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Higher education at 18/19 or later

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Types of higher education courses



There are many different types of higher education courses available, such as, two-year Foundation Degrees, Higher Apprenticeships, HNCs and HNDs, Honours Degrees, etc.

Read on to find out more...

Honours Degree Courses

An Honours degree is a course of study leading to a qualification such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), or Bachelor of Law (LLB). This typically 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).

You can study for a full or part-time Honours Degree at a university, or more flexibly in your own time with the Open University, building up credits through a series of shorter courses.

Find out more about degree courses

Find out more about Open University distance learning courses

Foundation Degrees

Foundation Degrees are designed and delivered in partnership with employers and Higher Education providers (universities and colleges). They are taught in a college but awarded by a university. They combine study with workplace learning, so you can use your place of work to provide evidence of your learning and for project work - sometimes a voluntary placement is acceptable. Foundation Degrees can be a good option if you are already working and want to further your career or if you want to study a subject related to a job.

A full-time Foundation Degree course will usually take two years to complete; a part-time Foundation degree course will normally take longer. After completing a Foundation Degree many students go on to study for a full Honours Degree (which usually takes one further year and study might take place at the awarding university). Find out more about your options after a Foundation degree here

Here are some of the vocational areas that offer Foundation Degrees:

  • Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care
  • Arts, Media and Publishing
  • Business, Administration and Law
  • Construction, Planning and the Built Environment
  • Education and Training
  • Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies
  • Health, Public Services and Care
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Language, Literature and Culture
  • Leisure, Travel and Tourism
  • Retail and Commercial Enterprise
  • Science and Mathematics

Go to the What Uni? website for a full list of all Foundation Degrees or find a Foundation Degree on the UCAS site.

Higher Apprenticeships:

Apprenticeships offer students an opportunity to learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining work-based qualifications, such as a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), and earning money at the same time.

Higher Apprenticeships work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree.

A /404Degree Apprenticeship is a new way to gain a degree while being employed and trained at the same time.  /404Click to find out which Degree Apprenticeships will be on offer.

Find out more about Apprenticeships


Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and Certificates (HNCs)are job-related qualifications available in a wide range of vocational areas. HNCs take one year full-time or two years part-time. Full-time HNDs take two years to complete and can be used as a qualification in their own right, or for entry to the second or third year of a degree course. As with degree courses, they can also be taken on a sandwich basis and include a work placement. You can find out more about your options after an HND here

Here are some of the vocational areas that offer HNDs:

  • Arts, Media and Publishing
  • Business, Administration and Law
  • Construction, Planning and the Built Environment
  • Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Leisure, Travel and Tourism

Explore a college or university's website to find out more about HNDs and HNCs.

Look at the What Uni? site for a full list of HNDs/HNCs.

Postgraduate courses:

Postgraduate qualifications (Level 7 and above) generally require applicants to have undertaken some previous study or experience in the chosen field, usually at undergraduate level.

Postgraduate courses can be full or part-time and lead to, for example, a Post Graduate Diploma, Masters, or Doctorate.

To find out more, search individual the university's website.