UK undergraduate degrees

Get started in your academic career with a UK undergraduate degree. The flexibility of UK courses and the variety of options available allow you to pick your courses and shape your studies to make sure the programme you choose suits you.

These are the main undergraduate degrees available in the UK:

Bachelor’s or undergraduate degree

A bachelor’s degree is a common first-year degree. It gives you a thorough understanding of a subject. Bachelor’s degrees usually have a set programme of academic study. Some incorporate practical elements and placements.

There are different titles of degree, such as Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Education (BEd) and Bachelor of Engineering (BEng). If you complete all years of the degree successfully with at least a third class pass, you’ll get an ‘honours’ degree.

A full-time bachelor’s degree normally takes three years to complete (four in some cases). Part-time options are also available at some universities and colleges.

Note that some Scottish universities offer an undergraduate degree called a Scottish Masters of Arts. This shouldn’t be confused with a postgraduate master’s.

Shorter courses

Shorter courses are often equivalent to the early years of a full three- or four-year undergraduate degree. They can stand alone as a qualification, or you can progress to a full honours degree. Options include:

  • Foundation degree
    A foundation degree is equivalent to the first two years of an honours degree. It usually involves academic study and work-based learning with an employer.
  • Diploma of Higher Education
    Diploma of Higher Education or ‘DipHE’ courses can be academic, but are mainly linked to a particular job or profession such as nursing and social work. They are normally equivalent to the first two years of a degree.
  • Higher National Diploma:
    A Higher National Diploma or HND usually has vocational or professional elements. It is equivalent to the first two years of a university course.
  • Certificate of Higher Education
    Certificate of Higher Education or ‘CertHE’ courses focus on either a particular job or profession, or academic study. A CertHE is equivalent to the first year of a full honours degree. At the end of a course, you can choose to keep studying towards a foundation degree, DipHE or full honours degree. It can also help you change careers or progress in your current career.

What is a shorter undergraduate course?

Most undergraduate courses in the UK last for three or four years. However, there are many shorter undergraduate courses that take just one or two years to complete.

UK universities and colleges might use these terms to describe the different levels of higher education:

Level 4 or Certificate (C) – one year of undergraduate study
Level 5 or Intermediate (I) – two years of study
Level 6 or Honours (H) – three or four years of study.

You will only be a Level 6 or Honours Level graduate if you do a full three- or four-year course – this is typically a bachelor’s degree (BA or BSc) programme.

See also