The Oxford M. Chem. Integrated Masters Degree
The four year Oxford M. Chem. Integrated Masters Degree is recognised as a 2nd cycle qualification in the Bologna classification. Students who complete this degree are qualified to enter the 3rd cycle Doctorate, and more than half of them do so. Students are qualified for a Bachelor’s degree with Honours at the intermediate stage after three years, and have already completed their Masters level course work at this stage. The final year of the degree is a research project.
The equivalence with the 2nd cycle is recognised both within the UK and elsewhere. For example, the UK QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education), which is the appropriate government body, lists the Integrated Masters as equivalent to the end of the 2nd cycle (FHEQ level 7), and The European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences considers it as 2nd cycle when assessing qualifications for EurChem status.
Until 1998 graduates from Oxford in Chemistry were awarded the BA (Hons). There is no difference in either level or structure between the old classified BA in Chemistry and the new MChem in Chemistry. Indeed, during a transitional period, graduates were given a choice between the BA and the MChem for exactly the same qualification. The classified BA up to 1998 should therefore be considered a 2nd cycle qualification, equivalent to the MChem in every respect.
This does not apply either to an unclassified BA, which is awarded to a student who successfully completed the examination and practical components of the course, but does not satisfy the examiners in the Part II project, or to a BA pass degree (as opposed to honours), which is awarded to a student whose marks are not sufficient for honours after Part I. In neither of these cases would the degree qualify for level 7 (FHEQ) or level 2 (Bologna), but both are level 6 (FHEQ) or first cycle (Bologna) qualifications.
Prof Nicholas Green
Associate Head of Department (Teaching)