Letter: First class syllabuses

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The Independent Online
Sir: 'He asks indignantly why a 'first' from another university is often not deemed equivalent to an Oxbridge 'first',' writes Mary Dejevsky in her review (29 September) of Walter Ellis's The Oxbridge Conspiracy. And she adds, damningly: 'He should look at the syllabus.'

This is nonsense. Oxbridge syllabuses and standards of marking are roughly the same as those of every other university. I graduated from Oxford many years ago, and can assure her that the English syllabus I had to master was rather less demanding than that which my own students in English in the School of European Studies at Sussex have to face.

Oxford has since changed its syllabus many times, but there is no reason to imagine that it is harder to deal with than that of any other university, and it still seems to me less demanding than Sussex's.

Yours sincerely,


Professor of English

School of European Studies

University of Sussex


29 September