Study Options

Once you have chosen the subject area and the type of course, you need to decide on how to study.

Today, the UK Higher Education student population is diverse and there are a variety of alternatives to full-time study to suit all needs.

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Flexible learning and part time study
Accelerated degrees • Courses starting in January 

Flexible learning and Part-time study

A large number of full-time courses can be studied part-time and most universities have part-time offerings.

The Open University (OU) is the most well-known provider of flexible learning. Established in 1969, it is the UK's largest university, with 30% of the UK’s part-time students enrolled with them.

The OU does not appear in our league tables because its students are distant learners and comparable data is mostly unavailable. You can see the available data on their profile.

Financial arrangements for part-time courses are different to 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 England, Northern Ireland, Scotland (SAAS), Wales).

UCAS do not offer a central admissions service for part-time courses, so applications for part-time courses must be made directly to the relevant institution.

You should also contact the university or college direct to find out about vacancies, entry requirements and to discuss fees and funding.

Distance learning

Distance learning is usually part-time. You have to engage with your course remotely rather than through regular face-to-face contact hours.

Learning materials are provided online and academic guidance is offered through virtual learning environments and tutorials by phone, email, video call or the occasional meeting in person.   

Accelerated degrees

An accelerated degree is a full bachelor’s degree completed in a shorter time period.

Courses provide the same amount of content as traditional degrees but take two years (or three in Scotland) instead of the more common three to five years.

Accelerated degrees vary in structure. Some examples of course structures are:

Universities regularly allow students on accelerated degrees to transfer onto an equivalent three-year degree.

There are often work-based learning elements, such as work placements, which form a required part of accelerated degrees.

Entry requirements vary across universities and courses. Like with any degree, it is important to check individual courses before applying to check you meet entry requirements.

Accelerated degrees are not for everyone, consider the following before deciding to apply for one:

  • Lower cost and less debt. Shorter courses mean students spend less on tuition fees, maintenance loans and rent, and they are able to earn money sooner.

  • Shorter holidays. Long summer periods that come with traditional degrees mean plenty of time to travel, get a summer job, or do an internship. But with accelerated degrees you will finish your course quicker and get into the working world a lot sooner.

  • Only a handful of UK universities offer accelerated degrees. Currently, five universities are offering accelerated degrees for 2019 entry: University of Salford, London Metropolitan University, University of Greenwich, Leeds Beckett University, and of course the University of Buckingham

  • Find out more about accelerated degrees, including the benefits of studying one, courtesy of London Metropolitan University.

Courses starting in January

This section is based on original content supplied by London Metropolitan University

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Not all university degrees start in September and starting your courses in January is a way to accelerate your degree.

This section describes what it is like to start your degree in January, courtesy of London Met.

How does starting a degree in January work at London Met?

Starting your degree in January means you have more contact hours with lecturers and smaller class sizes to ensure you have all the academic support you need. You will graduate with the same degree, taught to the same high standard as your peers who started in September, the difference being you’ll complete your degree in two-and-a-half or three-and-a-half years (with a foundation year) instead of three or four years, saving you time and money.

All of London Met’s courses include work-related learning and the university has strong links with hundreds of employers. This emphasis on gaining real-world experience even goes beyond the work-related learning module. Industry links that London Met has developed over the years mean that many courses are channelled into specific career pathways – giving London Met graduates not only a fast-track degree but one that aligns with what employers need in the real world.

Who should start a degree in January?

There are a wide range of London Met degrees available to start in January. January starts are ideal for those who didn’t get their university plans in place for September and for people who went straight into work and have since changed their minds. These courses are also perfect for anyone looking for a fresh start in the new year.

If you don’t have traditional qualifications, work experience or other qualifications you have earned during your career may well be enough to allow you to start an extended degree. These courses can set you on the path to a graduate-level job that has better pay and exceptional prospects.

By starting in January you can complete the course in three-and-a-half years instead of four. You will start with a condensed foundation year to help prepare you for the challenges of a degree. You’ll also learn essential study skills to help you succeed even if you didn’t do as well as you hoped at school.

Starting in January - Student success story

Hind Graduation (for Janaury Starts Article)
Hind had a successful time at
London Met after starting her
degree in January

Hind, who recently graduated with a first-class honours degree in Psychology, started with a foundation year and excelled in her area of study.

“I’d always been interested in human behaviour and by the idea of a job where I can help people, so a psychology course offered me a chance to turn an interest into a career,” says Hind, who admits she ended up “working in a few random jobs” after leaving school.

“I loved the subject so much and was so proud to win the Tom Walsh Prize for the best undergraduate project,” she says. “I developed a cognitive rehabilitation treatment for sufferers of Alzheimer’s and we’ve had significant results in trials and I hope to develop and test it further. I’m excited about the future and looking forward to making a difference."

Follow in Hind’s footsteps. Start a degree this January. Call 0800 085 3172 and talk to one of London Met’s friendly admissions advisers or browse January courses at londonmet.ac.uk/january. Here you will also have the opportunity to chat online Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm.