drawn to Law or Management Consulting, but they should also consider Financial Advisory. Don’t assume you cannot successfully transfer to other fields of work. In my team of eight, there are colleagues who studied Linguistics, History, Economic and the Classics and they are now all enjoying a successful career at Lazard

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