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Bachelor's degrees explained

Wondering how studying a bachelor's degree can get you the qualifications you need for your career? Read on to find out more.

Who are they for?

Bachelor's degrees are academic qualifications for people who want to study one particular subject area. Degrees are normally taken after A-levels, foundation degrees or a HND / HNC. Different universities have different entry requirements for each degree course. They will normally make you an offer depending on how many UCAS points you have, with each qualification and grade being worth a certain number.

Where are they taught?

Most degrees are taught at university, although you can also study some at colleges or as a distance learning course. Degrees are usually taught in lectures and seminars, and some subjects also require practical work. Degrees are usually assessed as a mixture of exams and coursework, depending on the subject. They are graded according to an ‘honours’ system, with first class honours (or a first) being the highest, followed by two levels of second class honours (2:1 and 2:2) and then third class honours (a third) before a basic ‘pass’ or ‘fail’.

What can I study?

You can study a wide range of subjects at degree level, from core subjects like English literature and maths to more specialist subjects like quantum mechanics or interactive media design. The range of courses on offer differs between universities. Most universities offer degrees as either a bachelor of arts (BA) for subjects like English or philosophy, or a bachelor of science (BSc) for subjects like physics or maths. However, depending on the university, some departments like education or engineering might call their degrees a BEd or BEng.

How long does it take to study a bachelor's degree?

Most bachelor's degree courses take three years of full-time study. Some degrees might be a sandwich course where you study for four years including one year working in industry, and some subjects like architecture and medicine might take up to six or seven years of study.

Where can they lead?

Certain subjects like law, social work or civil engineering train you for a specific job. But all degrees require skills like research, initiative and creative thinking which can be applied to a wide range of careers. You can also take your studies further after you graduate by enrolling on a postgraduate or master's course, possibly working up towards a PhD or doctorate in your chosen subject in the future.

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