Hands Off Our MAs!

A Labour MP is trying to get rid of Oxbridge MAs, claiming employers don’t know the difference.

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One barmy MP is making it his mission to take away Cambridge MAs. Labour’s Chris Leslie says Oxbridge should no longer give their students automatic upgrades to their degrees.

According to Leslie, more than 60% of employers do not know Oxford and Cambridge automatically upgrade their students from a Bachelor’s degree to a Master’s for just a £10 fee.

The MP for Nottingham East argued that the award is “quite unfair” as most ordinary postgraduate students have to: “actually earn their master’s degree the hard way.”

The Labour MP has written to both universities to ask them to give up the privilege but, unsurprisingly, they declined.

Putting forward his Masters Degrees (Minimum Standards) Bill in the House of Commons, he said the practice must now be banned through law.

Thankfully universities minister David Willetts was still talking when time ran out for debate, so the Bill failed to get a second reading.

Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie might not be smiling if he had to face students over his plans

Opposition to the Bill has been fairly huge. On top of Tory claims that most vaguely intelligent employers actually do know the difference, and general knowledge that MA Cantab is very much honorary, students have not taken to the idea.

Rhiannon Fuller, a Trinity 2nd year, told The Tab: “Does this man have any idea how stressful being at Cambridge is? We totally deserve that MA. Why does he care so much anyway? He needs to get a life.”

With only alumni with the MA allowed to vote in the recent chancellor elections, moves to cut them could have drastic implications for future votes.

Mr Leslie himself graduated from Leeds University with a BA in politics and parliamentary studies in 1994, before gaining an MA “the hard way” in industrial and labour studies two years later.