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What Course to Study


A lot of students are often not sure of what they really want to study. A few lucky ones have the luxury of choosing for themselves what courses they really want, while others have parents who either choose courses for them or influence them in such a way that they don’t have any other choice.

1. Choosing a subject

It’s important you choose a subject you enjoy and will help you reach your goals. Here are some things to help you choose the right subject for you:

  • Think about what you enjoy day-to-day – maybe this could be part of a future job role?
  • Explore different job sites and graduate career options to look for ideas on what you’d like to do once you’ve finished your studies.
  • Think about your career goals and the qualifications required as part of a person specification.

UK degree courses tend to be very specialized from day one, allowing students to focus on their chosen subject. However, there are others that allow you more flexibility in what you study. Make sure you read the course descriptions carefully and click through to university websites for further information.

Thinking about more than one course or subject?

To increase your chances of getting a place on a course we give you the option of applying to up to five courses at once, usually all in a similar subject so that your application is relevant to all of them.

Please note, there are a couple of restrictions though:

  • You can only apply a maximum of four courses in any one of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or veterinary science.
  • Usually, you can only apply to one course at either the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. There are exceptions though – if you’ll be a graduate at the start of the course, and you’re applying for graduate medicine (course code A101) at the University of Cambridge, you could then also apply to medicine (course code A100) at Cambridge, as well as graduate medicine (course code A101) at the University of Oxford. (Some applicants will need to complete an additional application form to apply – visit the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge websites for more information.)

2. Types of undergraduate course

After leaving school, most students going onto university or college study for an undergraduate degree. These are usually made up of modules (some compulsory and some optional) that add up to a full degree.

Here are some examples of the types of undergraduate courses you can do.

  • Bachelor Degree courses
  • Foundation Years
  • Diploma in Foundation Studies
  • Foundation Degrees
  • Degree or Graduate level Apprenticeship

3. Choosing how to study

Most students study undergraduate courses full-time, however, this is not the only way. There are lots of different modes of study, designed to fit around your own circumstances.

  1. Part-time

    Many universities and colleges offer part-time degree courses, which are normally taken over a longer period, so you can learn at a more relaxed pace, or work (if eligible) alongside your studies.

    There are some real benefits to studying part-time:

    • It might be a challenge to work or take care of your family at the same time as studying, but if you’re committed, it can be very rewarding.
    • These may be delivered via evening and weekend classes, day release, or study breaks, helping you manage study around your other commitments.
    • Some contain a combination of online and offline work, with regular assignments and tutor support.
    • Some course deadlines can be altered to fit around your other responsibilities too.
  2. Distance and blended learning

    Distance learning means studying remotely, allowing you to learn in your own time. Blended learning combines face-to-face sessions with online learning, giving a good mix of learning from the experts and teaching yourself, with course materials available online.

    Your course activities and assignments will be supported by a range of online learning resources, with regular support from your tutor, interacting with fellow students via email, online forums, phone, and virtual conferencing.

    Courses often include day schools or residential weekends where you work with other students on a specific project, followed by continued contact with the team as you work together, resulting in another residential where results are presented and assessed.

    PLEASE NOTE – you will need to apply directly to the university or college to be considered for the programme.

  3. Accelerated degrees

    Accelerated degrees are offered by some universities and colleges, in some subject areas. Students on accelerated degrees undertake the same course content as students on typical degrees but complete their degrees one year sooner. For example, accelerated degree students can complete the full content of a typical three-year degree, but graduate in two years.

4. Choosing where to study

Some students set their heart on a particular university, while others just want to choose the course they like the sound of best. Either way is fine, but make sure you do your research, as changing your university or college once you’ve started isn’t always easy.

You could choose to study at a UK higher education college instead of a university – find out more.

Here are five top tips to help you when choosing where to study:

  1. Attend an open day – we cannot recommend this enough. It’s an opportunity for you to meet the course tutors, see the facilities, and explore the area.
  2. If you can’t attend an open day, explore the campus with a virtual tour.
  3. Check the application deadline – some universities and courses have a different application deadline, so make sure you know the deadline associated with your chosen course or uni.
  4. Check the entry requirements – different courses and universities will have different entry requirements, which you can check on the course listing in our search tool.
  5. Read our tips to help you choose between courses and universities.



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