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Degrees explained

A degree is a qualification awarded by a university. Degrees are awarded to those who complete a prescribed number of modules and / or credits. Different degrees are mapped to various levels on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

At the University of Sunderland, we offer degrees at every level, from foundation degrees to doctorates.

What is an undergraduate degree?

An undergraduate degree is any bachelor-level qualification awarded by a university. We teach a number of bachelor honours (hons) degrees, including:

Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
Bachelor of Law (LLB)

If you pass with a good grade, your final degree qualification will be 'BA (Hons)', 'BSc (Hons)' or similar. Undergraduate degrees map to levels 4-6 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Find out more about the undergraduate degrees offered at the University of Sunderland

What is an integrated foundation year degree?

An integrated foundation year degree is a four-year undergraduate degree route incorporating a special integrated foundation year to help you gain the essential study skills and subject knowledge needed for undergraduate study.

The integrated foundation year takes place at the start of the course and the second, third and fourth years mirror the first, second and third years of a three-year undergraduate degree. 

Integrated foundation year degrees have lower entry requirements than three-year undergraduate degrees. Many integrated foundation year students come to us with no formal level 3 qualifications but relevant and valuable work experience.

Integrated foundation year degrees map to levels 4-6 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Read more about integrated foundation year degrees at the University of Sunderland.

What is a foundation degree?

A foundation degree combines academic study with vocational skills and are often deisgned by a university in collaboration with employers. Foundation degrees map to levels 4-5 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and can be 'topped up' to a full bachelors degree with an additional year of full time study at a university.

Read more about foundation degrees at the University of Sunderland.

What is a postgraduate degree?

A postgraduate degree is a course for which an undergraduate degree is an entry requirement.

We offer taught postgraduate degrees and research postgraduate degrees. Taught postgraduate degrees map to level 7 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Examples of taught postgraduate degrees include:

Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Science (MSc)
Master of Engineering (MEng)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of Laws (LLM)

Find out more about the postgraduate degrees offered at the University of Sunderland

What is a research degree?

A research degree is the highest-level qualification awarded by a university. Unlike taught postgraduate degree students, research degree students don't attend classes and instead work one to one with an academic supervisor. Research postgraduate degrees map to levels 7 (MPhil) and 8 (PhD) on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Examples of research postgraduate degrees include:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctor of Science (DSc)
Doctor of Law (LLD)

Read more about research degrees at the University of Sunderland.

What are higher and degree apprenticeships?

Degree apprenticeships combine academic study with practical application in the workplace, bringing together the best of higher and vocational training. Degree apprenticeships provide a cost-effective solution for all employers to acquire the latest high level industry skills and knowledge.

Higher apprenticeships map from levels 4 to 7 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). Degree apprenticeships map to  levels 6 and 7.

Read more about degree apprenticeships at the University of Sunderland.