Great Britain

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Students studying for the first degree are called undergraduates. At the end of the third year of study undergraduates sit for their examinations and take the bachelors degree. Those engaged in the study of arts such subjects as history, languages, economics or law take Bachelor of Arts (BA). Students studying pure or applied sciences such as medicine, dentistry, technology or agriculture get Bachelor of Science (BSc). When they have been awarded the degree, they are known as graduates. Most people get honours degrees, awarded in different classes. These are: Class I (known as a first), Class II, I (or an upper second), Class II, II (or a lower second), Class III (a third). A student who is below one of these gets a pass degree (i.e. not an honours degree).

Students who obtain their Bachelor degree can apply to take a further degree course, usually involving a mixture of exam courses and research. There are two different types of post-graduate courses the Masters Degree (MA or MSc), which takes one or two years, and the higher degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which takes two or three years. Funding for post-graduate courses is very limited, and even students with first class degrees may be unable to get a grant. Consequently many post-graduates have heavy bank loans or are working to pay their way to a higher degree.

The university system also provides a national network of extra-mural or Continuing Education Departments which offer academic courses for adults who wish to study often for the sheer pleasure of study after they have left schools of higher education.

One development in education in which Britain can claim to lead the world is the Open University. It was founded in 1969 in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and is so called because it is open to all this university does not require any formal academic qualifications to study for a degree, and many people who do not have an opportunity to be ordinary students enroll. The university is non-residential and courses are mainly taught by special written course books and by programmes on state radio and television. There are, however, short summer courses of about a week that the students have to attend and special part-time study centers where they can meet their tutors when they have problems.

As mentioned above, the British higher education system was added to in the 1970s, which saw the creation of colleges and institutions of higher education, often by merging existing colleges or by establishing new institutions. They now offer a wide range of degree, certificate and diploma courses in both science and art, and in some cases have specifically taken over the role of training teachers for the schools.

There are also a variety of other British higher institutions, which offer higher education. Some, like the Royal College of Arts, the Cornfield Institute of Technology and various Business Schools, have university status, while others, such as agricultural, drama and arts colleges like the Royal Academy of Dramatics Arts (RADA) and the Royal college of Music provide comparable courses. All these institutions usually have a strong vocational aspect in their programmes, which fills a specialized role in higher education.


Levashova V.A. Britain today: Life and Institutions. Moscow: INFRA-M, 2001.

200 ./.: ., ., ., . : .., 2001.

Magazine CLUB, 3, January February 2001.

8 ./.: .., .. . 2-. , , 1978.

Newspaper English Learners Digest 8, April 2001.

Adrian Room, An A to Z of British Life; OUP 1992.

: 29/11/2009