What are the types of degrees in the UK?

Learn about the different types of degrees offered in the UK to choose the right one for you.

In this article:

    Foundation courses

    Foundation courses are one-year long pre-degree courses that will help you get ready to start your university education comfortably. You can choose to do a foundation course to improve your English language skills, get familiar with the UK's education system or to learn the basics of technical subjects like engineering and medicine. 

    Bachelor degrees 

    Bachelors are undergraduate degrees, and you can pursue them right after completing your schooling. 

    In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Bachelors are typically three years long. Some courses allow you to do a bachelor degree in four years which includes a sandwich year. This additional year will allow you to gain professional experience, or you can choose to do a year abroad. 

    Unlike England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland's Bachelor's degrees are four years long.

    Common types of bachelor’s degrees:

    • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
    • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
    • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
    • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
    • Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
    • Graduate Certificate (GradCert)

    Master’s degrees

    A master’s degree is a postgraduate degree, and is the next level of education after an undergraduate. These degrees are more focused on a specific area of a subject. You will be able to gain in-depth knowledge and develop distinct skills needed to flourish in your chosen field after completing your masters. 

    Masters in the UK are generally one-year-long, but you can choose to do it in two years by adding work placement opportunities to your course to gain professional experience.

    If you are very keen on doing a master's degree right out of school, you can choose an integrated master’s program. This way, you can finish both your bachelor’s and masters in four to five years.

    We can also classify masters degrees as taught masters and research masters. 

    In a taught master’s degree, you will have regular classes during the first half of your course and research for the rest

    A research-based degree will comprise one to two years of research where you will be expected to submit a thesis at the end.

    Common types of master’s degree:

    • Integrated master’s degree
    • Master of Arts (MA)
    • Master of Science (MSc)
    • Master of Engineering (MEng)
    • Master of Research (MRes)
    • Master of Laws (LLM)
    • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

    Doctorate

    You can pursue a Doctorate after completing your masters. To get a doctorate, you will have to come up with an original research topic, conduct the research and submit a detailed thesis on the same. It usually takes about three to four years to get a Doctorate.

    Common types of Doctorates:

    • Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)
    • Higher Doctorates
    • New Route PhDs
    • Professional Doctorates

    Other classifications:

    • Single honours

    A single honour degree deals with a single subject line. You can choose additional modules as electives to add on to your course.

    • Joint honours

    In a joint honour degree, you will have the opportunity to study a combination of subjects. The university comes up with joint degrees by combining different subjects that are related. 

    UK universities also offer short courses, certifications and diplomas both at the undergrad and postgrad levels.