Undergraduate Programmes

Higher Education System

The wide range of undergraduate courses in the UK gives you a huge amount of flexibility. You can enroll on a bachelor’s degree from the beginning, or you can start by taking a two-year HND or foundation degree and then top up to a degree afterwards. You can study a single honours degree and focus entirely on one subject, or study two subjects in a joint honours or combined honours degree – it’s entirely up to you.  Entry to Bachelor degrees is usually after completion of high school (12 years schooling).

There are also different routes of entry onto a UK degree, such as Foundation programmes, credits for prior learning, giving entry into 2nd or even final year of degree courses, Pre-Masters course giving entry onto a Masters programme.  English Language programmes, various professional development programmes. The variety and choice is huge, the rewards are many.

Undergraduate study

Full-time undergraduate courses in the UK vary from one year to four years depending on the type of course you choose:

  • HNC: one year
  • HND, foundation degree, Dip HE: two years; three with a year in industry/overseas
  • Bachelor’s degree: three years (four in Scotland); four with a year in industry

Master’s degree (where these are awarded as a first degree): four years

Types of undergraduate courses

Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Diploma (HND)

Higher national certificates and diplomas are one- and two-year career-related higher education courses, equivalent to the first stages of a degree. They are available in many areas including engineering, sports studies, art and design, media and communications and music technology. On successful completion you can enter a career at junior management level or can choose to ‘top-up’ to a degree by transferring to the second or third year of the degree course.

Foundation Degrees (FdA, FdSc, etc.)

Foundation degrees are two-year career-related higher education courses, which are equivalent to the first stages of a degree. They are available in areas including art and design, media and communications, engineering and hospitality management. They can be used as a good foundation for a career or as a basis to progress on to a degree course.

Diplomas of Higher Education

Diplomas of higher education are two-year courses in subject areas usually related to the social sciences, such as education, theology, communication studies and social work. They are ideal for students hoping to progress to a career in these areas and also provide a foundation for higher education courses in the same subject area.


Degrees are the most popular undergraduate qualification in the UK. They are academic courses, usually studied over three years in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, or four years in Scotland (where the title master’s degree may be awarded). Some degree courses may be extended for a year to enable students to spend time in industry or overseas.

University International Foundation Year

University International Foundation Year courses help to bridge any gaps between qualifications you hold already and the ones you need to begin a degree course at a UK university. This could be because you need to develop your English language skills, improve on your academic qualifications, or both.