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What is a Bachelor’s degree?

What is a Bachelor’s degree?

by Caroline Hardaker

A Bachelor’s degree is one of the most common and widely available degrees that you can study at university in the UK.

But do you know how long it takes to complete a Bachelor’s, what the different abbreviations mean in degree titles, or what you can do with your qualification after you have completed your degree?

Read on for the answers to these and some of the most commonly asked questions about Bachelor’s degrees.


What is a Bachelor's degree?

For students who want to continue their studies after school, a Bachelor’s degree is the next step in their education.

An undergraduate course, it is designed to prepare you for a professional career or to go on to postgraduate study.


What do BA, BSc and other abbreviations mean in degree titles?

All Bachelor’s degrees are equal in value, but abbreviations are added to degree titles to indicate the subject you are studying.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees normally include modern foreign languages, music, the arts, communities, and most of the humanities subjects.

Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees include a huge range of science focused programmes – from agriculture to zoology.

Other Bachelor’s degree titles are:

  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB BS)
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) 
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

How long is a Bachelor's degree?

Most Bachelor’s degrees in the UK take three years to complete if you are studying full-time. However, some programmes take longer – for instance, medicine and dentistry degrees take five years to complete.


What is a Bachelor's degree with Honours?

During your degree you will complete a range of modules that add up to a certain number of credits.

A degree with honours, for example BA Honours or BSc Honours, is a standard three-year degree worth 360 credits which includes a dissertation or special project in the final year of study.

An ordinary Bachelor’s – without honours – is made up of 300 credits and doesn’t include a dissertation or special project.

However, the majority of Bachelor’s courses now offer honours built in as standard.


What subjects can I study at Bachelor’s level?

You can choose from a huge range of subjects at Bachelor’s level, from business related degrees to the sciences, medicine and dentistry, engineering, law, social sciences and the arts.

At Newcastle there are over 185 undergraduate degree programmes to choose from.


What is a Combined honours degree?

Instead of studying a Single honours degree – concentrating on just one subject – you can choose a Combined honours degree and study two or three subjects together.

At Newcastle you can choose from over 20 different subjects to create your unique Combined honours degree.

Study two subjects and each will make up 50% of your course and your final grade; choose three, and each subject will make up a third of your course.


What are the entry requirements for a Bachelor’s degree?

Entry requirements for a Bachelor’s degree vary depending on the subject you choose and the university you want to attend.

For the entry requirements for our degree programmes, check out our course pages for details of the qualifications we accept, including those from your country.


How do I apply to study a Bachelor’s degree?

To study at a UK university you must apply through the University and Colleges Admissions Service, or UCAS. This is the centralised service that students use to apply to university.

You will need to register with UCAS and complete an application form.

As well as including some basic information such as your existing qualifications and predicted grades in your application, you will also need to write a personal statement, and supply a reference from your school. A reference is a written statement that your teacher provides about you, your academic ability and your suitability for a particular degree course.

You can apply for up to five courses at once – these can be for different degrees at different universities.

However, for degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine/science, you can only apply for up to four courses, using your fifth choice to apply for a completely different subject.

For more help with the university application process, including how to choose a university and course, plus advice on how to write a personal statement, check out our Applications Hub.


When should I apply for a Bachelor’s degree?

There are two main deadlines for submitting your application through UCAS:

  • in October – for applications to Oxford and Cambridge universities, and most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry
  • in January – for the majority of other courses

Most degree programmes start in September.


How are Bachelor’s degrees graded?

Bachelor's degrees are graded:

  • first class
  • upper second class (2:1)
  • lower second class (2:2)
  • third class
  • pass
  • fail


What can I do with a Bachelor’s degree?

Some degrees, like medicine or dentistry, prepare you for a specific career. Others offer a route into a number of professions directly related to your degree – for example, a degree in accounting and finance could lead to a job as a chartered accountant, company secretary, stockbroker, or similar role.

Many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so, with the skills a Bachelor’s degree gives you, it’s possible to apply for jobs outside of your degree subject area.

You will also need a Bachelor’s degree if you want to go on to complete a Master’s degree or PhD.

We know the journey to university can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. For advice and guidance every step of the way, don't forget to check out our Applications Hub for helpful videos, eBooks, blogs and more.

Get more advice for your journey to university HERE