Degrees in the UK

UK Degree

Many international students dream of getting a bachelor’s degree in the UK. UK Universities are known and prestigious for their undergraduate degree programs.

Getting your undergraduate degree in the UK is a great opportunity; therefore, people from around the world will opt to attend a British university for the whole duration of their college career. These universities offer thousands of excellent courses and grant degrees recognized worldwide by employers and academics alike.

Many people often consider undergraduate degrees bachelor’s degrees; in many cases, that is true. However, there are six types of undergraduate degrees you can earn in the UK.

Note: At most UK universities, degrees are classified as either “Ordinary” or “Honours.”

  • Ordinary or Non-Honours Degrees. They are typically awarded if all classes have been completed without a thesis. Usually, this will make no difference in terms of employment, but it may make a distinction in how you progress to postgraduate work. This isn’t the case for all universities, so if you are considering attending university in the UK, talk to those involved in admissions about how their degree distinctions work.
  • Honours Degrees. On the other hand, the honours degree means that the student successfully completed all undergraduate classes and a thesis.

One of the most common degrees in the UK, the bachelor’s degree, takes three or four years to complete depending on the subject and the study mode. More often than not, students usually study one subject in thorough detail. However, you can choose two subjects for your undergraduate degree, usually major and minor subjects.

There are different types of bachelor’s degrees offered in UK universities, such as:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB)

Here are some of the programs that you could take when studying in the UK:

  • Anthropology and Archaeology.
  • Social Sciences (Sociology, Psychology, etc).
  • Classical History.
  • English (Literature, Linguistics, etc.).
  • Computer Science.
  • Business (Economics, Management).
  • Law.
  • Medical fields/Pre-Medical fields.
  • Music and Arts.
  • Engineering.
  • Philosophy.
  • Sciences (Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry).
  • Mathematics.
  • Theology and Religion.

A foundation diploma is a connecting year between high school and an undergraduate degree. It is a one-year qualification designed for students who must be qualified to enter a bachelor’s degree. Consequently, students attend foundation year courses to prepare for further studies.

Most universities and further education colleges offer a foundation year for those who are interested. The qualifications for a foundation year vary depending on the course and higher education institution.

Compared to a foundation diploma, a foundation degree is the equivalent of a two-year bachelor’s degree with honours and usually takes two years to complete in a full-time study mode, whereas three to four years if you are studying part-time.

If you opt to pursue a foundation degree, you will take classes related to your employment, similar to what some places would call an apprenticeship or an internship. After completing the foundation degree, you can either find a job or aim for a bachelor’s degree with an additional year —a so-called Top-up Degree.

Like the two listed above, these certificates are equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program, and they can lead to the third year.

Higher National Diploma (HND)

Another type of degree called a Higher National Diploma (HND) is similar to the foundation degree in the sense that it is a two-year certificate with a three-year option, but you must obtain good marks to qualify for the third year. To qualify for an HND, you must complete at least one or two A levels.

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

Similar to the HND diploma, the higher national certificate takes one year to complete, and it is equivalent to one year of the university. It is designed for students who wish to train for a specific career or continue the second year of undergraduate studies.

Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)

The CertHE is meant to help you gain confidence in your ability to perform at the university level or to help you change careers or progress in your current career. With one to two years of study duration, the CertHE focuses on academic rather than practical learning. You can ask for a fast-track option to speed up your study duration to six months with the university’s permission.

Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)

The Diploma of Higher Education is considered the equivalent of a two-year bachelor’s degree and carries the same qualification as a Higher National Diploma. Like an HND, you can continue to complete the final year of a bachelor’s degree after completing a DipHE.

Certificate of Continuing Education (CertCE)

The CertCe is considered a beginners’ class for those who wish to study for a part-time degree and test their skills at the undergraduate level. Students can continue their studies into the second year or until they get a full undergraduate degree.

The CertCE usually offers 60 undergraduate degree credits, which is approximately half a year of undergraduate study.

Even though most people associate Master’s Degrees with postgraduate studies, some UK universities have added a specialized undergraduate Master’s Degree program to their curriculum. These programs are not incredibly common, but they are very appealing to many who were planning on going straight to postgraduate study after obtaining their first degree.

These programs last four years and include what you would learn when obtaining your first degree; it combines your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees into one program.

These programs can save student money because they require undergraduate tuition fees throughout the degree program. If this interests you, check with the universities you are considering attending and see if they have this program.


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