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Higher Education

What is Higher Education?

Higher Education refers to qualifications and courses that students can take after finishing Level 3 study such as A-levels and BTEC Extended Diplomas. Most people study Higher Education straight after sixth form or college but there is no age limit.

Higher Education study takes place at Universities and Further Education Colleges - there are over 400 Higher Education Institutions in the UK and over 90,000 courses to choose from.

Types of qualifications

There are a few different types of higher education qualifications, which can be split into three groups: academic, vocational and apprenticeships. They all take different amounts of time to complete and some can be studied part time as well as full time.

  • Academic qualifications focus on developing knowledge about a particular subject or topic and develop skills in independent learning and research.
  • Vocational qualifications are more practical and linked to specific careers or jobs.
  • Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships can result in obtaining either an academic or vocational higher education qualification, but a large part of the time will be spent in work.

Applying to University

The vast majority of applications to higher education courses are made via the UCAS website – www.ucas.com . The website is free to visit, but there is a fee for the application service.

Level

Academic Qualifications

Vocational Qualifications

Apprenticeships

3

A levels and AS levels

BTECs, NVQs, City and Guilds

Level 3 Apprenticeship

Between level 3 and 4

Foundation Year or Year 0

A one year course to prepare students for a Bachelor's degree

 

 

4

Bachelors Degree Year 1

Typically studied for 3 years full time.
Taught by lectures, seminars, labs and practical classes.
Focus on independent study and research.
Typically studied at University but also offered by some Further Education colleges

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

One year full- time with the option to study part-time.
Designed to teach practical skills for a specific career
Typically studied in Further Education Colleges.

Higher Level Apprenticeships

Focus on a particular job or profession.
Working a paid job, whilst studying towards a higher education qualification related to that job.
The exact qualification you obtain depends on the length and level of the apprenticeship, the most commons ones are NVQs, HNCs, HNDs and Foundation Degrees.

5

Bachelors Degree Year 2

Foundation Degree
(FdA)

Two years full- time and can sometimes be studied part-time which takes longer.
Combines academic study with work place learning
Designed with employers with a focus on a particular career.
Typically studied in Further Education Colleges
Can sometimes be topped up to a Bachelors degree.

Higher National Diploma (HND)

Two years full-time and can sometimes be studied part-time which takes longer.
Designed to teach practical skills for a specific career
Typically studied in Further Education Colleges
Can sometimes be topped up to a Bachelors degree

6

Bachelors Degree Year 3

Foundation Degree Top Up

Entry straight into the final year of a Bachelors degree
On completion you will get a Bachelors degree
Typically studied at University

Degree Level Apprenticeships

Focus on a particular job or profession.
Working a paid job, whilst studying towards a degree-level higher education qualification related to that job.
The exact qualification you obtain depends on the length and level of the apprenticeship, but this is usually a Bachelors degree or Masters degree.

Level 7

Bachelors Degree Year 4 and above

 

 

Masters Degree

Postgraduate study offered by Universities, can include  professional courses such as teaching qualifications (PGCE) or Legal Practice Courses (LPC) which enable you to become a solicitor.

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