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helen-louise
baratron
baratron
How to give yourself a headache.
For reasons that will become obvious later (i.e. I'm not going to tell you why now), I need to work out the exact breakdown of my first degree. Now, universities in this country do not, or at least did not at the time, issue transcripts, so I'm left to try to work it out myself. This is not as easy as you might think...

We had a total of 4 course units in each year, and to pass the degree you needed a minimum of 9 course units overall out of a maximum of 12. There were other criteria, such as to pass the year and be admitted into the next, you had to have passed a certain number of the course units. I'm not sure what the number was, because I managed to find an official letter saying I had qualified for entry to the third year, despite only having passed 5 1/2 out of 8 course units (I did not sit several exams in my second year because of illness, and took them later in the summer). Hmm. Of course, being Imperial, they couldn't make things simple by allocating each section a round number of course units. Oh no. Some things were worth 1 course unit, some were worth 0.75 and some were worth 0.5. What fun! So here are the course unit totals for each year, along with some commentary...

First year:
Foundation chemistry: 0.75
Physical chemistry: 0.75
Inorganic chemistry: 0.75
Organic chemistry: 0.5
Lab & coursework: 0.75
Ancillary subject - Maths: 0.5

I have guessed these totals from a page in a notebook where I wrote down my marks and multiplied them by the weighting of the courses. Except I didn't write down the name of each course, so I'm guessing which was which based on my marks!

Second year:
Physical chemistry: 1
Inorganic chemistry: 1
Organic chemistry: 1
Lab & coursework: 1

I managed to find the official paperwork for this year, so I know this is correct. Sadly, this is the only mathematically easy year of my course.

Third year:
Part IIIA: 0.75
Part IIIB: 0.75
Lab: 0.75
Research project: 0.75
Literature report: 0.5
Ancillary subject - Italian: 0.5

Again, I'm not actually sure if this is right - it's based on memory rather than paperwork. I remember being very pissed off that my lab course, which was 24 hours a week and my Italian, which was 3 hours a week counted for almost the same - or the Italian might even have been worth more! I can't actually remember any Italian whatsoever now, though, so I'll put it down as 0.5/12 of my degree.


I could total this up now, but Foundation chemistry and Part IIIA/B aren't terms that are meaningful to anyone outside IC Chemistry department. So I need to translate them into their actual components.
Foundation - 1/3 Physical chemistry, 1/6 Inorganic, 1/6 Organic, 1/3 Physics/Maths.
Part IIIA - 3/8 Physical chemistry, 3/8 Inorganic chemistry, 2/8 Organic chemistry.
Part IIIB - 5/8 Physical chemistry, 3/8 Inorganic chemistry.

This makes, ye flipping gods, an extra 1 course unit for physical chemistry, 0.6875 for Inorganic, 0.3125 Organic, 0.25 Physics/Maths. So the totals are:
Physical chemistry: 2.75
Inorganic chemistry: 2.4375
Organic chemistry: 1.8125
Lab & coursework: 2.5
Research chemistry (which was actually all in the physical section): 1.25
Ancillary subject - Maths: 0.5
Ancillary subject - Italian: 0.5
Additional Maths/Physics: 0.25
Then I have to divide all those by 12 to get percentages!

The final, rounded totals are:
Physical chemistry: 33%
Inorganic chemistry: 20%
Organic chemistry: 15%
Lab & coursework: 21%
Ancillary subject - Maths: 4%
Ancillary subject - Italian: 4%
Additional Maths/Physics: 3%

Blergh. I don't even want to speculate what percentage of physical chemistry could also be classed as physics. It's taken me 4 hours to do this as it is.

If you're interested, these are the courses I took in third year.

Physical:
Energy Conversion and Storage - P2
Chemistry of the Gas/Solid Interface - P3
Chemistry of Complex Solids - P5
Atmospheric and Environmental Chemistry - P7
The Chemistry of Semiconductors - P8
Molecular Symmetry and Spectroscopy - P9
Molecular Simulation and Further MO Theory - P11
Plus one more physical course that I can't find any notes for.

Inorganic:
Transition Metal Cluster Chemistry - I6
Lanthanides and Actinides - I8
Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy - I9
Applications of Inorganic Catalysts - I10
Main Group Topics - I11
Non-Aqueous Solvents - Isomething

Organic:
Molecular Orbital Theory - O9
Mass Spectroscopy in Organic Chemistry - Osomething

I have good memories of Energy Conversion and Storage, Atmospheric and Environmental Chemistry, Molecular Symmetry and Spectroscopy, Lanthanides and Actinides, Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy, Non-Aqueous Solvents and Molecular Orbital Theory. I have okayish memories of Chemistry of Complex Solids, Applications of Inorganic Catalysts and Main Group Topics. And absolutely fearful meeping memories of Chemistry of the Gas/Solid Interface, The Chemistry of Semiconductors, Molecular Simulation and Further MO Theory and Mass Spectroscopy in Organic Chemistry.

Of course, going through boxes of stuff from 6 years ago is bringing back other memories too. I was careful, though - if I peered at something and thought "I don't want to read that yet", I didn't. So I'm only actually feeling a wee bit fragile, and mostly just irritated. I shouldn't have to be doing complicated arithmetic just to find out what I actually studied at university!

Current Mood: weird weird

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Comments
meeping From: meeping Date: 1st June 2003 01:47 (UTC) (Link)

Evil Chemistry

First year:
Foundation course: 1
First Year Course Work: 1
Physical & Inorganic Theory: 0.75
Organic theory: 0.5
First Year Ancillary: 0.75

I still have my first year results. Hope this helps :)
meeping From: meeping Date: 1st June 2003 02:06 (UTC) (Link)

Evil Chemistry (3rd year)

I also have notes on the following subject which I assume you did on the basis that I have some photocopied notes which look like your handwriting: Optical Properties of Molecular Materials


There are a couple of others I have but I guess you didn't do:
Fundamental Theory Quantum Mechanics (Gould)
Chemical Crystallography (Williams)

baratron From: baratron Date: 1st June 2003 18:04 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Evil Chemistry (3rd year)

I feel ill just thinking about Fundamental Theory Quantum Mechanics. My tummy is tying itself in knots.

I don't remember doing the other course you mentioned. I'll have to look at your notes to see whether it really is my writing!

At least I don't need to know any of this stuff for what I'm going to do :) No Hamiltonians for me, thank God.
johnckirk From: johnckirk Date: 1st June 2003 02:44 (UTC) (Link)

Transcripts

Now, universities in this country do not, or at least did not at the time, issue transcripts, so I'm left to try to work it out myself.

This may be a stupid question, but have you contacted the university to see whether they can give you a transcript? I was able to get copies from Durham last year, after my undergrad degree finished in 1995 (although it took them a couple of months). There were three versions of the transcript, with varying levels of detail. I don't know about Imperial's policy, but the reason I needed it was for my application to Kings, so I think that they'd be the exception rather than the rule if they won't provide transcripts.

This may be redundant now, since you've already worked out the sums, but if you're not sure about all of the calculations then it may be useful.
baratron From: baratron Date: 1st June 2003 16:25 (UTC) (Link)
If such a thing existed, wouldn't I already have been given one? All we ever got was a letter at the end of the year giving our marks for each exam/section and the total number of course units passed. In fact, we only got this letter in the first and second years - I don't think we were ever given our final year marks broken down.

In the US, a full transcript is issued listing every single course attended and the complete breakdown of marks. I don't think that sort of thing exists here, because usually in the UK all students in a department follow one of two or three identical courses for the first two years of their degree. Apart from ancillary subjects, you only get options in the third and fourth years. So there's no need for anyone to keep a record of the courses you attended, because everyone in your year would have done the same thing - unlike in the US system where each student makes up their own degree by selecting courses right from the start.

The most I could get would be a document detailing that I got 60% in exam IIA and 38% in exam IIB, not the breakdown of marks to individual subjects or a list of the subjects I did. And, frankly, I really don't want anyone to see the breakdown of marks - some of them were really quite poor.
johnckirk From: johnckirk Date: 1st June 2003 17:02 (UTC) (Link)
If such a thing existed, wouldn't I already have been given one?

Well, I don't know about Imperial specifically, but I can tell you what happened in Durham.

All we ever got was a letter at the end of the year giving our marks for each exam/section and the total number of course units passed. In fact, we only got this letter in the first and second years - I don't think we were ever given our final year marks broken down.

Our results were posted on notice boards at the end of each year, rather than being posted to us. Then when I graduated, I got a certificate saying "John Kirk has a 2:2" (actually, I was sent that in the post a few months later). I wasn't issued any kind of formal transcript at the time. I only got that last summer, after I contacted the university to ask for one. There was a small admin charge (5 quid) to cover costs, then they sent me the transcripts.

The most I could get would be a document detailing that I got 60% in exam IIA and 38% in exam IIB, not the breakdown of marks to individual subjects or a list of the subjects I did.

There are three different types of transcript, and Durham sent me two copies of each one (i.e. 6 transcripts in total).

The basic one just lists name, date of birth, college attended, period of study, normal period of course, title of degree, class/division, date of award, and course. In other words "John Kirk did a BSc Hons degree in Computer Science from 1992-1995, and got a 2:2".

The next one gives the same info, and also gives a list of courses. The first year is all amalgamated together - it just says "Computer Science - Main", rather than listing the 5 different subjects. But for the 2nd and 3rd years, it lists the 5 modules that I took each year, as well as "project" (no specifics).

The final one gives the same info as the second one, but it also gives a mark for each of the modules, e.g. "Software Engineering I - 60/100".

I really don't want anyone to see the breakdown of marks - some of them were really quite poor.

Yeah, I can understand that :) In my case, I sent the most detailed one to Kings, and the least detailed one to the BCS (who just needed proof that I have a degree).

Anyway, it certainly can't hurt to ask Imperial what's available. I started by emailing the department secretary, and then she gave me the contact details for the relevant person in the central university office.

It sounds like your course/exam structure is a bit more complicated than mine was, but I'd guess that this would be reflected in the transcripts.
purpletigron From: purpletigron Date: 6th June 2003 01:31 (UTC) (Link)

IC transcripts

This is probably a little late, but...

Imperial do do what they call a transcript, which I have just ordered for reasons which may or may not be the same as yours - I graduated in 1990. They do not issue them by default - only on request. It lists the percentages in each exam - so comprehensive and synoptic exams are not broken down, unfortunately - and how many modules that exam could contribute to your final total of modules passed.
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