UK Education System

Structure of the Higher Educational System in England

STUDENTS in the UK engage with learning at a number of different levels. A wide range of institutions will deliver courses at each level - from schools and colleges to further education colleges and universities.

These levels - primary, secondary, 16 to 19, further education and higher education. At all levels (other than primary) students may choose to study towards a wide variety of different qualifications.

Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas

If you want to go on to higher education and gain a recognized qualification to do a specific job, a BTEC HNC or HND could be for you. HNCs and HNDs focus on 'learning by doing' and can lead into a new career, or help you progress in your current line of work.

HNCs (Higher National Certificates) and HNDs (Higher National Diplomas) are work-related (vocational) higher education qualifications. While bachelor's degrees tend to focus on gaining knowledge, HNCs and HNDs are designed to give you the skills to put that knowledge to effective use in a particular job.

Bachelors Degree: BA / BSc / MB

A bachelor's degree (sometimes known as an 'ordinary' or 'first' degree) is a course of academic study leading to a qualification such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), or bachelor of medicine (MB). It usually takes three or four years to complete full time (normally four years if you're doing a sandwich course, which includes a year in industry or abroad). Bachelor's degrees in some subjects can take longer; for example, medical courses usually take five or six years. You can also study for a bachelor's degree part time or through flexible learning.

Postgraduate Qualifications

If you want to carry on your studies after a bachelor's degree, or learn more about a particular subject, there are a range of postgraduate qualifications available. Some are linked to a specific profession, while others allow you to complete an original piece of research.

A master's degree is a qualification of academic study. It can be research based, a taught course, or a mixture of both, and will take at least 12 months of full-time study to complete. You may also have to submit a dissertation at the end of your course.

Doctorates

A doctorate qualification gives you the opportunity to undertake an original piece of research. It will usually take at least three years of full-time study to complete.