First Degree Courses in Arts and Sciences (Bachelor's degree) are normally of three or four years' duration and are largely taught courses, sometimes including the preparation of a short written thesis.
Sandwich Courses are where the coursework is accompanied by practical work. A student could either complete 2 years of college, then a year of commercial training before returning for a final year in college. Or, he/she could do a 4-year course with 3-6 months' training interspersed each year. The main advantage is that the student gets real experience while in the learning mode. Most universities offer this type of education.
Higher National Diploma (HND) is awarded by Vocational and Technical Educational Councils. They offer a 2-year course in a vocational subject like scientific and technical business subjects. Great emphasis is placed on work experience. It is often seen as the first step towards a degree course as the credits can be transferred.
Vocational Courses offer an opportunity to enter the university system slowly. Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC), General Vocational Qualifications (GNVQ), General Scottish Vocational Qualifications (GSVQ) offer recognized courses in a range of disciplines. Most students opt to take 1-2 years of, for example, BTEC courses before being transferred to a degree programme. BTEC national certificates/diplomas are usually accepted as an alternative to A-Levels.
Postgraduate study may take the form of an independent piece of research under supervision or a taught course, and leads to a variety of degrees and awards. The taught courses normally last for one or sometimes two years. Completion of a doctorate normally takes a minimum of three years. Many post-experience courses are also available, either leading to a qualification or providing a refresher course for graduates wishing to update or extend their knowledge. Occasional students are admitted by some institutions in limited numbers. They attend courses or undertake research, possibly for a period of one or two years. These courses do not lead to any formal qualification or 'credit' although certificate of satisfactory