About UK Degrees
As an international student applying to one of the best universities in the UK
you can choose from a variety of British degree programs
such as Bachelors Degrees, Foundation Degrees, Masters Degrees and Doctorates. All these degrees represent internationally recognised educational programs. You can either pursue a 3-year degree in England or Wales, leading to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) or a four-year sandwich course which includes one year work experience related to the industry you have specialised on or a year abroad.
Should you decide to study in Scotland,
you have the possibility to do an MA (Master of Arts) or MSc (Master of Science) degree over four years. These are UK undergraduate degrees
(not Graduate degrees and not equivalent to a Master's degree you would take after a Bachelor's degree) and quite similar to American undergraduate degrees in the sense that you have the opportunity to study a wider range of subject areas. You still have a main focus course, however you can change it during your studies. Furthermore, the UK degree programs
tend to be more focused on the main study subjects from the beginning of the program, than a typical US degree.
British taught Master's degrees are very similar to American Master's degrees, however, the British master programs
are slightly more professionally oriented and only take 12 months to complete, as opposed to 2 years in the US, which actually saves you time and money.
Main differences between US and British degrees
UK degrees are more focused on the practical aspect of the profession as opposed to the US liberal arts education, which requires each student to learn a broader curriculum. For students who have a clear idea of what profession they wish to follow, a specialised British degree is ideal as they are able to concentrate their efforts on the designated subject area from the beginning of the degree.
UK undergraduate degrees are typically 3 years in length (4 in Scotland).
The UK education style is particularly relevant to students who want to concentrate their efforts and energy on a specific subject area or combination of subjects straight out of high school. British Degrees allow students to immerse themselves in research on subjects they study, with the emphasis on lectures backed up by tutorials rather than a more interactive learning environment. Undergraduate students are expected to be proactive, read widely around their subject and to motivate themselves outside of lectures.
UK courses allow a high degree of flexibility and choice. You can pursue your interests and ambitions in fields as diverse as evolutionary anthropology to Welsh & Celtic Studies or ecotourism.
How are UK courses taught?
- Lectures: formal presentations offered by professors to large groups of students, who take notes on what is said.
- Seminars: smaller groups of eight to twenty students who discuss assigned topics with a tutor.
- Tutorials: less structured meetings in which one to three students discuss their work with a tutor. The close contact between student and tutor in seminars and tutorials is a particular strength of UK degree courses.
Continuous assessment: Depending on your degree course you will be expected to produce course-work, projects, seminar participation, ongoing exams, etc. Plus, usually, a final dissertation and final exams.
Which British course type should I choose?
- Single honours UK courses, which essentially means that studies are focused of a single subject. The core of each study program is already outlined and you have the opportunity to personalise your degree by choosing additional modules.
- Joint honours UK degrees have a wider flexibility as they comprise a combination of subjects, creating opportunities for you to build a degree program to suit your own interests and career focus
For the UK master degrees you can opt for either a Postgraduate diploma, a taught Master's degree or a Research Master's. The Postgraduate diploma (often referred to as a PG diploma) normally takes 9 months and is in most cases the same as a Taught Master's degree, just without the thesis at the end. The Taught Master's takes 12 months and is very popular with American students. The reason is that the British master degree follows the same structure of classroom work and some research as a US master program, but is more focussed and thus shorter. International study recognition is applicable, the advantage of the UK master degree over the US one is that you save a year!
If you are particularly interested in a specific area and have perhaps already done some undergraduate research, then a Research Based Master's degree may be a good option for you. These degree programs are usually organised around working closely with a professor and are based on individual student research. This type of degree typically takes around 12-18 months, in some cases up to 24 months. Many students often start this type of program and then transfer into a PhD. Part of your Master's work is then typically credited towards your Phd. In order to be accepted for this degree in the first place, you must submit a research proposal and have a strong academic background in the relevant subject.