Education in Great Britain: Higher Education
There is a considerable choice
of post-school education in Britain. In addition to universities, there are
also polytechnics and a series of different types of assisted colleges, such as
colleges of technology, art, etc., which tend to provide more work-orientated
courses than universities.
Some of these courses are
part-time, with the students being released by their employers for one day a
week or longer periods.
Virtually all students on
full-time courses receive grants or loans from the Government which cover their
tuition fees and everyday expenses (accommodation, food, books, etc.).
Universities in Britain enjoy
complete academic freedom, choosing their own staff and deciding which students
to admit, what and how to teach, and which degrees to award (first degrees are
called Bachelor degrees). They are mainly government-funded, except for the
totally independent University of Buckingham.
There is no automatic
admission to university, as there are only a limited number of places (around
100,000) available each year. Candidates are accepted on the basis of their
A-level results. Virtually all degree courses are full-time and most last three
years (medical and veterinary courses last five or six years).
Students who obtain their
Bachelor degree (graduates) can apply to take a further degree course, usually
involving a mixture of exam courses and research. There are two different types
of postgraduate courses — the Master's degree (MA or MSc) and higher degree of
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).