Understanding the types of course
Most students study for a degree
Usually a three or four year course – also known as a bachelor's, undergraduate or first degree. These are dynamic academic environments with lectures and seminars, usually made up of different modules adding up to the full degree. You might get to choose some of the modules you take, so you'll be able to study the parts of your subject you're most interested in.
- More than one subject? Take a joint course (50/50) or a major/minor (75/25).
- Want work experience too? Do a sandwich course and work for one year in the industry your subject is based on.
- What next? After you graduate you'll be closer to a career you want, or you could move on to postgraduate study.
There are other shorter undergraduate courses
These are ideal if you want a quicker qualification. Do one year of a degree – a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) – or two years – a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Higher National Diploma (HND) or Foundation degree.
These don't lead directly to postgraduate study, but you can go into the second or third year of a full degree if you change your mind and want to graduate after all.
Performing arts – Application may be via CUKAS
If you're looking for performance based courses in music, dance or drama, studying at a conservatoire could be the answer for you. While academic music, dance or drama classes are more theory based, performing arts courses are much more practical.
High demand courses
Some Universities are very oversubscribed; it is therefore advisable to maximise your chances on these courses to work towards gaining high grades and be able to show practical examples of your enthusiasm in your personal statement. You could also consider other strategies. Perhaps for law do a generic degree for example History, followed by a law conversion course - but this comes with a health warning - this is a much more expensive option. You could opt for a joint honours course - these often have a lower entry threshold. You could apply for some similar courses at a ‘recruiter’ university. In addition, The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is seen by some universities as additional evidence of your commitment to your studies in the wider capacity and may help on high demand courses. Equally, over the past few years there is evidence that some universities will lower the grade boundary if an EPQ is offered.