Studies structure in the Great Britain
There are three types of higher schools in the United Kingdom: universities, university colleges and colleges of further and higher education.
Universities can be divided into old and new.
Old universities do not provide education on the vocational level, even though they conduct accredited courses of studies for academic degrees. Qualifications regarding specific professions and the required entitlements are more and more often awarded as a result of passing specific exams carried by or accredited by professional bodies.
The new universities are these, which were established after 1992, on the basis of the newly adopted Act on Further and Higher Education.
To the university colleges belong these institutions, which offer short-term studies. After graduation from such universities the students are awarded an academic degree. Some of the colleges offer programmes for the higher academic degrees.
The colleges, which belong to the category colleges of further education offer some of the programs on the level of the higher education.
In the UK studies below the first academic level are available. After completion of such studies, graduates are awarded a certificate or a diploma. Certificate is awarded after one year of stationary studies, which are equal to the first year of studies towards the first academic level. Diplomas are awarded after two years of studies, which are equal to the first two years of studies. Higher National Certificates are the diplomas awarded by Edexcel (an examination board) after completion of two-year studies, where the certificates are awarded to the graduates of non-stationary studies, and diplomas to the graduates of stationary studies.
The studies leading to the awarding of the first academic degree usually last three years, but in some areas, such as medicine, veterinary and dentistry, they last much longer. Foreign languages studies require also additional one year of work in the country of the language or one-year studies in that country.
The universities are free to adopt names for the awarded academic degrees. The most popular ones include: Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc).
The holders of the Bachelor degree are offered specialist or vocational post-graduate studies, which last usually a year. The graduates are awarded a certificate or a diploma.
Higher academic degrees (post-graduate) are awarded after completing additional studies or individual research. They may be composed of both these elements. At the post-graduate level there are two types of degrees: Masters Degree and PhD. The universities may also award higher honour diplomas to the excelling students.
The Master degree requires at least one year (usually two) of stationary studies. Oxford and Cambridge universities are an exception their Master of Arts degree is a sign of maturity, not additional academic achievements. Graduates of these universities may, apply to receive the Master of Arts Degree after paying the fee, without the need to undertake further studies. The application may be submitted within 7 years from matriculation (Oxford) or 6 years (Cambridge).
Doctoral degrees are awarded for an extensive study, called a doctoral thesis, on the basis of the publications from the given area of research. Regardless of the area, the title awarded is the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), with the exception of a few specialist areas, such as music, where the title Doctor of Musical Arts (AmusD) is awarded.
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