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Higher education

Higher education courses are usually taught in universities or specialist colleges, like art schools. You can often study flexibly at your own pace by learning online or part time.

Types of higher education courses

You can choose from many different types of higher education courses, such as:

  • diplomas
  • bachelor degrees
  • foundation degrees
  • Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs)
  • degree level apprenticeships

It takes between 1 and 5 years to complete a higher education course if you study full time. The exact length depends on the type of course you take.

Subjects you can take

There are hundreds of different subjects to choose from in higher education. 

You may decide to study a general subject, like English or history. This can help you keep your options open and give you the skills you need for many different jobs and careers.

Alternatively, you may want to take a specific subject like medicine, law or architecture to prepare you for a particular career.

Entry requirements for higher education

Each provider and qualification will have its own entry requirements that you’ll need to meet. You'll usually need A levels, T Levels or qualifications that are the same level.

You can take an access to higher education diploma to prepare you for university if you’re over 19 and do not have the qualification level you need.

Qualification you'll earn

You’ll earn either a level 4, 5 or 6 qualification, depending on the course you take.

You can see  what the qualification levels mean on GOV.UK.

Financial support for higher education

Most universities and colleges charge a tuition fee to cover the cost of your course.

You can apply for funding from student finance to support you. You can get funding for both full time and part time courses. You may also be eligible for a scholarship, grant or bursary, depending on your circumstances and the subject you’re studying.

Find a higher education course

If you want to study part time, you can check what courses are available with your local providers.

You can read more about the different types of higher education courses, what you’ll study and how to apply for full time courses on the UCAS website.

More about higher education from UCAS

After your higher education course

After you’ve finished a higher education course you could:

  • continue in higher education by doing another course
  • join a graduate employment scheme
  • go straight into employment