Study Options

What are my son or daughter’s study options after school?

Further Education (FE)

FE describes the various courses immediately available after your son or daughter completes their GCSEs. These can be traditional academic qualifications such as A Levels as well as courses which have a vocational element to them, such as BTEC National Diplomas and City and Guilds qualifications. There are a variety of different subjects and specialisms available regardless of the overall qualifications your child gains. Usually these courses take two to three years to complete if studied full-time.

There are several options as to where you can continue with further education/training:

  • Staying on at school if your school has sixth-form facilities
  • Going to a sixth-form college
  • Going to a further education college - they usually offer a wider range of courses than sixth-form colleges and provide education and training for students aged 19 and over, as well as for full-time 16 to 19 year olds.
  • Work-based training - a way to develop your skills while you work. You could be working towards a vocational qualification or gaining work experience.
  • Training programmes offer various options: become an employee, a trainee or an apprentice.
Higher Education (HE)

HE is used to describe the level of study beyond FE, usually at the age of 18 or over. Studying takes place in universities and higher education colleges and in some further education colleges. Higher education refers to degrees; however, it also covers Higher National Certificates/Diplomas (HNC/HND), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), and Foundation Degrees (FdA/FdSc) and courses.

These courses can be studied full-time over one to five years depending on the type of course and subject. For example:

  • Gemmology HND – 2 years
  • English BA (Hons) – 3 years
  • Engineering BSc (Hons) sandwich – 4 years

Many courses offer you the opportunity to study full-time or part-time.

Full-time study lets you complete a course in a shorter amount of time. Part-time study is often over a longer period and is less intensive in terms of the number of hours and days you study each week. Part-time courses can allow you to work while you study, and to focus on outside commitments. The qualification you gain is the same whether it was studied at full-time or part-time.

What are the different types of Higher Education qualifications?

What courses does Birmingham City University offer?

What options are available for part-time study?

What are entry requirements?