University Colleges and Colleges of Higher Education
Not many people are aware that it is possible to study for a postgraduate degree in the UK without attending an official university. There are many other academic institutions that offer postgraduate degrees in a wide variety of subject areas.
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There are two different types of institutions that can award postgraduate degrees, but that have not been granted full university status. You shouldn’t let the fact that they haven’t got complete university status put you off, the postgraduate degrees that these institutions offer are completely legitimate and the institutions themselves may be better suited to your specific needs. There are a number of reasons why these types of institutions may appeal to some students more than attending an official university, all of which will be covered below.
University Colleges /Colleges of Higher Education (CHEs)
University Colleges or Colleges of Higher Education are academic institutions that offer higher education courses but have not got independent university status. These institutions are usually part of a larger fully accredited university that validates the postgraduate degrees that are offered.
Colleges of Higher Education are much smaller than official universities. This fact may be appealing to some students wishing to pursue postgraduate study in the UK. This is because students, especially those coming from abroad to study in the UK, may be a little overwhelmed by the sheer size and freedom of UK universities. Studying at a CHE means that students will be able to be part of a smaller, more close-knit, community that may make the idea of studying for a postgraduate program a less frightening prospect.
The number of courses that are offered at these institutions are a lot more limited than the courses offered at fully independent universities. This means that sometimes you may not be able to find the exact course you are looking for. However the limited number of courses does have its advantages. Because a lot of people are unaware of these institutions the competition to get a place to study may be a lot lower than if you were applying to the university that validates the degrees. This means that it is possible to get a postgraduate degree from the university you wanted but without as much competition.
Another point that needs to be made, especially to convince those who are sceptical of these institutions, is that often university colleges are awarded full university status. This clearly shows that the courses they offer are really of a high quality and shouldn’t be doubted. A few examples of universities that were once CHE’s are the University of Nottingham, Keele University and the University of Winchester.
Specialist Higher Education Colleges
Specialist Higher Education Colleges are the other type of institution where you can study postgraduate courses, without attending an official university. As the name suggests these colleges specialise in a small number of postgraduate programs. This means that you can get a really high quality of education as your teachers will be experts in their field and the entire college will be orientated towards that certain subject.
The main examples of these types of colleges are specialist agricultural colleges and those that specialise in creative and performing arts. A great thing about these types of colleges is that they often offer courses that sometimes aren’t available at fully independent universities. This allows students to continue to study subjects that they are passionate about that they may not have had the chance to study at some official universities.
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