What is it?

Degrees, Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) and Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) are all higher education qualifications that help you develop a thorough understanding of a subject.

Degree courses are usually three years, or four years with a placement year. Degree courses usually lead to a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BSc (Bachelor of Science) qualification; some lead to BEd (Bachelor of Education) or BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) or other titles. A very wide range of subjects are on offer – from academic subjects like history or English, to work related subjects such as town and country planning or civil engineering.

A Diploma of Higher Education (Dip HE) course normally involves two years of full-time study and allows successful students to progress directly onto the final year of a degree programme.

Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) normally involves one year of full-time study and might be your first step towards obtaining higher level qualifications.

Top Up to Degree Successful completion of a two-year Foundation Degree allows you to progress to the third year of an appropriate honours degree programme and HNDs can be used to gain entry onto the second or third year of a related degree course.

Where could I study?

You can study for a Degree, DipHE, CertHE at universities, higher education colleges and via distance learning through the Open University. Courses start throughout the year, although most begin in September or October. UCAS is responsible for managing full-time applications to higher education courses in the UK and you can find information about lots of courses on their website.

How long will it take me?

A CertHE usually involves one year of full-time study, a DipHE usually involves two years of full-time study and Degrees usually take three or four years to complete full time. You can also study for these courses part-time or through flexible learning - these take longer to complete. Bachelors degrees in some subjects can take longer; for example, medical courses usually take five or six years. 

Options after the course?

Most graduates use their HE qualification to move into a job or profession. You could also use the qualification to go on to a postgraduate course of higher education, such as a post graduate diploma or masters degree.