Higher Education (HE) is the next level of Education after you leave school, sixth-form or college. It takes place at universities and Further Education colleges, and in 2018/2019, 2.38 million students were studying at higher education institutions in the UK.
HE covers qualifications from Level 4 upwards to Level 8. The most well know higher education qualifications are undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, but there are many more qualification types which are classed as Higher Education. In this section, we want to introduce to you these different qualifications and give you their essential details. You may find a qualification you want to study!
Higher Education (the qualifications listed above) can sometimes be confused with Further Education (FE). Further Education is the label used to describe the continued studying you do after GCSEs or BTECs aged 16 and above, but before university level. Higher Education is any study after A-Level equivalent qualification.
You might decide very early on in your school career that you want to study some form of higher Education, or you may be finishing your A-Levels and still not know what you want to do; both are entirely valid and Higher Education is open to all kinds of people with different skills and abilities.
Suppose you do want to go onto Higher Education. In that case, it’s a good idea to look at what prior qualifications you will need for each one. However, many institutions ask for different requirements, some universities ask for BTECs or A-Levels to study a diploma, but some do not. There is no one rule!
These types of Higher Education qualifications can lead on from one and other. The most common example of this is the route:
Bachelor’s Degree → Master’s Degree → Doctoral Degree (PhD)
However, other HE qualifications are also connected. Some university Bachelor’s degrees can follow from a Diploma or Higher National Diploma. Or in some cases you can complete a Doctoral Degree (PhD), straight after a Bachelor’s degree, skipping the master’s step.
Understanding the world of qualifications and Higher Education can be difficult, you might benefit from visiting a careers fair or getting some work experience, so you have more of an idea of what path you want to take.