FE and HE Colleges

The role of Further Education Colleges is to provide vocational training in courses such as engineering, cooking, hairdressing, tourism etc. HE Colleges provide a route into university either through A levels, foundation courses or diploma courses. Students above 16 will be taught GNVQs before they can consider going to university. They can then complete their vocational qualifications at a university where they will be awarded a BTEC or HND qualification, which is the equivalent to the 1st and 2nd year university level. If their grades are good, they can then apply to get into the 3rd year of the university to complete a Bachelor's degree.


FE and HE colleges offer more vocational courses such as GNVQ, BTEC or HND qualifications. These are courses in their own right and are widely recognized in industry but also can be used to enter university .

Compared to a traditional academic school curriculum (for example, GCSE, A level and first degree), vocational courses are more practical. These courses' evaluation standard is different too and based on daily assessments, reports and test results, which is totally different from traditional schools which are based on end of semester exams. Vocational schools may also inform students that they have passed some courses in order to release their stress. Therefore many overseas students consider obtaining their first degree with vocational qualifications. However this choice is complicated and depends on the students background. Your UKEAS counselor will be able to give you professional advice on what route best suits you.

Traditional academic degrees and equivalent vocational qualifications

Traditional academic degrees Vocational qualifications
A Level GNVQ
EDEXCEL First and National Diplomas
The 1st and 2nd undergraduate year EDEXCEL First and National Diplomas

If you still have some questions then be sure to contact us. UKEAS counselors are on hand to give you the most professional advice, and remember our service is completely free!

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