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What are the different degree levels?

It can be quite daunting when it comes to entering higher education- not only are you having to navigate across the different subject areas, but there are also different study levels to consider based on your background. This blog post takes a deeper look into the different UK study levels, their benefits, and who they’re best suited for.

Higher National Diplomas

Firstly, we have the HNDs – formally known as Higher National Diplomas. These offer an excellent steppingstone as they provide an excellent first step towards shaping up a successful career for yourself. HNDs are taught at Levels 4 and 5 and are a great way to explore and build knowledge of your chosen field whilst gaining invaluable vocational skills.

Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) are work-related, or vocational, higher education qualifications. An HND is a higher education qualification, which can be used to enrol into universities at an advanced level. A Higher National Diploma is equivalent to the second year of a three-year bachelor’s degree and is an RQF Level 4 and 5 Course.

A HND qualification will allow you to further progress your studies as you can go on to study for a Top-up degree too!

This qualification is aimed at students who would like to gain a sound understanding of business in general. The HND in Business course is suitable for a wide range of students including:

  • School leavers
  • Mature students returning to education (with related work experience)
  • Individuals in employment who wish to improve their career prospects and
  • Individuals who wish to start their own business

Foundation Year with Degree

The second-degree type is a Foundation Year with Degree, these types of degrees are typically taught for a duration of 4 years. A Foundation Year of study is equivalent to the first and second year of an honour’s degree. Since it is a Level 3 – 6 vocational qualifications, it allows students to gain knowledge in a subject to enable them to go on to employment or further study.

This Level 3-6 Qualification has different entry requirements to an HND, but it may be the degree for you if:

  • You do not have the right qualifications for a full degree course
  • You feel you are not yet ready for degree-level study
  • You are returning to study and feel you need some help to get up to speed with the demands of learning before embarking on a degree course

Are you wondering if a Foundation Year with Degree is for you? Well, a foundation year study is a great way to build your skills, knowledge and confidence to prepare you for a degree course. Students get the chance to experience university-style teaching and get a feel of the campus, city, and subjects they are interested in. Studying a foundation year gives you a firm understanding of your subject areas as well as practical experience that will make it easier to progress to undergraduate degree courses.

Foundation Degrees

A Foundation Degree is a two-year stand-alone qualification.

After completing this you can go to the final year of a degree as well or complete a Top-up and gain a degree. This qualification is equivalent to two-thirds of a bachelor’s degree, and a Higher National Diploma (HND): Levels 4 and 5.

A Foundation Year with Degree is an extra year of learning and gaining new skills and knowledge before moving on to a BSc or BA.

So, we’ve spoken about why you may want to take a Foundation Year with Degree, but what if a Foundation Degree is for you? Foundation degrees are designed to help explore different aspects of your subject area and include both theoretical and practical learning methods. Many students work whilst completing their Foundation Degree, which is why many institutions offer flexible timetables.

Bachelor’s Degrees

These are the most popular types of degrees. They’re usually the degrees taken once a student has left school or college. However, anyone can apply for a bachelor’s degree, providing they meet the entry requirements. Bachelor’s degrees are often considered entry routes into the world of professional work as the level of study demonstrates the person has a sound understanding of their subject area in addition to transferable skills that many employers look for.

Top-up Degrees

A Top-Up Degree is the best addition to a Higher National Diploma (HND), Foundation Degree, or an equivalent Level 5 qualification. In just one year, a Top-Up Degree will enable you to achieve a full BSc or BA Degree.

A Top-up degree is great for those who are looking to obtain a Level 6 qualification and gain a full bachelor’s degree. With this qualification, students can explore career progression within many fields of Business, including Business Management and Business Entrepreneurship.

There are many great benefits of studying a Top-up Degree:

  • Flexibility in study methods
  • Development of knowledge, skills, and understanding within a particular business
  • Internationally recognised

Master’s Degrees

And finally, we have master’s degrees. These are perfect for those looking to gain a deeper level of understanding in their chosen subject area. A Master’s Degree, which falls into Postgraduate study is a one-year qualification that is completed after a Level 6 Qualification. Upon successful completion of an MSc Degree or MBA, you will be able to go on and study for a PhD.

By studying for a master’s degree, you will gain a Level 7 Qualification and gain expert knowledge in your subject area, it will also allow you to accelerate your career and make personal developments.

A master’s degree can provide you with many different benefits. This level of study allows you to explore different interests within your chosen subject area on a deeper level. The MSc Degrees and the MBA involve a mixture of theoretical and practical learning methods. Many students work whilst completing their master’s degree, which is why many offer flexible timetables.