Types of Higher Education Courses

    Degree

    These are the most common type of higher education course and are generally three years’ in length.  They can be an ‘ordinary’ degree or an ‘honours’ degree – the latter being slightly more in depth, with more analysing and problem solving.  Some degree courses include a period of time spent out in the workplace. These are called ‘sandwich’ degrees and are usually four years in length as a result.

    Occasionally an undergraduate degree course will result in a masters level qualification, and these will be four years in length and have higher entry requirements.  Alternatively, you can continue onto a masters degree after taking a basic degree course.

    Foundation Degree

    These are normally two years in length with an option to top up to a degree by doing an additional year at the end. They are usually in subjects related to a career area and tend to be more practical than degree courses, with more coursework and less exams.  Entry requirements are lower than degree courses and many foundation degrees are offered at local colleges as well as universities.

    Higher National Diploma

    These are very similar to foundation degrees, being two years in length with an option to top up to degree level by doing an extra year. Again, they are in career related subjects and are more practical than degrees, with more continual assessment and less exams.

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