What is a Degree?

Article _whatisadegree 01

What you need to know about a degree

A degree is a Level 6 qualification. UK Universities offer over 50,000 different degree courses. While you are studying for your degree you will be called an undergraduate. Each university offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees and will tell you which of their courses are available to study full-time or part-time. A full-time degree usually takes three years. (However some subjects, like architecture, medicine or law, require you to study for more than three years) Part-time degrees vary, some take 3-4 years to complete, some can take 6-8 years to complete.

Types of degree

The two most common degrees are Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc). A BA degree is usually given in Arts subjects like History, Geography, English or Design and a BSc degree is usually given in Science subjects like Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science or Physics. The title of the degree depends on the subjects you choose and the university you go to.

There is also an option to take a combined degree where you choose two main subject areas. You will need to study a certain number of courses or modules, which usually last for between a term and a year each. Sometimes, there are compulsory modules (which you must take) and then optional ones (from which you can choose particular interests).

Sometimes, you can study your choices at a level to give you an ordinary (or 'pass') degree. For a degree with honours, you need to study at a more complex level. You can earn a combined honours, joint honours or single honours degree, depending on the courses you have studied.

Honours degrees are divided into four 'classes' (like grades): 1 (first - the highest level), 2.1 (upper second), 2.2 (lower second), 3 (third or pass)

Foundation degrees

Foundation degrees are new two-year, full-time work-related degrees, which can be studied part-time over a longer period and which are one level below the honours degree. These focus on the practical knowledge and skills that employers look for, and include practical work experience. If you want to go on studying once you have completed the Foundation Degree, there may be options to continue (for another year or two) to an honours degree qualification.