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The education system in the UK is divided into four main parts, primary education, secondary education, further education and higher education.
Students normally commence higher education at the age of 18 and study at university or colleges of Higher Education. Most international students will enter directly into the UK higher education system, after completing their home country’s equivalent to the UK’s “further education.” The UK has a vast variety of higher education opportunities to offer students with over 100 universities offering various degree programs for students from the UK and around the world.
In the UK most undergraduate degree programs take three years to finish; however, the “sandwich course” is increasing in popularity, which is four years and involves one year in the work place (normally in your third year). At some universities, particular subjects require a foundation course to be undertaken first. A foundation course consists of a class or a number of classes that bring the student up to university level of understanding in the subject before commencing the degree.
For graduate or masters programs they are generally shorter in length and undertaken after graduation of your undergraduate program. Some professional degrees like medicine, veterinary, law etc. have longer programs that can be as much as five years.
The British academic year is divided into three terms (autumn, winter and spring). Each term is approximately 10 to 12 weeks with 3 week breaks in between.
Degrees can be awarded for study of a single academic subject (single honors’), a combination of two subjects (joint honors) or a modular degree course which consists of three or more subjects (combined honors).
Depending on the subject or subjects that you study, successful students will be awarded one of the following degrees; BA (Bachelor of Arts), BSc (Bachelor of Science), BEd (Bachelor of Education), B.Engg. (Bachelor of Engineering), LLB (Bachelor of Law). UK degrees are graded and successful students may be awarded either a First class degree 1st (Excellent), Upper Second 2i (very good), Lower Second 2ii (good) or Third class 3rd (satisfactory).
British Education has long attracted and welcomed high caliber students of different nationalities and backgrounds, and today builds on hundreds of years of experience in providing quality education to international students. To ensure that the quality is maintained, Britain has implemented unrivalled quality assurance and academic audit systems. The university departments are obliged to meet stringent standards by professional bodies. Standards are high not just in teaching but in other facilities as well : Libraries, computers, research equipment and living accommodation.
British higher and further education provides value for money by offering shorter, more intensive courses than are available in many other countries, thereby reducing living expenses and time spent away from home. Closely supervised study in an intellectually and culturally stimulating environment, together with an emphasis on student welfare and close contact between staff and students also ensures that individual students get maximum support and, as a result, pass rates are high and the drop-out rate for international students is very low.
Britain has long been a popular destination for Indian students. With more than 150 institutes of higher education to choose from, all equipped with extensive facilities, Britain is able to offer a broad spectrum of subjects from the highly academic to the purely practical in anything from architecture to zoology. <
Details about various Qualifications offered by UK Colleges and Universities:
1. First Degree Courses in Arts and Sciences (Bachelor's degree) are normally of three or four years' duration and are largely taught courses, sometimes including the preparation of a short written thesis.
2. Sandwich Courses are where the coursework is accompanied by practical work. A student could either complete 2 years of college, then a year of commercial training before returning for a final year in college. Or, he/she could do a 4-year course with 3-6 months’ training interspersed each year. The main advantage is that the student gets real experience while in the learning mode. Most universities offer this type of education.
3. Higher National Diploma (HND) is awarded by Vocational and Technical Educational Councils. They offer a 2-year course in a vocational subject like scientific and technical business subjects. Great emphasis is placed on work experience. It is often seen as the first step towards a degree course as the credits can be transferred.
4. Vocational Courses offer an opportunity to enter the university system slowly. Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC), General Vocational Qualifications (GNVQ), General Scottish Vocational Qualifications (GSVQ) offer recognized courses in a range of disciplines. Most students opt to take 1-2 years of, for example, BTEC courses before being transferred to a degree programme. BTEC national certificates/diplomas are usually accepted as an alternative to A-Levels.
5. Postgraduate study may take the form of an independent piece of research under supervision or a taught course, and leads to a variety of degrees and awards. The taught courses normally last for one or sometimes two years. Completion of a doctorate normally takes a minimum of three years. Many post-experience courses are also available, either leading to a qualification or providing a refresher course for graduates wishing to update or extend their knowledge. Occasional students are admitted by some institutions in limited numbers. They attend courses or undertake research, possibly for a period of one or two years. These courses do not lead to any formal qualification or 'credit' although certificate of satisfactory attendance may be given.
Education System in Scotland
The education system in Scotland is slightly different that the rest of the UK and the main differences are as follows: Students can enter university at the age of 17 rather than 18 as university courses in Scotland are normally one year longer than in England. Students sit Standard Grades rather than GCSEs. Students sit Higher and Advanced Higher rather than AS levels and A levels. Between the ages of 16-18 years students in Scotland often study a broader curriculum than in other parts of the UK and often do not specialize in the sciences, arts, humanities until they enter university.