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Courses UK » Higher Education

Higher Education


Higher education in the UK is officially abbreviated as “HE” in most prospectuses. Higher education in the UK is undertaken at the age of 18 or over. It is defined as any study that is of university level or higher. In the NQF framework, anything from level 6 onwards is considered higher education.

This level of higher education is also dividable into two further categories of study, organised into undergraduate or postgraduate study.  Undergraduate study will eventually yield a graduates degree, while post graduate study is any higher education qualification undertaken such as a Masters or PHD.

This is the framework for higher education courses. Qualifications it covers include: 

  • Certificate of Higher Education

  • Diploma of Higher Education

  • Bachelor’s degrees

  • Master’s degrees

  • Doctoral degrees

In order to get into university, the UK employs a UCAS points based system with a minimum number that you will have to accumulate through your studies in order to gain an acceptance to your application. Each university’s entry requirements differ so it is best to check each course’s details individually before submitting your applications via UCAS.

When progressing through your bachelor’s degree, the course is broken down into 3-4 year. For every year you complete you will gain a qualification: 

  • First year completed at university will result in a Certificate of Higher Education

  • Second year completed at university will result in a Diploma of Higher Education

  • Third year completed at University with result in obtaining a full Bachelors’ Degree

The Marking Scheme is as follows, however always check with your university as there may be slight differences and discrepancies:

  • First-Class Honours (First or 1st) (70% and above)

  • Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1, 2.i) (60-70%)

  • Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2, 2.ii) (50-60%)

  • Third-Class Honours (Third or 3rd) (40-50%)

  • Fail (no degree is awarded)

  • Unclassified (some degrees aren't classified e.g. medicine or master’s degree)

Why opt for higher education? 

  • Some career choices demand a minimum of a higher education qualification. Such as if you want to become a doctor, engineer, vet or dentist etc. The list goes on!

  • You will be given the chance to study in detail a subject you are passionate about that can potentially become your long term career choice.

  • Being around others who are doing the same course as you who share the same passion can be a fulfilling experience. Giving you the chance to develop bother personally and socially, as well as developing interpersonal, problem solving and multitask skills that employers find desirable

  • You will eventually through the process end up learning how to become independent and self-sufficient while you are living in a country that is still new to you.

  • If offers you the opportunity to travel and go abroad at some points during your study, whether it would be a placement year, organised field trips or simply just taking a gap year.

  • Ultimately with a higher education, your level of learning will be reflected in your salary. The more you achieve the more your employer will be willing to pay to hire you.

However, HE is not for everyone and you will need to consider:

  • Will HE help you?

  • What career you want to get into?

  • What course you will do?

  • What subject(s) will you study?

  • Where will you study?

  • How much will it cost?

  • Where will you live?

  • Will you have a year off to get more skills and experience?

Above all ask yourself if going to higher education is your own choice or are you being influenced by parents, teachers or friends? Remember, it's your decision; it's your future, no one else's!

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