A Guide On The Different Types Of Degrees In The UK

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Written by Pareeshti Rao

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January 17, 2022

The UK, as we all know, attracts a bulk of international students to its renowned universities every year. However, most students are unaware of the UK education system and often find themselves consumed in confusion when it comes to deciding the right universities or the right degrees for them. Degrees conferred by British universities may differ from those granted by universities in other countries, so let us discuss the most common types of degrees in the UK.

Foundation Courses

Foundation courses are one-year pre-degree courses that can help you prepare to begin your university studies with ease. You can choose a foundation course to strengthen your English language abilities, become acquainted with the UK school system, master the fundamentals of technical areas or maybe even know the benefits of STEM education.

Bachelor Degrees

Bachelor’s degrees are undergraduate degrees that you can pursue immediately after finishing high school. These degrees are normally three years long in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Some courses allow you to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years, including a gap year. This extra year will allow you to get work experience or to spend a year abroad. Unlike in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, Bachelor’s degrees in Scotland last four years.

Bachelor’s degrees are commonly awarded in the following fields:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
  • Graduate Certificate (GradCert)

Postgraduate Degrees

A master’s degree is a postgraduate degree that comes after an undergraduate degree. These degrees are more narrowly focused on a specific area of study. After completing your master’s degree, you will be able to receive in-depth information and build specific talents required to thrive in your chosen area.

Masters degrees in the United Kingdom are typically one year in length, however you may complete it in two years by including work placement options into your programme to get professional experience.

If you want to start working on a master’s degree right away, you can enrol in an integrated master’s programme. You may complete both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four to five years if you do it this way.

Master’s degrees can also be divided into two types: taught master’s degrees and research master’s degrees. In a taught master’s degree, you will take regular courses for the first half of your course and will conduct research for the second half.

Amongst the different types of degrees in the UK, common types of master’s degrees include:

  • Integrated master’s degree
  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Engineering (MEng)
  • Master of Research (MRes)
  • Master of Laws (LLM)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)


types of degrees in the UK

After obtaining your master’s degree, you can pursue a doctorate. To obtain a doctorate, you must propose an original research topic, perform the study, and write a thorough thesis on the topic. When compared to the other types of degrees in the UK, a doctorate normally takes three to four years to complete.

Doctorates that are commonly awarded include:

  • Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Higher Doctorates
  • New Route PhDs
  • Professional Doctorates

Other Major Qualifications

Single Honours

A single honours degree focuses on a particular subject. You can tack on extra modules as electives to your course.

Joint Honours

You will be able to study a variety of disciplines if you pursue a dual honours degree. The institution creates combined degrees by integrating many connected topics.

Short courses, certificates, and diplomas are also available in UK universities at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Higher National Certificate

A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a one-year undergraduate degree that corresponds to the first year of university. It is a level 4 practical certificate acquired by students who desire to train for a specific job or go into the second year of a bachelor’s degree.

Higher National Diploma

A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a two-year level 5 certificate comparable to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. It is similar to an HNC. This occupational certificate is intended for students who want to develop practical skills or enter the third year of a bachelor’s degree after completing it.

Diploma Of Higher Education

A Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) is a level 5 certification equivalent to an HND or two years of bachelor’s degree study. Learning will be more intellectual than practical, and getting a DipHE will enable you to go to the last year of a bachelor’s degree.

Conversion Courses

A conversion course is appropriate for any student interested in changing jobs. They are a postgraduate qualification that allows you to study a topic that was not part of your undergraduate degree. Most degrees are taught and are compressed versions of undergraduate degrees. Students also take conversion courses in order to continue their education at the master’s level.

Thank you for reading this blog on Types Of Degrees In The UK.  If you’d like to read more, here are some blogs that might be of interest to you –

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