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What degree should you choose?
What degree should you choose?


There are several important decisions to make before applying to university. What is the most suited degree for you? How do you choose the best university? This guide will make it much easier for you to make those decisions.

Starting university is a frightening experience for anybody, but before you begin, you must choose a degree, which is also a daunting experience. Will I choose the best course for me? Is the university I've selected a decent one? Will I make any new friends? You are not alone in your thoughts, but we are here to help set your mind at ease and guide you through the application process!



What subject is right for me?


While some people know exactly what they want to study right away, for the majority of us, obtaining the perfect degree will be a bit more difficult. Have a look at the career you’d ideally like, and what are the requirements? If you’re still unsure on what you’d like your future job to be then think about what you enjoy doing, after all you’ll be studying that subject for a couple of years, so there has to be an initial interest!


Look online

Perhaps you're interested in more than one job path after graduation, or perhaps a few different degrees have piqued your curiosity. In any case, looking into your alternatives online is a fantastic place to start.


Read the UCAS subject guidelines for further information on the overall entrance criteria and ideal A Levels or Scottish Highers for each degree.

If you have a university or universities in mind, their website should contain a lot of information about the degree you want to apply for.


Talk to others

To begin, talk to your teachers about your possibilities; they will have additional information about degrees that are appropriate for you based on your A Level or Higher courses and expected grades, and based on their knowledge of you, they should be able to identify a degree in which you would excel.


Also, if you know of anybody working in your desired field or who has already finished a degree whether relatives, friends, or individuals you've met on social media, you can and should reach out to them and ask for guidance. Find out what they studied and how they got to where they are now if you can to get a decent sense of what path you should pursue.


Visit Universities


After you've narrowed down your options to one or two degrees, visit as many universities open days and taster days as you can — watching sample lectures and speaking with university officials can help you decide whether a degree is appropriate for you.


More than one degree

If you're undecided about taking more than one course from the same university, this is a fantastic question to ask on open days. To enhance your chances of gaining a place on a course, you can apply to up to five at once, generally all in the same topic so that your application is relevant to all of them.

You may only apply for a maximum of four courses in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or veterinary science.


If you apply to the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge, you can only select one degree.

There are some exceptions; for further information, check the websites of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.


Types of degrees

After secondary school, the majority of students who attend university or college pursue an undergraduate degree. These are often made up of modules (some of which are required and some of which are optional) that add up to a full degree.


Here are some examples of undergraduate courses you may take.


Bachelor degree courses


Bachelor degrees typically last three or four years if pursued full-time (although some courses are longer). You can focus on a single topic, combine two courses in a single course (commonly referred to as dual or joint honours courses), or pick a combination of subjects (combined honours). Most courses include basic modules that everyone learns, and many courses enable you to pick and select the choices or modules you want to study.

Foundation years

Some degrees provide a foundation as the first year, which is frequently referred to as 'year zero.' They are typically one-year, full-time courses taught in a university or college, and can be taken as a 'standalone' course or as part of a degree programme. You will continue to be treated as though you were a full-time undergraduate student.


Foundation years are intended to help students gain the skills and subject-specific knowledge needed to pursue a degree and specialise in a field.


If your grades were inadequate or you didn’t reach the admission requirements for your desired degree, a foundation year might be an excellent option.


Diploma in Foundation Studies (art and design)

This one-year certification – commonly abbreviated as 'Art Foundation' – is widely regarded as a major path to admission to some of the most renowned art and design degree programmes. The learning is customised to a student's unique area of art and design topic interest, allowing them to advance to degree-level study in that field.

Foundation degrees


Foundation degrees are typically two-year courses (longer if taken part-time) that correspond to the first two years of an undergraduate degree. They are not synonymous with a foundation year.


These can be an excellent option for 18-year-old school leavers since they provide a qualification that can help them get admission to a university. This path is ideal for students who need a course with less admission requirements and tests, want a vocational degree/study while working, or are not yet ready to commit to three years at university.


Foundation degrees frequently integrate academic knowledge and abilities with job performance and productivity. They may have been created in collaboration with companies and so focus on a certain work position or profession, allowing you to obtain professional and technical skills to further your career. They can be used as a stand-alone qualification for work, but they are more often used as the foundation for progression to a final 'top-up' year leading to a complete bachelor's degree.


Degree or graduate level apprenticeship

As part of an apprenticeship, this is a new form of higher level apprenticeship that can lead to a bachelor's degree.  These courses are ideal for students who wish to get job experience rather than study full-time at university but want to achieve the same degree level.

HNCs and  HNDs

A one-year work-related course, the Higher National Certificate (HNC), is equal to the first year of a university degree programme. The Higher National Diploma (HND) is a two-year work-related programme that corresponds to the first two years of a bachelor's degree. As with a foundation degree, these courses can lead to a full bachelor's degree at a university, either through a particular top-up course or by immediately joining a degree in year three.


  • A Certificate of Higher Education is equivalent to one year of a degree (CertHE)
  • A two-year degree programme Called a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)

How long should I study for?

The majority of students pursue undergraduate courses full-time, although this is not the only option. There are several forms of study available, each tailored to your specific needs.



 Many universities offer a part-time degree option which is often completed over a longer period of time, allowing you to learn more flexibly at a slower pace or work alongside your studies.

Distance and blended learning

Distance learning entails studying at a distance, allowing you to learn on your own schedule online. Blended learning blends in-person meetings with online learning, providing a healthy balance of learning from experts and educating oneself, with course materials available online.

 Your course activity and projects will be supported by a range of online learning materials, as well as regular tutor help and interaction with fellow students via email, online forums, phone, and virtual conferencing.


Work-based learning


It is also possible to study at work if you are employed in the UK. Some course providers collaborate with government agencies to provide customised programmes ranging from a Certificate to a doctoral degree.

Where should I go?

When you've discovered a few unis that you like the look of, consider their location. The location is important whether you want to relocate away for your degree or commute from home.

Consider how you feel about the campus and university buildings on open days. You'll be spending a lot of time here during your degree, so it's critical that you feel at ease and pleased.

 It's also a good idea to spend some time exploring the nearby town or city centre. Examine the stores and pubs, as well as the local tourist sites, and decide whether you want to live there for three years. If the answer is yes, you've identified one of your five options!

Where will I live?

If you reside within commuting distance of the institution, you will benefit greatly both monetarily and in terms of time.

However, if you are studying at a university far away from home, you will need to determine where you will reside. You do have a few options:


As previously said, this is an excellent choice if you live near the institution and want to save money on rent. You should reside no more than 30 minutes away from the university. A downside is that you may miss out on socialisation if the majority of your friends reside in a different location. You may also miss out on group study time, social activities or independence.


On campus

As a means to meet new people, many first-year students choose to live in halls. Most institutions guarantee a space for the majority, if not all, of their first-year students, so check their websites. You can select from university-managed blocks or broaden your options to include private providers, some of which have connections with local institutions.

Flat Share

 Another alternative is flat sharing, which provides many people with a fun and memorable experience as well as a taste of adult life. For many, the thought of having your own small house to decorate and live in with best friends is a very exciting one. It is critical to carefully select your flatmates; many students wait until their second year of university to form friendships and move in as a group with several others on the same course as them. Before agreeing to any hasty decisions, consider your criteria. Do you want a more peaceful atmosphere, LGBTQ+ friendly, female/male only flatmates, no drugs/alcohol, cultural respect, or any other conditions? It's vital to ensure you're comfortable in your surroundings.

When renting privately, you should also examine the commute to the institution; is there adequate public transportation or is it within walking distance? Privately leased accommodations are often more 'pleasant' in terms of space and style, but they are frequently more costly. Consider your financial situation. The bulk of student maintenance loans are typically assigned to housing costs, however this may vary based on the amount received by the student. For accommodation expenses, a reasonable rule of thumb would be 70-80 percent.


While there are many great understanding landlords, there are also those who may and will take advantage of young and inexperienced students, charging extra fees or neglecting to keep the home in a safe condition. A good place to start is Unipol, which can help you discover suitable, trustworthy housing or provide general rental assistance for students.

What is UCAS Points

UCAS Tariff points are a numerical representation of your credentials and grades. Many qualifications (but not all) have a UCAS Tariff value, which varies depending on the size of the qualification and the grade you received. HE course providers utilise this numerical number to determine if you fulfil the admission requirements for a certain course.

How do I apply?

You're ready to start the application process once you've evaluated all of the available information, visited university open days in person or electronically, and discussed your degree possibilities with friends, family, course instructors, and college careers counsellors. There's two options you can take when applying for your degree.




most universities require you to apply through UCAS, where you may apply online for full-time undergraduate education. When applying, you can choose up to five courses from various institutions. However, you can only use it once every cycle. The application cost is now £22 for a single option, increasing to £26.50 for two or more selections. Your institution may collect the entrance fee, or you may be asked to pay UCAS directly.


University Website

If you want to study part-time or are interested in distance learning degrees, you must apply directly to the university, however you can still look for programmes on the UCAS website between July and September.


The application procedure is also much quicker, so you don't have to look for a course as long ahead of time. Individual course providers choose the exact deadlines. International students can still apply through UCAS, however you may be required to provide proof of qualifications directly to the institution. Speak with your preferred institution to learn about their policy on getting results.

Application requirements

Institutions establish their own admission criteria depending on the subject and the needs of the individual course in order to guarantee that students who pass the selection process have the requisite knowledge and abilities.


They usually take into account:

  • Prior credentials, topics, and grades - generally A-levels and GCSE scores
  • Establish if you are a good match for the course based on your previous experience, interests, and talents
  • How well you do in a university interview; and any additional information, such as health or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

You will also be required to submit a personal statement and obtain a reference from a professional, such as a past employer or teacher (not family or friends). When you write your personal reference, you have the opportunity to tell universities why you want to study with them, as well as what talents and experience you have.

Examine course descriptions for the characteristics, abilities, and experience required - they can help you determine what to write about. Consider what qualifies you, this might be significant experience, abilities, or achievements earned via school, employment, or other activities and include any clubs or organisations to which you belong.

Student loans

After you've submitted your application, you may start looking for methods to support your studies.

 Tuition fee loans, maintenance loans, and non-repayable grants are among the choices offered. Eligibility is typically determined by where you live in the United Kingdom.



When applying to university, there is a lot to consider, so we hope our guide has made the process a little simpler. Try to have a positive attitude while remaining realistic. Yes, you may not obtain your first choice of institution or degree, or you may not fulfil the standards; nevertheless, there are always workarounds and solutions; speak to a career adviser or university if you have any problems.


That being said, things will most likely work out in your favour, and if you do get into your ideal university and degree, we are overjoyed for you! We wish you the best of luck, and if you have any more questions, please email us and we will try our best to answer them.


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