Bachelor's degrees

Degrees are higher education qualifications that help you develop a thorough understanding of a subject. There are a vast number of subjects to choose from.

Bachelor's degrees: BA, BSc, MB and more

A bachelor's degree is a course of academic study leading to a qualification such as a bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of science (BSc), or bachelor of medicine (MB).

It usually takes three or four years to complete full-time (normally four years if you're doing a sandwich course as this includes a year in industry or abroad). Some bachelor's degrees, like medical courses can take longer. You can also study for a bachelor's degree part-time, or through flexible learning.

The qualification is designed to give you a thorough understanding of a subject. It helps you develop your analytical, intellectual and essay/dissertation writing skills.

What you can study

There are a vast number of bachelor's degree courses to choose from. Some subjects like medicine, law and architecture prepare you for a particular career. Others, like English or history can equip you with skills for a wide range of jobs.

Entry requirements

To study for a bachelor's degree, you will need to have the qualifications which meet the entrance requirements for the course you wish to study.

Most bachelor's degrees ask for at least two A levels at grade E or above (or equal grades in other qualifications).

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) operates a system called the 'UCAS Tariff'. Your previous qualifications can earn points on the tariff to help get you a place on a particular higher education course. Different courses will ask for a different number of points.

To find out entrance requirements for a particular course, you can do a search on the UCAS website, or read the course prospectus - most are now available from the universities' websites.

Where and when you can take them

You can study for bachelor’s degrees at universities, higher education colleges and via distance learning. Degree courses start throughout the year, although most begin in September or October. Check with individual universities/colleges to find out about starting dates for particular courses.

How a bachelor's degree  is assessed

Different courses will assess you in different ways. Generally, bachelor's degrees involve a mixture of exams and coursework. Some ask you for a written dissertation that you produce at the end of the course.

Bachelor's degrees are graded:

  • first
  • upper-second (2:1)
  • lower second (2:2)
  • third
  • pass
  • fail

A third or above means you get a bachelors degree with honours.

If you are not happy with the grade you have been awarded and want to appeal, you will need to follow the appeals procedure in your college or university.

What a bachelor's degree can lead to

Most graduates use their degree to move into employment. You could also use the qualification to go on to a postgraduate course of higher education, such as a diploma or masters degree.

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