Qualifications Explained - Writtle University College

Qualifications Explained

Qualifications Explained

An introduction to the main qualifications featured on this website:

Further Education qualifications

Level 2/3 Work-based qualifications

These are practical qualifications which are ‘competence-based’. This means that you learn from practical, work-related tasks designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge to do a job effectively.

Level 2 Award/Certificate/Diploma

These are generally one year, Level 2 courses, which combine the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject area.

Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma/Diploma/Extended Diploma

These Level 3 qualifications focus on a vocational area or occupation, making them an excellent alternative to AS or A Levels. They are designed to provide you with the theoretical and technical skills required to work in a particular industry. These qualifications could enable progression to a Higher Education level of study.

Higher Education - Undergraduate qualifications

Certificate of Continuing Education

A Certificate of Continuing Education allows you to gain an un-named award by successful completion of four modules from any degree scheme, enabling you to mix and match modules to suit your interests. The Certificate of Continuing Education is seen as a flexible programme as duration is dependent on individual modules and taken over what timescale you choose to complete the full four modules.

Certificate in Higher Education (CertHE)

The CertHE is intended to be taster higher education course, and usually takes one year to complete, but this is dependent on whether study is on a full or part-time basis.

The award is made up of 120 credits at level 4.

Foundation Degree (FdSc or FdA)

Foundation degrees are designed to meet the needs of the employment market. A Foundation degree is characterised by accessibility, flexibility, employer involvement and progression, all underpinned by work-related learning. The duration of a Foundation degree is usually two years, but this is dependent on whether study is on a full or part-time basis.

Foundation degrees are 240 credits, and is a level 5 award.

Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE)

The DipHE is an award designed for students who want to study at a higher level but not complete a degree. Usually a DipHE mirrors the first two levels of an Honours degree. The duration of a DipHE is usually two years depending on whether it is completed on a full or part time basis.

The DipHE is 240 credits and is a level 5 award.

Honours Degree (BSc or BA)

Honours degrees are designed to meet the future needs of graduates and employers, by providing a combination of subject knowledge with practical work-related skills and experience. The duration of an Honours degree is usually three years, but this is dependent on whether study is on a full or part-time basis.

The Honours degree is 360 credits and is a level 6 award.

Higher Education - Undergraduate/Postgraduate qualification

Integrated Masters (MSci, MVetPhys)

Integrated masters are awards, usually science based, and are designed for the need for future graduates with higher qualifications. The integrated masters course combined both undergraduate and postgraduate study within one award. The duration of the course is usually 4 years depending on full or part time study.

An integrated Masters is 480 credits and the final award is at level 7.

Higher Education - Postgraduate bridging qualifications

Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate is an award for student to complete bridging studies for them to progress onto a postgraduate level course. These courses aim to bridge any skills and knowledge gaps required for further study.

The award is 60 credits of modules from both levels 5 and 6.

Graduate Diploma

The Graduate Diploma is an award for student to complete bridging studies for them to progress onto a postgraduate level course. These courses aim to bridge any skills and knowledge gaps required for further study.

The award is 120 credits of modules from both levels 5 and 6.

Higher Education - Postgraduate qualifications

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)

A PGCert is a qualification for those who wish to complete a postgraduate course but not a full Masters. The PGCert are usually linked to employment and CPD activity to enhance skills.
The course duration is 1 year depending on full time or part time.

The PGCert is 60 credits at level 7.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

The PGDip is a qualification designed for those who wish to enhance their knowledge with a postgraduate qualification but do not wish to complete a full Masters. The PGDip is usually linked to employment as CPD and can be used for those who wish to study further.

The duration of the course is typically 1 year for full time and is 120 credits at level 7.

Masters Degree

Masters (MSc, MA or MBA) degrees are normally a one year full-time or two years of part-time, taught study and demonstrates the attainment of mastery in the chosen subject area. Students can use the award to progress to study a PhD or in their work environment.

The award is 180 credits at level 7 including a dissertation or research based project.

Masters by Dissertation or Masters by Research (MAD/MScD/MRes)

Masters by Dissertation are research based Masters for those wishing to complete a research project rather than a taught Masters.

This award is usually 2 to 3 years and is awarded at level 7.

Doctorate (PhD)

A three year full-time or six years part-time research-based course that shows your ability to make a contribution to the subject area.

The PhD is awarded at level 8.