After the age of the 18, the typical student enters Higher Education and works towards a degree. In the UK the degree studied at University is the Undergraduate Degree.
An undergraduate degree normally takes three years to complete and specialise from year one. However, they can take longer if students choose to do the degree part time, take a sandwich year (work placement or go abroad) or study additional subjects. The types of undergraduate degree include:
· BSc (Bachelor of Science) - a science degree
· BA (Bachelor of Arts) - an arts degree
· BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) - an engineering degree
Some institutions also offer Undergraduate Master’s degree which is an enhanced four year undergraduate degree including extra subjects studied at a deeper level.
After graduating from their Bachelor’s degree, many students go on to a postgraduate/master’s degree. A master’s degree takes a year to complete and there are different types as follows;
· MSc (Master of Science)
· MA (Master of Arts)
· MEd (Master of Education)
· LLM (Master of Law)
· MBA (Master of Business Administration)
Some students also decide to go on to do a doctorate or PhD which takes another two to three years.
Unfortunately, not everyone is able to take the direct route of going to University; this could be due to the lack of qualifications or due to financial problem. However there are alternatives to help people to eventually get into University. Firstly people can choose to study at a higher education college, where students study HNC/D level courses which then can give them access to their final year of the Bachelor’s Degree. The benefits of this are; the entry requirements are not as rigid as the ones to get into University, the fees for these courses are significantly less than a normal degree and finally student can get in to their final year in eighteen months.
Some take the route of Adult Learning/Education. Adult Education also known as Life Long Learning or Continuing Education is offered to all adults regardless of age.
This kind of learning includes all the qualifications mentioned above, but also allows adults without required qualifications to take an access course leading them to university.
Finally, students also have the option of Open University which runs undergraduate and postgraduate distance learning degrees. There are no formal entry requirements for the undergraduate course therefore allowing people who lack qualifications a chance to achieve university-level qualifications. As the courses are done online and in the students own time, it allows them to work, gain experience and also build up their career.
To sum up, these some of the Higher education routes student can take not just after completing A-levels or college, but also without formal qualifications and at any point in their life.