The most common undergraduate degree is known as a Bachelor's degree and generally takes 3 years to complete. Your qualification will depend on the subject you are studying and the university you attend, but might include:
- BA - Bachelor of Arts
- BSc - Bachelor of Science
- LLB - Bachelor of Laws
- BEng - Bachelor of Engineering
- BDS - Bachelor of Dentistry
- BMid - Bachelor of Midwifery
- BN - Bachelor of Nursing
- MBBCh - Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
- BArch - Bachelor of Architecture
- BVSc - Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine
In Scotland, undergraduate degrees last four years (as students in Scotland finish school a year early), and, if studying at one of the four 'ancient universities', undergraduate degrees in the arts, humanities or social sciences are awarded an MA. However, if you have studied A-levels or the IB and you are reading a subject you studied previously, for example Biology, you may be able to skip the first year, depending on your A-level/IB grades.
A note about Master's degrees - Master's degrees are postgraduate qualifications that can be obtained on completion of a Bachelor's degree. However, it is becoming increasingly common (for funding reasons) to apply for an 'enhanced Master's programme' - this is a four-year undergraduate degree (five-year if studying with a year in industry or a year abroad - see below for more details) and includes studying extra subjects at a deeper level resulting in a Master's qualification. See the postgraduate section containing information about Master's degrees for more information.
Degrees can cost up to £9,000 per year, with the average degree coming in at £8,647. However, funding is available to pay for your tuition fee - please see Fees & Finance for more information, as each UK country works under a different system.
Bachelor's degrees are generally undertaken at a university, however there are a few further education colleges which offer degrees that are endorsed by a local college. Traditionally, studying for a Bachelor's meant moving away from home, however times have changed wtih 19% of undergraduates now living at home, and there is funding available for those living at home and away.
For more information about how to apply, finding a university and undertaking an undergraduate degree part-time, please see our dedicated Universities section.
Honours vs. Ordinary Degrees
Bachelor's degrees consist of a number of modules made up of credits. For example, to pass the year you might have to undertake 120 credits made up of four big modules worth 20 credits each and four small modules worth 10 credits each. In this way, to pass the degree you'd need to complete 360 credits (which will also include a dissertation). You will, most probably, apply for a Honours degree, however you can apply for a non-Honours degree, which would not involve as many credits over the three years, or if you fail a year of your Honours degree by a small margin and transfer, you can be awarded an Ordinary degree.
In Scotland, three-year degrees are offered as Ordinary degrees, and can lead to postgraduate courses in the same way, while four-year degrees lead to Honours degrees.