Colleges in the UK

Colleges in the UK


In addition to universities, colleges in Great Britain also offer excellent options for studying abroad – and often for lower tuition fees.

There are more than 700 colleges and higher education institutes (HEI) in the UK public higher education landscape, most of which are specialized (vocational) training. A college in the UK or HEI can also be a stepping stone for international students to begin studying at a UK university.

UK College Definitions

If you are interested in a semester abroad in Great Britain or a Bachelor’s degree in Great Britain , the fundamental distinction between the colleges in Great Britain is important. Generally come for higher education only come Higher Education colleges in question.

In contrast to the university title, the term “college” is not protected by law and can therefore be used by any institution. In the early 1990s, the UK higher education system was reformed immediately. The HEI education sector has been privatized, which is why many education providers in the UK have been given the college title of college. Since then it has become even more difficult to differentiate between the individual names. The term “college” refers to a wide variety of institutions in the UK school system.

In the area of higher education and vocational training:

  • At higher education colleges with state-recognized bachelor’s or master’s degrees in Great Britain , as at universities, students can acquire a first or second academic title.
  • Comparable to professional and technical colleges and to train students who are older than 16 years are studying in Higher Education Colleges with a qualifying program, ” vocational program ” for their training.
  • The word college also describes the individual ” academic communities ” into which the venerable universities in Great Britain are divided.

In the school sector:

  • Although Sixth Form Colleges include the title College in the name of their institute, those are not colleges in the higher education sector. At Sixth Form Colleges, British students acquire their A-Levels and thus the prerequisites for studying.
  • There are also a number of private schools in the UK and Australia that have college titles on their institution’s behalf.

Pros: Universities versus Colleges in the UK

Among the HEIs in the UK there are around 50 colleges that award officially recognized academic bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Just like the universities, these colleges are among the “recognized bodies” in the United Kingdom. To learn more about United Kingdom and Europe, please visit relationshipsplus. The UK colleges have almost as diverse a range of programs as the universities. The tuition fees are usually lower.

This includes some time-honored colleges in the UK. The so-called Royal Academies have specialized in a certain field such as music, theater, dance, art or design for centuries.

As at universities, proof of access authorization is required here. The chances of admission in Great Britain are particularly good for vocational colleges compared to universities. Both applicants with a general university entrance qualification and a technical diploma usually meet the entry requirements in combination with a standardized language test such as TOEFL or IELTS.

At the subject-specific colleges in Great Britain, as at the universities, there are academic but also professionally-oriented courses (vocational qualifications). In addition, students at colleges in the UK can take advantage of an extensive program of continuing education.

Course Choice During a Semester Abroad in Great Britain

A range of English-language courses that is unique in Europe is available to international students at UK universities and colleges. Choosing a course during a semester abroad in Great Britain is problem-free in most cases. However, for a quick and smooth course selection process, it is an advantage to be familiar with the special features of the courses on offer at British universities.

In the following you will find not only country-specific information, but also general tips and information on choosing a course in Great Britain.

Possible in advance: course selection in Great Britain

Almost all universities and colleges in the UK have pre-selected courses. International students have to indicate their course wishes as part of the application process at the British university of their choice. The final course offer for the coming semester is usually only fixed a few months before the start of this semester.

For this reason, international students are best guided by the course lists from the previous year. As a rule, at the beginning of the previous semester, new information on the choice of course for the following semester is published by the respective British university.

In exceptional cases, it is only possible to choose a course during the semester abroad in Great Britain shortly before or at the beginning of the stay abroad. We would be happy to advise you on what the university of your choice looks like.

Tips for choosing a course during your semester abroad in Great Britain

Semester students best choose the courses on the basis of the special ” Study Abroad ” course catalogs of the chosen British university.

There are also the following tips and information to keep in mind for the successful choice of study courses in Great Britain:

  • In addition to the courses per semester or trimester, many British universities also offer courses per year, so-called full year courses. Semester students should therefore consider when choosing a course whether the courses are divided into semesters or trimesters or run over the whole year.
  • The mixing of courses from several departments runs, provided the required knowledge is available, usually without problems. However, at some universities there may be restrictions on taking courses from different subject areas. Therefore, the choice of course should always be discussed.
  • Postgraduate courses of a Masters, LLM or MBA in Great Britain can usually only be taken by students who already have a Bachelor’s degree and are enrolled in a Master’s.

Tip: Based on the experience with previous exchange students, it is advisable not to underestimate the workload of a course in the UK. The prescribed number of credit points for choosing a course during the semester abroad in Great Britain should therefore be used as a guide.

Advantages for German students when choosing a course during their semester abroad in Great Britain

Wait until the beginning of the semester and then hope that there are still free places in the courses you want? Not during a semester abroad in Great Britain, because as a Study Abroad student you have already chosen your desired courses there. If individual courses are not offered because, for example, the entire course is not offered, courses from different departments differ in time or the content does not meet the requirements, it is possible to change courses in consultation with the host university.

German students can also draw on the many experiences of other students in Great Britain when choosing a course.

Assured recognition

Most British universities have German partner universities, which is why a semester abroad in Great Britain is usually easy to realize. By means of the Learning Agreement of the European Commission for all universities, the recognition of the subject-related courses from the semester abroad can usually be ensured within the EU. Nevertheless, the recognition should always be discussed with the home university before choosing a course in order to avoid problems.

Colleges in the UK