A map identifying key regions in the UK

The UK’s higher education system is world famous. Universities in the UK have a role in every aspect of UK life – from shaping government policy to working with artists and scientists. UK qualifications are highly respected by employers and academics worldwide.

Quality assured

The UK has a global reputation for quality assured education. All universities and colleges in the UK are held to strict standards by the UK government so you know you are getting the best teaching, support and resources available.

The UK government publishes lists of officially recognised universities and colleges so you can be sure that the one you choose has passed all the tests for quality assurance. See the full list of universities or colleges that can award degrees (known as 'recognised bodies').

Some universities or colleges are called ‘listed bodies’. These can offer courses that can lead to a degree from a recognised body. This means you can study here, but a recognised body will set and examine your final examinations or coursework. See all ‘listed bodies’.

The UK style of teaching

The UK teaching system is designed to encourage you to ask questions, debate and come up with your own ideas.

UK universities and colleges combine practical learning with lectures and seminars and embrace innovative teaching methods and high-tech learning environments.

There is a wide range of opportunities to gain practical experience. Many courses have options for work placements and internships that count towards your degree. Many offer the chance to gain professional accreditation too.

Choice and flexibility

One of the best things about UK higher education is the chance to really pursue your interests.

There are a wide range of courses on offer, from the traditional to the cutting-edge, from Computer Games Development to Entrepreneurship.

Many courses also include ‘modules’. These are different options that allow you to choose from a range of subjects within your course to build a programme that suits you.

UK Qualifications

On the UK government website, you can see a summary of the UK’s qualification levels, and what they mean.

The Register of Regulated Qualifications contains details of Recognised Awarding Organisations and Regulated Qualifications in England (Ofqual), Wales (Welsh Government) and Northern Ireland (Ofqual for vocational qualifications and CCEA Accreditation for all other qualifications). For Scottish qualifications, please visit the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework website.

UK NARIC offers a paid service giving information on how overseas qualifications compare to UK qualifications.

Education in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The education system differs slightly in the four countries that make up the UK.

Scottish higher education degrees tend to last four years rather than three years (more common in England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Many students in Scotland also move into higher education at the age of 17, rather than 18, as in other parts of the UK.

Follow the links below to find out more about the different education systems.

External links