Keystone logo

The Higher Education System in England

Learn about the higher education system in England. Find out how it compares to the rest of the UK, the different kinds of programs and qualifications offered and how long they take to complete.

Oct 1, 2020

Unlike the rest of the United Kingdom, England expects everyone between the ages of 16 and 18 years to be engaged in full-time or part-time education or training.

So, the higher education phase only really begins from the age of 18.

Higher Education (HE) colleges, university colleges, universities and private colleges are all charged with delivering higher education across a broad range of vocational and academic qualifications, including certificates, higher national certificates, diplomas, higher national diplomas as well as a variety of foundation, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees.

Find a program

Want to study in England? Find & compare programs

Generally, the following timeframes apply to higher education studies in England:

          National Certificates (NC)1 year          
Higher National Certificates (HNC)NC + 1 year
Diplomas2 years
Higher National DiplomasHNC + 1 year
Foundation Degrees2 years
Bachelor’s Degrees3 years
Master’s DegreesBachelor’s degree + 12 months
PhDsMaster’s degree + 3-4 years

Quality standards for English universities are among the best in the world and credentials from English institutions are well respected internationally. So no matter your level or length of study - studying in England is a surefire way to make a positive step towards your prospective career in any field.

In England, you can also find exceptional business-related degrees. An MBA in the UK will grant you access to the world's best career opportunities as it is sought after the biggest companies internatioanlly. 

Learn more about studying in England:

English Language & Culture

England is a country with a rich heritage. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more! 

Tuition Fees In England

Tuition fees for higher education programs in England can vary. Many international and domestic students pay different tuition fees, depending on where they are from. In this section you'll find all the information on how this works in England.

Living Costs In England

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in England.

Entry Requirements for UK Universities

Learn more about the United Kingdom's national application portal and how it applies in England. This section covers what you'll need to do when applying as an undergraduate and postgraduate.


Don't let international student tuition fees stop you from studying abroad in England. Find out more about some of the scholarships available to international students here! 

Student Visas for the UK

Do you need a visa to enter England to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizenship. Don't worry! We've gathered the information you'll need to make it happen.

Programs in England

Ready to browse higher education courses in England? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in England today!

Photo of University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom by Sidharth Bhatia on Unsplash.

Keystone Team


The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.