Diploma & Degree Qualifications Explained

qualifications explained

The differences between Diplomas & Degrees!

We are often asked for the differences between degrees, certificates, diplomas and higher diplomas including how long it will take to obtain a degree.

New students are drawn to the possibility of obtaining a degree usually years after they have left school or college and although many have left it too late, it is certainly still possible and easier than it used to be to obtain a degree in later life.

Here you’ll find a brief overview on the differences between UK University awarded degrees and distance learning diplomas provided by colleges around the UK including diplomas and higher education diplomas measured on the national qualifications curriculum framework.

There are four kinds of higher educational degrees issued within the UK and they are commonly bachelor degrees, associate degrees, master’s degrees and the much sought-after doctoral degree.

The starting area would be an associate degree.

The quickest anyone within the UK that can obtain a degree would be three years of flat-out continuous study without any breaks or gap year.

The majority of degrees are obtained within four years and this does include two or three years previous studying either at school or college on preparation courses or A-levels to build up the necessary points and credits to be accepted onto an entry-level degree.

Therefore in total, an average of 5 to 7 years of academic study is required to obtain a UK university awarded degree with brick building attendance and this includes the pre-courses or preparation courses to build up enough points to be accepted onto a degree program either at school or college.

The Open University is also very flexible and is specifically tailored to meet the needs of people who are either older, mature students, have families and children, run businesses or work full-time.

Please be aware that an incredible amount of work is involved to obtain an Open University degree and the fees can be astronomical exceeding £30,000 over a period of seven or eight years.

A lot of preparation courses are required to begin a degree course with the Open University and only the serious minded and committed will make the grade. Make no mistake many will drop out losing thousands of pounds on the journey.

If you are thinking of undertaking any form of open learning course leading to an actual official UK awarded degree then it is best to actually speak to former students either those who have attended a brick building Campus University or completed an Open University degree as opposed to making decisions based on friends from social media or message forums.

Seek out real face-to-face feedback and don’t be hesitant in asking questions!

Many students especially those on open learning degree courses will tell you that they will never do it again or if they had known what was really involved then they would never bothered in the first place.

Don’t let this put you off as it’s just a small percent of students who felt it was a Mount Everest of a climb to obtain their degree.

Looking at seven or eight year’s hard work, £30,000 plus and for others it will take 10 years to obtain.

Distance Learning Diploma Awards

There are various types of diploma awards within the UK both levelled and non-levelled from level 1 to level 5 on the national curriculum framework.

The diploma can be privately awarded in any academic or educational training institution or it can be government recognised otherwise known as a state registered school or college.

A distance learning or distant learning course or program is undertaken and completed at a distance usually at your home in connection with the school, college or university that you enrolled with.

Distance learning courses can be either online, e-learning and in an electronic or PDF format where you would be required to purchase the additional learning materials yourself such as textbooks and the like.

A traditional or old school style distance learning course is often a pack that is posted to you through the post in hardback form and contains all your course materials such as textbooks, manuals and the necessary paperwork study materials.

Online and e-learning is very popular now than many students complete their courses via smart phones, iPads and tablets and upload their completed coursework to their course provider or tutor overseeing the study period.

Generally speaking, distance learning, correspondence courses, e-learning and online learning or even Internet education are various terms to describe all open learning practices.

Any form of distance learning generally requires that you own or have access to a computer and printer.

There is a market for distance learning and it is very popular for various reasons due to the flexibility and pace students can study and work at.

Simply ensure that you check with your course provider to ensure that the duration of your course programme fits in with your lifestyle commitments so that you can finish on time without having to pay for time extensions.

Some colleges and universities set courses which can be very difficult for some students to meet and can push you to your limits to reach the deadlines as you will see online, many students fail to meet the deadlines which become incredibly frustrating and stressful.

The appeal of distance learning is the flexibility and pace at which a student can work at which allows them to work very quickly to complete their assignments or slowly as and when it suits them or even suits their mood and attitude.

The downside of disadvantage of many but not all distance learning programs is the lack of face-to-face training, one-to-one or social interaction and the usual mingling with other students/friends!

Many course providers do provide access to message forums where other students can interact in a social media kind of setting or bulletin board, chat rooms or learning message forums.

When looking for a suitable programme the uppermost things in your mind should be the materials that may need to purchase, equipment such as computers and the format of those materials, course duration, method of learning, total cost, additional hidden or unseen costs, accreditation, final diploma award and or awarding body, supporting communication available with tutors or online support, also read the terms and conditions and any legally binding contract you may be entering into.

Remember if you’re new to studying and you find yourself being attracted to gaining a degree then please ensure you fully understand all the prerequisites and preparation courses needed before you can even begin your entry onto a degree program.

For many newbie’s the discovery of this information can be very off putting and often determines the end of their interest therefore lesser qualifications such as distance learning or open learning qualifications have become more appealing to many.

If you have any doubts please ask first!

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