The UK is made up of 4 different countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The education system in Scotland differs at school and
undergraduate level to the other countries who follow a similar system.Education in the UK is compulsory for everyone between the ages of five
and sixteen, and is provided by two kinds of schools: independent (fee-charging) schools and state-funded schools.
Education System in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Children normally start school at the age of 5 and move to secondary school at the age of 11. Pre-school programs are also available to students at
the age of 3 or 4.
Secondary School and Post-Sixteen Education:
All UK universities teach students to at least the age of 16 to prepare them for GSCEs or equivalent qualifications. Following this, students can stay
on to study for AS levels (one additional year), A levels (2 additional years) or equivalent vocational qualifications. These qualifications can be done
in a school, sixth-form college or college of further education.
Post Eighteen Education:
Students normally commence higher education at the age of 18 and study at university or colleges of further and higher education. A Bachelor degree program
normally lasts for 3-4 years, a Masters degree program for 1 year and a Doctoral degree program for 3-4 years. The UK government is currently aiming for 50%
of students to continue in education after the age of 18.
Education System in Scotland:
The education system in Scotland is slightly different that the rest of the UK and the main differences are as follows:Students can enter university at
the age of 17 rather than 18 as university courses in Scotland are normally one year longer than in England. Students sit Standard Grades rather than GCSEs.
Students sit Higher and Advanced Higher rather than AS levels and A levels. Between the ages of 16-18 years students in Scotland often study a broader
curriculum than in other parts of the UK and often do not specialize in the sciences, arts, humanities until they enter university.
College and Institution of Higher Education
College of Technology
Teacher Training College
Types of degrees
Types of taught courses:
Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas (PGCert; PGDip)
Master (MA; MSc)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Types of research degrees:
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Master of Research (MRes)
Professional / Taught Doctorates (DEng, DMus, DEd, DBA, DClinPsych
New Route Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD or DPhil)
Higher National Diplomas
Higher National Certificates
Diplomas of Higher Education
Foundation courses, Foundation years or Access/Bridging courses
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