How are the British notes organized

Study system in the UK

There is no uniform “British” study system on the British Isles. Rather, there are Study systems in each country in the United Kingdom: The traditional study system in England, which is largely identical to the study systems in Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Scottish study system.

These country-specific differences, as UK insiders know, are important to the English, Scots, Northern Irish and Welsh people. Anyone planning to study in Great Britain can find out about the respective study system in advance.

Quality assurance and autonomy in UK universities

© University of Sheffield

The study system in Great Britain is based on an undergraduate and a postgraduate area.

In the traditional university system in Great Britain, the Universities for a long time a high degree of autonomy. Financed by state funds, they independently manage the design of the courses, the teaching and the number of courses. Each of the four countries in the UK has its own department of education. This is why there is in the UK too no uniform grading and grading system.

The quality of teaching is determined on the one hand by internal university committees, the so-called Academic Board, ensured. On the other hand, the English Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) an independent body. There is also a committee for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland within the body. As an external reviewer, the QAA, compliance with subject-specific learning and teaching standards.

Structure of the study system in Great Britain

All study systems in Great Britain have a two-tier structure:

  • Undergraduate-Degrees (Bachelor)
  • Postgraduate-Degrees (Masters and PhD)

The Undergraduate studies represent an undergraduate degree in which students receive their first academic degree. In the Postgraduate Studies Students get the after a year or two Master Degree. After a further three years of research, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) can be achieved.

Undergraduate Studies: The study options without an academic degree

The English undergraduate programs are worldwide for their high quality academic education accepted. Every year around 400,000 international students from 200 nations study within one Undergraduate degreeProgram at a university in the UK.

The Bachelor degree

Despite the identical name, there is between the German bachelor's degree and a Bachelor degree (also First degree or Undergraduate degree There are a few things to consider in Great Britain. The Undergraduate degree, is not only more modular, but also more tightly organized and performance-oriented. A bachelor's degree in England, Northern Ireland or Wales typically lasts three years. It takes four years to study in Scotland. During their studies, students usually acquire 120 or 180 credits.

The first academic degree is available as Ordinary degree and Honors degree. Most First degrees are in the UK system of studies as Honors degree forgive. The expression does not denote a grade, but is a quality feature. To one Receive a Bachelor with Honors, there are different requirements depending on the university. While at some universities reaching a certain final grade is sufficient, other universities expect a particularly good graded thesis.

The master degree

In the master’s program, the Undergraduate studies acquired knowledge deepened and specialized. The Duration of study a Masters is in Great Britain usually one year up to a maximum of two years. A master’s degree that focuses on a specific focus within the course is possible in almost every subject.

Over two-thirds of Masters programs at UK universities are studied full-time. But those who are bound by work or family can do many of the options offered in Great Britain Master’s programs also part-time complete.


After completing their second academic degree, Master’s graduates can pursue further within the framework of the Postgraduate Studies to qualify. To the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), at least three years of research must be done.

In addition to the research-based Ph.D. there are also those Professional doctorates (Doctoral) again Doctor of Medicine (MD or DM).

Very British: Shorter Courses or advanced training programs

In the UK, professional development programs are available, too Shorter courses called, an integral part of the study system. It is a matter of professional and academic training and further education with a study period of one or two years. At UK universities these are both in the Undergraduate as well as in Postgraduate level offered.

Continuing education has been a tradition at British universities since the 19th century. Organizations like that Workers Education Association (WEA) were and are in some cases still responsible for setting topics in research and teaching of the continuing education programs.

Undergraduate studies

Certificate of Higher Education (certHE): The Certificate of Higher Education is an advanced training qualification that can typically be completed in one year as a full-time study or in two years as a part-time study.

Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE): The Diploma of Higher Education is an advanced, professional qualification that can usually be obtained after two years of full-time study at a university.

Higher National Certificate (HNC): The Higher National Certificate is an extra-occupational course that provides advanced qualifications in one year that can serve as the basis for a bachelor's degree.

Higher National Diploma (HND): The Higher National Diploma is a part-time course. The HND-The degree can be used under certain circumstances to gain access to university studies.

Postgraduate Studies

Conversion Courses: Who after the Undergraduate degree want to change the subject can do one Conversion Course occupy. The continuing education program usually lasts one year, depending on the subject. But there are also so-called Fast track-Programs that convey the required specialist knowledge in a very short time. The Conversion courses can also be taken part-time and are accredited by UK professional bodies.

Postgraduate Diplomas and Qualifications: An increasingly popular choice for undergraduate graduates looking to improve their job prospects are Postgraduate Diplomas and Qualifications. The degrees offer qualification and specialization on master-Level without writing a master's thesis. The Postgraduate Diplomas and Qualifications can be completed part-time within one year.

Any of these options are currently open to prospective students from Germany. The right of residence for citizens within the EU makes it possible, as long as Brexit does not come into force, to study in Great Britain without much bureaucratic effort.

Shorter study trips to Great Britain

For those who are not interested in long-term study options, there are more than enough alternatives in the UK:

  • Semester abroad: Participating in a Study Abroad Program in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland offers international students an ideal complement to their studies in Germany. The more flexible course selection in the semester abroad is particularly practical in contrast to the full course. Switching to a British university during a B.A. or M.A. is no problem due to the similar semester times in the academic year.
  • Summer session: Especially for international students, one of the most popular options for a short-term study visit is a summer session in Great Britain. Many UK universities and colleges offer students the opportunity to take a summer school course during the semester break.
  • Language courses: If you want to improve your English language skills, you can catch up quickly and easily in a language course in the UK TOEFL or the IELTS.

What are the differences to the German study system?

Since the Bologna reform, the same academic degrees have existed in both countries: Bachelor, Master and doctoral degrees (Ph.D.). Despite this commonality, there may be differences with regard to the recognition of German university degrees and the conversion of performance records into the British grading system.

Apart from traditional university degrees, continuing vocational training in Great Britain differs greatly from the dual training system in Germany. The The boundaries between vocational training and academic training are fluid. It must be checked on a case-by-case basis whether the professional and academic further training acquired in Great Britain is recognized.