Free Degree

A Cambridge professor has slammed the traditional Oxbridge practice of awarding free masters degrees to graduates.

dons ma masters

A Cambridge professor has slammed the traditional Oxbridge practice of awarding free masters degrees to graduates.

Under the current system, students at Oxford and Cambridge who pass BA undergraduate degrees are automatically entitled to a MA three years after they graduate.

But Dr Neil Dogson, an academic at the university's Computer Laboratory, has labelled the practice an outdated ''anomaly''.

Students at non-Oxbridge institutions must complete and pay for a programme of advanced postgraduate study in order to obtain a masters.

In contrast, Oxbridge students are awarded a MA for free without any further postgraduate work, simply collecting the qualification  during a ceremony at their institution.

Dr Dogson told a meeting of Cambridge University's Senate, its governing body, that Oxbridge needed to accept the world had ''moved on''.

He said: ''Many find it offensive that we should award a degree for doing nothing more than being able to breathe for three years.

''Every degree at Cambridge, other than the MA, is now a certificate awarded for passing an examination. 'It is only a matter of time before our MA spawns a PR disaster."

A graduate from Cambridge University's Trinity Hall blasted the practice as ''pointless''.

She said: ''I never declare it, I just say I have a BA like everyone else does.''

A statement released by Cambridge University's council said, ''The council believes that the (MA) degree continues to serve valuable purposes which outweigh any negative external perceptions of it. ''The QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) is well aware of the degree's status and has not expressed any concerns about it.''