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Alternatives to Full-Time Study

As well as full-time study at university there are plenty of other ways of studying at degree and other levels.

  • Whether you are a school-leaver or an older person returning to education, whether you have been unsuccessful in obtaining a full-time university place, or have decided not to go to university of college this year, your options could include further study and reapplying, taking a gap year, part-time or distance learning or even studying overseas.
  • If you are planning to re-apply to universities, UCAS do not allow you to re-use a previous application form and you normally re-start the application process from the beginning, including paying the application fee.

Studying part-time

A large number of the full-time degree courses offered by universities and colleges can also be followed on a part-time basis, allowing students to fit their study around other commitments.

  • Financial arrangements for part-time courses are different from those for full-time study and you should contact the relevant funding body for your area to establish what financial help may be available (Student Finance EnglandNorthern Ireland, Scotland (SAAS), Wales).
  • The Open University is one of the best-known provider of part-time and distance learning, but most of the UK's universities also offer alternatives to full-time study.
  • Applications for part-time courses must be made direct to the relevant institution. UCAS do not offer a central admissions service for part-time courses, although they do offer an information-only part-time course search.
  • You should also contact the university or college direct to find out about vacancies, entry requirements and to discuss fees and funding.
  • Search for part-time courses on CUG's course chooser.

Foundation degree courses

Foundation degree courses are different from the foundation year which can be taken at the beginning of an undergraduate degree course to provide an appropriate academic background for degree-level entry.

  • Foundation degrees, on the other hand, are university-level qualifications designed to equip students for a particular area of work, often with the support of employers from that sector and combining academic study and work-place learning.
  • Foundation degrees can be studied full-time or part-time over two years, or longer.
  • Upon graduation some students choose employment or progress to further professional qualifications, while others take the opportunity to progress to a full honours degree with around a further years' study.
  • UCAS provide a foundation degree course search.
  • Full-time foundation degrees taken at a university or college in the UCAS scheme have to be applied for via UCAS; for institutions not in the UCAS scheme or for part-time study, you should apply direct to the college offering the course.
  • Read college profiles or search for foundation-level courses.

Taking a gap year

  • Some students decide to take a year out before starting university. Find out more here.

Distance learning

Studying overseas

  • Some UK students decide to follow their higher education overseas, often in other English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, Ireland and the USA. Read our section on studying overseas for advice and information.
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