What is a top-up degree?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

If you already hold a Foundation degree or HND and you’d like to take things to the Bachelors degree level then a top-up degree can help. This study option is designed to help those that already hold certain qualifications and want to step up the degree ladder without having to commit to a full three-year BA or BSc programme.

What is a top-up degree?

Top-up degrees are equivalent to the final year (Level H) of a BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree and are suitable for students that have already completed a two-year Higher National Diploma (HND), two-year Foundation degree or another suitable qualification.

Top-up degrees in the UK are a great timesaving option for those looking to continue learning to Honours level without having to apply for a three-year Honours degree programme from scratch.

How long does a top-up degree take?

Typically a UK top-up degree course takes just one year to complete. However, the timescale does vary from course to course. Some top-up programmes can take as little as nine months to complete, while others can take as long as 18 months.

The length of time before graduation also depends on whether you choose to study part-time or full-time. Full-time courses typically take one year, or you can choose to spread out your studies via a two-year part-time course. This option can prove a much better fit for those with existing work or family commitments, as well as those looking to keep the cost of their studies down by earning while they learn.

What can you study?

Top-up degree subjects already span a wide variety of academic areas and the number of top-up degree courses in the UK is growing. Here are just some of your options:

  • Science and mathematics
  • The arts
  • Languages
  • Computing
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Business and management
  • Public health
  • Education
  • Music technology
  • Photography
  • Tourism

Why a top-up degree?

Better prospects – upgrading your current qualification to a full Honours degree demonstrates advanced academic skills, organisational skills, and indicates to employers that you have the drive to succeed. As a result, a top-up degree in the UK can help you climb the career ladder and improve your salary.

Self-fulfilment – it’s not only employers who will be impressed. Top-up degree courses give you the chance to gain a deeper understanding of your chosen field or a subject you are passionate about. You’ll not only enjoy your learning, you’ll feel a greater sense of self-satisfaction and confidence in your knowledge and abilities.

Open more doors – as well as the added knowledge and skills you’ll learn on your course, you’ll also meet a whole new group of tutors, students and professionals who will support you through your studies and beyond. Further PhD study, the opportunity to work abroad or in a whole new environment, to start your own business – the world really starts to open up with the valuable contacts you’ll make as part of your university course.

Where can you study?

Many red brick and established universities now offer top-up degree programmes in the UK alongside their standard three-year Bachelors degree programmes. Another option for those who can’t commit to daily study on campus at a university or college, top-up degrees are also available online via distance learning.

What will it cost?

Costs vary too, depending on the university, the subject you’re studying, and whether you’ve chosen a full-time or part-time course. Typically full-time university top-up degrees in the UK can be costly, but these fees can be lower if you choose an online top-up degree, as these are cheaper for universities to operate.

What are the entry requirements?

Entry requirements vary depending on where and what you want to study. Generally, a successful top-up degree candidate needs to already hold a relevant Foundation degree, HND, or equivalent. Some universities also recognise BTEC Higher National Diplomas gained outside the UK. If you hold any other relevant qualification it’s always worth getting in touch with any prospective universities to ask for their advice and specific requirements.

The University of Lincoln Work-Based Learning top-up degrees will help you achieve your career goals and obtain a qualification with a global focus. Find out more about the Lincoln WBDL programmes.


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