A degree usually takes 3 to 4 years to complete.  Courses in careers such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and architecture can take 5 to 6 years.  When you complete a degree you are called a graduate.

A first degree is usually a bachelors degree e.g. B.A. (Bachelor of Arts), B.Sc (Bachelor of Science).  Some degrees maybe reflected in the title of the award e.g. B.Mus. (Bachelor of Music).  A teaching degree lasts 3 to 4 years and leads to a B.A./B.Sc. with QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) or B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education).  Some subjects with 4 year degrees can lead to a master’s degree e.g M.Eng. (Masters in Engineering). See UCAS for further details of degree courses.

Within degrees there are lots of different options available, these include

    • Single Honours – where 1 subject is studied
    • Joint Honours – where 2 subjects are studied
    • Combined Honours – where 3 or more subjects are studied
    • Modular Courses – here students build their degree by studying individual units, which could lead to a degree that is wide ranging or very limited.
    • Sandwich Course – Usually at least 4 years and includes a period of practical experience, this could be a year abroad on a language course or a period in industry on an engineering course.

Level 3 qualifications such as A Levels and BTEC Nationals are usually required with specific subjects necessary for particular degree options.  It is usually also necessary to have GCSE’s at grade 9-4 in English and Maths and sometimes other subjects at GCSE.

HND’s and HNC’s  
These are vocational courses, leading to skills / knowledge required for that particular area of work.  They are available in areas such as business, science and engineering.  They can be used for progress onto degree courses.  The length of courses depends upon the level.  They usually require A Levels or Level 3 qualifications for entry.

Vocational qualifications  
These are qualifications which relate to the world of work.  They help you improve your skills in your chosen career.  They are available at different levels and can vary in length from one year upwards.  The level you take will depend upon the qualifications you already hold or expect to hold. They often include practical elements to show you know how to do the job.  They include qualifications such as NVQ’s and City and Guilds.

These are available in a range of vocational areas and help develop your skills and build confidence in your chosen area.

They are offered at different levels depending upon your previous qualifications.  They consist of units, the number depending again upon the level of the course.  They are continuous assessment and do not involve exams.  They often include some work experience.  They can be used to meet entry requirements for higher education.

International Baccalaureate Diploma
This is an internationally recognised qualification that is highly valued by both higher education and employers.  The aim is to develop a broad range of skills and knowledge.

It consists of 6 subject areas plus theory of knowledge and a creative action service and lasts for 2 years.  It is assessed by coursework and exams at the end of year 2.

*Please check local availability of the International Baccalaureate before pursuing this option.