Short courses are offered by universities and other educational institutions and might take place over the course of a weekend, a week or a number of evenings a week over a longer period of time, say a semester. Short courses are generally not online, although more institutions are offering online short courses. However, if you do choose to take a course at an institution, make sure you choose one you can attend easily. There are many subjects on offer. However, they are often more practical, such as languages, art and design or introductory courses.

As short courses are generally held in universities, they also give students the chance to meet with fellow students who may be more interested in the same things as you!

Who are they aimed at?

  • those that have a bit of free time and are curious, and want to learn a skill in their spare time, a skill that is perhaps easier to learn in a small group with a tutor
  • those that want to learn what studying a subject would be like at university
  • those who want to up their skills for employment
  • short courses are often available specifically for 16-18-year-olds who are looking at studying an art that is unavailable to them at school. They allow them to get a feel for whether they enjoy it and help them create and develop a portfolio to submit alongside their UCAS form

Entry Requirements

There are usually no entry requirements, however classes are often limited by numbers.

Methods of Assessment

Most short courses do not feature an assessment or the ability to study for credit. However, some do, and a course of 20 hours loosely equates to 10 credits with 120 credits equating to a Certificate of Higher Education. Assessment will generally be through an essay.


The cost of short courses vary, however expect a figure of up to £500 for a semester-long course.

How to apply?

In most situations you can apply through the individual university website.

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