British undergraduate degrees are a fantastic opportunity for students to explore a subject they love in depth, and experience their first taste of independent life as an adult. British Universities tend to provide a particularly all-encompassing experience for students, with most living on campus in the first year or beyond.
Bachelor’s degrees are the first stage of higher education in the UK, and tend to last either three or four years. Some subjects include an extra ‘year out’, such as languages, where students live abroad to perfect their speaking skills, or vocational courses like engineering, where students may have a year working in a business. Such programmes are often highly advantageous for students navigating the employment market after graduation.
Undergraduate degrees are mostly divided between a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts), which comprises humanities or arts subjects, or a B.Sc (Bachelor of Science), which reflects scientific subjects ranging from geography and chemistry to accounting and sociology. There are also more vocational degrees, such as medicine, architecture and law which have unique trajectories and course lengths.
Different programs have different methods of teaching, and various levels of independent study and workload. Science subjects tend to have more ‘contact time’, where students attend labs and carry out practical work, while humanities students are expected to spend more time working individually in libraries. They also have seminars or supervisions, which are comprised of small groups of students who discuss a particular topic each week and write an essay for credit points.
There are exams at the end of each year and assessed coursework essays, mostly with a longer dissertation in the final year. Grades are awarded quite broadly: a ‘First’ is over 70%, a ‘2.i’ over 60%, a ‘2.ii’ over 50% and a ‘third’ is over 40%. Most students achieve a 2.i, also known as an ‘upper second class’, which is often the requirement for entry level jobs.
To see how British undergraduate degrees relate to the rest of the UK educational system, visit our interactive graph.
Acceptance into British universities is generally based on a student’s A Level or IB results. They can apply to up to five programmes (including multiple choices at the same university), based on their predicted grades, determined by their school in their final year. Students also submit a ‘Personal Statement’, outlining their motivation and passion for studying their chosen subject.
Generally, students only apply to programmes for which they have the right predicted grades. For instance, a student predicted AAB at A Level would apply for a French degree at Leeds University, with requires ABB, but would be unlikely to apply for the same course at Oxford, which requires A*AA. Oxford and Cambridge, as well as medicine degrees, also require an interview. Offers are made by around May, conditional on students achieving their predicted grades, although students on gap years, who can apply with their completed grades already, may receive unconditional offers.
When the results of their final exams are released, students are automatically allocated places via UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. Those who miss their grades can often still find a place through the ‘clearing system’.
Choosing and applying to undergraduate degrees at British universities can be a confusing process, particularly due to the UCAS system. Our experienced educational advisors have an in-depth understanding of the different programs and opportunities available at each institution, and can advise you and prepare you for the application process.
To discuss your options further, call us on 0203 397 7744 or send us an enquiry.