9 Qualifications in Higher Education Foundation Degree ( FD) courses Foundation degrees combine academic study with workplace learning and are designed to give you the skills and knowledge employers are looking for. They take around two years to complete full- time, or three to four years part- time. Being distinctly vocational they can lead on to employment or provide progression to an honours degree or further professional qualifications for successful students. There are a very wide range of subjects available including veterinary nursing, e- commerce, health and social care, and forensic science to name but a few. There are no set entry requirements for foundation degrees but as a guide school/ college leavers should expect to be asked for one of the following: A/ AS Level, BTEC National, OCR National, Advanced Diploma, Baccalaureate, NVQ or other level three qualification. Check with the institution offering the course you are interested in to see if you have the necessary experience or qualifications. BTEC Higher National Diploma ( HND) courses HNDs are also work related and focus on ' learning by doing'. They are designed to give you the skills and knowledge that will be effective in a particular job area, and are therefore highly valued by employers. They take two years to complete full- time, but can also be studied part- time which will take a little longer. There are many subjects to choose from, including agriculture, computing and IT, engineering, performing arts and exercise sciences. Many HND students go on to convert their qualification into a bachelors degree with one or two years extra study. The usual entry requirement is one A Level pass ( although normally two should have been studied), a BTEC or OCR National Diploma/ Certificate/ Advanced Diploma or a Baccalaureate. The BTEC, OCR National Diploma/ Certificate or Advanced Diploma may need to be within an appropriate related subject area. Check with the institution offering the course you are interested in to see if you have the appropriate entry requirements. Diploma of Higher Education ( DipHE) courses There are relatively few DipHE courses and they are mainly linked to vocational areas such as nursing and social work. Lasting two years full- time or three plus years part- time, they are equivalent to the first two years of a degree course, and can normally be converted to a related degree with an extra year of study. Entry requirements are usually the same as for a degree. Professional courses Some colleges, university colleges and universities run full or part- time courses leading to qualifications recognised by professional bodies: for example, within accountancy, surveying, insurance and journalism. Many of the HE qualifications introduced in this section can be studied on a part- time basis whilst in employment or training. See pages 22 & 23. Always check on relevant websites such as UCAS ( www. ucas. com), in key reference books or with the educational establishment you are applying to for the latest information on entry requirements. See pages 31 & 33.
10 Which Subject? LEAST VOCATIONALHIGHLY VOCATIONAL Think of the subjects available in higher education as a vocational/ non- vocational spectrum like this:- Here are some examples: LEAST VOCATIONALHIGHLY VOCATIONAL In practice any subject can be placed somewhere along the spectrum. A subject like philosophy is at or near the non- vocational end, as most philosophy graduates do not become professional philosophers. Strongly career orientated courses such as dentistry and medicine are highly vocational because graduates in these fields would almost always become dentists or doctors. Most subjects will fall somewhere between the two. You can work out an approximate position on the spectrum for any subject you are considering, by reading up on the course content, checking out the destination of graduates and exploring the new student employability profiles ( SEPS) - see page 25. Philosophy Psychology Economics Law Engineering Dentistry Choosing a subject to study in higher education is not easy! A quick glance at the UCAS online course search or any higher education directory will reveal a vast array of opportunities available. Sifting through them will require a lot of time and thought, but it will be well worth the effort. Around 20% of students drop out of higher education each year. One of the most common reasons is that they did not think through their choice of subject. The subject of the course should be decided first - before you think about where or how you are going to study. . Choosing a higher education subject you are already familiarwith can be a safe option, as you will have some idea of your level of ability and interest. ( See page 11). . Choosing a new non- vocationalsubject will give you the opportunity to develop new areas of academic skill and knowledge, and sustain your interest over three or four years. ( See page 11). . Choosing a vocationalcourse is right if you have a well developed career plan which is best achieved through such a course. ( See page 11). . Remember there are also joint, combined, modular and interdisciplinary degrees which enable you to mix your subjects of study in an almost infinite pattern. . Ask your school or college, how to access Higher Ideas, an excellent tool for expanding your subject ideas.